He was on a ventilator for ten days and he wasn't waking up and I was trudging to the hospital every day sitting by his side. I remember one day I was in the car, praying to God and saying, ‘I just don't think I can do this anymore.’
Things were getting really difficult here at home, and I was feeling very much alone. My husband had atypical Parkinson’s disease. It was progressing very fast and I was having difficulty knowing what to do to take care of him. It was becoming overwhelming. One day I couldn’t get him to sit down on the shower chair. He just froze and it was a dangerous situation. I lost my temper with him because I was so frustrated. That made me very much afraid. It upset me because it wasn’t his fault.
I remembered there was a holy hour at St. Joan of Arc. I started to go and that’s when I prayed, ‘What can I do? How can I be a better caretaker? I’m not sure I can do this.’
So I don't know why, but that in prayer, in holy hour, that just came to me. And so I decided that that's what I was going to do.
I had a friend come visit me one time, and afterwards, she said, ‘I don't know how you do this. I could never do it.’ I go, ‘Oh, yeah, you could.’ I said, ‘You know what I do? I just think of him as Jesus.’
There comes a time in your life when you kind of survey everything. And during that time, I knew that his illness wasn't going to be good. And, you know, we wouldn't be celebrating too many more anniversaries together.
It makes you take a hard look and decide what's most important. I think it was because the Eucharist was where I could go, and I just had this quiet time with God and nothing else could get in my way. I also took to heart some advice that our pastor once shared in a homily. He said that while we need to pray, it is also very important to listen to what God is saying to us. I listened to God and he showed me the way to be a better caregiver for my husband.
And I remember praying to God and saying, ‘I just don't think I can do this anymore. You either have to help me or you have to wake him up. Something has to happen.’
And he woke up!
A couple of days later, he finally woke up.
He was only good for a couple of days. And then he was in hospice after that. But at least we got to talk to him.
I guess what I'm saying is there is no way I could have done any of this without prayer and without receiving the Eucharist. I just found comfort in going to Mass and receiving communion.
And the more I did it, it seemed like the more I wanted to do it. It’s just like what Christ says, ‘I am the vine. You are the branches.’ We depend on him.
Experience it for Yourself
Jesus is truly present. Jesus is always with you. Sit in his presence and open yourself up to his voice.