Playing Catch on the Eve of Bernadette’s birthday


Marc finally got a one sentence answer out of me this afternoon about marking Bernadette’s birthday tomorrow.  We’ve invited Marc’s parents over for supper to start with.  Our family custom has been that the birthday person gets to pick their favorite meal for supper.  If Bernadette were here there is no doubt she’d like ‘my favorite chicken’ (breaded chicken pieces), Kraft Dinner, fruit instead of a vegetable, and pink cake.  Given that she isn’t here, I don’t think she will be offended if we don’t have her favorite meal tomorrow, since I don’t think her Meme and Pepe will enjoy Kraft Dinner.  Maybe we can have her favorite meal for lunch instead.

I think it would be nice if we ‘went to visit her’ tomorrow.  We haven’t been back to her grave site since the funeral.  I know it will be difficult, but I think it’s time.  Just thinking about it brings tears.   I use to think the tears could be controlled with a little ‘mind over matter’ brain power, but I’ve long since discarded that theory.  They come when they come and they give NO notice.  Darn things.

Today as I was sitting at my desk, my mind went where it always goes no matter what else I’m doing – thinking about Bernadette and where she is now and what she’s doing.  It finally dawned on me why, even though I know she’s happy, why it drives me to tears – it’s just the thought of her being somewhere without me and me not being there to protect her.  She was always so shy and needed to cling to my leg or behind my back, especially when we walked into church.  So to me her going into heaven is like walking into church and I’m not there to protect her from those people she’s afraid of.   I can’t imagine there being anyone in heaven to be afraid of, but then again there wasn’t anyone to fear at church either!  So is she still painfully shy in heaven?  I sure wish I knew.  Not that I can do anything about it, I can’t protect her now, as much as I wish with all my heart that I could.

Today the Kurz family dropped off a wonderful collection of books for Zoe and as I was unpacking them, with Zoe right there at my feet,  I caught myself thinking:  oh Bernadette will be so thrilled, these will be perfect to help her learn to read.  It’s amazing how, even though we’ve had five weeks to get use to the idea that Bernadette is no longer with us, I still think of her as being here.  She’s so much a part of who we are that it is still so difficult to grasp the reality that she’s not going to come skipping up the stairs any minute and ask us what we’re doing.

I also caught myself arguing with God.  “Why did You have to take her home so soon?  What was so important?  What was the big rush?  You gave her to us to take care of for You, were we doing such a lousy job or something?  I mean seriously, what was so wrong with her staying with us for another fifty or seventy five years????????”    I find it interesting how to me this is such a spiritual matter now and any ‘help’ on grieving that does not include the spiritual dimension isn’t very helpful.  That thought propelled me to hunt for a book on grieving from the Catholic perspective and it didn’t take me long to find “Grieving with the Help of Your Catholic Faith” by Lorene Hanley Duquin.  I’m very much looking forward to reading it and seeing if it can’t shed some light on my many questions.  Obviously it won’t be able to answer the most important question of “Why?” but it might be of some help.  I hope somewhere in it’s pages it gives me permission to be mad at God and it addresses God’s will with regards to illness and death – especially in children.


Sometimes I wonder how Marc is doing in all of this, very little mention is made of him. We are sure that he is suffering as well.

By mary scherr
Hey Patti, I hope this is one of those “say it out loud and it will go away” times for you. I can certainly understand you having a spiritual temper tantrum and letting God know what you think and feel, but remember that her life span had been decided long before she was born. You only had six years to teach her the ways of God and that God loved her. You accomplished that. The dearest thing to any mom is that her child get to heaven and you have that. Now its time for you to surrender to God in loving trust. I know its not easy, remember I have been going through it too. The sooner you can say “Lord, thank you for taking my child to be with You” knowing that she is in heaven with Him, the sooner you will heal. Being upset with Him who holds us all in the palm of His hand can bring on bitterness and draw you away from all that is good and holy. Grieving is natural and is a process that takes time, but don’t let the enemy take you down a road you really don’t want to be on. The next four Sunday’s our Masses are being offered up for Bernadette and family and I’ll be praying for you to be healed and have peace in your heart. Love you lots.

By John Rabarts
I so hope you have a lovely lunch. Grieving advice is not limited to Catholic. You may need to look wider. But try what you have first. I doubt that you find anywhere “permission to be mad at God” but the sentiment will no doubt be with you for a while yet – and one day you will be comfortable and realise it ain’t God’s fault. Nether is it yours, nor was it Bernadette’s. Look for the beauty in the life that Bernadette shared with all she was in contact with and recognise the wonderful beauty in yourself – that you gave to Bernadette and have through this long ordeal shown to all of us. God Bless.

By Sarah St. Pierre
I think its important for you to let the tears come when they need to. I hope the book helps you as well. We are praying for God to give you strength. You are an amazing Mother from many perspectives. Keep taking it day by day!

By Fr. David Purcell
I hope you all were able to visit Bernadette’s grave and glad you have good company for her birthday. 5 weeks is actually a very short time to get used to anything especially as you say “with regards to illness and death – especially in children”, and especially when it is is your own child, and… and… lots of “ands” to get used to.

I am praying for you all today!
Fr. David Purcell

By Danielle O’Neill
Patti, may Yahweh God bless your family especially on Bernadette’s birthday. I’m sure she will be praying for you, to help make it easier. Only wise souls are in heaven, not shy children, so she will be happily praising God – in spirit and in truth. Be happy too for her even through your tears. I know you are. Much love to you all.

By Laura Brestovansky
May Our Lord and Our Lady and St. Joseph comfort you today, especially, dear friends.

By Patricia Kwitkoski
Bernadette’s birthday will always be an emotional day. Allow yourself to let the feelings flow naturally. Holding back can make things worse. I am praying that you feel God’s ever loving arms comforting you as you experience tomorrow . Love, Patricia

By Sarah and Natalie
I read about you always, you are doing a wonderful job putting such lovely journals here for us to read. It sounds to me that your doing a good job, your sad days and unpredictable tears are totally expected right now, you letting me and others have a chance for being your outlet of some grief makes sense. Keep these journals coming.
When you wake up on Bernadette’s birthday enjoy it. Think all of the happy moments that you all got to share and have all family keep the happy moments there also. Your little shy girl will be smiling and thanking you all.
I would absolutely love Bernadetts favorite dinner, all except you could have both fruit and vegetables on my plate!

My heart goes out to you Patti. May God bless you in a special way on Bernadette’s
I recently heard or read that God’s shoulders are broad and He can handle your being mad at Him. It is also part of grieving so continue to talk or yell at Him if you need to.
Hugs and prayers from our family
Love Lydia

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