This week tears were shed. Tears of joy and tears of sadness. The result is the week has gone by with a flurry of activity and I am not sure how to tell the story of this week since the events that took place are not my stories, but only ones in which I am a character.
My church community is grieving for the loss of two of its parishioners. Two lives cut way too short from cancer. One, a 19 year old boy who left behind his parents, grandparents, friends and three siblings. His mother was Grace’s 2nd grade Religious Ed teacher and he was her helper. There is a mother, a parent of one of my Religious Ed students, who battled fiercely to beat her disease, succumbed to it this week. I bought her son a medal of Mary and reminded him how I would say over and over again in class that Mary brings me peace in times of hardship. I wanted him to have her close to his heart as a reminder that a mother’s love never fades. Love is eternal. I pray for this child daily; several times a day, in fact. Tears of sadness have been shed this week.
Tears of joy have also welled up in my eyes. I had the honor of attending The New York Police Department’s (NYPD) graduation ceremony Thursday to watch my brother graduate with honors. As Commissioner Raymond Kelly gave the commencement address he spoke of my brother, a veteran of the Afghan War, Operation Freedom, and how he gave for his country. My brother is no longer a child. He is a fully grown man with a wife and a child, but I felt like I did when my parents brought him home from the hospital and I realized I would always be his big sister. My little brother now towers above me, and yet, those feelings are the same today as they were thirty five years ago.
This week gave me moments that I will never forget in the course of my lifetime. Hugging the man who lost the woman he loved and adored. Praying before the casket of a child. Feeling the bagpipes reverberate in my body and soul as they played the battle hymn of the Marine Corp, The Halls of Montezuma, while watching my brother stand in salute. All memories now. Each different. Each important. Each becoming a part of me. While these are not my stories, but the stories of those who lost, who gained, who grieved, who congratulated, they are now a part of my life story.
I am grateful that I had the ability to experience it all.