(NOTE: I am leaving this post at the top for easy access.)
I posted a very quick post the other day, and I wanted to elaborate a bit on it. I talked to my father on Friday afternoon, and he was extremely upset. He'd spoken to his youngest brother, who is visiting their sister in Texas. Uncle Gr**** said that the doctor gave my aunt only a few months to live. It was really the first concrete number I'd heard. He and the oldest son in the family were still in Texas, trying to offer support and prayers for the family.
Saturday, the second-oldest son in the family told my grandmother, who is just heartbroken.
Sunday, Mom and Dad spoke to Aunt Uncle's husband (who has been so gracious with the updates), and he told them the entire update.
They finally met with the doctor to review the MRI (details about that are here) on Friday. Nothing had changed at all, in spite of the agressive radiation and chemo. The doctor does not feel as though my aunt will live much more than three months, if that. My uncle feels that she might be able to hold on until the end of January, when their youngest son has his birthday. (I believe he'll be 16, since he was nearly two when Nathan and I were married in 1993.)
Obviously, this is not good news. My aunt's 53rd birthday is December 14th. Her first grandchild was born just recently. Her two youngest sons are both in high school. The family had just moved in the last year to be closer to my cousin and his wife.
It just seems so ... unfair in so many ways.
And yet, our family clings to it's faith. To the Faith. And I want to close this post with a note on that because I want you to know that there is still joy in this suffering.
The other day - I think just this past Saturday - my aunt and uncle were talking. He mentioned something about Heaven, and she replied that she was scared she wouldn't make it. They decided to call their pastor and meet him for Confession. They made their Confessions, and after Penances were finished, my aunt decided that she felt well enough to stay for Mass. There was still some time, so they sat near the back of the church and sat silent and praying.
Shortly, a few people came in to pray the Rosary before Mass, and so my aunt and uncle joined in. No one sat near them, but they could hear the prayers of the few people from across the church.
Suddenly, my uncle said that he smelled this incredibly strong smell of perfume. Figuring that someone was probably sitting behind them and he could just smell that, he pretty much ignored it.
Later, after Mass, my aunt asked him if he smelled the roses during the Rosary. No one was sitting near them, she said. But they both smelled it.
That small gift was such a great comfort to us. *
Please pray for our family, and please especially pray for my aunt. If you are someone who seeks the intercession of the Saints in Heaven, please ask Saint Joseph to intercede for my aunt that she has a good and happy death.
Also, I have an idea for her birthday. I'd like to send her a spiritual bouquet, and the perfect time for it is coming up. I know that an indulgence has been available in the past for fulfilling the requirements surrounding the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. If that indulgence is available again (and please let me know in the comments if it is), I'd like to know if anyone would be willing to offer their indulgence for my aunt. If you are, I can gather the intentions via my gmail account (gopsoccermom (at) gmail (dot) com) and then forward them to her for her birthday (December 14). If you participate in this, I will also forward her name to you privately, so you have a name to attach to the intentions.
For information on indulgences, please go here, here, or here. (The last link is one of a search of Catholic Answers on the topic.)
For information on the intercession of the Communion of Saints, please go here.
For information on the Immaculate Conception, please go here.
For the pope's prayer intentions for December, please go here.
And, finally, for information on what a spiritual bouquet is, please see Esther's wonderful post on the topic.
(* I wrote about my own experience with Our Lady in this way - though I didn't know it was her until very recently - in this long post about my pregnancies, my sterilization, and my reconcilliation to the Church's teachings on human sexuality. The post is very long, and the passage is very quick - and unexplained.)
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