Thursday, 27 June 2019

Coming To Terms


It had been a horrible gray day, with dark skies and continuous light drizzly rain as you often get in England. A very soft freezing wind blew gently from the North; the kind of gentle wind which would hardly make a leaf tremble yet it could go right through you chilling your every bone.

Father Ignatius was in church. He stood by the doorway and looked at the rain and thought of his childhood. His mother used to say when it drizzled like today that it was the angels crying because of the many sins in this world. He said a silent prayer for his parents now long gone.

Every now and then, the cold wind carried with it a sweet sugary smell from the brewery nearby. The aroma of caramel or syrup, or was it malt, thought the priest, enveloped the whole church and Parish House.

Eventually, Father Ignatius locked the church door and crossed the car park in the gentle rain as he made his way towards the Parish House.

As he entered the house, closing the door behind him, the phone rang and he was asked to go to the hospital.

Half-an-hour later he was at the bedside of Isabelle Bennett.

Isabelle was a lively 28 years old, always cheerful and laughing enthusiastically as she spread happiness to everyone she knew. Father Ignatius had known her for some years now as well as her young husband Martin. They were both members of the Parish Council and took part in many church activities and events.

Then suddenly, about a month ago, Isabelle was taken seriously ill and admitted to hospital where she remained ever since. She was not getting any better and the doctors had given up hope.

She smiled feebly as Father Ignatius entered the hospital room where she was lying in bed. Her face ashen in colour and her beautiful blue eyes very tired from the many injections and pain-killers she’d received. Her husband sat by her side Rosary beads in hand holding her hand gently.

The nurse brought in another chair which she placed on the other side of the bed; and Father Ignatius sat down.

“Are you in pain?” he asked her gently.

She shook her head. Her husband raised the hand he was holding to his lips and kissed her.

Father Ignatius started praying quietly as the nurse left the room. He gave Isabelle Holy Communion and then sat down beside her.

“Can we recite the Rosary Father?” she asked softly.

And for the next few minutes the priest and her husband recited the Rosary together whilst her lips moved gently as they prayed.

When they had finished praying she asked him how he was, and made small conversation. Her voice was soft and somewhat laboured as she drifted in and out of consciousness. One moment she was talking about church matters and the next she was asleep, then awake once again.

At these moments of silence Father Ignatius sat quietly and prayed silently.

She moved her other hand towards him and held his hand. Holding her husband and her priest in each hand.

Suddenly, she squeezed the priest’s hand tightly and said: “Don’t look so miserable Father. I’ll be seeing Jesus before you.”

Father Ignatius moved a little forward and kissed her on the forehead.

About twenty minutes later she passed away peacefully.

The funeral was very emotional. The church was full to capacity with friends and relatives coming to mourn the loss of such a young and vivacious life.

Her husband Martin was totally devastated to have lost his young wife within seven months of marriage.

Father Ignatius prayed for him and the whole family who found it very difficult to come to terms with such an early death.

He explained that in a way a funeral is like a ship sailing away from the harbour. As they were all gathered there saying goodbye to Isabelle they can imagine standing by the sea shore as the ship sails away. As they wave their goodbyes and the ship gets smaller and smaller as it reaches the horizon and they can see it no longer; there on the other side are her friends and relatives long gone before her waiting by the sea shore to welcome her with Jesus into a new world.

A few weeks later, the priest witnessed the first signs of renewal when young Martin phoned him one morning.

“Father,” he said, “I will inscribe what she said on her tombstone.

“It will read: Don’t look so miserable. I’ll be seeing Jesus before you.”

Three years later … and Martin is studying for the priesthood.

16 comments:

  1. What a beautiful, sad and happy story Victor.
    All of my emotions were alerted as I read this beautifully written tale.
    I love the ending 💮

    God Bless ✝

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    1. Thank you Jan for your kind words. I try as best I can in my Father Ignatius stories to write them as realistically as possible. A lot are based on events and priests I have known over the years.

      God bless you, Jan.

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  2. Hi Victor,
    I can truly say that I believe this lovely young lady is in a beautiful place, and I understand how hard it must be for the family that have lost her. I had a near death experience in which I was taken to the most beautiful place that the human mind can not imagine. I may have told you this before, but I believe I was taken to the same place the apostle Paul speaks of, the third heaven. The beauty and love that was there was unimaginable. When we who believe in the Lord reach that place, there will be no more death and no more tears.

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    1. Thank you Brenda for sharing your experience with us. I am glad you enjoyed this Fr Ignatius story.

      God bless.

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  3. What a beautiful story of a young woman's peaceful and happy death! Sadly, in these times, there are thousands upon thousands of fearful, lonely, angry and even, violent deaths occurring everywhere in the world, every single day -- at every age! But, even WORSE; many more are now 'choosing' their own (& their loved ones') time of death by 'lethal injection', at the hands of their own Doctors; in the hope of escaping 'suffering'! They hope that this will ensure for them a 'peaceful', 'happy' and 'less painful' death; but, have forgotten that ONLY GOD is the 'author' and 'finisher' of our lives! I sincerely hope that this Fr. Ignatius story gets read by MANY people who may be considering such an 'out'! A beautiful and peaceful death such as the one described in your story, can ONLY be achieved through Faith in a 'Gentle' and 'Loving' God -- in Jesus, who suffered for us ALL!! God bless you, Victor.

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    1. Thank you fro your kind words and telling us that you've enjoyed this story, Suzanne. The Father Ignatius stories are available in book form, either in paperback,or Kindle or even FREE from my website. Click of the tab at the top left of this post. Also, why not invite your friends and relatives to visit us here to enjoy serious as well as humourous stories.

      God bless you.

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  4. Yet another delightful reread for me, Victor. Oh, how this story touches my heart! Simply beautiful, my friend.
    Blessings!

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    1. Thank you Martha. Every so often I post stories from my books here for my new readers. Checking my stats, I notice that about 70% of visitors here are first time visitors.

      God bless you.

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  5. What a beautiful story with a lovely ending. Very nice, Victor!

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  6. I could totally visualize this hospital room, Victor. Sad, but beautiful nonetheless.
    I'm not sure if you read the Southern columnist, Sean of the South, but a recent post (specific to end of life) touched my heart -- perhaps it will yours, as well. Here is the link: https://seandietrich.com/hugs-2/

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    1. Thank you for the link, Mevely; I'll check it out. Never heard of Sean of the South. So glad you enjoyed this story.

      God bless you.

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  7. The post I read just before yours really tied into this one. It was was about a priest stationed at our parish who had passed away ten years ago.

    The author reminded me that this priest often prayed at daily Mass to 'remember those who will meet Christ in the mystery of death today.'

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    1. What a nice story to share with us Kathy. Thank you.

      God bless you always.

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  8. A persons passing is always so sad, yet if we have faith, it should also be a time of rejoicing. My faith is not yet that strong.

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    1. In Mark 9:24 we read that the man said to Jesus, "I believe, Lord; help my unbelief."

      It is one of my favourite prayers. We all feel our faith is weak at some time, or perhaps often. God knows that. And with prayers He will help us.

      God bless you, JoeH.

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