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.


  1. to Sister Regina,
    My husband Jonathan has known Fr. Peek since he was a boy. I have met him also. He is a fine Father and human being. We pray for you all during this difficult time.
    Are we allowed to send a card? - Shannon

    1. Yes send it to All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody

  2. I'm thinking of Fr.Joe all the time- and we love you so dearly- thank you for posting this.AMDG. Flemings Family

  3. I have grown in love with his beautiful suffering, his life, and his devotion. Our family has grown closer just knowing of this truly amazing man of God.

  4. Father Joseph, you're in our thoughts and prayers. Wish we could've had a chance to get together more often.
    The Santiago sisters

  5. Father Joe. Even though you are far away I always kept the cross you gave and blessed to my mother as a reminder of you. I pray everyday for your well being. I still remember to this day your inspirational masses, your homilies, and most of all your steadfast Love for Our Lord. As a brother Knight and fellow Catholic I truly thank you from the bottom of my heart. You helped my faith grow so much stronger. May Our Lord Bless you and watch over you always. -Jonathan Scott

  6. Hey, I was privlidged to get to see St. Padre' Pio a couple weeks ago. Here are some pics that Father might enjoy seeing. The specific ones with Pio are

  7. Thanks You for sharing. I have met Fr. Joe only once at my brothers ordination many years ago...and I knew he was very special back then. What a gift you have in taking care of him during these last days.

  8. A very touching post. We are still praying daily for mercy.

  9. We pray every day and our hearts are suffering with you. We hope for the grace of God to make you more comfortable and we sure miss you. May God bless you and your wonderful family. Mack & Cindy

  10. Sunday night the reading for Lent 2016 with St. Francis reminded me of you. It was titled...God's plan for us. The scripture reading was from John 4:34.."Jesus said to them, 'My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work." It goes on to say...If we forget everything else in our relationship with God, we need to remember that we are called into an unbreakable covenant with he Divine. Whatever our destiny, we must respond to the Lord's call. When Francis was in his early 20's, he rode to battle against the nearby city-state of Perugia. He returned home sick and spent the next year virtually bedridden. When he recovered from his illness, he spent time in caves listening first to the silence and then to the voice of God. Francis longed to be a soldier, to do great deeds on the battle field. When he lost that opportunity, he had a choice between spending the rest of his life depressed at his ill fortune or listening to the plans God had made for him. And the St Francis prayer said....You are our eternal life, Great and wonderful Lord, God Almighty, Merciful Savior. Amen. You my dear beloved friend, Servant of God, have responded whole heartedly to the Lord's call and still continue to listen tentatively to his voice. For you are doing as Jesus said in John 4:34...."My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work." I know God is saying to you and all of us...."This is my beloved son with whom I am most pleased". God bless you Father continue to touch our hearts and souls. Love Cindy and Mack

  11. You have a wonderful family - I remember the sisters from soccer back in the early 90's. It's a blessing that you are able to take care of Fr. Joseph, who will always have caring friends at St. Catherine of Siena. What a great guy, won our hearts. God be with you all.

  12. I pray for him every day. I also lift in prayer his siblings and parents. Thank you for sharing with us his way of the cross. May he go to our Father soon. Ask him to kiss for me our granddaughter Gabriella for her birthday.

  13. So beautiful. Praying for him each and every day. +JMJ+

  14. I had the privilige to be an altar server at St. Catherine's when he was a co-celebrant. He was very frail then, several years ago. My prayers go out to Jehovah Rappha, God of healing.