My Uncle Marcel was my mother's only sibling. He earned three degrees, was a member of the US Peace Corps in the early 1960s serving in the Philippines, was a tenured Associate Professor of Biology, and upon his retirement, was named professor Emeritus.
Uncle Marcel was one of those relatives who would pull you aside and ask you "what are you doing?" As a late teenager I would look at him quizzically and ask what he meant. He would repeat the question until I understood what he was really asking - what are you doing with your life? His question was appropriate at the time, having dropped out of college to work at a local supermarket chain. I can certainly credit him with helping me return to college and get myself on track for a career in computer science.
But later in life, my uncle was elusive. He didn't attend any family events and did not stay in contact with his only sister after my grandparents passed away. It was years before I heard from one of his best friends, a fellow colleague and professor, that he had fallen ill and wanted to see me. His illness was brief and for a very short time, I visited him on several occasions. But his elusiveness returned and it had been a few years between that time and the time I learned of him suffering a major heart attack just recently.
Along with my mother and my sister, we visited my uncle in the ICU. We learned that he also suffered a massive stroke, most likely associated with his heart attack. He was not doing well. He seemed to slightly respond to our voices when we visited him but was generally unresponsive. I was then contacted by an associate of his that was his Power of Attorney. He was able to get arrange a discussion with the ICU doctor where we learned that he would not survive a day without his breathing tube. My uncle had a do not resuscitate order, which we honored. His breathing tube was removed and he passed away peacefully some ninety minutes later.
My uncle was a baptized and confirmed Catholic. He stepped away from his faith calling himself an atheist shortly after receiving his PhD in Biology. After we learned of his condition, we arranged for a priest to administer the Anointing of the Sick. On the first night we saw him, we prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet over him. After they removed his breathing tube, I stayed with my uncle until he passed away. No one should die alone. I prayed a Rosary for him while I was with him before he passed.
Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet at the hour of death can bring many special graces: