16 02 2011

My father-in-law had struggled for every breath for many years.  Emphysema had taken a big toll on his life.  But he kept right on going and going and going. He could walk only a few feet and then would have to hold onto something while he caught his breath.  

My mother-in-law came down with the flu and had to go to the hospital for a few days.  This left my father-in-law at home alone.  And he certainly could not stay alone.  So he also went to the hospital to stay until she could recover and go back home. 

We ate our usual Sunday lunch and then drove out to the hospital to visit with them.  It was about 20 miles away from our home.  We visited for a minute with my mother-in-law and then went into my father-in-law’s room.  When my husband saw his father, he immediately bolted out of the room.  I did not know what was wrong as I saw nothing different.  I looked down the hall and my husband was on the telephone at the desk.  He returned to the room and said he had called the local Catholic Priest.  Then he said his father was dying and needed the last rites of the Church.  I still saw nothing different, but sat down in a chair and waited for the Priest to arrive.  

When the Priest came in, he  immediately bent down and talked with my father-in-law.  He asked him if he knew who he was and my father-in-law said ‘Yes Father’.  Then the Priest anointed my father-in-law and gave him the last rites of the Catholic Church.  Within only a few minutes, my father-in-law breathed his last agonizing breath and was gone from this earth.

The Priest turned to me and said, ‘Sometimes a soul will wait.  I have had this happen many times.  The soul will wait for the last rites and then can go in peace.’

What a warm and wonderful thought that is.  I hope my soul waits  until it can go in peace.




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