Posted by: Kathy | April 5, 2012

Dona Nobis Pacem

Dona Nobis Pacem, Latin for give us peace, is a song that we’ve been singing in church during Lent. Three simple words, but so powerful for me, especially the last word – peace. I’ve used the word peace in most of my usernames, my personal email address, and my blog address. A feeling of inner peace is something that seems to have eluded me for many years, for different reasons.

Although I was struggling with the concept of inner peace long before my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, her diagnosis filled me with confusion, fear, sadness, and anger. Peace was not a possibility. When my mom died, I knew she was at peace and I felt relieved because she was no longer in pain, but I was far from being at peace. How could I be at peace when I just lost one of the most important people of my life?

Over the past 3 years, 4 months, and 20 days, I’ve worked to find peace. I know this is what my mom wants for me. It’s taken awhile, with many tears, a lot of rough days, and much self-inspection and deep thought. But I feel that I am closer to being at peace than I’ve ever been before. True acceptance of what’s happened in my life and believing that I can keep moving forward is what has helped me to get closer to inner peace. I will always feel an emptiness in my heart for the loss of my mom. I truly miss her and she is deeply missed by her family. But there are ways to keep my mom’s memory alive without sadness, to remember her with warmth, happiness, and love. On days when I really miss my mom, I allow myself to miss her. She was a big part of my life. There are times when I lie in bed at night and talk to my mom before going to sleep, hoping that I will see her in my dreams. On the wall closest to my side of the bed is a collage of pictures of my family, the last family pictures we had taken with my mom. In the darkness I can see the outline of the frame and I know the pictures in my heart.

Throughout Lent, the following sentence has appeared in the church bulletin: “The Anthems during Lent have been given to the glory of God and in memory of Marcia Harman by the Merlo family.” Last December, I made a donation to the music ministry of our church in memory of my mom. To see this in the bulletin has really touched my heart and I think my mom would be proud. I didn’t pick the music that has been sung during the worship services over the past few weeks. But Dona Nobis Pacem couldn’t be a more perfect song for me in relation to my mom. Every time I sing the words, I let peace fill my heart and think of my mom.


  1. Thanks for your comment. This was the fourth Easter I spent without my mom. I believe that the firsts are the hardest, but the fourth wasn’t easy either. I couldn’t stop thinking about how different Easter, and all the holidays, are now because my mom isn’t here with us, and also what she’s missing. I don’t think I’ll ever been completely at peace without my mom, at least not for a long time. She was taken from us way too early. I will definitely check out your post. Thanks for sharing it with me. ~ Kathy

  2. I love your blog because of your unselfish sharing of your emotions. Lent for us was another first without mom. I don’t think I will ever be at peace with her not being here. Although, when I really need it, I just look at the clouds….she mentioned it to me on her deathbed about finding a “very tranquil” place. I’d like to share it with you here:

  3. Thank you Kathy for opening your heart so we can become a part of your peace-finding journey. I recently wrote an article on my blog,, entitled “Where do you find peace?” I incorporated a wee bit of your story towards the end of my article and attached this entry so many can benefit from your journey.

    • Thanks for sharing the link to your site. I am hoping that continuing to share my journey of healing after the loss of my mom will help others. ~Kathy

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