Monday, October 16, 2006

A truly spiritual experience

After surviving Suzi's bridal shower on Saturday (which really was lovely - thank goodness!!), some interesting things came up that have reassured me that 1) my faith is being restored and moving in the right direction and 2) that although I still miss (and will always miss) my angel babies, it is okay to still cry (even in front of a church load of people!), and remember and honor my children.

First, the event that kinda got me to believing that my faith is coming back and things have happened for a reason came about in a talk with Sister Angelis Saturday night (how appropriate, right? Dr. D's name is Dr. De Angelis! Never put the connection together before.). Sr. Angelis is a VERY Irish nun, about in her late 70's, who worked with Hubby's aunt (Cookoo) at her former job at St. James Hospital for many years. Sr. Angelis was "forced" to retire a few years back (considered too old to be working by the church) and was carted off to a group home for retired nuns - which she soooo doesn't belong in since, although she has a terrible back condition, she is a spit-fire.

Cookoo told Sr. Angelis in 2002 that Hubby and I were TTC our first and we were having problems. So, in her heavy Irish brogue, she said, "Well, we cannot have any of that, now can we?" She sent me through Cookoo the blessed St. Gerard medal that I had contemplated retiring in my post on Friday about the Feast (see post on The Feast of St. Gerard Majella). She promised me that she would say her novena for me every night and to never go without my medal. Obviously, all of her prayers were answered on May 4, 2004 when Christopher was born. From that point forward, whenever she stays overnight with Cookoo, we bring Chris over for her to see him and see how much he has grown...and he is always overjoyed to see her, like he has a very special connection to her. It is lovely to see how is acts around her.

Anyways, Sr. Angelis attended Suzi's shower - which meant she was staying overnight with Cookoo since the convent house was too far to travel to after such a long day. She asked me at the shower if I would bring Chris over later that evening so she could visit with him. At 7 pm, after all of our guests for the day left (meaning, the spouses and kiddies of the wives attending the shower - and, yes, my house was a lovely mess!), we put Chris' coat on and walked him across the street.

Of course, she was shocked (as always) at his size. "My heavens! He's huge!" she says. "Blessed be. He is just gorgous!" Chris went right up to her - with a very devilish grin - and says, "There you is!" She was tickled....with that same Irish, devilish grin. They played a bit - and Chris mooched some of her pizza, which Sr. Angelis thought was very amusing, and was pleased he said "please" and "thank you."

While Suzi played with Chris in the kitchen (where, from the couch we were sitting on, I can see exactly what Chris is in to...I think I DO have eyes on the back of my head!), we chatted for a while...

Sr. Angelis, while knitting, told me that Cookoo told her about the miscarriages I had and how long it has taken me to come to a place of acceptance about them. She told me that she felt terrible that I (and we - including the family) had to go through this. She has been praying that I could finally find some peace. She also told me that she felt she was "meant" to be here (she wasn't sure she would be able to get there if no one picked her up) - to talk about how I felt, to talk about going to visit St. Gerard for the Feast, to talk about replacing the medal that I have worn for 4 years. She said that Chris is such a beautiful boy - and that he is so well behaved and mannered for only being two - that she "will not stand for it" with her God. She felt that we should have another child to raise with love and that she will be praying every night that we are blessed again. She told me to make sure I got to the Feast and offer up my prayers and thanks for what I do have, and she will be praying along with me...

I wasn't totally sure I had wanted to really go to the Feast before this...I felt like it was going to be a waste of time. But, we did decide to go yesterday. We set our plans in place Saturday night to meet up with S&S by the St. Anthony statue. We got there right after Chris' nap (after passing the car-bq on Route 280) and Hubby decided to take come pics with the new camera while waiting:

(The Madonna and Child)
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After a little bit of playing in the plaza...

(me chasing Chris)
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...Zia and S arrived!

(Zia saying Hi as Chris is trying to get OUT!!)
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...And we played a bit, since there was tons of room for him to run around.

(Chris showing us his pet rock - or speaker disguised as a rock)
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After noticing the line wasn't too long anymore, S and I made our way to visit the Saint. We missed the actual procession because of Chris' naptime....but, it worked out okay because Chris was in a great mood with a 2+ hour nap. We got on line and, after waiting for about 20 minutes in cramped quarters with elderly Italian women squishing past us to see the Saint themselves, it was our turn to go up.

I took out my money to pin on Saint Gerard - $10 from me and $10 from my MIL, who couldn't get in close for handicapped parking for my FIL. I gave my offering to the Guardsmen and touched the Saint so that my charm bracelet (and my angel charms) would touch his face. Maybe it was the moment - or maybe my imagination - but, a wave a peace fell over me as I stepped down from the platform. It felt like I really needed to be there after all.

Afterwards, S and I made our way into the church, looked around a bit in the church and entered the actual shrine area where we lit a couple of candles and paid our respects. We stopped in to the giftshop and bought our new medals (relics included - thanks, S! I think I still owe money for that.).

We left the shrine and made our way back to meet up with the boys, found our dinner (gotta love the sausage sandwiches!!!) and parked our butts at a table to eat.

(Chris meeting up with us after coming back from the church)
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After dinner, Chris of course wanted to play some more...

(Stopping to appreciate the airplanes a bit)
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For some reason, I felt a need to go back into the shrine with Chris - not sure why, but I needed to. I guess to really give thanks for what I have in my life...and pray that, if I am to be blessed with another child, that he or she be healthy and happy. So, I asked Hubby for some money (since I pinned all of mine on St. Gerard earlier) but, he didn't have singles (S - the man! - gave us a $3 loaner...which we will be paying back!). I made my way with Chris....and Hubby in tow, which took me a second to realize he was behind me (sorry, a blonde moment!). We went in and walked around a bit and made our way to the shrine again...

When we entered, it was less crowded than the first time we went in. I put the $3 in the candle offering box and lit four candles - three for my angels and one for D from FF. Hubby asked me if I wanted to light a candle - I looked at him weird and said I did that already, like several! He clarified and asked if I wanted one of the glass prayer candles the ladies were selling at the table...he suggested we use it for the World Wide Wave of Light Ceremony for October 15th: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day later that night. I said sure...and he bought one for me, at which time the kind women also gave him a fist full of free, blessed St. Gerard Medals (some of which I passed on already to some ladies who need it).

As we made our way to visit the actual shrine statue, Hubby gave the man behind the alter of the shrine itself money and purchased three additional prayer candles - one for each of our angels - to be placed on the alter to burn until they went out later that night. It was at that point - in front of everyone - that I completely lost it. Not only was Hubby's gesture very sweet and understanding of what I needed, but to have these candles burning in such a sacred place was just amazing for me. Chris gave me a hug while I cried and a few people came by and patted me on the back, ackowledging without words why I was crying.

I was meant to come to the Feast... I found so much peace here in a month that is marred by miscarriage anniversaries....a month I used to only associate with marrying my hubby.

As we walked out, Hubby, Chris and I just held hands and walked without words. Our angels were resting peacefully with a great Saint... I couldn't ask for more.

We met back up with S&S at the table... We hung out a little longer and played with Chris (almost losing it again with S - talk about being an emotional basketcase!). But, by 6:45 it was getting chilly and I wanted to get home to light my candle for my angel babies. We walked out together and said goodbye and headed home.

I lit my prayer candle next to the St. Gerard statue that was given to me last October by another lady Cookoo used to work with (named Ana). I had wanted to give that statue back to her after my last miscarriage - I felt no connection to St. Gerard at the time, and felt like He had failed me (nice way to think, huh?). But, Ana would not take him back. So, for the past year, this statue has been in my living room and, up to this point, just "taking up dust" in my heart. That changed last night as I let the candle burn for three hours - one hour for each of my angel babies. I finally have the connection I lost...

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I took off the old medal I have worn for 4 years (placing it in Chris' room next to his crib) and replaced it with the new medal.

My prayers are with him now... And with St. Catherine of Sweden, who is the Patron Saint to prevent miscarriage.

1 comment:

Joy said...

What a special post. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.