Today I stumbled upon a little “Hello Kitty” cookie cutter kit to make Hello Kitty cookies that Auntie Sylvie had given the girls a while back and I almost started to cry. To catch myself (we were heading out the door to Mass), I said the same thing I’ve been saying for the last little while every time this happens: “She doesn’t need it, she has Jesus!”. That’s what I have to keep telling myself every time I come across something of Bernadette’s that was either her favorite or something she hadn’t yet had a chance to play with or do. She doesn’t ‘need’ this any more, she has Jesus. My dreams for her, my plans, all those little things I was looking forward to doing with her pale in comparison to what she’s doing now. It helps every time I have to make a decision regarding her various belongings, I just wish it brought some consolation. One would think it would, but it doesn’t. At least not yet.
It reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis: “He who has many things plus God has nothing more than he who has God alone.” that hung in our music room for years and I never appreciated or fully comprehended it until now. Every time I see something Bernadette left behind it makes me want to cry, to think of her having Jesus and needing nothing else, and it makes me question what I’m desperately hanging on to that I don’t need. Especially anything that could be keeping me from Jesus.
This lent I am trying “Greatest Lent Ever” from Dynamic Catholic hoping to have a totally different experience of Lent but it isn’t working out like I hoped. Instead I can’t help but wonder if maybe I’m doing it again – trying to be in control instead of listening to the Lord’s leading. Maybe the Lord is directing me down a slightly different path this Lent. Maybe He’s asking me to sort through my own belongings and dreams and plans and discard anything that is keeping me from Him. Instead of trying to discern His dream for my life (which I just can’t picture right now especially when it includes the loss of Bernadette which I can’t reconcile with a Father’s dream for His child) maybe I should focus on hearing what God might be trying to say to me as a result of Bernadette’s passing while the pain is still so intense and therefore any insights will be more real and have the greatest impact.
Dear Patti, I hope you will allow me to express my condolences on the passing of your daughter. So many of my own maternal emotions are stirred and challenged by your personal experience! I think the question of why would be the most painful, as you expressed. Why would God take a child from a family that is close and content? If I may offer my thoughts as carefully as I can, simply that I would think it would, over time, become a lovely reference point for a family as faithful as yours, to have a sibling already in Heaven, and waiting for the rest of her family. I just could not help but think that it would be a very lovely advantage in these challenging days to strengthen your other children in their lives. Heaven has become far more real for them, more personal, now that one their own resides there. I know that it is easy for me to speak, as I am not going through your grieving. I hope I don’t sound trite! I would like to mention that Mother Angelica did a wonderful series of Heaven, which I found myself watching just months before my sister, Rachel, suddenly passed on. I sincerely recommend it, Patti. It is a three-part series you can order from EWTN, I’ve taped it twice on my PVR, but I should order it. It was very enlightening in many unexpected ways. While the shock and grieving were certainly very acute for me, there was this constant, steadying sense of where Rachel was, that she was not wanting us to be sad, that it would all turn out for the good. Rather empty words for you at this point, I am sure, Patti. I would demand every consolation from the good Lord, if I were you, Patti! I believe the Heavenly populace is really very close to us, and I pray you come to a soothing peace about your loss, and Heaven’s gain! – as quickly as possible. I was also reminded of some experiences of the Martin family I learned about when I was in the Carmel for a few years, when I was in my twenties. St. Therese had experiences of her mother in Heaven visiting her in Communion. I remember, too, an experience Mrs. Martin shared in her journal . She was particularly missing a five-year old daughter, Marie Helene, one of 4 children who had died young. One day as she was praying in front of a statue of Mother Mary, Mrs. Martin expressed her longing for Marie Helene in her prayer, and heard Mother Mary say the comforting words, She is here with Me! I hope these ramblings help, Patti! Sincerely, Loretta & Roger Reid and family (sister of Toni) Asking St. Therese to send you piles of roses!
Thank you Patti for your words of wisdom. Every time I read them they touch my heart. Thank you for sharing.
keeping you all in our prayers.
I don’t know anything, Patti and I certainly dont know God’s mind but maybe your Lenten journey this year is to just rest quietly in God’s lap. Maybe he rebuilds shattered hearts there. That’s my prayer. V
The Lord blessed you with the gift of self-expression and perhaps that is what he wants you to pass on to others.