Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Prayer Request For My Father, Graham Armstrong (Gravely Ill)

My mother and father and my family in November 1994

My dad Graham, 84, is suffering from not only lung cancer (which was actually remarkably under control after radiation and chemotherapy), but now also multiple respiratory ailments and weak circulation, and kidney and liver malfunction. He is extremely weak and can hardly move his legs or even arms. Things seem to be deteriorating rapidly, and the likelihood is that he may not have long to live at all.

I am asking for your prayers, for supernatural or natural healing (if that be God's will at this late stage), or, if the end is near, for a painless transition, but above all for his spiritual state. He has been only nominally religious for many years now (though he used to teach Sunday School at the Methodist church). I'm hoping that facing death in the not-so-distant future will focus his heart and make him realize what the highest priority for him is now.

I believe there is faith down deep in my father. Last night, after my wife Judy and I were with him, helping him a bit, he said something about "are there Catholic angels?" -- referring somewhat wittily, to us. I made the wisecrack, "I thought angels were Protestant."

My dad has always shown respect towards our decision to become Catholic (in some ways he was more open to it than my mother was). I know he respects my books, and he thought very highly of the late Fr. John A. Hardon, S. J., whom he met at the baptisms of my first two sons. I'm sure Fr. Hardon prayed for him too (and those are some powerful prayers, as he may eventually be declared a saint; his cause is proceeding). He has told me how his parents used to have Catholic neighbors, and would sometimes go to midnight Mass at Christmas.

His brother Joe was also an Anglican priest (most of the family was Methodist) and he respected him a great deal. But Joe was murdered by an intruder in his car in 1964. I believe that event caused a severe crisis of faith in my father (he has never said that to me but I strongly suspect it). He probably started to question God about how such a senseless thing could have happened. I know he stopped going to church around that time, and I did myself three years later because our family stopped attending. He has said several times that "our hell is on this earth."

Please pray. He's about to enter the afterlife, to be (let's hope and pray) with God. This is the time to pray for his spiritual awareness and willingness to repent of all his sins once and for all, so that he can be saved. I believe in the power of prayer to change hearts, and in the corporate sense of the Body of Christ working together for the good of all. God's grace can triumph in all circumstances, and He chooses to include us in the workings of grace, by our prayer and penance and redemptive suffering on behalf of others.

Many heartfelt thanks beforehand, on his behalf, for all of you who pray or do penance.


Anneg said...

Dave, I will pray for your father right now. We are going through something very similar with my father-in-law. He was raised Catholic, but has been long away from the Church and I don't think has ever faced himself or God. It would be most kind if you would include him in your prayers, too. AnneG in NC

Dave Armstrong said...

From "RichnHim" (originally in another thread:

My prayers for your father, Dave. I know this must be a tough time for you. You can be sure I'll hold you and your dad before our Lord.


Dave Armstrong said...

I will Anne. Thanks for your prayers. May God have mercy on all of us when it comes time to depart this world.

HIS Daughter said...

Praying for you, your wife and family and especially for your Dad.

May Our Lord look with kindness on the prayers of His children as we offer this supplication to Him.

I pray the Peace of Christ over your family,

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks so much to all who have offered prayers and encouragement.


We've been watching him around the clock. We were supposed to be having hospice care, but for some reason they haven't shown up today (a nurse was scheduled to come this morning: she finally showed a little while ago). They said they couldn't come last night, which was an ordeal. But they advised by phone that we take him to the hospital (in a section run by hospice workers). He was taken about fifteen minutes ago, but can only stay there five days at the most. We're all becoming exhausted emotionally and physically.

Father's Day yesterday and my second son's 16th birthday today. Life is filled with bitter ironies, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

My holy hour is tonight so more prayers are coming!


American History said...

Keeping you and your father in our prayers as well. You may want to try http://HolyLandPrayer.com. We submitted a prayer request for our mom who was very sick. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher is a very important place for all of us. The LORD is with us and you. God bless.

Renee said...


Right now your boat is being tossed about the sea, you and your family are not alone and most especially your father. Our Lord is merciful, forgiving and just.

I pray you and your family find comfort and peace through your faith and from our Blessed Mother's embrace.


Ashley Weis's mom.

Pito said...

Deepest well-wishes for your father, Dave.

Matheus F. Ticiani said...

I've just read the post and offered some prayers for your father. May God bless him and Our Lady intercede for him and your entire family at this difficult time. I would also humbly suggest you to consider the possibility/feasibility of having him receive the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick.

Nelson said...

My prayers are with you Dave and with your father and family. Be strong. The Lord will see you through this. No one knows the heart but God alone and it is possible your father may not wish to show you his deepest feelings. May the Lord Jesus be with you all.

Ben M said...


I’ll keep you all in my prayers.

God bless.

Dave Armstrong said...

Thanks to everyone. Your prayers and support mean a lot to me. God bless you.

Dave Armstrong said...

Update: 3 PM 6-23-09:

My father's in a hospital now, in the cardiac unit. He can't talk now because he's on a ventilator. At least he was breathing smoothly. He nodded his head "yes" when we talked to him.

Two Protestant pastors are coming by today, which is good, and his one surviving sister (from London, Ontario). This morning we were told that one lung collapsed and the other is weak.

So he probably has a day or two left, if that. I highly doubt that he'll leave the hospital, with collapsed lungs. I think his heartbeat was 43. He was about to get a blood transfusion when I was leaving.

My concern is more so for his spiritual well-being at this point. He is as comfortable as he can be, in the hospital. I'll be very interested to hear what he "says" to the two pastors.

Thanks again to everyone for your consideration and your prayers. I believe all the prayers are having their effect, and helping the family, too.

Paul Hoffer said...

Dave, I too will keep you, your father and your family in my prayers. If there is anything else we can do to help please ask!

Dave Armstrong said...

I appreciate it, Paul. Prayers for his salvation at this late hour are the priority I think. The hospital is keeping him as comfortable as he can be in the sad circumstances.

Tiber Jumper said...

I will say prayers for your Dad and your family Dave.
God bless you
Russ Rentler

Dave Armstrong said...

Update: 6-24-09 6:30 PM

Today was actually a better day. I guess it wasn't quite as bad as I thought. My father wasn't on the ventilator, and has been able to breathe on his own for several hours now (some aid of oxygen).

He was alert and smiled and spoke quite a bit today. He had a sense of humor and was very appreciative of all of us being there to visit him.

Most encouraging to me was the spiritual aspects. He has had visits from a Pentecostal pastor and a Methodist minister. Today we asked him if he would like a priest to visit (i.e., the sacrament of anointing) and he said yes. We made it clear that it didn't mean he had to necessarily become a Catholic (and he shook his head, which was a little amusing). And he said, "I'm a Christian."

I was very happy about all of that because it shows that he is thinking in spiritual and eternal terms and recognizing the importance of it. In that sense this illness may be a great blessing, in terms of eternity.

So I'm encouraged and feel much better than I did yesterday. Everybody seemed more upbeat today (my wife, mother, sister, niece, and my father himself). There's no doubt in my mind that all the prayer support is a key cause of that.

So thanks from the bottom of my heart to all of you who are praying. I'll never be able to adequately express my appreciation for that (also on behalf of my family). These are the situations where we really see and feel the power of the corporate Body of Christ. It's a beautiful thing; it is how God intended it to be.

Dave Armstrong said...


We were able to work out some important issues and hear from the nurse who specializes in these situations. The ventilator can only be used so long and then a decision has to be made to do a tracheotomy. My father made it clear that he did NOT want that. His stated reason was that he didn't want to put the family through all that (and he was thinking of what we went through with my brother Gerry and leukemia). He also wants to eat regularly if possible.

The option, then, is hospice and letting nature take its course without ventilators in the throat or through the neck. Oxygen aid is something other than that. The person can breathe on his own, but is getting some additional help. They said the next two days would determine whether he is able to expel the mucus that builds up, and continue breathing on his own. If he can, that is good news.

Rene'e said...


May God continue to bless your Dad and your family. Our beloved John Paul II also bore a similar cross as your Dad's in his trial of sickness, he also made some of the same decisions regarding his care.

I will ask for his prayers also for your Dad and your family.