Tuesday, July 20, 2010
By Rev. David J. Gripka, DD, ULC
Felix W. Memorial Message from one of his Covenant Hospice Volunteers.
God gave Felix W. the grace and talents to make the world a better place from May 21, 1911 to June 21, 2005. Felix encountered many significant events in his life time. On June 21, 2005, the most significant event of his life occurred when he departed from our loving care to be with his beautiful wife, son, and other family members who have been helping Jesus prepare his room in their mansion in heaven. As Jesus said in John 14:2-3 (KJV)2 In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. As Felix shared with me, Jesus kept His Word to him.
Felix leaves behind three families to enjoy memories of him and to celebrate his life. His main concern about going on his journey home to heaven was that these three families would mourn his passing rather than celebrate his victory in Jesus. His first family during the last few weeks has been his siblings, children, grandchildren and their spouses and families. His second family was the wonderful staff at Sterling House, many of whom would come in hug him, kiss the top of his head and say 'I love you, Felix'. That meant more to Felix than the outstanding care they gave him, assisting him with more and more of his Activities of Daily Living as he grew weaker physically, but stronger spiritually. One of the staff, read the following prayer to him. It's title is 'Memorare'
Remember O most gracious Virgin Mary that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored Thy help, and sought Thy intercession was left unaided, Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto Thee, O Virgin of virgins, My Mother, to Thee I come; before Thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word incarnate, despise not my petitions, but, in Thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen
With tears in his eyes, Felix asked Diane to sign the card and he put it in his shirt pocket
Felix's third family was the Covenant Hospice Interdisciplinary Team from Milton, Florida who cared for him, made sure he had everything he needed or wanted, and most of all, loved him and prayed for him. Felix and I agreed about many things, one of which that the Covenant Hospice nurses and aides are the best of the best and are angels in human form.
On June 15, Felix asked me to get his mail and read it to him. One of the items was a thank you card that Felix allowed me to share with you. It reads:
June 8, 2005 postmarked NYC
Thank you so much for sponsoring me and Bike & Build. I also wanted to thank you for supporting my interest in art. I am proud to be carrying on the artistic tradition of the Winkowski's and your kind words and advice have been an inspiration to me. Without your generosity, none of this would be possible.
While I was privileged to visit Felix, he encouraged me to read some of his books while he slept, books written by his son Frederic, and dedicated to him. On the dust cover of Fred's book. 'A Quiet Walk In Central Park' there was a statement that one of Frederic's earliest memories was spending time with his father in the darkroom developing black & white photographs.
I believe that God was very much with Felix and with his three families, especially over the last few weeks. In 1966, Felix painted a picture of the Fifth Station of the Cross, where Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus carry His cross. That picture was over the head of Felix's bed, and from a certain angle, when Felix was sleeping with that peaceful little smile on his face, it looked like Jesus was smiling down on Felix from the picture. God also let Felix have some glimpses of where he was heading. At first, Felix thought he was having hallucinations as he described some of his new furniture and some of the buildings. And Jesus standing up ahead with his arms wide open and a big smile on His face. I told Felix that when he got there, Jesus would probably shake his hand and say 'Well done, good and faithful servant' and take him in to see his wife. I was wrong. When Felix got there, Jesus wrapped his arms around Felix in the longest Sterling House hug I ever saw, kissed him on the top of his head and sad, 'I love you, Felix' as He led Felix in to reunite with his loved ones.
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