Dad and I continued to have good spiritual discussions. He asked some questions, listened to the answers and thought about them. He listened more than he talked. Time seemed to be against him. His cancer progressed very quickly. One of my sisters, who had trained as a nurse, had recognised the signs early on. Her warnings only served to worry me more. I was worried. I tried not to doubt God but I began to get panicky.
The night before he died my dad was back in hospital. I was visiting him with two sisters. Because I was out of a job I had plenty of time on my hands and I had decided that day that I would spend each of his remaining nights with him in the hospital. Just as I was arranging to leave my sisters home Marie arrived to see my dad. She told him she wanted to have a short chat with him. Dad, at first, said that he was too tired and would talk another day but then agreed. I quickly decided to take my sisters home, as planned.
By the time I returned to the hospital Marie was just leaving my dad’s room. She told me about their conversation. One blessing during all this time was that, although my dad’s illness was slowing his body dramatically, he was still very lucid and his mind was sharp. Marie told me how she had been praying and felt the need to see my dad that night. She had explained to him that Satan would try everything to keep him from listening to the truth, even using his tiredness to get him to put things off until another time. Dad brought up his belief about the Eucharist. Once again, Marie was able to show him what the Bible says about it. She showed him how Christ’s sacrifice was once and for all, never to be repeated because it doesn’t need to be. It is finished, as Jesus Himself said. When my dad saw this he was finally free to completely trust himself to the work of Christ on the cross of Calvary. Marie helped him understand what he needed to pray about. She left him to pray in private, as he asked.
When Marie went on home, I quietly and nervously entered dad’s room. He didn’t say anything straight away but gave me a thumbs-up sign. I tried not to get too excited and gently asked what that meant. What he said next were words that caused my heart to jump for joy. He told me how he had tried to pray but couldn’t speak. He then asked Jesus to take Satan away. Immediately he was able to pray out loud. He asked Jesus to forgive him and save him. I don’t remember the exact words but that’s the gist of it.