It is well with my soul

by | Feb 17, 2020 | Faith, Family | 41 comments |

My mother died early yesterday morning. She was 96. For several years, she had lived in a care facility near my older sister.


MotherSchoolPicture1990Mother was a teacher. Though she suffered from dementia, Mother greeted everyone and always said thank you whenever someone did something for her or answered her cycle of questions, even though she couldn’t remember their names or answers. After every visit, she’d walk me to the door. I’d say thank you for lunch, take care, I’ll be back to visit, and I love you.  She’d say thank you for coming, drive safely, I look forward to it, and I love you, too.

Last spring, Mother’s mobility slowed significantly, and she had difficulty seeing. Dementia, which had already stolen short-term memory, increasingly narrowed her memories of the past. Mother soldiered on. In the fall, when her body began to fail, we moved her to skilled nursing. Through it all, Mother greeted, asked questions, and without exception thanked everyone for everything.


Mother was my teacher. Two weeks ago, after eating lunch with her in the skilled nursing dining room, I played my flute for her like I had at Christmastime. She listened to the first piece, said thank you, and fell asleep in her chair. I played a while longer then kissed her, said I’d be back next week, and told her I loved her.

A week later, Mother was bedridden but responsive when awake. At the end of our visit, I kissed her and said I’d been back next week.

“Oh, I look forward to that,” she said.

“I love you,” I said.

“I love you, too.”

When I walked to the door of her room and said goodbye to my sister, Mother called out, “Safe travels.”

You too Mother, I thought, you too.

Last Friday, Mother had few responsive moments. I held her hand, prayed over her, and thanked her as she slept. Before leaving, I kissed her and said I love you.


My two sisters and I will bury our mother next to our father in the New England town where we grew up. Mother asked for grave-side recitations of Psalm 23 and the Lord’s Prayer. I will play the last piece I played for her.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way;
When sorrows, like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.
It is well
With my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.


Thank you, Lord, for teaching me to say, no matter what happens, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

And thank you, Mother, for everything. Safe travels. I hope to see you again.

I love you.


This post on YouTube, including my recording of “When peace, like a River.”


  1. ekurie

    I pray God’s comfort for your heart.

  2. vonettayoung

    I’m sorry for your loss, Carole. This is a lovely tribute. I’m also praying for your comfort.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Vonetta, thank you.

  3. joynealkidney

    What sweet last memories of your precious mother. Thank you for sharing them with the rest of us.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Joy, for your kindness.

  4. Candace erickson

    Beautiful tribute to love and grace.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Candace. It’s not an easy time, but it is well with my soul.

  5. Luanne

    Tears here. What a lovely farewell. Rest in peace to your sweet mother.

  6. Marianna Crane

    Such a lovely tribute to your mother. Thank you for sharing this poignant moment.

  7. Peter Weston

    Aunt Joyce was stalwart in her approach to life it seemed to me, in a manner that benefited her family and her students. She remained friends with a number of people from childhood, including Mom and Aunt Dot.
    May your memories bring you comfort.
    May the God of all comfort bless you.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Peter. So many memories, so many blessings.

  8. bigskybuckeye

    Carole, the memories of your mother will last forever. The two of you enjoyed a special relationship. Thinking of you and your family in prayer. God’s peace!

  9. wrestlingwordblog

    Beautiful! I am so glad you had that time with her at the end. Very sorry for the pain of your loss.

  10. Ms D.

    Your mother sounds like a lovely woman, and a role model for us all. May memory be a blessing.

  11. Loved by the King of kings

    Beautiful words of tribute for your mother. She was a very gracious soul. May the Lord comfort you in your times of grief. ❤🙏

  12. Phyllis McNerney

    So sorry for your loss, Carole. You and your sisters are in my thoughts. Glad you were able to visit your mom frequently and saw her so recently. Safe travels to Connecticut!

  13. Mama Duck

    God bless you and your family. Your post conveyed sweet memories and brought honor to your Mom.

  14. Jeff Rab

    So sorry for the passing of your saintly mother!! May peace like a river flow over you, your two sisters and your family!! “Safe travels!”

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Jeff, thank you.

  15. Ruelha

    May her soul rest in peace

  16. seekingdivineperspective

    I love that hymn. And the “safe travels” thought – beautiful. You and your mother have certainly blessed each other.

  17. laurabon

    May God give you comfort at this time of grief.

  18. Sharon

    My deepest sympathy to you Carole and your family.



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