I have fond remembrances of frequently visiting with my mother, +Mary Botsko who, in her later years resided in a nursing home. My sister, +Sister Mary Ann Botsko, joined me on one of her vacations from the convent in Sloatsburg, New York. Repeatedly our mother would tell us she “wanted to go home.” My understanding was she wanted to return to her old homestead in Donora, Pennsylvania. It’s definitely not uncommon that most seniors want to live in their own homes for as long as possible.
Leaving together after one of our visits, my sister looked at me, and said: “I think Mom’s talking about going to her heavenly home." When our mother told us to call a taxi, I however, was convinced she wanted to get back to her own Meldon Avenue home in Donora. Time moved on and the more I thought about my sister’s comments that day, I came to believe our mother was talking about her “Heavenly Home”, the place where she would be reunited with her loved ones.
In fact, both of us were right. How many times, when tired from traveling, or feeling under-the-weather, we just want to go home. When visiting relatives or friends, on vacation, or on work-related absences, we find ourselves thinking “I just want to go home.” Home might be a Hampton Inn on the interstate, a rented apartment, a friend’s house, and on and on. The word “home” often has an abstract meaning such as a place that is restful, happy, a place where I can be myself. It can also be a safe place, a place where I am loved, where I feel secure and separated from the chaos and the stress of life.
On a humorous note, my mother was so determined to go home, she would often end our visit by saying “Unless you’ve come here to take me home, your visit is over!” I wonder whether my mother knew John Denver’s famous “Take Me Home, Country Roads”? My mother had the perfect answer for Bishop Basil Schott and Deacon John Hanchin during their visit. Bishop told my mom she couldn’t go home because she needed a special type of oxygen tank. She had a quick response: “I have one of those at home too!” My mother finally went home to her heavenly reward on December 11, 2005 at the age of 89.
I firmly believe your family and loved ones, and my entire family- Mom, Dad, Sister and Brother are reunited in their heavenly home and “await” the time when we will join them in the presence of the Lord. Jesus tells us, “In my house there are many mansions,” and “I go to prepare a place for you”. At every Funeral Liturgy, we hear the reassuring words of Christ: “I am the Resurrection and the Life, whoever believes in Me will never die, but will live forever.”
Finally, St. Paul says, “O Death, where is your victory? O Death, where is your sting? The death of every Christian is swallowed up in victory.” On the last day “Christ will raise us all up from the dead”…and ”there will be no more pain, sorrow, nor mourning, but only life everlasting and eternal happiness.
GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST! GLORY TO HIM FOREVER!