Yesterday, our Granny with Alzheimer’s - Dementia moved into hospice care after a brief visit to the emergency room. It was an emotional day as our mother and father raced back to town from their Anniversary getaway celebration. Knowing that the end is nearing for our Granny, we asked a priest from a local parish to perform the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick. He suggested bringing the entire family to experience the Sacrament, and I’m so glad he did.
Within an hour, they moved Granny by ambulance from the ER back to her nursing care center where the entire family gathered. With all eight adults and nine great-grandchildren, it was a full room.
The true power of the Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick was revealed to my family as we gathered around Granny, laid hands on her, and prayed aloud. We prayed for God’s will to be done, that if she could not be healed, that she be prepared to enter the kingdom of heaven. We asked for strength for her to make the journey, and for our family to endure the grief.
During the prayer, I watched and comforted my children. They all wanted to be near Granny, touching her as tears streamed down their faces. I silently thanked God for this opportunity to pray as a family. In this sacrament, we were able to put our faith into action, and my children were able to witness firsthand what we Believe about death and heaven, making it more than mere words in the classroom.
Even though my kids were and are upset about the imminent loss of their Granny, I believe that being present for her Anointing and praying together as a family will prepare them in some way for her passing. They can look back on last night and know that we don’t just talk about heaven, but that we believe in eternal life with Christ.
The Sacraments were given to us by Christ as an outward sign of what we believe as Catholic Christians. Nowhere was that more evident than in Granny’s room last night with the priest and family gathered.
My mind and heart know that my Granny has suffered much in these last few years as her dementia significantly progressed. Now that her suffering is about to end, I take comfort knowing that what awaits her is glorious. She will be reunited with her own beloved parents, join in the communion of saints, and watch over us, praying for her children, grand children and great-grandchildren still here on earth.