Ten years ago this morning I arrived late at Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh. My Dad had spent the last month or so in the intensive care unit with an extremely intense case of pneumonia, and my sister Janie and I were there for part of just about every day. A few days before this date, the doctors had told us that it was a matter of time. Janie stayed with Dad constantly, while I went back and forth at that time to Scottdale for Mass and the necessities of parish life.
That morning we had a school Mass probably at 9:30, and we had a special guest. There is a unique individual originally from the Pittsburgh area that was a friend of Bishop Bosco by the name of "Pilgrim George". He travelled the world as a humble pilgrim, and in his travels had stopped in Scottdale. He spoke briefly to the kids that morning before continuing his journey. Thus, my late departure and arrival at Montefiore.
On entering the ICU, I knew something had happened. You could tell by the expression of the staff, who had come to know us well. Dad's room was at the end of the hall, and by the time I got there I knew that he had passed. Dad had died, with Janie there, a very short time before, going very peacefully. We cried, we prayed, we supported each other in the midst of expressions of sympathy. Two cousins visited by chance - one visiting someone else and the other on the staff of Presby. After making arrangements we left for home to tell Mom in person. As all of you who have experienced a death know, it was quite a morning. My only regret was being late that day, but I know that Dad knew that Janie and I loved him.
I thanked them then, but I echo it now ... Dad received great care at Montefiore, and the doctors, nurses and staff were wonderful with him and gracious to us. They are often in my thoughts and prayers.