A Volunteer Connection
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.
Slowly, and with some ambivalence, I will begin to experience the new in my life.
Spirituality in its broadest sense is, quite simply, a way of life that reveals an awareness of the sacred and a relationship with the Holy One in the midst of our human frailty, brokenness and limitations.
--Edward C. Sellner
To be faced with the loss of a loved one is to be engaged—or reengaged more intensely—with the experience of the spiritual. Questions of our loved one’s survival, of our own relationship to the spiritual world, of our possible communion with the dead now or after our own death—all come to us with new urgency. Surely if we can summon an awareness of the Holy One as a loving, caring reality, we shall be miles ahead! We can bear the uncertainty of answers to our questions if we feel that the One who is in charge cares for us all, grieves with us when we are sad, and wills our good. This has been the yearning, and the confidence, of believers through the ages. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen,” said the apostle Paul in the Letter to the Hebrews. These things are no less real for being “not seen.”
--In the midst of my brokenness, O Holy One, may I be made newly aware of you.
"We are real friends now because we have been able to share some painful experiences in our private lives..."