During this month of the dead, I especially think and pray often for the soul of my grandmother, Silvia Scott. Her final days were extremely hard. Her kidneys were failing, she had a tracheotomy (incision in her throat to allow for breathing), and was in a hospital for weeks on a floor that was largely silent since all the patients had had the same procedure. She could not call for assistance but had to count on a button they handed her. If it slipped out of her hand, she could not reach for it herself. My grandmother had always been a strong and independent woman. Now she was helpless. Thanks to the visits of family, friends, and church members, she was well prepared to meet the Lord. Near the end, I asked her if she was ready to meet the Lord, and she signaled to me that she was.
She eventually accepted the reality of her coming death, and thanks to a good friend of mine who lived nearby, she was ministered to every day. Often, I would come to visit her, and my friend would have already been there praying with her, reading her scripture, or encouraging her to trust in the Lord. I noticed as she got closer to the end of her sojourn in this life, she watched less tv and spent more time in silence. Her faith grew stronger even as her body grew weaker.
When I received the news from my mother that my grandmother had passed, rather than feeling the extreme sadness I had expected, I felt peace and unexpected joy. When I consulted the Lord as to why wondering if maybe I was not accepting the reality of it, I discovered that it was because I knew she was well prepared for her final judgment. She had made her peace with the Lord and trusted in His love and mercy. During those days, she, and my mother (her daughter), who had not had an easy relationship, was able to reconcile and find peace.
Every time I think of her, I offer up prayers for the repose of her soul. So that if she is in the purgatorial state, she might receive the final graces to see her to her heavenly homeland. I also ask her to pray for me now that she is so much closer to the good Lord. I hope that all of us will have time to prepare to meet Him before our deaths, to trust in Him, and to prepare for our final judgment. This is not granted to everyone but to those who it is what a blessing! Leaving this earth may be far harder than our arrival, but if it helps us prepare better, then how worth it will it be! Ask God daily for the grace of final perseverance in Faith. We know not the day nor the hour.
Your father and brother in Christ,
Fr. Scott Woods