Happy Feast Day of St. Joseph, the Patron of a Happy Death. This is the anniversary of my Dad going home to heaven!
A few years back my faith-filled, devoted Father left earth after three days in ICU following a traumatic injury at my home. The day he fell was thee most terrifying and difficult day in the life of me and my family. And it was not until we went through the pain and grief that we realized God’s amazing Triumph and Victory over death…I found a recounting of the events written by my brother.
We love you Dad, and our hearts long for home so until we meet again… Kari
Letter from Bob De Lorenzo, son of Larry, who wrote of my Dad’s final days on earth.
Dear Friends and Family,
For those of you who may not have heard, my father Larry DeLorenzo of 85 years, passed away this last Monday, March 19th at 1:15pm. He was active and in great health, the father of 12 children – 6 boys and 6 girls. He was married for 55 years to his wife (my mom) Mary Margaret whom he loved dearly. He has some 40 grandchildren and one great grandchild. He was the patriarch of our family, the DeLorenzo’s, and was much loved, respected, and honored by all.
This last Friday, March 15th, he drove to my sister Kari’s house to pick up my mom and sister Christine to take them out to lunch. My sister Kari has 6 children all under the age of 8 – halleluiah! Her children knew and loved my father (their grandfather) well, and while looking from their 2nd story play room’s bay window, they became actively excited, began banging the window, waving, and happily shouting ‘hi grandpa’ as they saw him get out of his car and begin walking up the winding concrete stairs that led to their home. When my father noticed them he looked up, smiled, and began waving back. Sometime seconds after when he was still ascending the stairs and out of view of the children due to an embankment which blocked their view, he lost his footing and slipped. He fell backwards, tried to rotate his body to break the fall, and fatally hit his head on the cement stairs, and or, a rock.
No one knows exactly how long he was there as the children no longer could see him, and he was unable to call for help. We believe he was unnoticed for some time until my brother-in-law, Tom, came home and found him lying inclined backwards on the stairs. My brother-in-law then ran into his house to dial 9-1-1, and shouted to his wife and my mom that our father had fallen and to assist him immediately. As soon as my mom saw him, inclined backwards with his head in a pool of profuse blood, good Irish Catholic that she is, shouted, ‘Where’s the Holy Water and somebody call a Priest!’
Those present did their best to help him. They said he was moaning and trying to communicate but was unable due to the extent of his injuries. Once the medic’s arrived they stated he was in critical condition and said the prognosis was fairly bad. So it was decided to air-lift him to HarborView Trauma center in Seattle. All the while children were held in the play room watching the flurry of activity but still unable to see my father as he was out of view behind the embankment (thank the Lord).
Shortly thereafter, the rest of the family was notified and most of us who were able convened at the Harbor View emergency room praying and waiting. Hours later we were notified that the right side of his skull had sustained multiple fractures, there was notable swelling and bleeding in his brain, and that his right optic nerve was being pinched by fragments of skull. Then later that afternoon, when he was moved from the ER to the ICU, the attending doctors again convened with the family and notified that his condition was quite bad and he had very little chance of survival without major artificial means. This was a tough blow, and once the doctors left the room, sobs, deep and heartfelt, ensued. My mother mentioned at this low emotional point that my father had started writing a letter back in January that was meant for his children. She said it took him a little over two months of inspiration to complete and that he had just finished it the day before. He told her he wanted it typed up and copies sent to each of his children.
This was somewhat of a miracle in my mind, in that he had written and finished a letter to his children the day before he had this fatal fall – completely unbeknownst to him that the Lord, by His Grace, would call him home the day after. This is and was his last words to his family, and what a blessing from The Almighty that such words could be conveyed without speech, since my father no longer possessed this faculty; and further, that in 6 months or 6 years from now, any of us might simply re-read these words, remembering the context and the miracle from which they were birthed, and hear not only the voice of our father on earth, but alas, the voice of our True Father in Heaven.
There seems to be much more to write, but longer still this short intended note would become; nevertheless: the fact that two priests were at the hospital before my father arrived, and that they were able to bless and anoint him once he was in the E.R.; that later still yet another priest and the bishop arrived to anoint and bless him. That time was given for all of his 12 children to fly in from around the country to see him breathe his last, that mass was said in his room with everyone present, and communion given to him hours before he went home to our Lord; that his grandchildren, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, sons and daughters gathered about him for three days weeping, praying and giving thanks to Him for him; that and again at his last breaths all were around, including Angels and Saints, to see him go with prayers and thanksgiving in their hearts…there are moments of beauty and there are those moments that can only be created by our Lord. I give Him thanks for being a part of one of those moments. To Him be the Praise, the Glory, and Honor.
Thank you all for your most cherished prayers and support,
I love you all, although not be it perfectly,
-the ninth of twelve