My sister is coming in from Texas this morning with her three kids. (Their Dad's on active duty with the Navy at a certain location very much in the news.) It will be nice to have a seven year old around: that middle age range is missing from my New Orleans nieces and nephews. I have to say, though, that one of the most precious memories I will have is of my 15-year-old nephew tracing the sign of the cross on his grandpa's forehead before leaving after a visit. (Jesuit boy, God bless him.)
We still don't know which way things are going to go for Dad, and that makes for pretty interesting dynamics in a big family like ours. We acknowledge to each other through little references, or with a quick, darting gaze after a reference, that he may not recover, but we also want to keep hoping that the antibiotics will win the day, or at least buy some. We were actually encouraged by the gloomy news one doctor gave: that when people get this kind of infection, they have at most a year before (to put it in Dad's words) going to that great courtroom in the sky. At the same time, we are all constantly on the verge of tears and already grieving and telling stories (at least Dad can help with that part--I learned yesterday that he failed trigonometry three times at Jesuit High, and the teacher, an old German Jesuit, didn't know what to do with him). Plus, being half Irish, we have a kind of ironic humor about the most difficult possibilities. (Even Mom, who is mostly French, has that!)
Well, you see the sorts of prayers we need. Say a special one for the three Texas grandchildren, ages 15, 9 and 7. Katrina pre-empted their usual Christmas visit (no house to stay in) and they didn't come in this summer in view of coming for Jane's wedding. So they haven't seen Dad in a year and a half, and he has lost about 50 pounds since then. It may be quite traumatic for them.