Memories, Mi Familia, The Power of His Memory, Theodore

His Mercy Endure Forever

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Dear Theodore,

I have to write. The pain appears too unbearable right now. This past Sunday, Divine Mercy Sunday, was the 8 year anniversary of your death. It seems like forever ago. I was only 10. Just a young child who’s world was turned upside down in one moment. I won’t go into real detail on what happened, I have done that here, what I want is to write on my own personal experience.

I remember being completely oblivious to what could happen. I was only 10, death didn’t seem real to me. I had never really experienced it. I didn’t know what it was. When we got the call from dad that you were dead, I still didn’t know what that meant. I repeated it to myself trying to see if it would make sense; it didn’t work. I tried to sort it in my mind what had happened… with everyone around me crying, hurt over taking them. I tried to think, but it was the shock that fell on me.

Bernadette asked if anyone would like to go and see you in the hospital, I went. I never walked in your room. I stood outside comforting Jacinta. I was scared. It scared me seeing my brother who was so full of life lying motionless in a hospital bed. Others who were there stood at your bedside. Tears filling their eyes. We all had the same thoughts, emotions. We were all scared. We were hurt. Our hearts broken. We were in shock. And we didn’t really understand what had just happened to our lives; our family.

It hasn’t changed. Eights years and I still question why. Eight years and I am still in shock. Eight years and I still don’t understand what happened. And eight years, I still am broken and hurt.
And so, I know that time will get better and I will once again learn to smile and laugh. My heart will be filled with joy. But right now, I miss you. I miss Nana, too. It has only been a month. I know God has a better and bigger plan, but I can’t see it. In the midst of my sorrow and loss, I don’t understand why this is happening. I can only trust. And as His “mercy endures forever”, I know I will be okay.

I love you, and Nana, too!
-Genevieve

Memories, Mi Familia

A Letter to My Nana

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Dear Nana,

Not a moment passes that I don’t miss you. Not a second of the day that I don’t think of you. Not a minute I don’t love you. Not an hour that I don’t pray for you. And not a day I don’t wish to see you. Just to see your beautiful face. Just to see you smile. Just to hear your voice. To hear you say just once more: I love you.

You were always there. You would call often just to chat. To be ensured that we were doing just fine. I remember multiple times when bad weather would hit our area, you were the first to show concern. You would call to ask if we were alright. You loved us greatly. Each holiday and birthday we looked forward to your card addressed to us. We became your little pen pals; writing as often as possible about happenings in our lives. We never saw you open and read them, but you were sure to tell us how joyful they made you. You always spoke to us with a loving voice and a smile. You were always there for us.

You were there through all the life trials we faced. Therefore there was not a doubt in our mind that we wouldn’t do the same for you. When we got the call early that Saturday morning, there was one thing to do. We went to you. We didn’t think twice about it. We flew to be by your side in life’s most critical point. We stood by your bedside. We prayed for you. We prayed with you. Though your voice was weak, you would pray with us as well. You were very weak, you stilled smiled. You still had the same loving affection for us even then on your deathbed. You told us repeatedly: I love you.

As we retired, you promised you would wait for us to return. We kissed you goodnight. You again told us: I love you. We left for the evening, only to return early the next morning. We stood by your side for the last time. We prayed and continued to pray until you passed. We were there. You told us you loved us, and you do. You promised you would wait for us, and you will.

❤ Your Genevieve

Memories, Who am I?

I Think of You in Fall

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Dear Theodore,

It is that time of year again. The time of pumpkins, baking, parties, cold weather, and rainy days. This is also the time to welcome all the holidays. Before we know it we shall be welcoming in another year. Another year of growing and learning; another year of losing and gaining; another year of love and sacrifice; another year discovering new things and saying goodbye to old ones; another year of finding joy and letting go. And as I sit here writing, this is also the time of year of your birthday. You would have turned 23. Can you believe that? Yet this will be another birthday we celebrate without you. In fact, this is the eighth birthday we shall have without you here with us. Most likely we shall do something to celebrate your day and visit your grave. We shall talk about you, and little things you said and did that we remember. A few tears will be shed; and we will recall the day we lost you and when we laid you in your final resting place. But in the end it will be just another day.

We will continue on with our lives… people going to their jobs or school. We will still have a house to clean, food to make, and time to spend. Life will go on and we will keep moving forward. We will age and begin forming our own, independent lives. We will “test the waters” (as they say) and spread our wings. Life will continue, almost as if nothing out of the ordinary ever happened. Maybe it is just part of growing up? Maybe it is because the more time that passes the farther away your death, and even life, seem? Maybe we are trying to hide from the hurt? Trying to tuck it away so maybe someday it may whittle away? Or maybe it is because we are healing? That as each day passes we are able to accept what happened. That we no longer have to focus on what we lost, but on what we had and what we continue to have. Though you may no longer be with us, we still have you present in our hearts and our minds. We may not think of you as often as we should, we still know you are there. You are there in each thing we do… from our tasks throughout the day, to moments of sheer happiness, and even our moments of deepest sorrow. You are present.

And as I sit here, (freezing from the cold), I am thinking of you and how you loved this time of year. How you loved the smell of baking and the excitement you shared as you opened your presents. It makes me think of you… the cold weather, falling leaves, windy days, the preparations of Thanksgiving… and I want you to know that throughout the business of life, you are there with me. That even though life can be crazy, it makes me grateful that I have a time of year where I think of you. And it almost makes the freezing cold weather not so bad.

I love you! Remember me always… even when I forget to remember you.

~Genevieve

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” -Isaiah 43:2

Memories, Theodore

Autism Taught Me To Love

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Dear Theodore,

I know I haven’t written in a long while but I wanted to share something with you. The other night while serving a party the mother informed me that her little boy had autism and that is why he was acting the way he was. I smiled in spite of myself and told her “oh that’s fine! I had a brother with autism.” I didn’t say any more just went on with serving them. Although after that, I payed more attention to how he acted and also how his family and friends treated him.

It led me to think of how it was when you were here. How whenever we would go out dad or Dom would watch over you. How we would inform people of your condition so they would understand. How we refrained from social gatherings since you didn’t like them. And the numerous sacrifices we made for your happiness. Sometimes we would be annoyed or embarrassed with your behavior but mom and dad would remind us how you were “like a child” and couldn’t understand.

We too were unable to fully understand you or why we had to miss so much because of you. But if I pause and think about my life with you there is something very wonderful that you taught not only me, but everyone who knew you. And that was love. You taught me how to love everyone, no matter their condition or state in life.

And as I served my table I couldn’t help but think of the life lessons their little brother was teaching them. Or the graces they were receiving by their little sacrifices they make for his happiness. It pained my heart because I know I will never be given those opportunities again and I wish I had cherished them more. I wish that I could have those moments again. Those moments of learning to love and care for others. They were small and simple sacrifices, but the reward they gave and impact they had, to this day, I remember.

Love,

Genevieve 

P.s. “But the greatest of these is LOVE.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Memories

A Simple Prayer

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Today as I brought a meal to one of my tables, the gentleman asked “Are you going to pray for us?” I respond, “If you would like me too.” He nodded, and I informed them that I was Catholic, which he assured me would be just fine. So, I led them in prayer before they ate their lunch. After I finished, they thanked me for leading the prayer and anytime I checked on them they would again thank me.

It may not seem like much, but really it was quite an expirence for me. Here I am, just out of high school, working out in the world at a restuarant. A restaurant where I have witnessed many things. Where most guest just want to get their food, then check and get out of there. Rarely do I see folks pause a moment and thank the one who gave them the food. Even more rarely, do I see them ask their server to lead the prayer for them.

Though it is hard to describe, this expirence gave me a new spark of faith. I couldn’t hold back my smile and the rest of the day I felt an indescribable joy within me. It is the smallest and simpliest things that touch us the most. It is moments like these that God reveals his presence. It is in these simple moments that I know God IS everywhere. Not just in Churches… but the sparkle in the child’s eye; the elderly woman thanking me for being there; and the joy the table received as I led them in a simple prayer.

“And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” Matthew 28:16 ❤

Memories

Europe Part 1: Highlights

I know I have neglected to post in a long while. So much has happaned and in all good time I shall share, but first let’s start with the biggest thing that has ever happened in my life. On May 20th, my older brother and I left for a two week tour of Europe: France, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. This tour included a three day pilgrimage from Notre Dame de Paris to Notre Dame de Chartes (a 75 mile hike). We seriously had an unbelievable experience and I want to take a moment and highlight the points of our European adventure that really made it the time of our lives.

From our two days of travel…

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We became sick of airports! 😉

To the architect in Paris…

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The Iffel Tower. 🗼

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To being covered with pigeons…

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To the numerous cathedrals…

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Notre Dame de Paris.

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Paray-le-Monial.

To the multiple nuns who welcomed us–complete strangers…

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To the witness of the 12000+ pilgrims…

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These pilgrims came from all across the world.

To the amazingly beautiful alps…

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You can truly see the hand of God. 🗻

To our chaplain who was always there for us…

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To the numerous friends that I made…

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Thank all y’all for the memories.

And last but not least, to my brother who invited me to share in this once-in-a-lifetime expirence…

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I love you! 💞

I can never explain enough just how much this impacted my life and my faith. I went not really knowing what I was doing and returned with more than I ever thought possible. It’s amazing how God works… He truly blessed me in allowing me to go on this tour that not only increased my historical knowledge, but also brought me closer to Him. With actually seeing what our forefathers went through for their faith truly gave me an unknowing trust that I am truly never alone.

Memories, The Power of His Memory, Who am I?

How do you stay so happy?

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The other day someone asked me: Genevieve, how do you stay so happy?

I was uncertain as how to respond. I kind of chuckled and thought do I really seem happy? This was the day after the funeral of a very close friend’s baby sister. I was rather stunned that this person asked me this question when deep inside I was falling apart. I thought for a second, then replied: Because I focus on the positive. 

The person quickly asked: And what are those?

I replied that I am healthy. I am not dying. I have friends. Family. And my God who love and care for me deeply. I didn’t think much of our little encounter until afterwards. As I was leaving work, I began thinking about that question. I thought to myself: what made him think that? What about my behavior/attitude made him think that? I was perplexed since I didn’t view myself as being very happy. I feel stress, overwhelm, hurt, and lonely. The last feeling I had was happiness. Yet something about my attitude made this person think that I was happy. Something I either said or did made others think that I was happy. Maybe it was my smile. My hearty good-morning to them. Or, maybe it simply was because I am happy. Since if I really sit down and think about everything that has happened in my life, there has been sorrow and pain, but truly I’ve had moments of true happiness.

From the moment my parents baptized me, I’ve had the opportunity to experience true happiness. Happiness that comes from within. Happiness that is lasting. Since God is true happiness and He gave Himself to me so that I can possess the ultimate happiness. The happiness of being with Him forever. As we are taught in our early years of Catechism, if you were the only person, Christ still would have died just for you. It’s a simple way of explaining God’s love for us, yet it is so accurate. I have to remind myself of that simple phrase sometimes, and I will admit sometimes it does not seem to be enough. But if I actually took the time to think of all that has happened in my life–the good and the bad–I would have to admit that I am happy.

And because of all that, I stay happy. I know times get hard and rough, but they get better. This has been proven to me from time and time again. And, as I think about this, I realize just why one would think I am happy… because I have no reason not to be.