Wednesday, December 17, 2014

"Saying Goodbye to Frances" by Wanda Russell, ARCWP, Inclusive Catholic Ministries Newsletter for Northeast Florida with schedule of ministries of ARCWP priests

Frances Garner
Dear Faith Family,
My sister, Frances, had hoped she would make it to Thanksgiving and she did.  However, her Thanksgiving dinner of gravy, bread, sweet potato casserole (our mother took the nuts out of the casserole for her since Frances was having trouble swallowing), and diet Coke was eaten in her bed with all of us around her.  Her daughter, Angie, continued to care for her and encourage her to eat but she had no appetite.  Angie’s oldest daughter, Jessica, and her husband and daughter, Autumn, were there.
December is the time we Christians prepare spiritually for the birthday celebration of Jesus.  There is so much to distract us since society wants us to prepare with decorations and presents and feasts of all kinds.  This year I find it easier to prepare spiritually.

                  Frances Garner
November 10, 1946 – December 2, 2014
Autumn has always loved grandma Frances and Frances loved her.  A couple days before Autumn arrived, Angie said Frances was taking an extra long shower and she checked on her to find that Frances used up a half a bottle of shampoo “washing Autumn’s hair”.  Frances had been a cosmetologist in her younger days and loved washing the grandchildren’s hair when she could. They loved it too.  Autumn would not arrive until a couple days later.  Frances was so excited that Jessica and Autumn were coming.  Her mind went in and out of reality however, it stayed in the loving and caring mode. 
Autumn is a very loving and intuitive child of 14.  Frances started calling Autumn’s name and Angie woke her up to see Grandma Frances at 4:00 AM since none of us was sure if Frances would recognize her later in the day.  Autumn joined Grandma Frances in her bed and said, “I love you, Grandma.”  Frances looked at her and said, “I love you, Autumn.”  Autumn fell asleep in her arms and Frances awakened on and off caressing and kissing Autumn over the next four hours.

Frances Garner resting with her first granddaughter, Autumn Brown.
Later in the morning different family members visited her or telephoned her and she responded acknowledging each one.  Angie and Mom had to interpret for everyone since she could hardly speak.  She said each person’s name and, “I love you.”  It was a special and moving time.
The day after Thanksgiving, Frances was much worse and Hospice recommended taking her to the Hospice facility.  We all had mixed emotions.  Angie and Mom needed to have some time to rest, yet we all knew the time was getting shorter and shorter to be with Frances.  Mom was worried that Frances would get hysterical when taken to Hospice since Frances wanted to die at home.  What a good God we have!  The ambulance techs put her on a gurney and got her into the ambulance.  They left her sitting up instead of making her lay down.  Just before they closed the ambulance doors she waved at all of us as if she was going off on an adventure.  What an adventure!  Mom was so relieved she went peacefully.
After getting to Hospice, Frances hardly acknowledged anyone.  Sometimes she was coherent and we simply told her we loved her and gave her permission to go to Jesus.  That night I stayed with her and about 11:00 PM her son, Evan, arrived at Hospice. I stayed until the AM when I went home to get some rest.  Evan was later relieved by Angie and Mom as he rested.  He stayed with Frances the next night and said his good-bye and Frances recognized him.  It is so important for us earthbound folks to acknowledge each other before loved ones pass on to another more peaceful realm of life.  It tells me we need to be more kind to one another in our healthy days.
The last three days and nights my mother, Angie and I kept vigil by her side until Frances passed away December 2 about 11:00 PM.  It was a hard vigil.  She cried out often in pain and we could hardly stand it.  Most of her last day she was more at peace and we had already sent word asking everyone to agree in prayer with us that she would let go and go to Jesus.  It reminded me of Jesus agony before his death on the cross.  How Mary must have agonized.
But then it was resurrection time!  Mom had lay on the sleeper bed and gotten comfy.  I was cleaning up a few things.  Angie was again talking to her mother telling her many times how she loved her and thanked her for all she did for her and Evan growing up.  She told her Mom again that she forgave her for the times life was hurtful growing up but told her that the hard and the good times were what made her who she was today.  She thanked her for the good and the painful experiences and begged her to let go.  Angie was holding her Mom in her arms.  “Let go, Mamma!  Let go!”  I joined her in loudly telling Frances to let go.  Then Angie told me to get the nurse.  Frances had finally shed her bodily and mental pains. The nurse confirmed that Frances was now with Jesus in the spiritual realm of her life.  She was gone to us in one form, but now with us in the spiritual realm with Jesus and all our relatives and friends and all the saints in heaven.  I have no doubt that Frances is in heaven.  She suffered enough pain to bypass any purgatory.  (The Church no longer teaches about purgatory, but if there is such a place/plane, I personally believe that she had her purgatory time during the days she suffered so terribly.)
Angie said it was a privilege to be holding her mother when she passed.  Angie said, “Mom held me when I was born and I had the gift of holding her as she went to heaven."  My mother was up by now.  We were all relieved that Frances had finally let go, yet we cried and cried and held each other tightly.
So, you see, I was honored to be with my sister as she was in pain her last days and suddenly the decorations, gifts, and feasts are not so important.  Mary and Joseph walked until they found a stable or cave in which Jesus was born.  Frances walked in pain until she was re-born into the spiritual realm.  It was a great gift to have the honor to walk with her and our family.  I thank my God for each of you who has prayed for us during this difficult time.  I know I would not have been able to endure the pain and loss or be able to see the blessings were it not for your prayers.  I thank you!  Our family thanks you!
I pray each of you has a spiritual preparation for the celebration of the birth of our loving, forgiving, and compassionate Jesus.  Jesus came to tell us how to live in the kindom of God right here on earth and how to be reborn into the spiritual heaven with him.
Frances is at peace and pain free.  I pray for your freedom from whatever holds you  from taking that spiritual walk toward the celebration of the birth of Jesus. 
Love and peace,

Wanda Russell, ARCWP

Inclusive Catholic Ministries Newsletter
Northeast Florida
December 2014      Palm Coast, Florida 32164

 Rev. Miriam Picconi 386-569-7311  
 Rev. Wanda Russell 502-320-6814      

Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests
What is "Inclusive Catholic Ministries?"
We want to maintain the best of our Roman Catholic heritage and traditions.  We want to invite EVERYONE to participate in God's love and our ministries and we use inclusive language.   We want to offer what you the people of God want and need. We are starting several ministry outreaches.  Come and see if this is the faith community you are seeking.

CUP CAKE MINISTRY OF GRATITUDE Friday, December 5, 2:00 P.M.
MONTHLY MASS in PALM COAST Saturday, December 13 at 4:00 PM (USUALLY 2nd Sat. each month) Hospitality follows.  Place:  2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast, FL 32164
MONTHLY PRAYER TIME AND COMMUNION Thursday, December 18, 7:00 to 8:15 PM at 2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast
NOTE DATE  CASTLE OTTTIS – INTERFAITH WORSHIP AND COMMUNION SERVICE Sunday, December 21, 10:00 AM at 103 3rd Street St. Augustine See
ORDINATION IN KANSAS  Saturday, January 3 at 2 PM
MONTHLY MASS in PALM COAST Saturday, January 10, 4:00 P.M.  (USUALLY 2nd Sat. each month)   Hospitality follows.  Place:  2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast, FL 32164
MY MOM’S 90TH BIRTHDAY!   January 15
MONTHLY PRAYER TIME AND COMMUNION Thursday, January 15 from 7:00 to 8:15 PM at 2 Westmill Ln., Palm Coast
ORDINATIONS IN ORLANDO  Saturday, January 17
CASTLE OTTTIS – INTERFAITH WORSHIP AND COMMUNION SERVICE Sunday, January25, 10:00 AM at 103 3rd Street St. Augustine See

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