Among the texts of the Masses and Prayers for Various Needs and Occasions, one of my favorites is that provided for the Mass "For the Grace of a Happy Death," particularly the Prayer Over the Offerings:
As you have destroyed our death, O Lord,This prayer - an example of the sort of prayers we do not pray often enough - has been very much on my mind and in my heart since last evening.
by the Death of your Only Begotten Son,
grant, we pray, through the power of the same mystery,
that, obeying your will even until death,
we may go forth from this world in peace and trust
and by your gift be made sharers in his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
I returned to my rooms as quickly as possible and called home. The doctors have not given us a "time frame" (they didn't think she would still be with us at Christmas), but all the signs are now pointing towards her passing from this life to the next: her heart is weak and cannot pump fluid out of lungs following a recent small heart attack, her oxygen is lowering, and she is coughing rather a lot. Talking is now difficult and her voice is strained. It is probably now just a matter of days, though it is, of course, very difficult to say.
I am now especially grateful for that winter storm - frustrating as it was - that kept me in Quincy nearly week longer than expected at Christmas; it gave me extra time to spend with Granny, time which I now cherish.
Because of the inconsistency of my cell phone signal throughout the city (many of the walls of these older buildings block out the signal entirely), I have asked my family to e-mail me as soon as they know more because wi-fi is fairly accessible and the streets are often too noisy to talk on. When an e-mail arrives, I will quickly head from wherever I am back to my rooms to call home and to arrange a return flight.
I now find myself restless and constantly checking my e-mail, wondering if each e-mail that arrives is "the one." Concentration is extremely difficult and there is much work to be done. It is not generally difficult for me to be away from home, but now it is.
Please, in the charity of your prayers, remember my Grandmother. She told her doctors and nurses that she only wants a peaceful death and I pray this she has.
Saint Joseph, patron of the dying, pray for her! May the all-powerful grant her a restful night and a peaceful death. Amen.