Life is a journey; the choices you make now will determine your eternal destination.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Remembering Joe

A year ago today, my brother Joe passed away from cancer. Our family came from across the country to spend time with him at the hospital, and most of us were there when he received the Last Rites. The priest from Joe's church in Calgary came up to Edmonton from Calgary twice in the last week of his life to give him this Sacrament, which was very beautifully done, in the traditional Latin as Joe 's church is the SSPX Immaculate Heart. We prayed the Rosary with him every day in the hospital. Joe was very dedicated to St. Joseph, his patron saint, and to our Blessed Mother. 3 days before his death, my sister Georgia and I were privileged to hear him make an act of total consecration to Mary, which he did straight from the heart; it had us in tears. When he was moved to the Hospice, I stayed overnight with him. During the night he was very uncomfortable, and wanted to stand up. He couldn't do it on his own , and I will never forget helping him to stand for the last time, my arms around him, supporting him in a way that I couldn't do for him during his troubled life. My sister Margi, who dropped everything when she found out Joe was in the hospital, spent every one of the 14 days at his side, and she and I prayed the chaplet of Divine Mercy for him an hour before he died, peacefully, with Margi and her husband Robert holding his hands, and I at his feet, praying the Hail Mary repeatedly.

Cancer is a painful way to die, but I believe that my brother had a beautiful death, surrounded by family, in full receipt of the Sacraments of the Church,(he even received the Sacrament of Reconcilliation twice in the last week) and he offered his suffering up to God in reparation for his sins.

Now the Laborer’s Task is O’er

Now the laborer’s task is o’er;
Now the battle day is past;
Now upon the farther shore
Lands the voyager at last.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

There the tears of earth are dried;
There its hidden things are clear;
There the work of life is tried
By a juster judge than here.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

There the penitents that turn
To the cross their dying eyes,
All the love of Jesus learn
At His feet in Paradise.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

There no more the powers of hell
Can prevail to mar their peace;
Christ the Lord shall guard them well.
He who died for their release.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

“Earth to earth, and dust to dust,”
Calmly now the words we say;
Left behind, we wait in trust
For the resurrection day.
Father, in Thy gracious keeping
Leave we now Thy servant sleeping.

John Lodge Ellerton

Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord, let perpetual light shine upon him, and may he rest in peace. Amen.


Marilena said...

absolutely wonderful tribute to our beloved brother!
he truly was a hero to me for his great love he showed during his suffering. i will always remember his last words to me, frank is a wonderful man, and i love you.
those are the kindest words i have ever heard anyone
say to me. :) eternal rest grant unto him o Lord! father told me, that when the Gregorian Masses are said, that we can hope that he is in heaven as this is what the Masses are said for. so i firmly believe Joe is in heaven glorifying God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Amen!

paramedicgirl said...

Shirley, that is a wonderful post, and one that I had also planned on doing. I had even planned to post that same poem, the one from his funeral card. You have spoken for both us.