Several things happened this weekend and they all involved talking about Joaquin, again. It started with lunch with a friend on Friday afternoon. Towards the end of our conversation, her eyes welled up in tears and we both sat in awe of the whole thing. I said, “A mother’s instinct is amazing and even more so when we have a connection to God”. A second visit happened when I ran into a friend on Saturday while I watched Alejandro at his golf lesson. This particular friend had attended Joaquin’s funeral mass and we finally got the opportunity to speak. It was such a good visit as she bravely asked questions. In many circumstances, people tiptoe around the topic of death, especially that of a child’s death. But she didn’t because she felt a connection. She stated, “Forgive me if I’m being frank”. Frank? Gosh no! I want people to talk to me about what they’re feeling and what our journey has done for them. My friends, my life is an open book for a reason. Please, ask away!
Later that afternoon, I was on the phone with an old college friend. My friend is a busy homeschooling mom that works for a parish in her area and as the years passed we spoke less frequently, but had managed to speak prior to Joaquin’s passing. She had been sending me texts with prayers and support from the day that Joaquin went in until just a few days ago. I was desperate to talk to her and I finally did this Saturday.
And when we spoke it was beautiful. We spoke of St. Michael the Arch Angel as she suggested that I keep his prayer handy for those times when I feel like I am afraid. She reminded me of the Pieta (a painting or sculpture depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus)
and how, when you look closely, you can see her sorrow and anguish and at the same time you can see her peace. I got chills as I told her that my last moment with Joaquin was very similar. I have never connected more to our Blessed Mother than I did then. I was, of course, anguished and sad that I would no longer physically have my beautiful son, but at that moment I was at peace because he had no more tubes, no more pain and more than anything I could hold him again. While my husband and Alejandro cried around me, I was at peace knowing my sweet boy was whole again.
I asked her how she got to where she is now. Because truth be told, when I met her she was just a fun college girl just like the rest of us (although she was always more pious than many of us). She shared with me that through all the pain and anguish that she had suffered in the past, she has always felt peaceful in the presence of our Lord. I couldn’t agree more. I blurted out that I was feeling overwhelmed because I felt like I had finally been graced by God – something that I had been craving for years – at yet, I didn’t know where to go next with it. In a nutshell, I told her I wanted to be like her. I want to know exactly what to say, what to pray, how to pray. I felt like I was at a crossroads and didn’t know which road God wanted me to take next. She laughed and told me I was silly. She reminded me that I shouldn’t be overwhelmed but instead told me that if I can continue to listen to God, as I clearly have especially in the last three months, that I would soon know where God needs me.
So, yesterday, as my husband worked and Alejandro spent Sunday with my parents, I did what felt right in my heart. I turned off the TV and prayed. I spoke (and yes cried) to God and Joaquin for a good ten minutes. I texted two friends when I was done. Both are mourning mothers. One friend, whose loss is more recent, admitted that as she received my text she was not doing well and she didn’t know what to do. She was on the verge of a meltdown and home alone with both of her children. I gave her some simple advice (get out of the house and go to your mom’s!!) and told her I was there if she needed me. As that was going on, I asked my other friend to join me at mass. She agreed. And there we were. Two friends, both mourning the loss of their children in the place where I have finally come to find peace. As I sat there and once again, let His words sink in, part of Psalms 46:10 came to mind, “be still and know that I am God…”.
When we left mass I checked my phone and my other friend’s text awaited me “The kids and I are dressed and singing in the car on our way to my mom’s. Stepping out into the sun makes a difference, fast! Thanks for sending that text at the exact right moment.”
Then I realized, God is in control of my crossroads. My trust and faith is in God and Him alone. He never fails. So, I will gladly sit back and let Him lead me.
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