Monday, June 21, 2010


I absolutely, positively believe in signs from God. There are some things that are just too much of a coincidence to be anything but.

A few weeks ago, Beezus and I went to Alabama to visit my parents. (We left Mr. Q and Ramona at home to spend some special time together.) Obviously, Beezus and I attended church with my parents and I was delighted to have other people entertain her so I could actually pray and be thoughtful during the Mass. While listening to the homily, my dad was holding Beezus and whispering to her, looking at the missal, etc. I was struck by a thought while watching them:

Not only do our parents teach us how to parent, but they also teach us how to be grandparents. Wow, TSM was getting deep !

My maternal grandparents died when I was a young child, so I didn’t get the chance to know them well, but my paternal grandparents lived until after I was married. Simply put, they adored my sisters and me. They still did their own thing when we visited – bridge club, some part-time work, parties, dinners, so it wasn’t as if they smothered us. But oh my Lord, we were so loved. I have wonderful memories of the time my sisters and I spent at their house. When I’m at the dentist or bored or trying to fall asleep I take my mind back to their house and try to walk through it room by room, remembering all the details. I’m very, very glad that before they died I took a lot of pictures of the inside of their house so that I have great reminders.

So, it’s only natural that as I was watching my dad with Esther I was flooded, and I mean FLOODED with a feeling of warmth and strong memories of my grandfather. At the same time, I was sad. So, very, very sad that my grandfather couldn’t meet Beezus or Ramona – and we chose Ramona’s middle name to honor him. I was sad that my grandfather didn’t get to see HIS son as a grandfather.

Now, my grandfather was not a person to dwell in sadness. If he had been there, he would have said something to the effect of “Well, I’m dead and that’s the way life is, and there’s nothing you can do about it so there’s no sense crying about it.” Suddenly, at that very moment, the priest started talking about people who have died and how their last breath is something often anticipated and in some ways welcomed. My grandfather had lived a long time. He converted to Catholicism as a young man and I’m not sure he ever missed attending mass until he was older and had more difficult moving around. Even then, they would watch mass on tv.

So, there was no doubt in my mind that it was my grandfather telling me to stop being sad and to remember that he is always with us in spirit.

I was comforted and felt almost . . . happy.

But he wasn’t done.

A minute or so later, we sung a hymn referring to the Breath of the Holy Spirit. It felt like a distantly familiar song, and as I often do, I looked down at the hymnal to see the author . . . St. Columba.

St. Columba ?!?!?!

St. Columba was the name of the church where my grandparents attend for over 50 years. The church where we often went to mass with them when we visited. My dad, uncle, and aunt attended elementary school there. St. Columba has some pretty strong and significant connections to my grandparents and their lives.

Then I laughed. Grandpa was just double checking to make sure I got his message. He was with me, no doubt.

I got it Grandpa – loud and clear. Thank you.


Laurie said...

I loved this post. And, I love those ah-ha moments like the one you had. Your grandfather sounds like a special man - with a sense of humor too!

Elaine said...

This reminds me so much of my time in Rochester. Every time I had something on my mind it came up in the sermon. Also, the last time I attended church with my mom, in his sermon, the priest talked about how his nieces and nephews never went to church and it used to bother him until he sat back and thought about the big picture, and how the important thing was that they were good people doing good things. That was really a message my mom needed to hear, as she stood beside her FARC daughter.

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