Aunt Alyce Sacco was my husband Mark’s aunt. She was eighty-three years old when she went home to be with Jesus, forevermore. I’d like to share with you about the last year of Aunt Alyce’s life and how God’s hand of love and mercy was so active all around her.
From September 4, 2006 (until she died almost a year later), Aunt Alyce had been sick and in the hospital, and in many different area rehabilitation facilities. She had open heart surgery in late September, went to an area rehab to recover, then spent her birthday (November 16th) back in the hospital and on kidney dialysis. During that year, she returned to her home once for a period of about a month, between December and January.
Praying For Salvation
On June 23, 2007, we asked our church to put Aunt Alyce on the church prayer list. Our prayer was:
“We pray for God’s Spirit to touch Aunt Alyce’s fear, feeling of being alone, and her pain and confusion about her life’s sorrows. May God fill her with the knowledge of His consuming love for her so she can receive His outstretched hand of mercy that will lead her into everlasting life in His presence”. In Jesus name, Amen.
Alyce was sleeping when we (Mark’s mother (Alyce’s sister), Mark and I) walked in her room at CT. Hospice. She immediately opened her eyes when we walked into her room and said: “I saw everything.” Not sure exactly what she meant, I asked her if she saw her whole life ‘flash’ before her, she said no. I asked if what she saw was bad or scared her, she said NO! Then I asked if it was good? With a sparkle in her eye and a big smile on her face – she said YES! (Just a little background information for you. During that time, Alyce was not communicating with us very much at all. Most times, even when we asked her a question, she didn’t answer us).
A few minutes later, as I was standing looking out the window, Mark told me that as he was standing next to his aunt, she said: “God forgive me.” I ran to her side and asked her to repeat what she said. She looked up to the ceiling, put her hands on her heart, and with a loud voice and a convicted heart cried out…
“God Forgive Me”
She told us she was OVERWHELMED! She said she wished she could talk to us and tell us what she saw. I told her she had just experienced the miraculous gift of salvation when she asked God for His forgiveness. The gift of eternal life offered to all who will believe in Jesus and ask for forgiveness of their sins.
Alyce loved to sing, so I asked her if she’d like to sing a song to celebrate her new life in Christ? She said YES! When I asked her what song she wanted to sing, she said HALLELUJAH!!! (Etymology: Hebrew word – praise the Lord – used to express praise, joy or thanks). Alyce smiled and shook her head yes when Mark asked her if she was at peace.
Three Days Later…
Tuesday, August 7, 2007, I went back to Hospice to visit Alyce. The curtain was drawn around her bed when I walked in her room. Alyce’s son Ralph came out from behind the curtain to greet me. He told me that he and his mother had just spent about an hour talking together. Then, she touched her heart and a few minutes later, took her last breath.
Alyce was free now. Free from sickness and disease. Free from her heart of sadness over losing her husband Ralph a few years before, and her sweet daughter Marianne ten years earlier. Heaven was promised to Alyce (and all who will believe in Jesus) in many Bible verses. One of which in John 3:16: God so loved the world that He gave (a free gift) His only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Alyce told me one Easter Sunday that she loved Jesus. She said when she looked at the cross at church that morning, she knew Jesus died for her. This was an awesome revelation for her. But without her receiving forgiveness for her sins, she would still have been separated from Him (by the great barrier our sin creates between us and a holy God). But thanks be to God in His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you… 1 Peter 1:3–5.
God’s Amazing Power and Tender Mercies
When Mark and I remember his Aunt Alyce, we are so grateful to our God for allowing us to share a big part of her last few years with her. We stand in awe to think that in His tender mercies, He allowed us to be with her during some difficult times in order to also share in her greatest victory. In His great power and sovereignty, He allowed us to be with her at the exact moment He answered our prayer of salvation for her. We are Forever overwhelmed (as Alyce was!) by His loving goodness.