I am not Catholic. Much of my extended family is, and the family I married into is, but I am not. I grew up in the Methodist church and that is where I feel I belong. But when my little girl died, it was a Catholic practice that sustained me.
In my grief, I felt separate from God. I had a hard time praying and connecting with Him. But I knew Mary understood. Mary understood all that it was to be a mother and she understood the loss of a child. So it was her I talked to as I tried to reconcile my childless state of motherhood in my heart and mind.
Every month on the 24th I would go to a florist, pick the happiest flower I could find, and take it to my daughter’s grave. After talking to her I would go to the Catholic Church that her services had been held in and I would light a candle, kneel, and cry to Mary.
It has been a long time since I had that luxury. We’ve moved twice since then. She would have been five years and one month today. Last month, on her birthday, I went to our new Catholic Church alone. I took my journal and prayed. This time it was to Jesus. I lit my candle and prayed about my purpose and the path that my little girl has led me on. It seems I’ve come a long way since her death, when I felt I had no one to pray to but Mary knowing that, in the Catholic tradition, she would take my prayers to God.
Prayers are easier now. But as I talked to Jesus a month ago, I realized that I had not fully embraced my faith again. The fears that come up are a symptom that I am living separate from Love and, thus, not living my faith.
I was in a bit of a funk last night and still am this morning. My body and heart knew it was the 24th before I did. I was picking fights in my prayers last night. Even though I can connect with God, Mary, and Kalis through my prayers and meditation, on days like today, I’m glad for the Catholics and the candles and the pretty statues of Mary. And I’m glad to know I’ll see at least one hummingbird coming by to say hi to me today.
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