03 April 2014

Please pray for my Grandmother

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,
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.
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.

After dinner I took a walk to the Basilica of St. Peter to mail a few letters and just to go for a stroll. As I walked along the Via della Conciliazione that approaches St. Peter's Square my cell phone signaled a new e-mail had arrived. It was an e-mail from my Aunt telling me that the doctors and nurses entrusted with my Grandmother's care have placed her on "comfort measures," a euphemistic way of acknowledging that she is nearing death.

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.


  1. Praying for her, your family, and you. May the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph be with her as she draws nearer to God.

  2. You and your grandmother are in my thoughts and prayers.

    You look like your Grandmother. A lovely photo.

  3. My prayers, Father, for your grandmother and for you. May her death be peaceful and may she rejoice forever in God's loving embrace.

  4. You and your grandmother have my prayers.