This comes from an article in the “National Catholic Register,” “Deathbed Victories: 3 Accounts of How Grace Conquers Sin, Even in Life’s Final Moments,” November 2, 2019
Dorothy took her ex-husband in at the end of his life because he had no one else. “I can’t believe that your mom would do that!” Edward had told his daughter.
“Dad, that’s not just mom,” she said. “That’s the love of Christ working through her.” Carolyn was 39 by then. Mother and daughter had prayed for Edward’s conversion for decades. “I learned the lesson of forgiveness and mercy when I saw my mom being merciful to my dad over and over,” she explained. Her mother brought a hospital bed into her bedroom to care for him. Carolyn and her siblings lived nearby and helped.
“Dad, we have not really talked about this, but we know you are going to die soon,” Carolyn said one day. “Are you ready? Do you know what’s going to happen when you die?”
“Yes, I’m going to go to hell.”
“Dad, are you okay with that?”
“No,” he said in a deeply sad voice.
“Dad, I’ve [basically] spent my entire life without you; I do not want to spend all of eternity without you, too. There’s no need for that. All you have to do is ask God to forgive you. Be humble, and go to confession.”
“Well, honey, I’ll do whatever you want me to do,” he finally said.
A priest was called in. He came into the bedroom and closed the door. Carolyn considered that her father’s soul now hung in the balance between heaven and hell. “I have no power. I have to submit fully to God,” she thought as she lay face down on the dining room floor with her arms extended out in the shape of a cross. In that moment, she experienced a profound glimpse of hell: a dark, terrible place without hope.
“Jesus, have mercy!” she cried and prayed. “I claim his soul for Christ!” She kept praying until the priest opened the door and invited her and her mother in to pray.
“A new person was there,” Carolyn said. “The look on his face was beautiful, like an innocent child. I was convinced that my dad was right with God.” She told him, “Dad, for the first time, you are truly my brother in Christ!” Carolyn added, “We prayed with him, and he was able to receive Communion three or four times before he died a few days later.” He passed away right after Dorothy finished praying a Divine Mercy Chaplet at his bedside. “We knew the race was won and the struggle was over,” Carolyn said. “It was the most amazing experience of my life.”