Saturday, July 8, 2017

The beginning

     The first days of retirement have been out of the ordinary to say the least.  On Thursday, retirement day, I slept late, got myself pulled together, and headed to my family home.  My sister, Jane, was having major surgery on Friday morning, and I planned on being there for her.  It was an unexpected way to begin this new chapter in my life, but then life is exciting.

     Before heading home to Uniontown, I stopped by the parish office to turn in my keys and other essential items.  While there speaking with Cathy, the secretary, two people came to the office looking for our Pastoral Associate.  They looked upset, so I asked if there was anything wrong.

     They had just lost their Mom, a longtime parishioner, and were upset that after all of her loyalty, their Mom could not be buried from our church.  I inquired about the circumstances and found out that in their grief they were upset to find out that Father John, the new pastor, wanted to schedule the funeral at 9:00 am (they wanted it at 10).  They had also heard that the family could not do a eulogy at the funeral Mass, and that Sister Charlene, the Pastoral Associate, would be doing the internment.  This was not satisfactory for the family.  I tried to reason with them in their grief, pointing out that no one was denying burial to their Mom ... that the time might have to do with scheduling (which was the case, with Father John having a funeral at 11 am at his other church) ... that many parishes do not permit a eulogy during the funeral Mass but encourage one at the Wake ... and that Sister usually did the committal service for my funerals because of my difficulty getting around at the cemeteries.  They understood that with me, but felt that Father John just didn't want to do it.  After a time of discussion, they did meet with Sister and as I understand it, the funeral took place at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton this morning.  What a difficult time for this family ... and what an introduction for Father John.  The thing that brought home the reality of retirement to me is that I could head for home and leave it to someone else to sort out.   My prayers are with the family.

     Janie had her surgery Friday morning at 7:30 (arrival at 5:45 am - so much for sleeping in) and all went well with the surgery.  There was a difficulty with intubation because of a narrow airway, which delayed the surgery for a short time, and meant that she needed to be kept on the tube for a while post-op.  With that in mind, after the tube was removed, they kept her in ICU to watch and monitor her breathing.  She stayed overnight, all is well, and I brought her home around Noon today.  She is resting, and somewhat sore from the surgery.  She had good care and a great staff at the Uniontown Hospital.  She will be doing some of her post-op with me.  I returned to North Huntingdon this evening, and am looking forward to celebrating the 11:00 am Mass this week at Saint Elizabeth Seton, at the request of the new pastor.  I am like a "bad penny" - they just can't get rid of me.

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