Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Last Holy Communion

Some stories must be told.  This is one of those stories.  On Friday, June 3 I had the 6 am shift to be with Diane in Hospice.  I got there and S told me it had been a rough night.  She got her things together and then left to get ready for her day, which included two important appointments. 
Diane kept waking up from a fitful sleep to throw up.  At one point she fell asleep on my shoulder as I was propping her up and trying to hold the the bucket without making a mess.
She fell asleep and I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  She woke up and was in pain, was given some more medicine and dozed on and off.  By now it was almost 9 am and T came to replace me so I could go to work.
I collected my things, kissed Diane goodbye with an "I love you and see you later." Just outside the hospice doors, there was S, walking quickly my way.  She had gone to morning Mass and had brought back communion and wanted me to give Diane communion.  So, back we go.  The nurse was in the room and I ask her if I can give the host to Diane.  "If she wants it, you can try."  Diane opens her eyes and we ask her, she nods yes.  I take the pyx from S, it has a picture of Padre Pio on it (more on this later), open it and realize I can only give Diane a very small piece.  I place the pyx on a makeshift altar S has set up and remove the Host.  I break it in half and think, "I am breaking Jesus, he was broken for us, Diane is broken, but this will help her heal."  I break off the tiniest piece I can and place it in Diane's mouth.  She holds it there for a very long time as all of us pray until she swallows.
I leave again with S.  She tells me how she decided to come to the hospital.  Her appointments were cancelled and since it was First Friday she really wanted to go to Mass.  While there she had this overwhelming desire to bring the Eucharist back for Diane, but she did not have a pyx.  So, she asked our friend if he had something she could use and he gives her a pyx he has that he bought to bring his mother, who was dying of cancer, Communion, but never did because she died before he could to so.  So, she rushed back hoping I would still be there to give her Communion.  I am still not sure why S wanted me to do this, since she is also an Extraordianry Minister of Holy Communion.  I remember her saying, "you need to do it, I can't."
I have thought about this whole thing for over a month now and each time I am more and more amazed.  It was a gift, not only for Diane, but for me, S, T and even our friend who loaned S the pyx.  All of us were very close to Diane and we were able to share a beautiful moment with her.  And to see the Body of Christ in a new light.
As an Extraordinary Minister it has always been meaningful when I have given communion to adults and children who are receiving just after their first communion.  But this time, I was able to give someone Jesus for the last time.  And not just someone, my dear friend, my sister in all ways but birth. 

4 comments:

Jenn said...

What an amazing blessing for you all, Deanna. I am in tears just reading your retelling of it. xo

RAnn said...

Wonderful story.

Carol@simple_catholic said...

What a touching story! It was such a precious gift for all of you.

Barb Schoeneberger said...

This is such a great example of Christian Community and unity in Christ. What a great kindness all of you showed to a dying friend.