Last Friday, we received a phone call everyone dreads. My uncle, Ed Foley, passed away unexpectedly. My Aunt Ann was with him and by all accounts, he didn’t seem to suffer any pain. For that I am grateful, but that doesn’t ease the pain of watching my Aunt struggle through this loss. Leslie, Lisa, Danny, Michelle, and I jumped in the cars and left for the Catskills to be with her for the weekend.
I would not have guessed it, but that day provided 4 opportunities for me to spend time with Aunt Ann in the presence of God…..Mass twice on Sunday, November, 30th on the TV, in the comfort of Aunt Ann’s home, then on Monday, Dec. 2 at Notre Dame Convalescent Home, then again at the funeral parlor in New Rochelle, NY during the service for Uncle Eddie.
On Sunday morning, as Leslie and Lisa slept on the couches in Aunt Ann’s living room, Aunt Ann and I settled in with our coffee and tea, respectively, and she turned on the Mass that she and Eddie typically watched on Sunday mornings. The preacher from a church in Pelham, NY said the words that made us cry….Peace Be With You…..needless to say, we missed the rest of the mass as she and I hugged in her living room and then we both sat and cried. Peace was kind of hard to imagine in that moment, yet our faith tells us to believe that Peace will always be with us in the presence of God….if we trust in Him.
The second Mass started and I poured a second cup of tea. Leslie and Lisa were now awake. The priest reminded us all that Advent was starting. I had totally missed Advent’s arrival and the words “Be prepared for Christ’s coming” had a special meaning. For Eddie, Christ came and met him personally less than 48 hours before that televised message. The priest encouraged us to make room in our hearts for the moment of Christ’s arrival. I am sure Eddie’s heart welcomed Christ and I am equally sure Aunt Ann’s heart, although broken right now, will heal in time through Christ’s love.
Aunt Ann came home with us on Sunday so she and I went to Mass on Monday at the nursing home, Notre Dame, across the street. She and I, along with our two friends who are nuns, were the only visitors besides the residents who were present. Aunt Ann and I shared a good cry throughout the mass. We were emotionally safe to let it all go in that sacred little chapel I love. You can feel the peace and love within its cinder block walls.
By the time Wednesday came, we all knew there was one final service to get through so that Eddie could literally be completely at peace and rest. The priest that came in was young and very nice. His message was an interesting one…in light of Advent and in light of Aunt Ann’s sudden loss of Eddie. His message was “You do not know the hour……Prepare now for the meeting you will have with God.” The reading was the one that says something like…If you knew when the thief was coming, you’d lock the doors. Prepare for you do not know the hour.
It made me think….If I were to leave this planet, this physical space called life right now….am I prepared to meet my Creator? Would He welcome me Home….as I am sure He did with Eddie…and wrap his arms around me and say….You are prepared, Welcome Home!”