Saturday, August 16, 2014

Here Goes Nothing!

Life is starting to calm down a little here. Mom's finances are now in my name, we've picked out and ordered our new fireplace and stone for the fireplace, Emma has started school (a couple weeks earlier than I planned, but whatever), and by next weekend we'll have painted mom's bedroom and begin turning it into our school room. We've signed Emma up for Little Flowers and ballet, and purchased all needed equipment and accessories for those activities. There's still stuff to do, but we're starting to see a normal life and schedule emerging.

So, yesterday afternoon out of nowhere, I got a STRONG urge from somewhere to start using my Progessence Plus oil again. As you may recall, that is the oil that helped me conceive my little Charlotte Marie back in March, who I then lost in miscarriage in April. Last time, I started the Progessence Oil, and about 2 weeks later, discovered I was pregnant. Just like last time, I'm about mid-cycle... I'm pretty anxious about it, and a little worried that I'll just end up miscarrying again. If you wouldn't mind praying for me during these next couple weeks, I'd really appreciate it. Please pray that no matter what happens, I maintain my peace and trust in God.

After I applied my Progessence Plus oil, I noticed the bottle was getting fairly empty. I started to just go online to buy another bottle, but I couldn't just buy another bottle without signing up for some kind of membership. So I just went for it, and signed up completely. I had planned on it at some point anyway, so I just decided to go for it. I can now buy whatever oils I need at a discount, which is great. So, if you live locally and need some oils, let me know! I might be able to send them places too. Not sure how that works yet.

Anyway, please pray for me.

Thanks and God Bless!

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sitting Shiva

I can't remember if I've posted about my heritage before, so sorry if I repeat something.

My mother was raised Jewish, and my father was raised Southern Baptist. I was raised around both the Jewish tradition (at least partly) and the Christian faith. My being raised in that way, with Christmas and Hanukkah being celebrated side by side, is a big part of what led me to the Catholic Church (at least, initially). The first time I heard Mass on the radio (EWTN, found thanks to a bumper sticker on a stranger's car), and they read from the Old Testament, the New Testament, and the Gospels, with a bit of very Jewish-sounding chant here and there, I knew that was where I was supposed to be. The more I learned about my newfound Faith, and the deeper I got, I discovered more and more of my Jewish heritage. I honestly never felt Jewish until I became Catholic.

When my grandmother died (my mom's mom) about 7 years ago, that was pretty much the last I saw of most of my mom's family. Then, about a month and a half before mom's passing from this world, we knew it was imminent, and she asked for all of her brothers. Surprisingly, all 3 of them came, made amends, and left on good terms. If you know anything of my family, you know what an honest MIRACLE that was. One of mom's brothers married a nice Christian girl, and they live in Georgia. Another one became an orthodox, Israeli-ordained rabbi and now lives in Missouri. The third one somehow became even more orthodox Jewish than the rabbi (or so it seems) and lives in New York.

Anyway, in the Jewish tradition, when someone dies, the ones left behind (at least, the family) "sit shiva". As my rabbi uncle explained it to me, "sitting shiva" means sitting in mourning for 7 days. During this time the mourning person is forbidden from going out or occupying themselves with anything other than remembering the one who passed away, learning lessons from their life and death, and reflecting on the family, its mission and meaning, how we might improve, etc.
Friends come and go throughout the day to "comfort the mourner" and in general to help them hash everything out and come to terms. In the morning and afternoon the synagogue's daily prayer services are held at their house!

Anyway, as part of this process, my rabbi uncle asked me to share stories with him about my mom, and qualities about her that I remember fondly. I don't know how typical this request was, as I was raised more Christian with a side of Jewish, but it struck me as very sweet. At first, I had trouble thinking of things to share with him, as I was still in "caretaker mode", and was experiencing more of a "guilty relief" (as Emma's godmother put it), than any kind of sadness at my mother's passing. As the week went on, and I thought of more things for him, and shared what others had said about her, I found I was getting back into "daughter mode" more. It really was a lovely, beautiful way of remembering my mother as more than my "patient" or "responsibility", but as the beautiful soul that God created her to be.

As I was sitting in Adoration this morning of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, I was brought to tears of joy and gratitude at the beauty of the last couple months, the many blessings that have already come from my mother's illness, how I was able to care for her until her last breath at home, surrounded by the love and prayers of so many people, and how our tiny, broken family has grown back together. I am so unworthy of all the beautiful gifts that Our Lord has seen fit to bestow on me and my family! I'm just awestruck at how generous He is!

Yes, at the young age of 33, I now have no more earthly parents. Yes, I miss the days I could call my mom, or go to lunch with her. Yes, I miss the free babysitting that was almost always available. But, I also now have 3 uncles again, I am left with a beautiful house in a wonderful neighborhood, virtually free of money worries, and the most beautiful gift of all: every time I start to even feel the slightest twinge of sadness at not having my mother, I feel this wave of warmth, peace, and love just wash over me, as if trying to reassure me that she is safe and at peace.

God is SO good! 💗💗💗

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Friday, August 1, 2014

Saying Goodbye

Since right after my last post almost 2 months ago, mom had literally looked like she was on death's doorstep, with one foot inside. All 3 of her brothers came, made amends, told her they loved her, and left peacefully. She had more than one set of Last Rites, and maybe a day or so before she was mostly in a coma, she was able to make a confession, receive communion, and make peace with our priest (she wasn't a huge fan). Then, this last weekend, she really started showing more and more signs of impending death. She started doing the "death rattle" pretty hard core on Saturday. Saturday evening before I went to bed, I wasn't sure she would still be alive when I got up on Sunday, so I did everything for her that I would want done for me. I prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet with her, made the sign of the cross on her forehead with some holy water from Lourdes, and put a few grains of blessed salt in her mouth. Basically, I just poured as many graces on her as I could think of at the time. She actually still hung on until just before noon on Monday, when she took her last breath.

Believe it or not, this picture was only taken 2 summers ago. Crazy how time can fly by, and seem to drag on at the same time. The last month and a half or so, mom was totally unable to leave the house, and really couldn't be left by herself for long, so I was unable to leave the house unless someone came over, who was comfortable with all her meds and needs, which was rare. Poor Emma was only slightly less trapped than I was, as she would get to go places with Daddy occasionally.

The viewing and funeral Mass were very nice. Many of mom's friends, and several of mine came to the viewing to pay their respects. She had an old patient of hers come (she was a nurse for over 20 yrs), a couple of old co-workers, of course friends, her internist and nurse, our alarm guy of over 20 yrs, and one of my cousins who came down from Chicago. My rabbi uncle tried his best to come with his wife and 3 of their 7 kids (the others were at camp) from St. Louis, but traffic delayed them so much that they missed it. They just came to our house to visit with us until 11 at night. There was even a Dr that came from the Chinese Clinic that my mom volunteered at that came. Turns out, he actually knew my dad too! His kids took piano lessons from my dad about 40 yrs ago! That was so neat! Not many people knew my dad too. It's been almost 20 yrs since my dad died. Anyway, our group of homeschool friends got this beautiful flower rosary for mom, that hung in her casket. Apparently, there's some way to turn it into an actual rosary, using those roses!

The funeral Mass was just beautiful! Of course, it was sung, in Latin, done by one of our favorite priests ever, Fr. John Hollowell. He, of course, was WONDERFUL! He talked during his homily about how my mom really inspired him by how she really didn't care what consequences came from her search for Truth, and her bravery at admitting after one set of RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) classes, which lasted nearly a year, that she just wasn't ready to become Catholic, but instead, just started the process all over again before coming into the Church just over a year ago. Chocolate Chip, who had been really surprising me with how well she was handling it all, completely fell apart almost as soon as the funeral began. I had a hard time seeing her hurting so much, and I started to tear up a few times myself, especially when they loaded the casket back into the hearse. Mostly, I'm okay, though.

After Mass, Emma's godmother and several of our homeschool friends pitched in and provided a very nice reception downstairs. These last couple days, while exhausting, and emotionally draining, were beautiful reminders that, while our family (in the state) may be very small, and shrinking, our network of friends and people that loves us, is quite large. 💗

After the funeral, Emma went home with her godmother, and Chocolate Chip, Mark, and I went to Buca di Beppo, where we had a nice meal, and Chocolate Chip and Mark shared a "Colossal Brownie Sundae", which was...well...COLOSSAL!!! Because after all, chocolate fixes many, many things.

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