“Now therefore, O sons, listen to me,
For blessed are they who keep my ways.” Proverbs 8:32
My dad is lying in a hospital bed in the front room of my home, my mom is in a hospital bed next to him. The past few months have been difficult. Dad’s heart has gone into Afib this week. He is too frail to operate on. Hospice has been called in. We spent weeks worrying about mom, now we worry over dad, the once strong man who shaped much of who I am.
I don’t think I know a better man than my dad. He was born the 8th of 12 children to Philip and Dolores Green, in Washington, DC. There were 5 boys and 7 girls. He is the last boy living, having only one other sibling, his youngest sister, still living.
Dad loves all things Catholic, Family, and Sports. Especially baseball. These are just some of the things dad taught me over the years;
- God comes first, then family, loved ones and then country
- Never forsake going to the Sacraments – never leave the Eucharist no matter what
- Pray the Rosary everyday
- Go to daily Mass if you’re able
- Go to confession
- Give 100% to the things you choose to do
- Try not to sin and live a morally upright life
- Keep the commandments and God will take care of you
- The greatest gift a Father can give his children is to love their Mother
- In marriage divorce belongs no where in your vocabulary
- Help those in need
- Let your yes be your yes and your no be your no
- Be better, don’t just do what everyone else is doing
My dad had his struggles in life too, he isn’t perfect, none of us are, but I can honestly say with sincerity, I don’t know many men like him, men who love God first. Men who had the moral courage like he does. He struggled with anxiety over the years, but the one thing I always saw him do with it, even to this day, was turn to prayer. In his old age, I see him regularly praying the Rosary and the Chaplet of Mercy, even if now he sometimes falls asleep doing it. He offers the pain he is suffering for others, especially Priests.
Dad loves baseball. He played it and coached it. Last night, perhaps in a moment of hallucination, or perhaps in a gift of God to my dad, he told me he was finishing his first game and would be first runner up in heaven. He asked me to pack the Infant of Prague.
Dad was a teacher for his career. He taught at several Washington, DC area high schools, including Bishop McNamara, and ArchBishop John Carroll. He also coached all his 4 children in sports. He coached my brother in baseball and myself in basketball. Dad was always present for us growing up.
Our house had pictures hanging on the wall or placed in a photo albums of the things dad loved. I remember reading about Collins, Bender, Combs and Plank as a little child. They were the Oakland A’s. These days he is all about the Washington Nationals. We had the game on last night.
He loved Notre Dame football, at least for years he did. In the past several as he saw the school drift from Catholic Doctrine by honoring pro-abortion politicians he grew sad and stopped watching.
The one thing I remember seeing all over the house was my dad immersed in his Catholicism. Dad loves Latin and still prays in it to this day. My dad made me feel protected.
Mom and Dad met when she was 15 and he was 17. A dog was chasing my mom and she was trying to climb up a backstop at Turkey Thicket in Washington, DC to get away from the dog. Dad swooped in to the rescue and that began their love story.
They were married on October 13, 1962. They had postponed the wedding due to the death of my mom’s dad. We have two Papal Blessings, one dated September 29 which was the original wedding date, and the other dated October 13, their actual wedding date.
My mom and dad did (and still do) bicker with one another, but dad always told me nothing could stop his love for her and that I never ever had to worry about them leaving one another.
In these last days of their lives I pray for them to both have a happy and a holy death. I pray that the Lord will actually take them together because I can’t imagine one without the other.
I don’t know if they have days, or if they have months, or even years. Whatever the Lord gives them I will be grateful for.
When it became apparent that my parents needed extensive care and we were deciding who and where they would be cared for the Lord just whispered in my ear, “it has to be you.” I said okay but you have to work on my husband. My husband called the next day and said “your parents need to come home with us.” God is good and so is my husband.
At Mass during the Feast of the Visitation the Lord expanded upon why it had to be me. As the youngest of 4 children, my parents could be with any one of us, and I know all of my siblings would gladly help (I have very good siblings). But the Lord showed me the wound of mine that he had healed. The one where for years the devil had flung at me that I was not wanted. This because my parents had expressed that I was a “surprise” and that they had planned 3 children and had 4. The Lord showed me that His plans for them were greater. And that their obedience and openess to life, in a world that was closing itself off to life was to be a blessing for them. The fruit of their own obedience. I was born in January of 1972. It would be only a year later that our country would decide that a life like mine, one that wasn’t planned, was okay to kill. Mom and Dad were horrified and fought against that and still do.
As we head into the next few weeks please keep my mom and dad and myself, my husband and my kids in your prayers. And pray that when the good Lord takes them they will hear, “well done Good and faithful Servants.”