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"I'm usually a fast reader. My Brother Pier Giorgio: His Last Days was supposed to be an easy read at only 120 pages. I should've finished it in less than 24 hours. How long did it take me? Four days. Why? Because I had to stop more often than anticipated. And why did I stop so often? Because it reminded me way too much of what I went through with my own father. The PTSD kicked in at times, leaving me feeling faint and anxious at times. I don't regret reading it and would gladly endure the PTSD symptoms if it was longer because I truly liked it.
First the quick book review: as I said before, I liked the book. I didn't enjoy reading about Bl. Pier Giorgio's suffering. I didn't enjoy reading about his family's sorrow. What I enjoyed was the intense love for God and our Blessed Mother that Bl. Pier Giorgio had until the end. I won't spoil anything for those of you who want to read it but I will say that I was deeply touched by Bl. Pier Giorgio's devotion and yearning for heaven, even into his last moments on earth. The book is written by his sister, Luciana, and it covers the last couple of days of his short life. She writes with such feeling and detail that I felt as if I personally experienced it with them. If you have yet to read it, I recommend that you do.
Now for the rest: the parallels between Bl. Pier Giorgio's and my father's last days... they hit close to home. If you haven't been a reader of this blog for long (or weren't a reader while I chronicled my father's last months), I'll provide links so you can catch up. Warning: I've been told tissues are necessary in some places.
I became an admirer of Bl. Pier Giorgio's before my father's last cancer diagnosis. When we heard that dad's cancer was terminal, I asked for Bl. Pier Giorgio's intercession. "Please let this be the miracle that you need to be canonized," I pleaded. "Please, help him stop suffering! Please!" I selfishly wanted my father to live. 4 years ago yesterday, I had a Mass dedicated to Bl. Pier Giorgio on his feast day. As you may read, I stayed behind and prayed for his intercession (along with intercessions of other saints for other prayer request I'd received). I went to visit my father after Mass. It was one of the last times he would be able to hold down his food and coffee... just like Bl. Pier Giorgio did. On Bl. PG's feast day, my father savored his favorite drink (coffee) just like Bl. PG did towards the end of his life (as per the book).
A few days later, and two days before his death, I wrote this post about how I was handling the news that my father had a week or so to live. Watching my father looking more and more thin every day (the cancer had spread to his liver and stomach at the end) was hard for me. Luciana, Bl. Pier Giorgio's sister, wrote a similar account with the same feelings I experienced about seeing Bl. PG deteriorate. It was hard but I prayed for a miracle, just like she, their family, and friends did for Bl. PG.
My father died, like Bl. Pier Giorgio, on a Saturday... exactly one week after Bl. PG's feast day. I didn't get the miracle I wanted but I did get the strength I needed to get through the funeral preparations and the funeral itself. A year later Bl. Pier Giorgio would intercede for me in a big way (which I will talk about in a bit). The book reminded me that life is short and precious, how we never know how or when we will go, and how we should try to live a life of the Beatitudes (like Bl. Pier Giorgio did). While my relationship with my father was similar to Bl. PG's with his father, I was reminded that my father died being proud of me as I know Bl. PG's father must have been of him when the word of his good deeds came to light.
Though my intercession plea to Bl. Pier Giorgio didn't happen (as it was not God's will for my father), he did come through for me a few months later when I applied to transfer to that horrid CINO college (seriously, I didn't know how bad it was before I attended). I received the news that I wouldn't need an enormous loan to pay for school. The year that my father died, I was supposed to enter the school with a $20,000+ (per year) loan. I withdrew and reapplied for the next year and received grants and scholarships. I ended up graduating with a small loan of $2,000 (total) for the two years I was there. Through his intercession I was able to graduate (from a $40,000 per school year college) with a savings of over $40,000 (I'm counting some interest there). Thank you for your intercession, Bl. Pier Giorgio!
Anyway, the whole point of this post is that I am incredibly grateful to Bl. Pier Giorgio for everything he's done for me. He (along with St. Therese) was my "heavenly buddy" during my imprisonment (haha!) at the CINO college, as he was before and continues to be to this day. While the book about his last days reminded me (in detail) about my father's last days, it also reminded me (through Luciana's words) that life goes on but that doesn't mean we forget those who have had a great impact on our lives. There is always time to fix any bad habits and strive for a more saintly life.
Okay, I am about two seconds from going into ugly crying face mode so I'm going to stop here. :) Oh! One last thing before I go: I will work hard to get that second miracle Bl. Pier Giorgio needs to become a saint... even if it means spreading the word of his life and his good deeds to people who have never heard of him. He will be declared a saint one day and I hope that it happens in my lifetime. :)"
And that's it for today.
As always, thanks for reading and God bless! :D