This past Thursday we celebrated Philomena’s entrance into heaven. The memories of that parting are still vivid. Looking back, I marvel at how God took me through that day. How did I survive that day when I knew I had to say goodbye to my daughter on this earth? I know, without doubt that God carried me through.
Philomena’s journey was more than that one day though. She had 10 weeks on this earth I was able to share with her. As you know, I sent friends and family almost daily updates and pictures. I have never been one disciplined enough to write a diary. However, I had done exactly this in my updates. I have a diary of Philomena’s life. This is a treasure!
Someone mentioned in passing to me, how it would be wonderful to read those updates in a book. I tucked the thought away until I was ready to embark on that project. Thankfully, my sister had put all my posts into a document for me. Getting those into book format would prove to be an undertaking.
I read my updates from each day as I created my book one page at a time. I traveled my journey with Philomena from beginning to end through this process. I looked at pictures I had forgotten I even took as it had been difficult for me to go through them. I read the hope and anticipation in the beginning. The uncertainty as things continued to get harder for Philomena. It brought tears to my eyes to read my own words. To know now, what I didn’t know then. To be able to see more clearly all the warning signs that Philomena was never to be able to come to her home on Berrypatch. I was able to witness through my own words and pictures the story of Philomena’s beautiful, short life.
The wisdom of hindsight allowed me to see God in so many of the details. God was preparing me a little bit at a time for the parting that was before me. He was strengthening me through the prayers and support of friends and family that kept me afloat in the storm. God was clearly on every page and in every picture.
When I was finished and the book finally arrived, it was so worth the effort. I found this was something not only for me, but for my children. They heard the updates from me each day, but it has been something entirely different to read and see the pictures of her. A friend was looking at it recently and Mary Catherine said to her, “I looked at that upstairs and cried.” Tears are therapeutic. Mary was touched by her sister’s life and suffering. I am so grateful this diary has allowed them to get to know better the sister they saw so little of. I am so grateful to God that I was inspired to write those updates and have this diary of her sweet life.
God continues to walk with me on this journey. He gives to me friends and family who do what I am unable to at this time. I know He continues to give me the graces necessary for my daily life. Praise be to Jesus Christ!
April 15th of this year was much different from last year. We truly celebrated with friends and family. We were privileged to be together in person to thank God for the life of Philomena on this earth and now in heaven. The cooler temps did not dampen our exuberant spirits! I was reminded through the celebration that this life is but a foretaste of our joy of being united forever in heaven with God. As much fun as that party was, how much more the heavenly banquet!
Again, I am reminded to thank you, my family and friends, for loving me and Philomena. For wanting to know what was going on in her life so you could pray for our family. Your love of us brought about the fruit of Philomena’s Diary. This book is a testament of God’s work in our life and in Philomena’s.
Pax Tecum Philomena. Peace to you Philomena. This year has been but a blink of an eye for you. Pray for your family here on earth that we may join you in eternal bliss at the end of our earthly journey. JMJ