Loving-kindness or metta are meditations on compassion. A common metta meditation includes the script, “May you live with ease. May you be happy. May you be free from pain.”

I was engaged in a nearly perpetual state of metta meditation for Dad. In the last two months of his life, the implication of my meditation, oft-considered a type of prayer, was a prayer for my Dad’s death.

In advocating for my Dad’s admission to hospice care, which meant foregoing continued cancer treatment, I felt that I was fighting for his right to die, to exercise his last wishes over his own life, to ease his suffering on Earth.

The last few months have been difficult for my family. I am thankful for what I have learned in my life about dealing with grief in a healthy way.

Mindfulness is the practice of accepting and experiencing life just as it is. My mindfulness practice has been instrumental in helping me experience the deep pain of grief without adding suffering to it. Perhaps more than that, I have learned a great deal about grief from my mother, when it comes to grief about the loss of parents.

The first thing my mom did was to be a compassionate daughter to her aging parents. She provided them with regular help and emotional support over the years. Mom set limits when she needed to. When her father was dying, she provided him with an opportunity to talk about death. He declined the invitation as was his right to do and Mom respected that.

My mother is a church singer with a beautiful voice. She has sung for hundreds of funerals over her singing career. Mom sang for her dad’s funeral in 1987. She sang for her mother’s funeral in 1993.

Two days ago, Mom not only sang for her husband of 63 years’ funeral but she led the assembly in song, serving as cantor for the mass. It was inspiring. What fortitude! I kept looking over at Mom and thinking, “Mom is a rock star of grief.”

My parents had a really loving marriage and I’m not just saying that because Dad just died. They really did. They were a love match, very lucky to have found each other when they were just kids.

Mom no doubt feels deep pain but music is her ministry, a ministry to spread love, compassion, and to ease suffering. She eased her own suffering, the suffering of her children, and of all who witnessed her example.