Many, many thanks to all of you who have been praying for Ray and our family, especially those who promised to pray at 6:00 last night as he was taken off life support. There was no way to let you all know that the 6:00 prayers were excess -- but, then, are any prayers really excesss? -- for Ray had already passed away by that time.
At 9:20 a.m., Noelle called me at my office. She told me that the hospital had just called. The doctor relayed the information that Ray's respirator hose had suddenly and unexpectedly torn, and he had died instantly. The doctor added that no one had touched the hose at all, so there was some puzzlement as to how it had happened; this is not something that they routinely worry about or look for.
That event made unnecessary the need to go to the hospital at 6:00, give permission to remove Ray from life support, and watch him die. While Noelle is experiencing much grief from losing Ray, there was wonderment and immense relief in her voice as she told me what happened. She had been very apprehensive about the planned trip to the hospital.
"This is a blessing, Mom," she told. "A real blessing. He did not die by my hand, by my concurrence that he should be unplugged. He just died because his life was over."
Sometimes God's kind mercy is so startling that one cannot even say a normal prayer but just keep repeating over and over in awe and gratitude, "My Lord and my God, THANK YOU!"
Concurrently posted on Blest Atheist Modern Mysticism.