Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reisterstown, Maryland
Monday, April 13, 2009 8:51 AM, CDT
Good Monday morning,
Please forgive me for not writing in three days. We have had three days of busy, fun, normal as can be expected living!
I want to share an experience from last Thursday. When Sicily was inpatient last weekend, our priest, Father Joe, came to visit and while there he asked if Sicily would be able to assist in carrying the Oil of the Sick for presentation at Holy Thursday mass. I thought it would be an honor and told him as long as Sicily was feeling okay, we'd be there. He said she would be escorting another parishioner who is currently battling breast cancer.
I need to explain a little more background before continuing on with this story so you can understand the true impact. We had just moved to Broken Arrow in June and began attending St. Benedict's church the second weekend we were here. I'll never forget trying to dig out church clothes and shoes amongst the many yet to be unpacked boxes. But it was very important to me for us to find a church home as soon as possible. The church is were I hope to meet new friends and find a family away from our own. This church is a large church, in terms of members, and I knew it might take me awhile to meet and get involved, but that was a goal.
Currently, due to our circumstance, I still don't know very many people and I haven't had a chance to get involved, but hope to soon! After several Sundays, Patrick and I decided to check out the nursery for Sicily, as she has always been quite a handful during mass. Most services usually ended with Patrick and Sicily waiting for the rest of us outside or already buckled up in the mini van. Frustrations usually ran high! So despite experiencing my maternal feelings of abandonment, we began to leave Sicily in the care of some very nice women. She had only been in the nursery for a little over a month when our lives turned up side down on that late August weekend.
After Sicily was diagnosed on Friday, August 22nd, my sister came from Oklahoma City to take our older three kids home with her for the weekend so Patrick and I could process what was going on and have some special bonding time with Sicily. Father Joe anointed Sicily with the Oil of the Sick in our home Saturday evening, and on Sunday morning, Patrick and I took our little pocketful of sunshine to church. We decided to have her stay with us during mass instead of taking her to the nursery, but she wanted to go say hi to her friends...the women who worked the nursery. We never learned names but faces were becoming familiar, especially the one of the woman who always greeted us at the nursery door. She once again was there as I held Sicily in my arms and explained through tears that she wouldn't be visiting the nursery for awhile as she was just diagnosed with cancer. This sweet lady shed tears right along with me. I will never forget the look in her face!
Fast forward to Thursday evening. Sicily and I arrived at church early so I could meet the lady she would be escorting. We no sooner walked in the door, when my eyes met the gentle eyes of a familiar face and an excited wave. There, with her bald head wrapped in a scarf, was our nursery friend...who by the way does actually have a name...Miss Kayla - the St. Benedict's nursery director. My heart was overwhelmed. Of all people...I couldn't believe she was the one. We stood and talked about her cancer for a short spell, and she told me she was diagnosed in September, shortly after Sicily. I confidently left Sicily in her care as they prepared for their walk. I sat in the last pew on the very end so Miss Kayla could easily return Sicily to me when they were done. The minute I knelt down the tears began to flow.
When the service began, I turned to see Miss Kayla, with the Oil of the Sick held in her left hand, and the hand of my daughter cradled in her right. And to my surprise, she had removed the scarf she was wearing that had concealed her hairless head. They were the first to walk down the isle in front of the whole congregation, and stood proudly for all to see for about ten minutes. When Miss Kayla brought Sicily back to me, she leaned over to hug me and whispered in my ear, "Sicily wanted to know why I was wearing that on my head." My tears continued. Even though I have only been around this special woman for a brief time in my life , I feel a very strong bond with her.
I held Sicily through the service as she rested her tired head on my shoulder for only about half an hour. She was tired so we left early, though I felt I could have spent the whole night there. The feelings of peace, comfort, acceptance, love and compassion were surrounding me as all eyes in the church had focused on those two beautiful, brave beings. I know where we belong!
So, I could have journaled about this on Thursday, but I didn't think I could see good enough through me tear swollen eyes and I decided I needed a little time to relish the moment! I also found out that this was the first time the oils had been carried down on Holy Thursday this way at this church for very long time. Again, it was such an honor. Sicily may not understand the impact, but mommy sure does!
Good Friday was spent getting the house ready for Sicily's birthday celebration on Saturday and baking one hundred and twenty-two cupcakes. I like to make a special cake for my kiddos for their birthdays and it usually takes me a whole day to do it. I asked Sicily (in a very excited voice) if she would like mommy to make a whole bunch of beautiful, bright and colorful cupcakes that we could put on a cascading stand...or (in a low, dull voice) did she just want an old cake? ; ) Guess what she chose? Cupcakes are still time consuming but very low stress. I'm all about minimizing stress these days!
Her party on Saturday was a huge and wonderful success thanks to family, many who traveled long distances from Kansas, Texas and other parts of Oklahoma, and some special young friends. She had a blast, and we can't thank enough all involved for making her feel so special! What a wonderful memory. We spent a rainy Easter Sunday at home after attending church at noon. But it was nice. We had time to wind down a bit from all the previous days excitement.
Sicily has an appointment tomorrow morning for a CBC. I'll journal how she's doing. Her birthday "week" will continue as her actual birthday is on Wednesday. We have a special surprise saved for her then. Everyone have a good "beginning of the week" Monday! Thank you for continuing the support. We wouldn't be where we are without all of you helping us along! God Bless!