In this life there are many things to prepare for, but the most important is for our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. I will take you with me, should you want to come along, on my personal journey to the door which will lead to eternity, through which every soul must pass. Where the angel of death waits to ask the all important question, "Are you prepared for the Kingdom?"

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Location: Anacortes, Washington, United States

Two years ago I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was one of the fortunate ones who survived surgery along with chemo/radiation treatments. Recently, it was discovered that the cancer had returned and although I am again on chemotherapy, in all probability I have perhaps one more year to live. During these last months I would like to share what I have learned about the most important thing we'll ever do in this life and that is, prepare for the kingdom of God.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Few Days with Laura

It's Thursday afternoon now, and Laura is sleeping peacefully. I've been here since Monday afternoon and will be leaving tomorrow morning. Things are as good as can be expected at this point. She is very weak and tired, and is in bed all the time, but we've still had sufficient time to talk as she "prepares for the Kingdom." Our conversations have been fruitful, and I'm grateful to be able to support and encourage her these few days--and especially grateful for the opportunity to place the divine Host upon her tongue, her Viaticum for the journey, her sure hope for salvation.

There have been no significant changes in her situation this week, except that yesterday she felt so weak and drained that she thought she was near death. Today she has more energy and we've been able to talk quite a bit. She had been anointed recently, so it wasn't necessary for me to do that again, but I've been bringing Jesus to her in Holy Communion each day, and today I heard her confession and granted her a plenary indulgence. I'm satisfied that she is spiritually ready to meet her Lord, and this is a consolation for me and of course for her as well. There is still some "letting go" to be done, but it is all part of the process, and everything has clearly been in God's hands the whole time. She has loving and supportive family members, and the hospice workers have been very helpful and kind. The local parish has arranged to have someone bring her Communion daily.

It is sad and painful for many that she is approaching death from cancer while only in her mid-fifties, with four children, and as she was just beginning her vocation as an iconographer. But she really couldn't ask for a better or more supportive environment in which to be as she comes to the end of her earthly life--and the beginning of the life that never ends. Her spirits are good, though there are of course times of sadness and perhaps a little fear, from which even Jesus was not spared as He approached his death. But having been personally involved in the spiritual tranformation she has experienced in the past few years, I can say that she is living these days with eyes open, with hope for eternal life, and with gratitude to the Lord for having given her both the time and the grace to be able to "go forth in peace, in the name of the Lord."

We really don't know how much time she has left. She could go at any moment, though it seems likely that she has several weeks left, maybe more. But she would like everyone to know that we have always to live as if we would soon be standing before the Lord, for it may in fact be that you and I could die even before she does. No one knows the day or the hour. We may die after a protracted illness or suddenly without warning. Jesus said, "I say to all: Watch!" Laura has learned the lesson of vigilance and it is paying off now as she can face death with courage and faith. That is not something that can be improvised at the last moment. She is grateful to you for your support and friendship and prayers, and she prays for you too. I relay your comments to her as I am able. I'll give updates when there is any significant news to share.

Abbot Joseph

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

As of April 17

Some people have been asking me for an update, but there's not too much to report. Laura has declined somewhat, meaning that she now has to be on morphine constantly for pain, since the cancer is evidently advancing. She is able to take a relatively low dosage, so she is still conscious and able to communicate, though she is usually extremely tired. She can do very little except rest and take a little nourishment--and pray, of course.

I am hoping to be able to visit her next week, to help with her final spiritual preparations for the Kingdom. Please continue to keep her in your prayers. This is a journey that we all have to make eventually, and it is the most important thing we'll ever do. Now is the time to begin living with an eye to eternity, that is, with our souls in right relationship with God, for death can come like a thief in the night...

I'll let you know more after I see her, God willing.

Abbot Joseph

Sunday, April 08, 2007


Hello, this is Abbot Joseph, a friend of Laura's. She gave me her login codes and asked me to keep you posted on her condition, since she doesn't think she will be able to write any more. She is declining rather seriously and is in hospice care now. Her pancreas is shutting down and going into periodic spasms, which are very painful, and she has to be on morphine when this happens. The cancer has spread to other parts of her body as well. I am able to talk with her once in a while, but she is often too weak or asleep. She is bedridden and has no energy to do anything. But she can still receive Holy Communion, and a nun from her parish brings Him to her regularly. Laura is at peace and knows that she will die soon, and she is trying to "prepare for the Kingdom," as she has been writing in this blog. She has much support from her family, though of course this is hard on everyone. Please continue to pray for her. She is grateful for your comments and prayers, and she wants everyone to know that she has experienced great support and inner strength from the prayers of many, and this has been a real consolation to her. If she were to write another post, it would be on the power of prayer. The first thing she said to me when I called today was, "Christ is risen!"

I will let you know if there are any major developments, and also when the Lord brings her Home.