Jan 8, 2017 filed under Hope.

Katie 1973

“Last words” get our attention. Soon before he expired, St. Louis de Montfort said this to his unseen adversary: “In vain do you attack me – I am between Jesus and Mary!” For him, death was the last battle and Christ the victor.

The last words of my beloved mother-in-law, Katie, were a highlight of the eulogy given yesterday by her daughter, Betsy. Katie was mother of 5, grandmother of 16, and great-grandmother of 16. And that’s not counting her family’s spouses, ex-spouses, friends, neighbors, and friends of neighbors who thought of Katie’s house as a home-away-from-home. Her son, Tom, once humorously nominated her for the “Nobel Prize in motherhood” (click here).

I’m sharing excerpts, below, from Betsy’s recollections of her mother because last words are important and because Katie was an inspiration to everyone lucky enough to know her. I want you to know her, too!

From her daughter’s eulogy:
“When Fred Rogers was a child and there was a tragedy, his Mother would say, “Look for the helpers, there will always be helpers. If you look for the helpers, you’ll always know that there is hope.”

“Mom was a helper. She wasn’t a paramedic, although she did her share of patching scrapes and taking kids to the ER for stitches or with broken bones. She wasn’t a firefighter, although she put out more than one fire. She wasn’t a police officer, although she did a fair amount of restoring social order in her lifetime. Mom saw the value in fun and had a great sense of humor. She always had a water gun at her kitchen sink; she was prepared for any child’s sneak attack.”

Betsy remembered Katie taking in a friend’s child so his mother could focus on an injured sibling. And when some baby squirrels fell from their tree, Katie became their surrogate mom, rising at night to feed them. “I am so lucky to have had a mom who would get up in the middle of the night to…nurture someone, or something else’s babies.”

Near the end of her life, Betsy said, Katie “had some pretty scary hallucinations. She thought that everything was going to burst into flames. After she calmed down, she asked what I thought was going on. I told her that I thought she might be dying. She said, ‘Well, I can do a better job than this!’

“The day before she died, she hadn’t been talking…. I told her that her nurse was coming in to help change her. Then, clear as a bell while kicking off the covers, ‘Oh here, let me get up.’”

“Mom, you can’t get up.”


“Um, mom, because you’re dying.”



…Well, this is great!” …St. Peter, St. Paul, here I come!!”

A few minutes later she said, “This is going to be fun!”

And soon, surrounded by her family, she was gone.

Katie’s remarkable last words are true to her character. She died the way she lived, claiming her citizenship in heaven now, today; reminding us earthlings every day of the joy of heaven that is ours now, and for eternity. Katie Folsom, rest in peace.

Love always,

Photo: Katie in 1973.

25 Responses to “St. Peter, St. Paul, Here I Come!”

  1. Martha Otten

    What beautiful words to leave with and be eulogized by loving daughters. Wisdomkeepers all.
    Happiness lights up the world Rose, thanks for sharing this woman’s death journey home. Happy New Year!

  2. Jini Druliner

    Oh Rose..I’m sitting here tearing up but also smiling from my heart about this wonderful woman.
    She shows us we can have a ‘happy’ death! Love her gift and thank you for sharing it.

  3. Sal

    Hi Rose,

    This is very touching and thanks for sharing. May God rest her soul!


  4. Rose

    This comment arrived via email:
    Dear Rose,
    May this beautiful woman, mother, rest in eternal peace in the mercy of God.
    She sounds just lovely! How blessed we have been with these beautiful, real,
    honest, open Mothers.
    Thanks be to God, His Angels and His Saints,
    Mary Ann

  5. Marsha

    Dear Rose,

    May the eternal rest grant unto Katie, and let the perpetual light shine upon her. May God welcome her into His heavenly banquet. Beautiful faith and trust in the Lord. Thank you for sharing. God bless you.

  6. Tom Roberts

    Katie was a helper. This reminds me of a short story in Rabbi David J. Wolpe’s book Why Faith Matters. He writes “I’ve often told children the story of a man who stood before God, his heart breaking from the pain and injustice in the world. ‘Dear God, he cried out, ‘Look at all the suffering, the anguish and distress in Your world. Why don’t you send help?’
    God responded: ‘I did send help. I sent you.”‘ Katie must have figured that out very early.

  7. Faye

    What a faith!
    It reminds me of a favorite hymn. “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine…oh what a foretaste of glory divine…”
    Hope to be a Katie when my time comes. Thank you for sharing this beautiful intimate family moment.

  8. Rose Folsom

    From a Religious Sister via email:
    Dear Rose,
    Thank you for sharing about your mother-in-law. I’m so sorry for your loss.
    She had amazing faith.
    Sr. M.R.

  9. Rose Folsom

    From a subscriber via email:
    Soooooo beautiful Rose! I am sharing these words right now with a sweet lady form church whose sister Irene is dying, any moment now. I remembered your mother in law in my Divine Mercy chaplet today. Thanks as always for sharing. You look like her!!

    Take care,

  10. Gretchen Elson

    The description of Katie made me smile. What a woman and mother! Reminds me of the words to the song, “You can’t be a beacon if your light don’t shine.” Her beacon must have been very strong! While your loss is great, you can be happy that she is surely enjoying Paradise even as you read this message. Fondly, Gretchen

  11. Jeannie Tondo

    Beautiful last words! She must have been a fun person, so full of joyful hope. God rest her soul, and console all who loved her. In Christ, Jeannie

  12. John Brown

    What an inspirational and beautiful story of love, gumption and the get ‘er done attitude of America’s God loving, ‘Greatest Generation’!

  13. Barbara Cardin

    This is a beautiful testimony to a vibrant life well-lived! I adore her last words!
    Thank you, Betsy and Rose for sharing this testimony.

  14. Rose Folsom

    Via email:

    Dear Rose,
    Thanks for sharing. What a gal! That IS the way to prepare for dying. O what fun!
    Sister Mary Grace