My Father's Story - Part 4
June 28, 2020
After my mother's dream at the beginning of April, things began to accelerate. We received a call not long after, that my father needed to be put on antibiotics because of sores on both his hips. He really should have been sent to the hospital, but with Covid-19 having broken out at the hospital as well, the doctor thought it would be best to keep him at the Residence. At this point, my father had been tested for the virus but his test had come out negative. However, both Marcel and I knew that if he was put on antibiotics, his chances of survival would diminish since these medications do deplete a healthy immune system, which is exactly what is needed to fight the virus.
Sure enough perhaps a week or so later, on Monday, April 20, we received a phone call from the doctor informing us that my father had suddenly gone into a kind of semi-coma just after his breakfast. He gave us and anyone in the family who wanted to, permission to visit my father one last time to say goodbye. We were very surprised to have been allowed in since so many nursing homes around the world weren't allowing any visits at all! We knew that once again, God had been gracious to us.
I wish to say at this point how convinced Marcel and I are that all of you who prayed for my father were instrumental in all the graces that we received from that point on. From the time he contacted you through the Fellowship and through Facebook, we were bathed in peace and were at the receiving end of so many graces. In fact, we learned later that the providence of God on my father's behalf, went far beyond anything we could have hoped or imagined (Eph. 3:21).
When Marcel went in my father's room, he began to pray and do warfare on his behalf, knowing full well how great the battle is for a soul at the hour of death. As soon as he began to pray, one of my father's eyes opened partway which was a sign that he could actually hear Marcel's prayers and that he was trying to respond. When I went in and said my name, my father's eye opened fully and I knew without a doubt that he was trying to come out of his semi-comatose state. I saw the flicker of recognition in his eye and I knew that he was trying to connect with me but his body just wouldn't let him do so. Just like Marcel did, I also talked to my father and prayed aloud with him. He then began to utter noises and moans, making an incredible effort to communicate. My two brothers who went in afterward experienced the same thing.
But my father looked just awful and it was a bit of a traumatizing experience for all of us to see him so reduced. And we knew he was suffering! The next day we received word that my father had now tested positive for the virus and that he would be given morphine and put on oxygen. At this point, one of my most fervent prayers was that he would not die asphyxiated.
Then, God granted us another grace. Fr. Donnelly, of the Companions of the Cross, knowing full well the extent of the disease's foothold in the Residence, was keen to go in and administer the Sacrament of the Sick and pray with my father. This is the point at which I believe the fulfillment of my mother's dream happened, when my father was absolved and was welcomed back into the Church in a full reconciliation of his soul to God. Now, Marcel and I have absolutely no tangible proof that this happened, except through faith in all the dreams and the words that we were given, because my father was unable to speak or to respond. But we believe that something was going on within his soul and spirit and that he made a definitive choice for God.
And as a further grace, Marcel and I were allowed to visit my father by looking in at the window. Providentially, he was lying facing us so we were able to see that he was sleeping peacefully. And lo and behold, he was no longer on oxygen! Praise God for that!
"I conferred the Sacrament of the Sick with absolution and conferral of Apostolic Blessing for Plenary indulgence on your father Pierre. And I invoked on him and the entire Residence the power of the Kingdom against all demons and viruses operating there. I brought it all into the Mass this morning. And I continue to do so and invite you to continue to invoke that Kingdom on the Montfort Residence — and all of us!"
Fr. Francis Donnelly, CC
Then, on Wednesday morning, April 29, we received a call that my father had passed away between 3:30 am and 7:00 am.
I try not think too much about my father being physically alone leading up to, and at the time of his death, because that is where a lot of the sorrow is. But Marcel and I know, without a doubt, that all the prayers that went up on his behalf brought heaven down into his room so that my father was never really alone. There were times as I was praying for him when I sensed his room bathed with light and presences surrounding his bed.
About a week after my father's death, we received an email from Sylvie Barrett (many of you know Sylvie and Frank from St. Mary's Parish). The email included the picture you see here. This is how Sylvie's email read:
Dear Marcel and Linda,
Prayed the Stations of the Cross at St-Joseph Cemetery on Good Friday ...
I came across this and prayed for your family, not knowing what the future would hold.
Definitely a God-incidence.
You are in our prayers always.
Sylvie and Frank
We're still a bit in awe when we consider how incredible this was. In His goodness and great desire to prepare my father for eternal life, weeks before his death the Lord began to gather the prayers of believers who were friends of ours but who had never actually met him. How amazing; Sylvie was not only led to the cemetery, but to this particular area of it. Furthermore, she was nudged to notice this headstone and then recognized it as being my parents'. We ourselves knew that my parents had already chosen a plot, but we weren't aware that a headstone was already in place. But Sylvie was led right to it and then prompted to pray! And what a beautiful thing for her to do on Good Friday; praying the Stations of the Cross and remembering in her prayers those who have passed on into eternity! Sylvie prayed for my family, not knowing that less than 3 weeks later, the Lord would be remembering her prayers as my father was passing away. Thank you Sylvie for the part you played in obtaining graces for my father's final moments.
But God's goodness is always overflowing; He still had a few amazing blessings in store for us which I will recount in the final part of my story.