Recently, my brother-in-law’s mom passed away. She had suffered many years with multiple health issues, causing her to live in extreme pain. She was a devote Catholic her entire life and heavily relied on her faith as her condition worsened.
A week or two before she passed away, she made the decision to go into a hospice center. At the same time, her husband was dealing with rapidly progressive Alzheimer’s. Joe*, short for Josephine, was by no question, the Alpha of the marriage. Sweetest woman you could ever meet, but it was Joe’s way, or the Long Island Expressway. (they lived on Long Island most, if not all, of their lives.)
Joe and Dan were such a close, tight knit couple after decades and decades of marriage. I was heartbroken when Joe made the decision to go to a hospice and be separated from her husband. But for maybe the first time in her life, I think she recognized it was her turn to not only be physically taken care of, but emotionally and mentally, as well.
Her first night there, she got eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for the first time in a few years. The following morning, she said she couldn’t remember the last time she felt so good. But emotionally, she was very unsettled. She had a beef with God.
For the last few weeks, she prayed every night she wouldn’t wake up the following morning. She had led a fantastic life. She married a man she loved today as much as the day she married him. She had five children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren. She knew she had been lucky.
But she was tired. As a devout Catholic, she believed in Heaven and was ready to go there. And as each dawn arrived, Joe became more and more pissed off. She had done everything God had asked of her, and now, she was asking one thing of him.
A relative of hers is a Brother in the Catholic Church… Brother Tom. Joe and Brother Tom were very close. One afternoon, Brother Tom was visiting Joe at hospice. It happened to be at a time when the room was packed with visitors.
Joe was not in a good mood. She demanded to know from Brother Tom why God hadn’t taken her yet. She felt she had done everything throughout her life God asked of you if you were Catholic. Now, where is God? She begged him every night to take her into his home, but he would not. She felt forsaken, and she was very, very angry.
Brother Tom ask Joe to look around her room. He asked her what she saw. She was in no mood for games, and kept silent. Brother Tom told her God is love. And there was not an inch of space for more love in that room.
Joe didn’t say anything, but you could see the gears turning in her mind. And as the gears turned, her anger faded. Her faith was restored, and the shift in her energy was palpable. And it only took three simple words. She was again at peace with a knowing God knew what was best, and would make her wish come true at the right time.
A few days later, Joe got her wish. She went to sleep and God invited her into his home. I would pay anything to be an angel on the wall the day Josephine gave God a good talking – to about his time management skills!
This article is not about religion. It’s about love, peace, faith, hope. Whatever you believe or perceive God to be isn’t nearly as important as what that belief or perception does for you. It should encourage you to love yourself and your fellow human being.
It should be a source of faith in yourself and your abilities. With that faith, challenging circumstances you may find yourself in can always get better if you apply yourself, because you believe you have the ability to do so.