Chaapter 16: Family Ties
By this time my borther had married and had a two year old daughter. They lived in Bowling Green, and my brother worked in the audio visual department of the hospital. I found a position as director of religious education at St. Mary’s in Clyde, a small town near Genoa. The pastor there had been pastor in Genoa and so knew my family well. I had no sooner got settled in at St. Mary’s when one night Dad called to say that Joe had been killed. My brother had taken an extra job as photographer at the Indianapolis races. He was standing on a platform filming, when he was hit in the back of the neck by a motor from a car which had wrecked and split apart. He was dead upon reaching the hospital. The pastor of St. Mary’s drove home with me that night. Mom and Dad said that a van drove into the driveway and that it was annonced to them of his freak accident and subsequent death. I immediately thought of my dream of the van and the “sun” falling as the family mourned the loss. This was a terrible blow to our family, expecially for Mom in her illness. But we pooled our strength and celebrated Joe’s life and the gift he had been to each of us.
In April of that year, Mom was hospitalized again. It did not look good and I decided i was needed at home to help Dad. I finished the year at St. Mary’s and then found a position teaching grade seven at a near by Catholic school. I did not think that a year was much time to make a difference in a parish, but a note from two of the parish leaders convinced me that my presence had made a difference. My provincial team called to say they would mission me to the new position. The leave of absence was over.
Much of the summer was spent entertaining my two year old niece. She would call her father on her toy phone. She seemed to think that heaven was a place that she and I had been to before. She said to me, “Remember we walked down the road, turned the corner and there was heven”. I am always sad that I did not question her more about that statement becuse today she can not recall it.
The sister who was pastoral minister at Genoa became good friends with me and heled me immensely by her strong support. She has always been very affirming and of couse she urged me to write this autobiograhy. Mom was in a coima three times during her stay at the hospital. The last time, she came out of the coma to the call of my voice. As she wanted to come home, we arranged for oxygen at the house. In August, Mom died one night while I held her up and Dad went to get medicine.. She looked at the picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on her bedroom wall and seemed to slip right into it. I still have the picutre. Now it is in my bedroom and I too hope to look at it, as I draw my last breath.
I had actually only taught a half year in the seventh grade after Mom’s death. My provincial had suggested that I resign due to it being a stressful situation. I did some work as a house mother in a home for emotionally disturbed children for about two months. I kept getting sore throats each tine I would go for the long overnight work hours. Finally I began to sub in the public school whcih I found to my liking. I recieved one six week subbing position. At the end of the year, I was offered a permanent position. I needed to make a decisiion.
In the midst of all the pain and confusiion, before she died, Mom had told Dad that he was to see that I got to go on a trip for my Silver Jubilee. The Holy Land was my choice, a place I had desired to go ever since my scripture courses. So I was off to the Holy Land. I went with a pilgrimage group, since Dad did not want to go. The trip was a wonderful experience. In early morning, I would walk around the hotel where you could see scenes of shepherds with their sheep on the neighboring hills. I was very fond of the Good Shepherd theme and grateful for all the dark valleys he had seen me through. Golgatha too seemed to promise resurrection for me. I decided I needed to return to religious education.
Dad was in great grief. He wanted me to continue to do my ministry, so I decided that I would look for a position near by so I could look in on him weekly. That position turned out to be St. Rose in Perrysburg. I would be able to live with the Ureslines who worked in the school. While there, I worked with the Weds Group and joined the guitar group. I also took a course at Bowling Green on Teilhard de Chardin in whomn I had been inteerested for many years. I consider hin a spiritual mentor.
I was going home weekly to help Dad with laundry and house and to put some cooked meals in the freezer., In his great grief, the Knights of Columbus introduced him to a widow who he thought reminded him of Mom. I didn’t think it was a goood idea, but didn’t think it was my place to hinder him. So when they decided to marry, I knew it was time for me to return to northern Ohio closer to my community.
Even though the grief was enormous, I was given a great gift. I had a series of dreams about my mnother. In the dreams, I knew she had jpassed over and was visiting me from heaven. She was leading me by her presence in my dreams. I religiously began to write my dreams down and decided to choose a yearly symbol for my dreanm journal. The symbol I chose for 1982 was the rainbow. It seemed to hold a promise for me. I had a little pocket calendar which had a rainbow on the cover. Then the sisters with whom I lived confirmed my choice with their beautful card having a rainbow on the cover. This was the beginning of my life filled with synchronicities or it is when I became aware of all these messages from the universe. On the card, one sister wrote: “She is like a tree planted near running water. It yields its fruits in due season; whatever she does prospers.” (Psalm 1)
Thus it was that I began my beautiful Rainbow Path of illumination and enlightenment. Life wouldnot be free of difficulties, but I knew I had completed a very difficult portion of my life and I felt that I had completed it very well.