TGIF, although we are still struggling to with Mattie’s health.
She was refusing to eat when I last updated here. She is eating small portions now, mainly baby food. This evening she ate a bit of steak (meaning that she actually chewed and swallowed it.) This is cause for celebration for us, but I will still remain guarded with her prognosis. I do realize that she could crash at any time and I will not delude myself into thinking that she will emerge from this unscathed and with the vigor of a puppy. Mattie is dieing, albeit slowly and (at the moment) painlessly. When her time comes, we will be ready. I grieve yet I am grateful for the privilege of having her beside me. (This doesn’t make my pain any less.)
I had a wonderful surprise from my friend Annie. She had called to cheer me up and told me that she had dropped something into the mail for me. It arrived just as I was crawling through one of my most frustrated moments with Mattie and my own health.
Annie sent me a milagro that reminds us both of St. Bernadette. Milagros are small devotional charms often venerating a particular saint when one wished for a miracle (thus “milagro”.) She could not have picked a better saint.
St. Bernadette of Lourdes was an amazing woman. I urge you to Google her or purchase a book about her. She lived a life of complete poverty as a child. She chose to serve God as a nun, however she was not a healthy person. Regardless of her health and poverty, she was chosen by God as the person to see the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Lourdes.) She, along with St. Philomena, is one of my favorite saints. Her patronage is against bodily ills and illness in general, however she is also the patron saint of Lourdes in France. Her benefaction further extends to people ridiculed for their honest piety, impoverished people, and shepherdesses (as she was a shepherdess herself at one point.) Annie pointed out in her letter to me that “St. Bernadette had absolute faith in her vision of Our Lady.” It would be sensible of me to consider her attributes and incorporate them into my own life.
Also inside the packet was a photograph that Annie took in Capitola, CA. I have never been to this place but I did ditch school with my boyfriend Bill to spend the entire day poking around Big Sur, Monterey and Santa Cruz. Annie’s photograph artistically captured an old sea break weathering the surf as it lapped the shore.
The picture is poignant to me. I have been away from my beloved ocean for over two decades. The beaches are an extension of my soul. My attraction is not due to childhood memories of visits to the beach with my parents (although those are some of my favorite memories.) It is the feeling of inner peace that courses through my body as I recall sand and surf.
Isn’t it fascinating how the mind works? I gazed at Annie’s photograph and I knew exactly what the water sounded like as it rolled over the break and caressed the shore. I certainly would have been able to tell you secrets that can only be delved by counting the seconds between each wave. I could see the wet sand and for a moment I felt it between my fingers, the cherished joy of its weight and the texture of the grains. I knew that it would coat my bare feet (the only cure it to step into the surf – of course, once you leave, you would have coated feet again!) I could smell the salt and wind, the seaweed (so much fun to pop!) and the wildlife. The gulls were riotous and boorish compared to the majestic herons or egrets. Black-necked Stilts darted in the wet sand, hoping for a quick meal. Perhaps a pelican perched nearby. If I were lucky, I would see a Cormorant. Wading into the surf, I’d feel the ocean churl sand, seaweed and UFTs (unknown floating things) against my shins. My favorite activity was simply standing in the surf to experience the push/pull of each wave. I was also an avid shell collector; sadly, the shells seemed to disappear as the years passed.
I hung Annie’s photograph on my bedroom wall. I shall look at it when times seem tough. It will not only take me back to my beloved beach but it will also remind me that I have a wonderful friend.