Anna was 51 years of age, wife of Martin and mother of three boys: Michael (17 years old), Dominic (14) and Andrew (11).
She was misdiagnosed and told she didn’t have cancer but a chest infection. Then soon afterwards she was told she only had 12 months to live. She went through chemotherapy twice but ultimately to no avail.
She wanted to be honest about her interior struggle caused by her intense physical suffering and having to leave behind her young family.
This video was recorded two weeks before she died and is a summary of an extensive interview where she spoke about her final months on earth.
Transcription of the interview is found below:
They gave me a time limit of 12 months to live and it just, it shook me to the bone. I just said to them… I think I screamed out: “I can’t say goodbye to my sons. I just can’t do it!”
I was at home some nights. I remember saying to even the children or to my husband that I can’t go through this anymore. I just can’t cope. It is too painful, it is too dehumanising. I was worried that because I had been through so many things what was next?
When I came into this hospital, straight away my pain levels... they started me on a syringe drive which is a 24 hour pump that evenly distributes the narcotic or opiod that is required and it was exactly what I wanted. They titrated that according to my pain to my neurological levels and I was most impressed because when a person is without pain or at least me I just think life is worth living, life is beautiful.
I guess when you’re in pain you can be irrational, illogical, you don’t notice anything, you’re kind of in your own world. It’s a terrible situation to be in. I don’t think God necessarily… you know we can offer it up and it does tremendous good but I don’t think He necessarily wants us to be in pain if it can be treated.
And I know he gives us all crosses and we’ve got to bear them and sometimes they’re emotional, we’ve got to work through them, or spiritual or moral. But with this physical cross he gave me… it was incredible to endure it and then to be treated for it. So the difference was amazing.
I was begging God to align His will with… sorry... my will with His. That’s all I wanted but I didn’t know how it was going to occur. I just didn’t know how. I just couldn’t see myself... Martin would say these words of wisdom… he’d even read things in the Bible or talk about Job... tell me to read Job...about his affliction...that he had so many afflictions And what helped him.
And in the end the message… Well I actually read it myself… the message I got from that was that “you must pray for your enemies, you must do God’s will or love his will.” And I started reading some of the saints and particularly Saint Teresa who agreed that if we align ourselves to God’s will it’s more pleasing to Him than our prayer, our mortification, etc... not that they’re not pleasing, they very much are but this was more pleasing even ... and I started to think of the beauty in that.
I lacked a lot of trust, a lot. And I didn’t realise until I endured this illness how much I lacked. Trust that he will look after the children…or Our Lady will. Apparently the two of us from heaven, or me from purgatory maybe, will look after the children so we will both raise them. What could be better than that?
So I lacked a lot of that trust but that’s since become… well, you know best. And that’s through the spiritual reading I’ve done, it’s through talking to very wise people, the priest in spiritual direction, confession once a week... has been incredible… because they’re very busy and they’re giving this time for one person only. I’ve received communion daily which has given me tremendous graces.
And then more and more people would come with intentions mainly about their children you know; women were coming you know and it was just so beautiful to be able to help them either by just words but more praying for them because I did have quite a few hours so I was able to pray a lot.
So I’ve had a few regrets and I’m trying to make up for it now in spiritual communions. I’ve had lots of regrets in the apostolate. Trying to reach out and I wish I had been more generous with my time, towards others, I really do... and going to the tabernacle to do my prayer. That’s a regret that I have.
But also I’d like to say that Father has anointed me and it’s been unbelievable the graces to receive… sometimes this room was full of people and I was anointed last Sunday. I was anointed and the room was full of people. So they got to see me so happy, so relaxed after that.
Can I just say too that not on the 11th of March but on the 4th of March that I did my fidelity and it was the best day... one of the best days of my life.
Now my wedding day, the days I gave birth to my children, various other days in my life... but the days I’ve spent in here. Some of these days have been the best days of my life equivalent to those and that’s due to most of the things I just said.
And I know that sounds crazy because here am I sitting up in a hospice but that’s the truth. That’s how I feel internally.
If I want to give advice to anyone... stay in the state of grace... to get to heaven. If they understand what that is.