This evening a group of us gathered to say final nine night prayers for our dear Gracie who died the Sunday before last at the age of 84. This was no usual 84 year old. She never made a fuss but was an active and driving force in Ministry, nothing was ever too much trouble; on the Saturday before she went home she was hard at it helping out at a parish retreat; she drove her car during the day (without glasses) and had two wonderful dogs who are now bereft.
Gracie went to Mass that Sunday morning, did what she had to do in setting out the gifts, talked to and welcomed parishioners into the church and after Mass, went home. No one really knows exactly what happened next. It would appear that she sat on the settee in her living room, had a cup of coffee and suddenly, totally relaxed, legs stretched out and feet crossed, went home. No one thought to call her or check on her on the Sunday afternoon when she did not come to open the church for the end of the retreat. Had the people who had been running the retreat been our normal crowd of which Gracie was very much a part, someone would have gone to find her. But someone else opened the church that afternoon and no questions were asked. That was perhaps a blessing because had any one of us gone, they wouldn't have known where to start. Gracie for all her loving ways, humour and willingness was an extremely private person and no one would have known who to contact. A very good friend of mine who was close to Gracie and heard her stories did not know until the death, that she had a half sister who we all know and interact with.
On Monday morning Gracie's mechanic went to her home. She had expected him in Saturday afternoon but he was a no show. Apparently he tried to call her on and off on Sunday but there was no reply to those calls. He went to her house on Monday morning and found the front door which leads into the living room, wide open. He went for a neighbour and together they entered the house.
Gracie was 'asleep' on the settee. The dogs who are usually extremely vocal had not barked, according to a neighbour, since Sunday morning. I have visions of them lying at her feet.
Sleep well darling Gracie - "well done good and faithful servant" (Matthew 25: 23).
Soar with angels beautiful soul.