All Souls

All Souls

On All Souls Day I am going to honor my Uncle Arnold Uribe who passed away in December. He was one of the most generous and loving people in our family and I knew he was there for me. I also learned he was most troubled in his later years.

Uncle Arnold was my father's brother and was part of a large family of 11 siblings. Immediately after high school, he served in the U.S. Navy for 30 years, including two tours in Vietnam. He then worked at the V.A. Medical Center for 15 years.

In many ways, Uncle Arnold was the patriarch of our family. He was always there for his wife and three children, and also for his brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews. He co-signed for my student loans in college, and when I was late on a payment Uncle Arnold would call to gently, but firmly remind me to get my finances in order.

To me, Uncle Arnold appeared to have everything. He was loved by so many people. But after his death I found out something surprising about Uncle Arnold, for years he was a very troubled soul. Uncle Arnold suffered from delayed PTSD because of his military service in Vietnam. The nightmares and depression did not take place for decades, but during the final years of Uncle Arnold's life he struggled tremendously. Because of the unrelenting pain, he was successful on his third suicidal attempt at the age of 79.

I found out more about Uncle Arnold's pain after his death. He was very quiet about his ongoing pain and he didn't want anyone in the family to worry. Uncle Arnold was always thinking about others, until the very end.

As I struggled to accept my uncle's final outcome, I found strength in the prayers of the funeral Mass in Texas: "Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let your perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen." (Rite of Committal with Prayer of Commendation).

Yes, life on earth is temporary. But we are also blessed with eternal life - a gift from God. I am comforted to know that, while Uncle Arnold's earthly life may have ended tragically, with God's love and mercy, I will one day be united with him in eternal life.

Uncle Arnold's death reminded me about the power of prayer. As long as we are breathing, we can pray for ourselves. But the moment we stop breathing, that is when we need others to pray for us. On All Souls Day, I am going to enroll Uncle Arnold in a special prayer league so he can be prayed for an entire year. I am also going to place a rose in his honor near the altar at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. I invite you to do the same for your departed loved ones.

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All Souls Rose of Remembrance   Rose Scented Ladder Rosary   Angel of Comfort Statue   

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