Thursday, April 25, 2013

A Moving Encounter

I had one of those mornings where the day wasn't starting off well.  It's take your child to work day today and Madeline really wanted to stay home with me.  Not too long ago she told me I didn't do anything because I don't work.  It's true I don't have a paid job, but I do work.  My day starts by 6:45am every day and I'm busy pretty much from that point until around 9pm or later.  Yesterday she came home from school and suddenly she was telling me that she wanted to stay home from school today and proceeded to tell me that my work as a stay at home mom was important and she could learn about it by staying home.  Bryan and I discussed it and we thought it would be best for her to go to school.  This morning I considered letting her stay home but decided against it once I saw all the kids she told me would be staying home at the bus stop.  At that point I started getting texts from her while she was on the bus first telling me she hated me and then pleading with me to sign her out before lunch because no one would be there.  I was feeling frazzled by the time I loaded Katie in the van to head to Mass.

Once we got to the church I was mentally preparing myself for whatever Katie might throw at me over the next half-hour (figuratively and literally).  Just as I was a few steps away from the doors a woman who I had seen at Mass many times before stopped me and wanted to know what size Katie wore.  I thought it was an odd question but I answered it figuring that maybe she was trying to gauge the size of a child she was buying a gift for or something like that.  It's not the first time someone has come up to me to ask what size one of my girls is wearing to figure out what size to buy for a grandchild or niece, but usually it happens when we're in a store.  Then she said something that I wasn't expecting.  "I just buried my two year old."  I stood there and felt stunned and overwhelmingly sad for her.  She told me that she had seen Katie at Mass with me several times and had been wondering about her size.  She has been going through her daughter's clothing and thought perhaps some of her little saint's clothing might fit Katie.  At this point I couldn't keep myself from crying.  I talked to her for a few minutes, told her I needed to give her a hug,  and asked her name and her baby's name so I could pray for her.  When she told me her daughter's name I realized I had already been praying for them but I didn't tell her that.

I spent most of the Mass trying not to lose it.  I felt like a wreck.  And Katie, well she was so incredibly well behaved.  Usually she empties the contents of my purse all over the pew and then takes my Magnificat and tries to rip it when we're at a daily Mass.  Today she happily played on the kneeler and didn't make a peep.   My usual Mass intention changed immediately after my encounter with this woman.

I cannot imagine the sorrow this mother must feel having lost her sweet child. I have seen her and her husband at Mass many times in the past six weeks.  They usually sit near me and I had noticed about a month and a half ago that they looked like they were carrying a very great sadness and I have wondered about them. Their little one passed just two months ago.

I only spoke with this grieving mother for a few minutes, but I am in awe of her faith and her strength.  Even in her sorrow she praises God.  I'd like to think I have that sort of faith, but I suspect on some level I'd falter.

I'll be praying in a special way for little Sarah's Mommy and Daddy.  Will you join me in lifting them up in prayer?

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