Saturday, January 10, 2009

Glory to Your Holy Resurrection O Lord...

Christ is Risen from the Dead
Trampling Down Death by Death
And upon those in the Tombs Bestowing Life

Jesus having Risen from the Grave as He Foretold
Has Bestowed on us Eternal Life
And Great Mercy

These words from the Orthodox Easter service are so comforting. Christ rose and trampled down Hades so that those who die can be with Him forever.

My Yiayia died two days ago... on January 8, 2009... Here is a letter sent by my dad; he explains things much more eloquently than I ever could:

Dear Parishoners of St. John the Baptist,

As many of you know, I had to travel unexpectedly the day after Christmas, to Phoenix, Arizona because my mother became gravely ill. By the time I arrived she was already in intensive care at Banner Desert Hospital in Mesa, Arizona. She was unable to talk, unable to swallow, confused and greatly weakened on her right side. There was no diagnosis and her condition was critical. She underwent every conceivable test, but after two weeks the hospital could not determine what was wrong with my mother. Therefore we transferred her to Barrow Neurological Institute, one of the world’s top neurological hospitals, located in Phoenix, where she underwent many other tests. Finally on Wednesday afternoon, January 7th, she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma of the spinal cord and brain. Although treatable in many patients, my mom’s condition was too advanced and her body too weakened to receive treatment, so on Thursday morning, January 8th, the family decided to not pursue treatment and to transfer her to a hospice facility and place her in the hands of God. She fell asleep in the Lord at 8:10 on that same Thursday evening surrounded by her husband of 50 years and her children. She died peacefully and surrounded by love and prayer. My family thanks all of you for your prayers, your love, support and patience with my prolonged absence. We could tangibly feel your love and prayers as we were taking care of my mom and desperately trying to find out what was afflicting her. It’s been a difficult journey for all of my family, but we are thankful to God for a beautiful life with such a great woman. Although my mom passed away very quickly, God was merciful to her in that she was able to say goodbye to her husband and her children. She did not suffer too long or with great pain. She fell asleep surrounded by her loved ones and with the prayers of the Church.

My mom’s funeral will be held at Assumption Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Denver at the end of this next week. Her wishes were that donations be made to St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church for a liturgical item that her son could use in her memory.

In Christ,

Father Theodore

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