November: For our departed loved ones

Girl before altar. Image courtesy of

Last week we commemorated the two Feasts for all saints and all souls respectively.  The entire month of November, in fact, is dedicated to all the dead, particularly for the Holy Souls in Purgatory. We pray for our dead loved ones who are close to us – most especially the members of our family. They are part of our life journey. We are blessed to have them because they have been the first teachers who taught us about life on earth. They have tried their best to be witnesses of a life lived in holiness and goodness. Perhaps, when they were with us, we saw their weaknesses and limitations as they struggled to do the right thing and to reach God’s Kingdom – the place we expect to arrive at our final end to be with God as He promised us.

The last days of their lives are significant too. November 2004 was significant to me because I was busy with the preparation of my perpetual profession and my mother at that time was terminally ill, waiting for her final day to come. She had leukemia. It was timely that we gathered together as a family for my final vows scheduled on December 6, 2004 and for my sick Mom. Even though my mother was very ill she had a great desire to be at my perpetual profession. She was able to make it, witness and accompany me to the altar. Later, with my sister, my mother was rushed to the hospital. It was the moment of a good farewell because I was able to talk to her, pray with her, and help her to prepare for when the call of death would arrive. There was so much outpouring of tears from my eyes as I remained at her bedside, with my sister.  December 8 she died.

In December that same year, my father was diagnosed with liver cancer. My superiors allowed me to stay for a couple of days to attend the wake of my mother and settle some important family matters. They gave me a chance to be with my family, especially with my father who had become sick too.  During that very short stay I was able to accompany him to his medical check-ups. Those few days that I stayed with him were very worthy as they gave me good moments of sincerest conversations with him and I could gather the courage to settle some of my lingering issues. I was able to thank him again for being a good father who had taken care of us,  send us to school, work hard for a living, loving us until the end. I am thankful that he never left us during those tough moments of our life as a family.  I was able to ask pardon for all my faults committed when I was young and staying with them.

It is with mixed feelings of joy and sorrow that I remember these important events in my life.  Feelings of relief, reconciliation, forgiveness and the healing process of those painful memories with my parents has made it good enough for me to continue the journey where I am now in my mission post. To this day I am thankful to have had those moments with them.  It was good.

Six months after seeing my father, I was able to write a letter and send a card to him for Father’s Day. Then, a few days later, I received a phone call from my younger sister, announcing that my father had died from a heart attack. On that day, my community allowed me to fly back home to Cebu, Philippines. While on the way I kept on crying because another important person in my life had gone and would never come back to the earthly life they once had. Not long after I had arrived back in the family home, I cleaned my father’s room and I saw the card that I had sent him – it was under his pillow, along with the letter that I written.

I miss my parents as I recall these memories. Yet, I also feel at peace because I had the opportunity to spend good final moments with both of them. I continue thanking God for them and praying for them. I know that someday we will be together in the life eternal.

This month it is good to commit every day to pray for our dead loved ones, especially for all the souls in Purgatory, so they enjoy a life eternal with God, the saints and angels.  Please pray with me:

Eternal Rest

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May the souls of the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God,
rest in peace.


Source: Eternal Rest, Pray Catholic

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