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.