A Volunteer Connection

Location : North Houston

By: Scott O. Glueck, Silverado Volunteer               

I began working with Greg Brown helping him translate for Alfonso Deleon at the beginning of November.  When I first met Mr. Deleon, he was bedridden and alert. The very first day I volunteered, he wanted to write letters to his children to be opened after his death.  Mr. Deleon wanted them to be in English but didn’t want his daughter to know the contents, so I did that for him.  He seemed very relieved to have that done when we were finished.  On subsequent visits, I was there before Greg and spent some time with Mr. Deleon alone. He would share stories of his youth, his wife and his children.  He loved to reminisce.  I read from his Spanish Bible and he liked to hear the Beatitudes and the gospels. 

The last time Greg and I visited in December, Mr. Deleon was asleep and had lost weight over the two weeks we’d not seen him.  He was too tired to speak with us, but he did nod to us when we spoke to him.  His daughter, Maria, said that he wanted to receive an anointing from a priest and I suggested the priest at St. Maximilian, the closest Catholic Church.  She said that they had been parishioners there once and she’d like me to call a priest for her.  I spoke with a priest who said he would come do the sacrament of the sick, the anointing, at 2:30 that day.  Maria called her brothers to come be there for the sacrament.  Greg and I left, but I called Maria the next day to see how it had gone.  She said the priest came as scheduled and it made her father very happy to have received the anointing.  She said that she and her brothers had a good visit with her father, telling him that he did not need to hang on any longer, that he could let go.  She said he seemed at peace.

I called Maria to see how Mr. Deleon was after New Year’s Day and she said the whole family was there for New Year’s and Mr. Deleon’s brothers visited with him at length.  She said a younger brother asked Mr. Deleon for forgiveness for something that had happened years ago and Mr. Deleon had exclaimed the he’d forgiven him a long time ago.  Maria felt like this was what her father needed to be able to let go.  I assured her of my prayers.

On Sunday, January 5th, I learned that Mr. Deleon had passed away in the early morning.  I called Maria to express my sympathy for the family and she thanked me.  I told her that I would be at the funeral.  The funeral was on Thursday, January 9th.  I attended as did Lueata Evenson from Silverado.  The priest was unable to accompany the family to the graveside service and Maria asked if I could perform the service and I agreed.  This gave her comfort as she thought the priest would be able to do it.  It was a lovely funeral, attended by many family and friends of Mr. Deleon.  I am happy to have had the privilege to know and work with Alfonso Deleon before his death.  He and his family touched my life.

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"We are real friends now because we have been able to share some painful experiences in our private lives..."

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