Monday, February 18, 2013
Yesterday an old man that I knew passed away. He came to Canada in mid-twentieth century, worked hard and built his own home where his wife and children shared in everything of joyful commitment to each other. He was the first to receive us and give us a place in his home when my wife and I arrived in Toronto. We stayed two weeks in his house, yet he never asked for anything in return. In spite of the death of his beloved wife with cancer, he lived to see his children and grandchildren get married and continued to see them at his home at least at Christmas, the "New Year", and on his birthday. A man of steel, he once joked with me "Let's dance!" when he was hospitalized a decade or so ago. In spite of heart problems, his care of his garden never dissipated. He continued to take care of his backyard and his garden until he was no longer able to walk. Yet lately his health started to crumble. Three weeks ago, alarmed by his quickly-deteriorating health his daughter took him to the hospital. He had missed her and felt lonely when she had a heart attack three months ago because she used to go see him and feed him everyday. In the hospital the prognosis by physicians predicted that he would not live much longer as he already was having a heart failure and a kidney failure. This past week, he had already stopped eating and would not utter a word. Around him gathered many of his broken-heart children and their families. With much love around him, he was able to eat again but nevertheless his body was giving in to the process of dying. Around him in hospital, his children formed a choir singing and praying for him a continuous Rosary. Again he gathered around him, without probably knowing it, all his children and grandchildren. When we were asked to pray for him as he was close to death, I was able to pray one decade of the holy Rosary, and yesterday too I remembered him in the Eucharistic celebration before receiving the news of his death. A man of steel, he will continue to live in the memories of many who knew him. Last night, I said to his very pious daughter: If all these people prayed for his good death and for him to be received in heaven, how can I expect God to be less generous?" It is my prayer that he is indeed on his way to heaven, now without a body, and on Judgment Day with body and soul joyful and dancing in heaven!