I knew the moment I heard the tone of my dad's voice, rising softly, "Norb?" My brother came down the hall, "Uncle Norb died." I abandoned my brewing tea on the counter. My 93 year-old great uncle, here to escape the upheaval of selling his house down south, had unexpectedly died in his sleep early this morning. His rosary was on the table next to him, tucked into his pajama pocket were two medals — St. Anthony and Padre Pio.
The priest has been here, the deputy sheriff, the funeral home. As people came and went, I sat there with him, praying the Office — for the Transfiguration, not the Office of the Dead, somehow that seemed more apt — and the rosary. As we prayed the Litany of the Saints, invoking Augustine and Ignatius (and even my friend of the moment Athanasius), I imagined the heavenly court, out there to greet him.
Now I'm exhausted — even such a gentle transition as this one seems to have been leaves us mourning and shocked. I wonder if we're tired because a part of us has departed as well, we are stretched between heaven and earth.