Wednesday, August 22, 2012

He is Always Listening.....

The church bells chimed loud and clear, a welcoming ringtone, one that always makes me smile whenever  mom calls. This morning however, instead of the usual enthusiasm that accompanies her calls, my stomach felt butterflies.

“Hi hun, the V.A. has scheduled dad’s procedure for 12:30”, she said. This will mark the third time we had been there in the last six days.

Cancer. It is something that he has suffered with for many years  now.

For a long time it was under control, but in the past few years it had resurfaced. Like an aggressive weed in a beautiful garden, it has taken over his entire body, invading everything it comes in contact with.  No organ is  left untouched.

I can remember many years ago, when this all started. I went with dad to his oncologist appointment. While we sat in the waiting room  to be called in, an elderly gentleman walked past us with what appeared to be a colostomy bag. “That is one of my greatest fears”, dad told me. “I hope I never have to have one of those bags”.

The procedure he was scheduled for this day would meet his fears. His kidneys have become so ridden with cancer that they have stopped functioning properly. The right one has worn down, and his potassium levels continue to elevate, putting him in extreme danger.

I buttoned up my work at the office and made my way to the V.A. I got there minutes before he was wheeled away by a staff member. I kissed his forehead and made the sign of the cross where I had placed the kiss. Mom did the same and added a beautiful blessing, asking the Blessed Mother and all God’s holy angels to protect dad in what he was about to undergo. He squeezed her hand, gave her a brave smile, and was taken away from us, into the hands of doctor that we hand not yet met, his regular doctor was not there.

Mom and I both had an unusual amount of anxiety so I suggested that we find out if the V.A. had a chapel; we both needed a quiet place to pray. Mom, in her stressful state, said aloud, “This is a government building, I’m not sure if they still have chapels here”. “Oh mama, I laughed slightly, “of course they do”. Humor can be a sweet relief  at times like this.

 I went up to the information desk and asked where the chapel was located and sure enough, it was located on the second floor.

As we started to make our way there, a man who had overheard our conversation, walked up to us. “I know where it is”, he said. “It’s hard to find, I will take you there”. I thanked him, and I thanked God, knowing that He was listening too.

The chapel was lovely and music was playing in the background, which might have been great for a lot of people, but in my mind it sounded like show tunes, and to be honest, the music was getting to me. I pulled out my rosary beads and so did mom. Together we prayed the Glorious Mysteries, me praying a little louder in an effort to block out the music.

Suddenly, we heard a joyful Irish brogue saying, “Awe, if it’s not the holy women, praying for the souls of the world, lovely, yes lovely”. The cutest little Irish nun walked up to us, Sr. Mary Catherine was her name, and said, “Bless you ladies, bless you. Wouldn’t you be more comfortable praying before the Blessed Sacrament ?”. “The Blessed Sacrament!” we both said in surprise. “Yes”, she said, “The Catholic Chapel is right around the corner, let me take you there”. She lead us straight to Jesus. We thanked her and she was gone. As we sat before Our Lord, I said another "thank you", for again He showed me He was listening.

Dad’s procedure took longer than expected. It had some initial hiccups; the cancer prevented one tube that had been inserted from staying in place properly, which caused a backup somewhere in the kidney area. Dad was in a tremendous amount of pain. The next day another procedure was done to correct the problem. An extra day in the hospital was require, just in case.Then he was released to go home.

In the following days a hospice team was sent to the house. That must be a rough one for everybody, it sure was for us . Dad choked up a bit and so did we. But, an interesting thing happened. The man that came from Hospice happen to a Catholic priest from the Philippines, a missionary priest. He comforted dad, staying with all of us for a while, answering questions and sharing stories of faith.

As Father was getting ready to leave us, we all gathered around dad, holding hands and praying. The Holy Spirit was so strong and again I thanked God. I knew He was listening.

Everything now is day to day. Life seems so precious and living in the present moment is so important. The words of this song from Isaiah 49 keeps running through my mind: 

I will never forget you my people. I have carved you in the palm of my hand…

This song continues to remind me that He is always listening.


Unknown said...

Prayers for your Dad and for your family as well. What a comfort to know He is always listening, and so is our Blessed Mother.
Prayers and blessings.

kam said...

No real words to say, except thank you, DG for sharing. Prayers go out to your Dad and your family.

Nancy Shuman said...

My prayers are with you also, and with your father. God is so obviously present with all of you, showing you concretely that He is listening.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

I am praying for your father and for your whole family.

May God bless you all always.

Chris said...

The power of prayer is never ending, blessings for your Dad..we are indeed in HIS hands

Chris x

Michael said...

Prayers for your father, and for your family. This was a very touching post, DG. Your Faith is awesome.

God Bless you.

Do Not Be Anxious said...

Thanks for writing your thoughts and experiences, DG. I was with my sister for four years, as she fought cancer, and with my dad for one week with his. Both of them and I recognized how God was with us all the way --- and still is.

I speak to them daily, perhaps even more now than when they were on earth. Live never does end. May you and your father always be in love, caring for each other.

Daily Grace said...

Thank you all so very much. Your comments and your prayers are a gift. Thank you all and may God bless you.

Ed Sousa, Sr. said...

Dear DG
Our prayers are with you and your Dad.

Patricia said...

Lisa, as I read your post, my heart just went out to you. I lost both of my dear parents four years ago. How wonderful that Our Lord has taken care of everything for you and your family. I just loved reading about the Irish nun who showed up to lead you to our Eucharistic Lord.

I'm so behind on reading my favorite blogs that several weeks have passed since you posted this. But, you and your family will certainly be in my prayers during this difficult time.

I wish I could give you a big hug. God bless you, and thank you for your beautiful sharing.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Just to let you know I am praying for you all.

God bless.

momto8 said...

Faith is a beautiful thing. Jesus, i trust in you....