Thursday night began our time of firsts that will obviously continue for the next year. Thursday night was our first night without Bernadette’s presence gracing our lives. Our first night not hearing her little voice say, “Good night. I love you too.” Friday morning was our first morning not getting up and rushing downstairs to be with her and hearing her say, “You’re up! I’ve been waiting for you.” Today was our first time going to Mass as a family in months and not having to make arrangements for someone to come care for Bernadette while we were gone. First time to stay for coffee without feeling guilty that we needed to rush home again because a little girl was anxiously waiting our arrival. The thought that there will be countless more is almost unbearable but we must face them with God’s grace and obviously we will.
This morning at Mass our pastor asked us a question. “What is the most important thing God really wants us to know?” His answer made my heart sink and cry out at the same time. His answer was, “our sinfulness”. I can tell you with all confidence that that is not the most important thing God wants us to know! He wants us to know how much He loves us. And that became so perfectly clear to me the other night when I realized how gladly I would suffer if it meant Bernadette would live. Our role as parents is modeled after God our Father and the last three month’s journey with Bernadette and wanting more than anything that she knew with no doubts how much we loved her is only a shadow of how much God wants us to know how much He loves us. Yes, our sinfulness separates us from His love and so we need to acknowledge it but only as a means to an end – to know God’s mercy, to be open to being loved and to love Him more in return! If we forget that and focus on our sinfulness we will never approach God and we will never know His incredible love for us!
I was thinking of it this morning, just how much God must love Bernadette. How hard it must have been for Him to hear all our prayers (all of us, not just us as in Bernadette’s family, but everyone who was praying so hard for her) and still take her home. It must have broke His heart to have to say “I’m sorry but I have other plans for your Bernadette. She needs to be home with Me now. I love her more than you do and she will forever be happy here. Some day you will understand. I love you and will comfort you. I am sorry.”
Thank you all again and again for all your love and prayers. We truly believe God heard every prayer, caught every tear, and aches to comfort us. The challenge now is to be open to His love and His comfort. Good news is we all now have a saint who will personally pray for us. I have a sneaky suspicion she already is but don’t hesitate to ask her. There is a good chance she is now past her incredible shyness and wants to do what she can to help us experience the love of God that she now lives.
By Janelle Tottenham — Feb 5, 2015 5:45pm
Patti and Mark, we are so terribly sorry to hear of the news of little Bernadette’s passing last week. I can’t even begin to understand how you feel, but I pray that you and your family will get through this very difficult time together. Please know that Nathanial, John and I had been praying for Bernadette and your family each night while she was sick. We are sending you all (((((((((big hugs)))))))). Love and God Bless, Janelle, John, Nathanial and Abigail Tottenham
By Teri and Nick Schroeder — Feb 3, 2015 9:26pm
Meat Patti Mark and family. We are so very deeply saddened to hear that Bernadette has died. We feel all you have said, and hold Gods love so very foundational too our being. Thank you for inviting all if us on your families journey of love with your previous Bernadette . Our world is a better place because Bernadette was in it, as well as the faith and love of her whole family, Bless you all in abundance as you begin this new journey. Lots if love and prayers
By Carol VanEckhout — Feb 3, 2015 4:09pm
Marc and Patti and family-we send our sincere sympathy in the loss of your beautiful daughter from earth to a great glory which was awaiting her in Heaven. Yes, you do have a saint that will personally intercede for you and help you find peace in the midst of your grief. We have been praying for you. May Jesus wrap his arms around each of you… The VanEckhouts-Dale and Carol, Jaden, Brendan, and Kristen
By Carole Landry — Feb 3, 2015 12:27pm
Dear Patti and Dansereau family, we asked God, for months, for a miracle for Bernadette….He made it! Loud and Clear…..Bernadette is a Saint!!! she brought hundreds and thousands of people on their knees to pray to their Father. She is a bright Light God sent us to show us the way. Through your faith and love you allowed Her to accomplish God’s will. The Miracle is repeated each time we turn to our Father in our grief, our joy and our need of love. Bernadette is a very great Saint…She is a real little sister to Jesus, not for what she did, but for how much God loves her. What we pray God for through her heart ,will be very well received and granted by Him. What could a Father refuse to a beloved child.
You are right Patti, your firsts to come would be difficult, but there would also be other firsts that would be overwhelming with joy…the first miracle, the first touch of comfort from Bernadette, the first of all of graces from God that she will spread over her family and friends but also over our community and far away over all God’s beloved ones.
My heart sings Alleluiah! Even though my eyes are full of tears.
My prayers are not any more for Bernadette but TO Bernadette for our Father.
By Sonya Barrett — Feb 2, 2015 9:47pm
Patti, Marc and family. I am so very sorry about your daughter Bernadette she was an angle on earth
and now is an angle in heaven. My heart, prayers and thoughts are with you all thur this time. God Bless
and keep you all in his loving care.
By Dorothy Hruby — Feb 2, 2015 6:14pm
Patti, your faith is like a shining star, so visible and awe struck. I also agree with you concerning what Father had to say. You are so right. I will continue to pray for you and your family. God Bless and Keep You.
By Kerry and Lori — Feb 2, 2015 4:23pm
Sure wish there was something we could say, that hasn’t already been said much better. We’re praying that you have the strength to see you through this.
Love and prayers Kerry and Lori
By Auntie Eileen and Uncle Paul — Feb 2, 2015 2:21pm
Patti and Marc:
The Redchurch Family has been a part of YOUR ‘journey of hope’ over the past few months and walked in prayer with you, your large extended family and your many, many friends.
Although we weren’t blessed to meet her in person, Bernadette has been an intimate and daily part of our life and family since the moment you started your journal. Through that same journal, we have been introduced to a legion of your caring friends and been witness to your strong faith. We are AWED by both.
Please know that, while we are unable to attend the funeral, we will be with you in prayer and spirit and be comforted knowing that Bernadette, our beloved angel, no longer suffers but rests in peace in the arms of Our Lord. With our love, prayers and sympathy.
By Terry Mae Sinclair — Feb 2, 2015 1:35pm
Such a beautiful post Patti, and I agree with you 100percent. My eyes well up and my heart overflows with such emotion for you all. One of my prayers through all of this is was that great testimonies would be shared and shower us all… with God’s mercy and love….thanks so much for your openness and insight – the Holy Spirit is certainly with you…..God Bless all and may He continue to carry you through the days ahead…..love xoxoxoxo
By Susan D. — Feb 2, 2015 11:48am
Patti, I understand the sadness in all the “firsts” that come with missing a loved one. The world carries on and we must accept our new reality, one new experience at a time, forever pointing out to us what is no longer. With God’s grace, we survive.
About the sermon…on selfishness and sinfulness…my heart cried out as well. Here I have had the honour of watching and feeling the amazing amounts of love, faith and selflessness you and your family exhibited through caring for Bernadette…I believe I watched God’s message in action… and it was all about Faith and Love!
Thank you for sharing your love with so many of us by writing so beautifully about Bernadette, your family and your faith. God Bless You!
By Kay Turner — last edited Feb 2, 2015 11:00am
Thank you for sharing, I am sure that you will feel her presence in your lives often. Ask her for a hug when you need one and be assured she will be there for you.
God Bless you all.
By Danielle O’Neill — Feb 2, 2015 5:57am
Patti, I agree with everything Zita and the others have said below. One thing is for sure. God is using your strong faith to reach out, teach and inspire many, many people at this time. May you feel God’s love more each and every day, and continue to be a strong, beautiful and incredible woman and mother.
My Bible is open tonight at Isaiah 49: 15-16 Can a mother forget her infant, be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, I will never forget you. See upon the palms of my hands I have written your name.
A clear passage of God’s love for us. Love and prayers to you and all the family.
By Laura Brestovansky — Feb 2, 2015 4:06am
Beautifuly said, dear friend. May God continue to strengthen and comfort you and yours!
By Zita O’Neill — Feb 1, 2015 11:52pm
It gladdens my heart to hear that you know you are going to cope with all those first with the grace of our loving God. I admire your strong faith and I know that this painful experience has already and will continue to bring you closer as a family. Bernadette’s birthday is just over a month away and I know that will be a very hard first. I hope you make it a time to really celebrate the gift she was and is to your family and our family. it is good to know we have another saint to call on in our time of need until we too, make that final journey home. Thanks again for all you have shared these past months. I cannot express how much it has touched me to be able to share this time with you. I wish I could give you all a big hug!! XX
By Allan, Angela, Jonas,James, Gabriel, and Mattias — Feb 1, 2015 10:40pm
You have always had a very mature faith and a true love for God’s will, not yours…you have always amazed me…and continue to amaze me with your sharing of your faith in this very sad and difficult time. I have already asked Bernadette for intercession….she will be your prayer warrior and for those who ask her. Our hearts are with you and your family.God is with you! May your hearts lighten with time. Thank you so much for sharing your deepest thoughts. Our prayers for you all continue.
Hugs and kisses – Angela
By rosalie verkin — Feb 1, 2015 8:20pm
Dear Patti, Thank-you for sharing such intimate thoughts with us. How deeply connected joy and pain seem to be in our journey toward God. Bernadette has entered into the eternal joy that we cannot even begin to comprehend and it has cost you all deep pain that is almost indescribable. Be gentle with your self and with each other as you go through your firsts, and in those moments that you must cry out your grief. May our Lord give you a peace that surpasses all understanding and gently cradle you in His arms. I continue to pray for you all every day.
Much love, Rosalie
By John Rabarts — Feb 1, 2015 7:45pm
Yes Patti, I agree with your sentiments – that god loves us, and wants us to know that, must stand way above our own weaknesses and sinfulness. You put it so nicely. God bless you all at this time, and thank you so much for letting us share the joys and challenges of Bernadette’s last few months through this column. I believe I came to know her and you and feel those beautiful and sad weeks and months in a way that could only be possible short of being there with you in Salmon Arm. John
By Patricia Kwitkoski — Feb 1, 2015 7:09pm
Patti, Thank you so much for sharing your most intimate thoughts on God’s Great Love for Us. Such conviction and deep faith that moved me dearly. What do people do that do not know God? I feel for them . Your witness to your faith strengthens me Patti. Like the little 8yr. old girl, I am happy that Bernadette is with Jesus. My prayers are with all of your family to be comforted in God’s loving arms. Patricia
By Matteo Raineri Cavalca — Feb 1, 2015 6:55pm
The firsts are not going to be easy, but with your understanding of what God wants us to know, it will be certainly a bit easier. You nailed it! What a perfect and sound theology! You know that what happened was out of love and Bernadette is safe and happy where she is, with her Creator and Saviour. Alleluia!
By Gaetane Shirley — Feb 1, 2015 6:36pm
I will continue to pray for all of you as you struggle to get thru all those “firsts”! Seeing your strength & faith thru this journey is an inspiration to all of us, & I have to say you make me want to be a better person. God bless all of you.
By Venee and Mike and family — Feb 1, 2015 6:26pm
Amen sweet sister!! So so right about God’s love for us ! Thank you for sharing the strong truths availed to you through such suffering. I am in awe of you Patti, your faith and knowledge and ability to put it into words, filling us with hope . Mike and I are praying for your whole family to be comforted , surrounded by angels, likely orchestrated by Bernadette herself. Heaven is much closer than we think! Great love to you all.
By Lifting you in love and prayer, Rene andJean. — Feb 1, 2015 5:11pm
Patti you are so precious you have no idea how many lives ,you , your family and dear Bernadette have touched through your journals, and through the sharing of your heart. We thank God for the blessings of you through this journey .
By Sarah, Henry and Simone — Feb 1, 2015 5:11pm
Patti we continue to pray for Bernadette and your family. My kids usually complain about going to church but they went intently today and without a single grunt to pray for Bernadette. We think about you and Mark everyday and we are so very grateful for your wisdom and insight in to your relationship with God during this deeply difficult time. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for sharing your journey with all of us. You are all truly lovely people.
By Lawrence Beaton-SAINT ANN’S ACADEMY, KAMLOOPS. — Feb 1, 2015 5:04pm
OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU AS YOU RECEIVE THESE GRACES THROUGH YOUR DAUGHTER. BLESSINGS ON ALL OF YOU.
By The Kurz’s — last edited Feb 1, 2015 4:39pm
Time will ease the sorrow you are so aware of right now. With the pain of loss still fresh on your minds God’s love and comfort ye shall seek.
Many are still praying for you and Bernadette’s moving on. May God continue to bless you and your family for being such amazing providers. Your strong faith has been an inspiration to us all. We miss Bernadette already but know she is in a much better place.
Sienna prayed at AWANA’s council time this past Thursday night. It was a prayer of happiness. She was happy Bernadette’s hurting had ended and was happy that she knew she’d see Bernadette again some day. During such a sad time it was amazing to see our now 8 yr old pray with joy and not sorrow…very touching.
By Mary Anne Neutelings — Feb 1, 2015 4:24pm
Wow, thanks for sharing that. Bernadette is truly a saint. She was so young and innocent. God bless you all.