It was a beautiful November day earlier this year. One of those days you have to seize upon knowing the cold winter is coming. We decided to take the day off school and made reservations for the zoo. As is always the case for these expeditions, getting out the door proved harder than expected. Sadly, in my rush I lost my patience with sweet Thomas, 2. This was no more than raising my voice mind you, but it was uncharitable and unnecessary.
Car drives can be incredible times of reflection for busy mothers. Everyone is buckled in and knows mom is unavailable. As I drove down Columbia Parkway to the zoo that day, two things were on my mind. One, I was remembering my daily drive to see Philomena in the hospital taking the exact route. Secondly, I was regretting losing my temper with dear Thomas. It then struck me that I had the privilege of never losing my patience with Philomena. I was able to love her and care for her without falling into impatience even once. What a gift! As any mother knows, regrets over not being the mother we want to be weighs heavily on our hearts. I have no such regrets with Philomena. What a blessing.
On our way home that day, we stopped by Philomena’s grave. I was amazed at how tender Thomas was there. Sitting by her grave marker and placing clover flowers on it, he was giving her his love. Here before me was another gift from Philomena. The veil between heaven and earth is not as hard for my children to see having lost a sibling. Even little Thomas talks about his sister in heaven and enjoys going to see her grave. Yes this knowledge of the connection between the Church Militant and the Church Triumphant will serve them well. Another blessing.
Before Philomena, the mere thought of losing a child made me shudder. It was something no parent wants to think of. It is only natural. I never had the ability or desire to ponder such a painful cross. Now, having lived this experience, I can thank God for not only the gift of her life, but the gifts He continues to teach us through her passing. St. Philomena Pauline Marie, pray for us!