Lent. A time to quiet ourselves and repent allowing us to come closer to Christ. As I have entered into Lent this year, I am emotionally at an all time low. Life is hard. There is no other way to look at it or to understand it. It is so easy to just go with the flow and not stop to look at the small details of our lives. But sometimes, life forces us to just stop.
As a mother of five beautiful daughters, I have always accepted that they are each wonderful blessings and that God has invited us to share with Him the wonders of watching life through their eyes as we guide them to their ultimate purpose on earth as well as our own purposes – to be ONE with God. As a woman, I remember kneeling before Mary at our wedding ceremony and asking her to guide me in my role as wife and eventually mother. I knew Mary. Or thought I did. I knew her to be a calm, loving, always supportive woman who was the epitome of what God wanted and needed in His Son’s mother. That’s what I wanted to be. I thought.
Over the years, I have strived to be like her. I experienced an intimate mystical time with Mary and Christ while in adoration one day. I was sitting in adoration feeling sorry for myself and crying out to God. God answered me that day by coming and sitting next to me in a mystical way. Beforehand, I was cold, trembling, beside myself with sadness and then, I knew peace, warmth, unconditional love from a presence I physically felt next to me. I heard Jesus say to me that His mother, was my mother too. And then I felt warmth, peace and love from the other side of me and knew without a doubt, that Mary, the mother of Jesus was sitting next to me and embracing me as well. I was in a heavenly embrace between Mother and Son and nothing was ever the same!
After this experience, I felt closer yet to Mary and found that my favorite prayer in times of need is the Memorare. She has never failed me and has always answered me. But, now I am being challenged to learn another side of her. That peaceful exterior comes at a great cost. And I am learning just how great a cost it really is/was!
Seven weeks ago, I had two of my children sick. Never a fun time! The youngest had an upper respiratory bug and my 2nd oldest had an ear infection. So, on our way we went to the doctor the next morning. Meds for both and all will be well. Right? Nope. The youngest recovered and went back to school and onward with life. #2 daughter didn’t. Over the next couple of weeks, new meds didn’t work and things were getting worse. Something just wasn’t right. Then, with her health getting worse, we ended up at the hospital where she was admitted. The infection in her ear had moved to mastoiditis and had gone blood borne/sepsis. They were also exploring other strange symptoms that had been popping up like edema in her legs, coughing, and back pain. After a long few days with lots of tests, surgery on her ear, a biopsy of her kidney, we were given a diagnosis of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus which was attacking her kidneys. She was diagnosed with Level III and Level V lupus nephritis.
When this all was happening, it wasn’t possible to really take it all in. Our only focus? Get her better! Now, that life is settling down though, reality is setting in and understanding is settling in. Understanding isn’t fun. Especially when you are facing the realities of the disease your child is facing. Realities that:
- there is no cure
- there is no prediction for how she will feel each day as each day is very different
- the costs of the medical care and treatment is staggering
- pain is now part of your child’s daily life – pain that includes descriptions like “someone’s trying to tear my arm off”
- pill cases and medicine protocols are now part of daily life
- looking to the future means a very blurry image including the realities that there may not be a future
- Facing the fact that you may outlive your child and in the process, you will walk with them on their own road to Calvary
That last one …… man what a doozy! But, we aren’t promised an easy life. Mary did it. I’m praying and leaning on her strength as I try to do it too. Mary trusted in her God. So, here is my attempt….. Jesus, I trust in You!! The more I say it, the easier it gets — right?