My dad died this morning. It was both an expected event and a big surprise. His health has been failing steadily over the last year, and he has been in and out of the hospital. But it was still a surprise. Yes, he had been transferred from the rehab hospital (where he had been recovering from a below the knee amputation) to the acute care facility. But that has been happening with some regularity lately. And yes, he had been transferred to ICU Saturday with blood pressure issues - but that is just another of the bumps on the roller coaster ride he's been on for years. I asked my sister on Saturday if she thought we needed to fly out to California. She told me that the nurses thought he'd make it out of ICU again - he just needed to consent to go on dialysis. He really didn't want to go on dialysis - and he didn't.
He apparently suffered acute heart failure sometime this morning. His second wife was there with him, he had eaten a good breakfast, and he looked like he was going to sleep. But it was the final rest. I got the news this afternoon, while I was at work. I thought I was going to be ok to finish the day but by the time I got off the phone, I knew that I had to go home. Even though there is precious little that I can do on a practical level from 2000 miles away, I needed to be where I could talk on the phone freely and not worry about other stuff.
My brothers in CA will be helping my stepmom with details. I am waiting to see what the plans are before I make my plans. I guess that it is a good thing that I hadn't scheduled the housewarming yet - I'm going to push it to after Thanksgiving, I think. Make it an Advent/housewarming event.
If you can find a moment, pray for my dad's soul. I am morally certain that he was not in a state of grace, and I can only hope that at the very last he came to an acknowledgment and repentance. I take hope in the private revelations given to St. Faustina about the Divine Mercy. Pray, too, for one of my sisters. She and my dad were estranged, and now she is just torn up inside and out. Pray that she will find the peace that I know God wants her to have.
It's at times like this that I remember that forgiveness is more healing to the victim of ill-doing than to the perpetrator. It is possible to forgive without it being a justification or excuse for the evils done to one - it is possible to forgive even if the perpetrator never acknowledges the injustice, never apologizes, never makes even the first step towards reparation. Jesus from the cross asked forgiveness for those who crucified Him - and we are called to do likewise.
Oh my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of Hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of your mercy.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.