Thursday, May 8, 2014

From the Hermitage

Dear Friends,

I regret that I was unable to provide some thoughts for you over the last few days.  However, my life has begun to change for at least a month or so.  I am leaving the Hermitage for the next month or more to be available for my brother who is ending some 40 days of hospitalization later this afternoon.  Later this morning, after packing up what will be necessary, I will drive to his home in Millsboro, Delaware.  Jack will be discharged later this afternoon.

My brother is a sick man.  He is suffering from chronic congestive heart failure, an enlarged heart, two kidney that are minimally working and he is a diabetic.  Likewise he suffers from COPD but has never smoked a cigarette in his lifetime.  Seconday smoke was the culprit!  The most challenging factor is that he has neuropathy in his feet and legs:  thus standing, walking etc. are almost impossible at the present time.   So, it is remarkable that he is able to do almost anything.  However, the five doctors attending him believe it is possible for him to have a reasonable lifestyle with family and friends apart from the hospital.

It is because of Jack's inability to be mobile that I am moving in with him to be present through the day when no one would be at the house other than the dog he loves, a pet that is both deaf and blind.

As I start out on this ministry, I have many questions about myself.  I know this will not be easy.  Some of you may have chosen to walk this journey with a loved one or close friend.  Thus far I have come to have a genuine appreciation for the vocation of doctors but especially of nursing.

All throughout Lent, when I would visit him during his four hospitalizations and to times in a rehabilitation center, I have watched a man who was well over a healthy weight in the hospital or rehab center struggling just to stand up for more than one minute.  

What is most distressful for me is the inability to heal division between himself and two of our siblings.  This for me is truly painful.

I am not certain that I can keep up Prayer on the Hill at this time.  The first few days of my new journey should make clear to me what "extracurricular" duties I can handle.  I am not alone on this walk.  Thankfully, one of Jack's daughters who lives in Annapolis, together with her wonderful and fun loving husband, are working out a schedule of "relief" for me on two days a week.  Likewise, Jack's fiancĂ© will be available in the evenings and on Sundays.  With this additional coverage, I do plan returning to the Hermitage on Saturdays and Sundays to assist Fr. Jeff with the parish Mass schedule.  Of course, I will not be able to assist during the week as I have done for the three years I have lived at St. Matthias parish.

Would you please remember my brother, his fiancĂ©, his daughters and their families in your prayers as we begin his rehabilitation at home?  Especially I ask you to pray to St. John Paul II with whom I worked for four and a half years for his intercession with God on behalf of my brother and his support team. 

I do not wish to leave you without a source for your prayer.  As I have suggested in the past, please visit the Jesuit prayer ministry at Creighton University.   Creighton Daily Reflection Another Jesuit source on Google would be

Oremus pro invicem!!!

Fr. Milt