Wednesday, November 08, 2006

In Paradisum, Dad

Dad had had a pretty bad night, and my brother stayed by him in case he needed help moving. Harold went to work, and Mary took his place. I was running late, and rather than walk to Mass, I took Mom's car. Good thing. I wouldn't have made it if I had walked home.
Once at the parish, I went to the sacristy to see about borrowing a pyx, in order to bring Communion to my parents, and after Mass, back in the car with Jesus, I prayed my way home. I was thinking it would be nice to have some time with Jesus before holding a little Communion service at home, but when I walked in the door, things were just too quiet. A hospital bed had been set up in the den on Monday, and Mom and Mary were there. Dad's breathing was very shallow, and he was only slightly responsive to Mom's attempts to put a few drops of water on his tongue, so I prepared a tiny bit of the Host in a spoon with some water.
"Here, Dad: it's Jesus. The Body of Christ. This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world." He parted his lips slightly, and I tried to slip the Host into his mouth, but it stayed on his tongue. I put some water in a straw and told him to open his mouth wide, which he did. Very wide. When I released the water from the straw, I told him to swallow Communion. And he swallowed hard. Very shortly after that, his eyes set straight forward, and he began to move his right arm toward his chest, where I had the Pyx resting. We don't even know just when he stopped breathing, but it would have been within one or two minutes of receiving the Communion that turned out to be his Viaticum.
Mary was trying to contact Hospice and the other siblings, each of whom came within ten minutes of Dad's death, except for my sister in Texas, who is coming in tomorrow with her three children.

Last night, the priest who will be officiating at Jane's wedding came over, and most of the family gathered for the blessing of the wedding rings. This was preceded by Anointing of the Sick and Communion. Then, when the priest prepared to leave, he gave Dad a hug, and Dad, who was never the huggy type, reached his arm up and embraced him. I had my camera ready for the blessing of the rings, and got that last picture of my Dad.
Dad had assured us that he would be at the wedding "one way or another," so we are going ahead with all plans, even though the rehearsal will be affected by the Friday funeral.
We are grateful for your continued prayers through this extremely poignant time.


dr. nic said...

You and your family are in my prayers, especially your sister. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sister,

Our prayers continue for you and your family. You gave so much comfort to your father and we know you will continue to comfort your family. All our support and love.

Deacon Fred, CMF said...

Sr. Anne, What a wonderful faithfilled journey you all took with your Dad. Know you are in my prayers and thoughts. Wish I could be there for the services. Know that you will continue to feel his loving presence and the love God has for all of you, too...even as you feel your Dad's absence. And you all get to celebrate two of life's great moments...together!

Kristin said...

Sister Anne,

I am so sorry for your lost. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.


Maureen said...

Dear Sister,
As I walked northbound on Michigan Ave this morning on my way to work I felt moved to say a prayer for you and yours. Those with the moments.
I keep you all in prayer from here in Chicago.

Anonymous said...

J'irai la voir un jour,
Au ciel, dans la patrie,
Oui j'irai voir Marie,
Ma joie et mon amour.

Au ciel, au ciel, au ciel,
j'irai la voir un jour.
Au ciel, au ciel, au ciel,
j'irai la voir un jour.

J'irai la voir un jour!
J'irai m'unir aux anges,
Pour chanter ses louanges
Et pour former sa cour.

J'irai la voir un jour,
Cette Vierge si belle!
Bientôt j'irai près d'elle
Lui dire mon amour.

J'irai la voir un jour!
J'irai près de son trône
Recevoir ma couronne
Dans l'éternel séjour.

J'irai la voir un jour!
J'irai, loin de la terre,
Sur le coeur de ma Mère
Reposer sans retour.

English Translation: I will see her one day In heaven, in my garden Yes, I will see Mary My joy and my love In the sky, in the sky, in the sky I will see her one day In the sky, in the sky, in the sky I will see her there one day I will see her one day I will join with the angels To sing her praises And to form her court I will see her one day This beautiful virgin Soon I will be beside her To Tell her of my love I will see her one day I will go near her throne To receive my crown In eternal rest I will see her one day I will go far from the earth Upon my mother's heart Rest without return

Chelsea said...

Sr. Anne,
Please know that I am praying for you and your family. God bless you!