My SIL just posted this photo of Alliya and I. As soon as I saw it, I recognized the setting. This was taken as John, Vince and I were leaving our cousin's wedding. I sought out Alliya and knelt down to give her a big hug. I wanted to thank her for giving me the rose out on the dance floor. I'm so glad my FIL caught this moment because to me, it conveys so much more than Aunt Gina smiling at Alliya. It's me - on my knees with gratitude - beaming up at my source of Divine Providence and Consolation... my hands around her waist and her hands on my shoulders.
I love that she's in Blessed Mother blue to boot.
Last night, we celebrated the wedding of our cousin, Ryan.
Something really, really special happened out of no place, and my heart is still incredibly grateful.
Vince and I were taking a rest from the dance floor when I heard the beginning chords of "Can't Help Falling in Love With You" by Elvis.
I thought it'd be nice to scoop Vince into my arms for a slow dance. As we began rocking to the music, I felt John come up and put his arms around us.
Instantly, I had this inner yearning for him to be dancing with Myla. I was struck with missing her fiercely. I should be dancing with Vince, and he should be dancing with Myla.
Suddenly, as if on cue, our niece, Alliya, tugged on my dress and said, "Here you go."
She held in her hands a perfect, pink rose.
I took it from her and handed it to Vincent. Immediately he began kissing it over and over and over again.
Just when I began grieving being unable to physically hold her in my arms, Heaven sent me a rose in the vein of Myla's namesake, St. Therese, who is still known to shower these flowers to those who ask for her intercession.
I clutched Vincent to myself and felt the tears of gratitude spill. Vince kept that rose with him for the rest of the night. He fell asleep with it on the way home. When I finally tucked him away in bed, he wanted to make sure that "his flower" was safe in water. We put it in front of the Blessed Mother statue on his dresser.
What a blessed gift when I needed it so.
Thank you, God, for giving me these little kisses from my daughter. Myla Therese, you be extra sweet to Sister Therese for me, okay? One day I'll return all of these kisses a thousandfold. I love you, sweetie.
Today was Nanny's funeral. She passed away last week surrounded by her children.
God is good in that He allowed her to let go while holding the hands of those who loved her so much.
She is at peace.
Throughout my vigils while she was in the hospital or in hospice care, I would pray with her. I'd say, "Nanny, offer up everything as Purgatory on earth. This way, when you see Jesus come for you, you can fly right to Him. You fly RIGHT TO HIM."
She opened her eyes at one point and I knew that she understood. As the priest said today at her funeral, Nanny's path to Heaven was well-worn with prayer. She knew Jesus and no doubt offered up her last moments in union with Him. I really believe she went straight to Heaven as a result.
The funeral was held at St. Edmond's again - just like Uncle Billy's. Nanny, too, was lucky to have her final Mass said in such a beautiful church.
I was asked to do the 2nd Reading and General Intercessions. You folks know I don't like going into the sanctuary for any reason (so I gave up duties as a lector), but I didn't want to turn down my mother-in-law when she asked. I willingly offered myself for any and all roles they wanted me to handle. One less thing on their plate to worry about...
The reading was fine. The funeral intercessions always give me a tough time because they focus heavily on the grieving family. I had to read them at my own Grandmom's funeral, and I remember faltering over words because I was trying to contain my tears. Today, I fought the same battle, especially when I read the intercession to pray for those who passed before Nanny and who welcomed her into Heaven.
I thought of Myla, and I knew Nanny had gotten to meet her.
As I made my way back to my seat, I asked Nanny to hold her and kiss her for me. Nanny responded by sending me a tiny white carnation at Communion.
After I received the Eucharist, I turned to walk back to my seat when I saw this small white flower on the sanctuary floor. I knew it was mine. It was as if I recognized my wallet or saw my purse hanging off the back of a chair. Instantly I stooped down - without thinking - to pick up my flower.
As soon as I held it, I realized it was from Nanny. I believe it was her way of letting me know she'd heard my prayer. She sent me my favorite flower - a carnation - in pure white, a sign of innocence. And given how tiny it was, I knew it was for Myla.
I must've thanked God for this favor a million times. I was so appreciative of this gesture of love.
I was holding John's hand, so I slipped the tiny bud between our intertwined fingers. This is what it looked like:
See how tiny it is in comparison to our hands? This tiny bloom of life briefly held, again, between the two of us. It was just very, very special to me.
God is so good to us, and for no other reason than love.
Rest in peace, Nanny. We love you.
I had given up hope of ever having "proof" of my pregnancy with Myla. Imagine my surprise, then, when I walked out of the doctor's office with it on Monday morning.
Yeah. Let that sink in.
Without getting into graphic detail, let's just say God gave me the proof I thought I'd been denied and allowed me to give John what he needed to accept the reality of Myla's existence. I spent the day in a state of semi-bliss.
I was able to share the news with John over coffee Monday night. I wasn't even sure how to bring it up, so I gave him the prescription and evaluation slip from my OB. I explained to him what they meant, and he took my hand in his and said, "Now I feel terrible."
I said, "I don't want you to feel terrible. It just gives you the proof you needed, and I'm really happy you know I'm not crazy."
In truth, he shouldn't have needed the diagnosis from my OB to rationalize that. But hey... God knew he'd need it, so God made arrangements.
We only spoke very briefly, and I designed the conversation that way. I knew he'd need some time to process things, and I didn't want him to feel overburdened with guilt for his lack of trust / support. So I brought out the note at the tail end of Vincent's hour-long therapy session. We tend to go to a coffee shop across the street as an impromptu 1-hour date. 10 minutes before we had to head back to pick Vince up, I pulled out the OB's note. It gave me just enough time to explain things, let the news sink in, and hear his initial reaction.
He said he wasn't sure how he felt, because she still wasn't "real" to him. He believes now that she existed, but much like many other men, she was too early to be "real" to him. I understand that. I'm just not sure how I can support him because I don't know if he even needs support (now or ever). I don't know if he'll ever want to bring her up. I don't know if he will want to and won't know how. I don't know if he's struggling with guilt because he's secretly glad she passed away. I dunno.
I'm just so incredibly thankful that God manifested His mercy in such an unexpected way. Prayers are never wasted, and every day brings a new miracle.
Mommy loves you so much, Myla. I wonder if you made some sort of deal with God to arrange this for your Daddy. I can't wait to see you in Heaven one day, baby girl. What a moment that will be when I see you and wrap my arms around you. Kiss after kiss I will rain upon your face. My little flower. Words cannot express my appreciation for you. <3
See those beautiful gold flowers? They are the most beautiful reliquaries I've ever seen. These uniquely crafted flowers contain the relics of St. Therese and her parents, Blessed Marie-Azélie Guérin and Blessed Louis Martin.
We here in Philadelphia were lucky enough to have these relics sent to us as gifts from France. They were displayed for public veneration for a full week at the Cathedral Basilica. Just beautiful, right?
I ended up coming back again on Saturday with a friend of mine. John opted to stay in the car, but Chrissy, Vincent and I went in to pray before them one last time before they got sent to their final destination - a Carmelite monastery (also in Philadelphia).
Vincent had never experienced public exposition before, so I really wanted him to see this part of our faith while he had the chance. We waited our turn to kneel before the relics and I pulled him next to me. He wasn't quite sure what to do. I think he wanted to touch the reliquaries (which makes sense - they are super shiny!). I told him, "Those are special flowers that have kisses from Heaven in them. Can you thank Jesus for His special kisses?"
Vincent said, "Thank you, Jesus. I love you, Jesus."
He then blew a kiss to the box and I sent him back to stand with Chrissy while I said a brief prayer, myself.
You see, folks, I had asked God to send me a sign last weekend at Mass. Once and for all, Lord, just let me know I'm not crazy... let me know that Myla wasn't just a figment of my imagination. For as much as I believe in my heart that I held her within me, outside pressures kept making me question myself. So I begged God to just send me a sign one way or the other and I would leave it in His Hands. She was so tiny - only about 4-5 weeks.
When I went to the Cathedral on Monday, I had no idea these were there. In fact, when I went in during lunch, there was no identifying information. I looked in the bulletin - nothing. I checked the website for the Cathedral - still nothing. Finally, I called the rectory. The secretary explained that they were relics of St. Therese and they just hadn't gotten around to posting about them yet because it was a last minute thing.
So knowing they were relics that would be gone by Saturday evening, I made sure to get back to properly venerate them and say prayers to Myla's namesake.
Myla was named after St. Therese of Lisieux (Myla Therese). Not only did St. Therese send me a rose to answer my plea for confirmation, God allowed her to come in person to deliver the message. I didn't even realize that until typing out this entry, and I'm crying all over again at the realization that God is so loving and merciful.
All of my nightly prayers and kisses between Myla's guardian angel and mine have not been in vain. My little sweetie is safe and in Heaven and I will not allow outside naysayers to cause me to doubt God's grace again.
My little miracle, only a few weeks on this earth, already lives in Eternity.
Bless the Lord for His faithful servant, St. Therese. Bless the Lord for His gift of Myla.
Best part about this experience is that on the way home, Chrissy was asking me all sorts of questions about St. Therese. I explained a bit about her life, her death (and the shower of roses from Heaven) and how at the end of a novena to her, she lets you know she heard your prayer with a rose.
Chrissy asked me if I'd ever gotten a rose, and I actually said "NO." Granted, I've never done the full novena to St. Therese, and I explained that to Chrissy, but stupid me, I didn't realize that I had just been delivered (TWICE) my first rose from St. Therese.
God must be laughing at my blindness. He must absolutely be laughing. *Grin*
I love you, Lord. Laugh away. <3
Upon completing this story, I dropped down to my knees and thanked God repeatedly for such a blessing. What could have been an absolute tragedy turned into the most blessed story of survival, heroism and happiness.
Now, the folks involved are acting as examples to others. Absolutely incredible! Guardian angels were working overtime for this family and those brave enough to rescue those children! Praised be God, and praised be His Most Blessed Mother who no doubt had a hand in such a grace!
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