A year ago today.


A year ago today Marc and I sat under a covered area at the Sorrento Park and watched Catherine and Bernadette ride their bikes around within the gated area while we tried to keep six-week-old Zoe from crying.  As we sat there we talked about the last twenty five years of married life and how we never dreamed that this is how we’d be spending our 25th anniversary.  Yet at the same time we were very content as we watched the two little girls having fun.  We talked about how much we were enjoying them and tried to imagine what the next years would be like.  Not once in that time did we dream of the horrors that we were about to face.  We knew we had immediate difficult times ahead with Johanna’s major back surgery only six days away but even that we were very confident would be successful – which it was.  I even remember sitting in a waiting area at Children’s Hospital and was just so thankful that God had blessed us with six healthy happy children.  Seems so surreal to know that at that very moment when I was so grateful one of my own children was already terminally ill.

Today, one year later, I think about that day as if it was yesterday.  Instead of the highlight being taking three little girls to the park, we had my Mom and Dad visiting, we watched a tree being taken down next door, enjoyed Zoe’s constant antics and Mom and Dad took us out for supper.  On the way home we stopped at the church thinking there was Rosary and Mass but we’d neglected to read in the bulletin that there was no Wednesday Mass until further notice.  So instead we spent a few minutes in prayer before going home.

I would be lying if I said I was surprised that I still can’t pray without crying and I still ask God ‘why?’  Why do children have to get sick and die?  Not just my child but all children.   The other day I was asked to pray for a little girl, Sephera, who’d fallen and broken her hip and the doctors feared it was cutting off circulation to the rest of her leg.  My prayer was a prayer of tears.  It seems the only prayer I have at the moment.  Even after reading Salvifici Doloris (On the Christian meaning of Human Suffering), and knowing that our suffering has meaning and great value, it doesn’t take away the pain.   It doesn’t stop me from praying like Jesus did, “My Father, if it is possible, take this cup of suffering from me!  Yet not what I want, but what You want.”   I would be lying again if I said saying that last line, ‘yet not what I want, but what You want’ comes easy because it doesn’t.  I still have to really wrestle with God the Father until I’m exhausted before those words come out.

When we returned home Catherine showed us all the art work she’d done during her six Wednesday’s of art lessons, as today was her last class and she wasn’t home yet when we’d left for supper.   On the back of her decorated 12″ x 14″ envelope I’d discovered the words:  BERNADETTE I LOVE YOU.  (She didn’t show us that part.)  It was incredibly painful seeing those words and knowing how much Catherine misses Bernadette.  Soon afterwards Marc, Zoe, Catherine, and I went for a walk around the block.  As we walked my thoughts were of this day last year and how here we were again together on our anniversary except for Bernadette and how her being gone leaves such a huge void in our lives.  We will never be as happy and content as we were this day last year.  Minutes later we met up with a neighbour who lost her husband a few years back.  I was struck by her beautiful smile even when she mentioned her husband’s name and couldn’t help but wonder if that was God’s way of saying to me, “See, you too will overcome this pain.  One day you will smile when you mention Bernadette’s name, it just takes times.”


By Patricia Kwitkoski
All your tears…. they are a way to release that deep pain that you have. Let them come freely. They need to come. And yes in time, whatever way you measure it, you will be able to smile when you say Bernadette’s name. Love & prayers, Patricia

By Terry Mae Sinclair
The last two sentences brought tears, but tears of hope for you and all who suffer loss. May your daily challenges continue to see glimpses of light….God bless xoxoxo T

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