My wife received a call from her mom early this morning to tell her that her grandmother had passed away late last night. Aileen was the mother to my father-in-law, Phil. Her husband Pete passed away about eight years ago, just a few years after they had celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. Ten years her senior Pete had expended the last vestiges of strength he had in those last few years of his life in caring for her independently for as long as he could on the farm where they had fourteen children, raising thirteen to adulthood, losing one in childhood. I named my second-born son after Peter, using his surname as Jonah’s middle one.
Aileen had been battling Alzheimer’s for over a decade. Actually, one doesn’t battle Alzheimer’s now that I think about it. It won that round with her long ago. Last night she was released from its firm grip on her mind and today she sees with the clarity of the angels.
I called our long-time priest and friend Fr. J this morning to let him know as he and Phil have played golf together a few times over the past couple of years. I liked what he said, regarding this month in which we celebrated All Saints and All Souls Days: “It’s a good month to go to heaven. All the souls and saints will be welcoming her with open arms.”
We beseech Thee, O Lord,
in Thy mercy,
to have pity on the soul of Thy handmaid;
do Thou, Who hast freed her
from the perils of this mortal life,
restore to her the portion of everlasting salvation.
Through Christ our Lord,
Note: The photo I used for this post (Hands from Heaven) is by Al Swasey, a photographer whose work I’d never seen before. Surfing through his site I saw a lot of images I liked from the areas of Wyoming and Montana. Check him out here.