Her husband S was in a bad way emotionally and all of the neighbours rallied round to support him. Last Thursday I went to do my bit and he had a list of queries that he required help with.
Much of the list was taken up with making arrangements for the funeral, disposing of J's clothes and so on. Yet, she was still alive.
To some this might seem morbid or callous but I think that it was his way of coping with the trauma. I am sure that many priests will have witnessed the same preoccupation with planning detail; I do not think that it is that uncommon.
His last query to me was: "How do I find a vicar, not one of those modern types?"
My response, of course, was to the effect that this was one issue I could not help with as I was a Catholic.
Then he dropped the bombshell by stating that J was also a Catholic but had not been near a Catholic church for many, many years and was very bitter about the faith as was he.
I decided to leave it there for the time being; any further attempt to steer him towards contacting a priest would have only resulted in more determined and bitter opposition.
But the next day, in the company of Mrs Linen, we tackled him on the subject again. After all, we said: "Once a Catholic always a Catholic". He mused on this and then Mrs L came in with a nifty bit of lateral thinking and suggested that the hospital would put him in touch with the appointed Catholic chaplain.
The upshot was that he phoned us that evening to say that he had spoken to the hospital Catholic chaplain over the phone and that, the priest had said that he was dropping everything to go and administer the Last Rites to J there and then - what a great man!
In the small hours of this morning J died without regaining consciousness but with the saving grace of having been welcomed back into full communion with Christ and His Church through the sacrament of Extreme Unction.
Phew! A close shave and a saving route that was surely guided by her Guardian Angel.
Please say a prayer for her eternal soul.