To Christians who recite the rosary devoutly, received by St. Dominic and Blessed Alain. I always knew there were promises, and I know some by heart, not all, so every once in awhile I will read them again in my Pieta Prayer Book, to brush up. I’ve always wondered how does one know if they are receiving a “signal grace” with devotion to Our Lady’s Rosary.
Little did I know when I blogged regarding my spiritual steps to conversion, that I happened to be, along with my mom, and my family entering further up the staircase of faith and conversion, and discovering my answer to what the “signal grace” of devotion to the Rosary would be like; little did I know.
Saturday, my mother stopped by after she had finished working at her twice a week, part time job. She came in the house, and I could instantly tell this was a “need” visit vs. a “stopping by, hi” visit. I guess my children know the difference also, next thing I knew the middle child was out of the room. My mom stated, “could you look at my arm and chest for a minute, the area feels swollen to me, doesn’t hurt. I was at the doc’s on Thursday, and she mentioned the front of my upper arm, towards the shoulder is a little “puffy”.
My mom had, had severe right sided neck pain earlier in the week, I kept this in the back of my mind as I was about to examine her arm and chest wall. My mom has a very extensive health history, with a miraculous healing of melanoma in 1962. Praise God! She has lived to see her husband die of melanoma, children grow into adults, marriages, grandchildren that have turned into young adults, along with teens, and tween’s. She has lived her life as a widow that, I believe, would make God happy, because that is a vocation all unto itself. All the while living with health issues dating back to her teen years. She has lived with scoliosis, multiple back surgeries to “fix” the scoliosis, though this was back in 1969, much advancement has been made with surgeries and improved treatment of scoliosis today. She lives with arthritis, along with three autoimmune disorders, she has suffered daily, hourly, every minute of her life with pain, as long as I have been alive. She has been on the medications that have been recalled because of death, these medications actually HELPED her vs. hurting her, the irony!
Only, as I have become ”middle-age”, with a now young adult, teen and tween in the home, and life experiences, have I begun to appreciate my mother more and more, with each passing day. It is amazing how, with age, wisdom does arrive on time. My mother and I have been extremely blessed, and graced with the healing of our life history together. All due to the graces of the Rosary, the intervention of the Blessed Mother, the mercy of Jesus, the glory of God, all the intervention from the angels, saints, and holy souls. Of course, how many masses and communions were offered up between us for the healing of our wounds?
So the “visit” begins, we enter into the bathroom. I “eyeball” my moms chest, and instantly see “puffiness” across the right side of her chest wall into the upper arm area. No redness, no warmth, no pain. Inside I’m saying, “well, we’ve got ourselves a situation here”. My mom is concerned, her boss and friend told her to enter one of those “fast express” doc places. It’s a Saturday, her family doc isn’t going to see her, yet she is concerned it is an infection, and if it is, she needs antibiotics pronto due to the medication she is on which lowers the immune system. I tell my mom, “no, I don’t want you at that “fast express” place, instead I want to you to see the nurse practitioner at this place. She’s excellent, she knows me, she’ll do the right thing for you, and if she is not there, then whoever is, will also do the right thing, because she trained them”. My concern with the “fast express”, if it is what I expect, the doc may blow her off to her family doc because he would be very aware there is nothing he could do that day, unless it was an infection. I knew where my girlfriend worked, even though it would not be an infection, they would not leave my mom to dangle and fret till Monday to see her family doc.
The woman I know wasn’t working Saturday, nonetheless, as I suspected, she taught the doc’s well. The doc ordered all the right stuff, mammo, ultrasound, and the doc threw in a chest x-ray. No antibiotics. That was definitely an “oh, beans” moment for me. At least we knew where we stood, my mom felt as though something was accomplished, she would not have to sit and ruminate on Mother’s Day about the possibilities. She is soon to be 74 yrs. old, she is very aware what this could all mean.
She would not need to be put through the agony of her family doc’s office staff not scheduling her for an appointment on Monday, or stress over the behavior towards her. She had the “scripts” from Saturday, she was able to enter into the Radiology Office, first thing Monday, receive her mammo, ultrasound and chest x-ray. What a gift from God, she was able to bypass the stress of her family doc’s office.
We spent Mother’s Day together for dinner. Usually on Mother’s Day, my husband, kids and myself will attend the craft show at Sayen Gardens, and then walk through and check out the beautiful scenery. One year we left Sayen Gardens around 3 p.m. We were all starving, and I suggested Brothers Pizza, I figured it wouldn’t be crowded yet, I was right. We had a nice relaxing, cool Mother’s Day Dinner, and the tradition started.
This year we were going to attend the Air show at McGuire Air Force Base. My husband wanted to leave early, my body didn’t have it in me. I also had a gnawing sensation within me that I could not put my finger on. Instead, I slept in, chilled a little, then, all of a sudden I had a burst of energy, and knew, KNEW, we must eat dinner at Brothers at 3 p.m., as we have been doing all these years. I called my mom, asked her, she said yes.
We all met at Brothers Pizza around 3:15 p.m., it was a beautiful day outside and in. My three children were there, along with the boyfriend of my oldest. My mother gave me a beautiful gift, it is by Willow Tree, it is a shadow box canoe where you are able to place figurines. My mother picked out each of my children’s figurines that described one of their many, God given qualities. Then she had each child give me their own figurine. It is precious, and something she had no idea that, when I happened upon it, in the store, that I said to myself, “oh, I would love this!”. My mom told me at the dinner table, the day she saw me looking at it, she thought, “don’t buy it, I already have it”. She then went on to say, “I saw you make a face, and I said to myself, well, it’s too late now, I already bought it for you”. Only later did I tell her, the face I made was one of “whimsy”, I wanted it, but knew I wouldn’t receive it. Imagine my shock and surprise, I received exactly what I quietly had hoped for, God is good! A very special day for me, and for my mom. I will cherish the memory of this past Mother’s day, and her gift always!
Monday she had her testing completed. The radiologist told her she had “one enlarged node, no big deal”. Mammo and chest x-ray were negative. In the meantime, she scheduled an appoint with her gynecologist, for a follow up and his opinion. He is a highly respected doctor, along with being an excellent and cautious doctor. Within less then 24 hours later, my mother received a call from the radiologist, stating, “on second look, there are really three lymph nodes, and I suggest a follow up CT Scan”. My mother stated to him, “my daughter and I have already spoken, and I will be getting a biopsy done”. His reply, “oh, I didn’t think you would be ready to hear that yet”. (That is for another blog, though I will say, I was very annoyed by the audacity of this radiologist to feel it was up to him, how to tell my mother what was going on with her own body. Do we really need to waste time on getting the correct care and treatment? As I stated, maybe another blog for another day, definitely pertaining to forgiveness!).
Can’t say I was overly surprised, she already had the appointment for the gynecologist. Now though, the picture changed a tad, at first we were going to wait to see the one doctor before making the appointment with the surgeon for the biopsy. That phone call changed the plans. I called the surgeon’s office first thing Thursday morning, and she has an appointment for Tuesday. I asked the receptionist to start looking at dates for scheduling the biopsy as soon as possible. I received the very kind explanation of how the doctor will make that decision, and I kindly explained my mother’s health history, and how much I would appreciate an approximate date to be ready at the helm, after seeing the surgeon. I also explained the surgeon knows who I am because I was the one who preplanned my gallbladder surgery before I even saw him for my appointment. He enjoyed that very much! I figured helping him out a second time would make his day again! I am usually a very proactive individual!
Wednesday night I took my mom to mass for Ascension Thursday, and confession afterwards. Little does she know we will be doing the same the night before her biopsy. She is not overly fond of confession, and as I explained to her, I am not here only to help you physically, I am also here for your soul!
While my mom was at her appointment, I was doing laundry, thinking, praying, praising God, when I was suddenly struck by the realization that we are receiving the “signal grace” for my mom. Wow, that blew me away. Even though, I knew to appreciate and love, possibly, my last Mother’s Day with my mom; I didn’t yet realize the graces and gifts being poured down upon my mother and myself.
The thunderbolt of realization blew me away……….I was so thankful, and yet, now sorrowful. When I returned to blogging I mentioned that I have been blessed with a Spiritual Director, thank you, Lord and praise God! While the Spiritual Director and I were speaking about the issues of concern to me, one of the issues involves a cure for someone I deeply love, who is so wounded, and in so much pain, a cure is the only thing that can be asked for, by Our Lord, if it is Our Lord’s will. My Spiritual Director was very specific, it had to be a cure, not just a healing. Once the cure, then the healing will follow for other things.
My mom is my best friend, she is aware who needs the cure. I had told her what the Spiritual Director had stated to pray for, and I know, as my mother, my best friend, a prayer warrior, a devout follower of Our Lady’s Rosary that she is praying for this cure.
The thunderbolt of realization that my mother is the vessel for the cure, brought me to such a level of pain, I thought my heart would explode, I staggered and clearly said, “oh no, I didn’t mean for a cure this way!”. Then I stopped, realized and accepted, “not my will, but God’s will be done”. God makes good come out of things that we may see as “bad”, when in fact, they are great graces and gifts being poured out upon us.
Who, but my own mother, would be my greatest intercessor in heaven for me. There is no doubt she will be going straight to heaven when she dies. Part of the sixth promise of the Fifteen Promises, is that ”he will not perish by an unprovided death”. Never did I realize what that meant, until now, facing the beginning of the finality of my mother’s life. The seventh promise: Whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church. My mother will be given the grace of Viaticum. How blessed we are, Praise God!
We have not been to the surgeon’s office yet, we have not had the biopsy yet. I may be totally wrong! If I am, all for God’s glory! If I am not, all for God’s glory!
However this biopsy turns out, it has opened my eyes, and spirit to questions I have had, and by God’s grace have been given some understanding. My mom and I have already begun to speak about her eventual funeral, be it this year, or ten years from now. We’ve kept it lighthearted, and at times tearful. My mom has become closer with her sister over these past few years, so I know my aunt will be a help to me when the end arrives. I have power of attorney over my mom’s medical part of her life, so I know I will be facing some lonely decisions, and making decisions that will not be satisfactory to some individuals on earth. Nonetheless, with God’s guidance, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit they will be the right decisions, for my mom, and for her soul in eternal life.
I love you mom……I always have, I always will, and whatever the results of the biopsy I am so grateful you are my mother, my mentor, and have shown me the strength of Our Lady’s Rosary. A mere thank you, does not seem enough, and yet, for now, it must suffice. Mom, I love you, and I will be by your side through all of this, as you have always been by my side, if not physically, then through the Rosary. You are truly one of the Blessed Mother’s many roses from heaven. I love you.