Looking back over my life growing up, I am thankful for my Mother's sacrifice that she gave for me. She was a Convert to the Catholic Faith, but she had to work through early marriages so it took her years before she was able to receive the Sacraments.
I was my Mother's Sponsor in Confirmation which was a high honor for me. I remember during the Mass I acquired a migraine which at the time would really make me sick. It would literally take me hours to get over it, even once the pain was gone I would feel as if I had been on a ten day drinking spree. Something that I never did. As my Mother was being Confirmed I placed my hand on her shoulder and at that moment the headache left me. I was amazed at what happened as I received a great grace.
My Mother was shocked when I joined the United States Army. I had two brothers that served as Marines and Mom thought that I was safe and secure until she found out I signed up. My adult years my Mother became a prayer warrior for my continued safety as the world is not a safe world. Being deployed to a war zone was really hard for her as it was difficult for my wife and family. All military personnel can identify with this kind of threat when Father's, husbands, wives, Mothers, spouses deploy leaving their loved ones.
It was July 2006 that I was on leave with my Wife as we visited Mom for about a week before I had to report back to Fort Hood TX as we were preparing to deploy to Iraq. We would not deploy until October but we had a 30 day rotation at Fort Irwin California for desert training.
The morning that I was planning to report back to Fort Hood to sign in off leave, Mom was sleeping quietly as Gigi helped Mom be more comfortable. As she slept, we both were emotional knowing this could be our last time seeing Mom as her health was not good. She was diagnosed with congestive heart failure which concerned us. It was difficult to take off for Texas but we did leave and head for town to see friends as we left Missouri.
We were just about to leave for Texas when my Brother Randy gave us a call that something was happening with Mom's breathing. Considering that Randy ordinarily would have been at work, this particular time he happened to be there with Mom. Receiving this news we quickly turned around and headed back to Mom's farm and quickly made an assessment.
Mom was showing agonal breathing which is the medical term for someone who is struggling to breath, they are struggling for air. I gave her two breaths and checked her carotid artery for a pulse which she had so I continued to give her rescue breathing one breath every 5 seconds. Gigi had her stethoscope listening to the breaths sounds in Mom's lungs.
I instructed Randy to call 911 for an ambulance which he did as we continued rescue breathing. As I was doing these breaths, I was praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy knowing this was serious. She was not breathing on her own. It was during this time that a Rosary I had with me changed from silver to gold color as I prayed and gave breaths.
Finally, the ambulance came and took over as we followed close behind to the Bolivar Missouri hospital. This was not our first rodeo with Mom as Mom had robbed the grim reaper in the past. When I was in San Diego for a Conference, Mom had what was thought to be some kind of stroke, but when I arrived there to Southern Missouri I found she was in the hospital. Upon arriving at the Osceola Hospital, the Doctor pulled me to the side telling me that she had about two days to live.
My Brother Randy and I took Mom home to her small farm where if she was going to die, it would be at home around her family. It was a difficult time but Mom continued to show no signs that her issue was getting worse. I had been daily praying the Rosary and the Divine Mercy and bathing her with Holy Water on her right lower leg. I placed a blessed Rosary above the site where gangrene had not moved up.
At that time she had asked me if she died would the Lord receive her. I encouraged her saying yes, the Lord would receive her, that He is true to His Word. At that point she had a Rosary she had for 10 years praying it for me while I was at the tip of the spear. She made the decision to try to take her lower leg off and she wanted to live. Once at the Bolivar hospital, once I removed the Rosary, immediately her pulse shot up to over 230 and her white blood cells showed a distinct increase. The Bolivar hospital sent her to St. John's hospital in Springfield.
Mom would survive this first go round, but as we followed the ambulance this next time, we could only hope that she would bounce back. While we were in the emergency room, I called for the Catholic Priest to come and offer Mom the Anointing of the Sick and following this, as a family we elected to take her off the breathing device. Mom continued to breath on her own and she had a strong pulse. After Mom was placed in a room, I decided to get a hotel room and come back in the morning.
It was about 05:00 in the morning that I received the call from my Brother Randy that she was gone. I went there and my Brother and I prayed the Rosary sitting by her bedside. It was a difficult time but I can believe Mom was pleased having her sons present praying together.
The Rosary that changed from silver to gold color when I was giving Mom rescue breathing I placed with her in the casket. The first Rosary that changed I still maintain at home as I wanted to keep one of them and it has a special place with me.
Following the funeral my Wife and I did return to Fort Hood after getting an extension on my leave. This deployment to Iraq, I felt that I had a special person in heaven praying for me while in harms way. I'm so thankful that my Mother did receive the Anointing of the Sick before she died.
Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick?* He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint [him] with oil in the name of the Lord, and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, he will be forgiven.