Friday, February 26, 2016

Big sister's update

His wit, his humor, his words of wisdom are still there.
His body, however, is disintegrating.
His days are spent sleeping on and off on the couch with EWTN or FoxNews on in the background.
His nights are more restless, getting up every hour, sometimes every half hour.
He can no longer eat, so he drinks milk, chocolate milk, gatorade, root beer, or tea.
His liquid intake seems to be decreasing.
His arms can no longer straighten to reach to coffee table, so after drinking, he needs help putting the bottle on the table or back in the small refrigerator in his room.
He also more and more needs help sitting up - a strong hand to help him maneuver his body weight to a seated position.
However, he can still walk himself to the bathroom, although a bit unsteady.
Sometimes, after using the bathroom, he will walk himself to the small refrigerator to grab a drink and then return to the couch.  Small victories of independence.
He has a hospital bed in his bedroom, but he prefers the couch.  
Upon returning to the couch, he needs help being tucked back in - a small pillow strategically placed under his head, another pillow placed between his bony legs, and two, sometimes three blankets to keep him warm.  He cannot tuck himself in, so this is one of the great pleasures in assisting him - tucking him, oh so carefully, so as not to pull the blanket across any of his numerous wounds, but tucking him in as a mother does for her beloved son, in this case, our beloved brother.
His thrice-weekly wound care has dwindled to once a week.  The amount of energy and the amount of suffering wound care demands takes a big toll on him.  His wounds remind me of leprosy.  He is all skin and bones, but his skin is unlike anything I have ever seen.  The wounds are slowly eating away at his skin.  The bath before wound care cleanses the dead skin and the dried blood away, but afterwards, the wounds seem to glare even more.  After wound care, he faces another struggle - that of getting his under armour, which holds all of the bandages in place, back over his wounded head and shoulders and on to his body.
In a day when one quickly reaches for something to ease the headache or the stomach cramps, my brother who truly suffers more than anyone I know has not reached for his pain medication in over four weeks.  I asked if he is sacrificing and he says no.  He doesn’t like how the medication dulls his senses.  

Thankfully, he is still able to receive the Eucharist thanks to our brother Fr. Kevin.
He is still able to go to Confession thanks to Fr. Jason Brooks.
And better still, he is still watched over by Our Lord and Savior in the tabernacle set up in the closet in his bedroom.
One of my favorite saints is Padre Pio.  I have heard some of Fr. Joseph’s other wonderful caretakers call him, “Padre.”  One told me just the other day that she calls him, “Padre Peeko.”  I chuckle.  Fr. Joe dislikes being called a saint or even compared to one.  

And yet I wonder, would God be so gracious to allow me to grow up with a saint?   And then I look around at my other siblings, and I see saints in each one of them.  After every Communion, I thank God for allowing me to be born into such a wonderful family.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

St Joseph prayers for the dying

Please join wherever you are in the world and  pray for Father Joseph over the next few weeks as he continues toward his new life. Also if it's not too much to ask that my mother father and all of us siblings are able to be present during his final hours so we can assist him  and send him forth to eternity.
Click  on the  words below

St Joseph Prayers for the dying
Litany for the Dying

Saturday, February 13, 2016

14 Year Anniversary of Leukemia Diagnosis Valentines 2002

I am not the writer in the family. For the past few weeks I've been tossing in my head what to put in the blog. I envision me writing some eloquent words in a brief and succinct way but realized that would take forever, so here I write. Father Joseph lives everyday giving his body to the Lord. he suffers more than the rest of us. I look at him especially during this Lenten season and see how he silently suffers offering all to God. He has a squamous cell lesion on his head that has eaten the skin away .  His bottom lip is barely there. He is very thin. However his mind is as sharp as a tack still teaching about our faith and helping his nieces with song critique. He receives Our Lord everyday and is grateful.  He is very appreciative  of all the prayers and sacrifices everyone has made on his behalf. Please keep praying for a peaceful death. He has said in the past, cancer can take my body but it can't take my soul. As long as I have Him and the sacraments my soul carries on. As I woke this morning
I remembered him saying that to me months ago as we were watching TV and one of those cancer ads came on.  As I ponder this I ask myself and all of you, what "cancer" is in our souls?  Is it vanity, impatience, lust,laziness, gluttony..? Thankfully our cancers are not terminal unless we choose,but with our turning to God who is the way the truth and the light  and the beauty of the sacraments our souls can return to a great state of health. We can then go out and help others remove the terminal status on their "cancer". As Fr Joseph quotes the Magnificat in his blessing, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord," let us too join him and proclaim God's greatness to the world  starting right in your home.
If you have any prayer requests please place in comment area or mail him a letter to the following address: All Saints Catholic Church 2443 Mount Vernon Road,  Dunwoody  GA  30338 

Jesus I trust in You