On Tuesday I went to Mass. Since Mali passed I have struggled to go Mass regularly. I felt so unworthy of being in the presence of all the God in his house and the love I always felt at my parish, coupled with the loss of my ever faithful Mali who loved attending Mass.
Guilt. It added to the burden of losing my child. You see, in my heart I felt like I failed God. I prayed for many years for God to bless me with a little girl. I would make promises that if given a little girl I would try to be a better parent. I would love her like no other child.
It took 12 years to conceive that child. When she was born she didn’t cry. She just looked around, being cradled in her father’s arms taking in the world of where she was just born.
She left this life the same way. Quietly, cradled in her father’s arms.
I have ruminated over the last 22 weeks the why’s of her death. Why did she chose to kill herself? Why didn’t God intervene and save her? Did I not provide well enough for her? Was she angry with me, so angry she couldn’t verbalize the words enough to talk to me? I made it about me and not her.
I will never know why she did what she did. That question only God knows the answers to. God and Mali.
At Mass that Tuesday I knelt in front of a statue of Out Blessed Mother, weeping and praying after lighting a candle for Mali’s soul. I demanded she show me a sign of her presence in my life. That she intervene in my pain and lessen it. Imagine that, in my madness, I was demanding a miracle from a woman I greatly adore and always looked up to. Who I knew damn well was with me always.
After Mass was done I got in my Jeep and went back to work. I held the same defeated look on my face. After work I went home, exhausted, sad, in anguish Not unusual for me. I just wanted to go to bed.
By the time Friday morning came, I was sick. The medicine I am taking makes me sick every time the dose gets raised. I called my Manager and stayed home.
One of the fire and rescue crew that responded to the 911 call is a friend of mine. We had been chatting that day about the Suicide Prevention Walk that would be the next day and I was giving him the details of where to meet. Out of nowhere I decided to ask him for the details of the work they did on Mali, in trying to keep revive her. I had been wanting to ask for sometime, but thought it would be too painful to hear.
He assured me of the work they did. How hard the crew worked to bring her back. I asked if she suffered in the process. He replied he didn’t not believe that she did. He also reminded me that at the moment she died she was already surrounded by the love of Jesus.
This was profound for me. Something in his words changed my heart. I felt less burdened by my the constant pain I had been feeling the the last 22 weeks.
I went to Mass at noon. After Mass concluded I got a lot of hugs from my fellow parishioners. These also were different for me. It was as if God and Our Lady were working through these people to comfort my aching heart. One of these Parishioners had a book in her hand. She handed it to me. She said she had bought it a few days ago and read the first 3 chapters and something struck her that she wanted to give me the book to read. It wasn’t meant for her but for me. Confused I accepted the book. It is called 7 Lessons from Heaven. How dying taught me to live a Joy filled life by Mary C. Neal, MD.
After I left the Parish, I went to meet a woman for lunch who was a Nurse at the hospital I also work for. We went for a walk before lunch in the neighborhood of the restaurant.
She too had lost a child that was about the same age as Mali about 10 years earlier. They both went to the same Catholic school system in our city. She also had another daughter who was a classmate of Mali. She sat behind Mals in chemistry.
We talked for a couple of hours about our girls, how they died, our feelings about anger and anguish. Another weight was lifted from my heart after hearing her story and sharing mine with someone who understood the deep, searing pain of childloss. We both had working mom guilt amongst other similarities.
After I went home I analyzed all the experiences I had that day with these 3 people and came to realize my “demand” from Our Lady was heard. She intervened and sent me three wonderful people to ease the burden and pain in my heart.
Saturday was the first day I did not cry in 22 weeks. I felt joy blossom in the shattered brokenness that was left of my heart.
I am still trying to understand everything that happened on Friday. All I know is I was right where I needed to be. God has put many people around me in my blindness and anguish. My family, work family, strangers, new friends and all I can say is thank you and feel blessed.