While waiting for Father's car, we got word that
- Our priest in residence, Fr Leo, had just lost his battle with diabetes (one of our priests was seen leaving the the parking lot in a hurry, which was not easy with the crowd); and
- A dear friend's wife had taken a dramatic turn in her battle with cancer and was not expected to live much longer.
As soon as we left the church, my wife and I went to see our friend's at the rehab center. She was lying in her bed; her eyes were open but she was not responsive and had labored breathing. Her husband, sat in a chair next to her, holding her hand and making sure she did not drop her rosary. The fatigue and hurt in his face was almost more than I could take. Their two daughters were there as well.
When we walked in, he looked up to me and one of the first things he said was "So you really want to be a Deacon?" knowing that this would be one of my ministries. He then spoke about their trip to Rome, Italy last month and how she did not deserve to suffer the way she had over the last few years. After about half an hour of visiting with the family, we left so that they could keep vigil as a family. She passed away at 11:00 last night.
It is hard to describe my feelings about all of this. It makes all of our personal difficulties seem irrelevant. And there is a need for someone to be there for people who are suffering. I pray for the strength and wisdom to help, what little I can, those who need that someone.