It was to be my last visit to my mom before having to head back to Florida. I was on my way to see her at her new memory care facility when I noticed the sign once again. It said, Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I had noticed this sign on every 75 minute ride I had made there and back for the last week and some days. It was just a small green sign like so many others along the highway. As a matter of fact I could not name even one other like it that I had noticed along the way, but this one might as well had neon lights around it.
This day it really called out to me as I drove by but I was so anxious to get to mom, I ignored it. After about 30 minutes I noticed that I needed to stop for gas. When I got back in the car, there was that familiar nudge. Go back to the shrine, it urged. I immediately began thinking no, I need to get to mom. This is my last day to be with her. And then it came again, more emphatically this time. Go back to the shrine. Go to the shrine. Knowing that it must be important, I started my car and headed back in the direction I had just come.
When I arrived, I was happy to see there were just a few cars in the parking lot. Suddenly I was so absolutely joyful to be in that sacred place. I walked into the entrance of the lovely welcome center where I was greeted by a sweet woman and the subtle but intoxicating scent of roses. Oh Divine Mother you are here, I thought. Anxious to tell me every detail of what their campus had to offer, she began. When I felt I could do so, I politely interupted. I explained to her that I did not have much time but I would love to visit the little Votive Candle Chapel at the top of the hill. She said she was sorry but there were not volunteers at the chapel right now. Perfect, I thought. I told her that I really just wanted a quiet place to pray for a bit and that I would be just fine on my own. She agreed and told me just to follow the path.
I opened the door to the chapel and its beauty nearly took my breath. It was very small but absolutely exquisite in it’s marble and stained glass. I took my time carefully taking in each window. When I reached the window for Our Lady of Good Counsel I was stopped in my tracks. It was magnificent. I sat on the small marble bench and took it in. That was when it all hit me. The emotion of the last week and a half began filling me with such sadness. My eyes filled with tears, my throat choked as I felt it swell, my chest felt so heavy with the weight of it all. It had been such a difficult week. So many emotions came. So many questions. Would mom remember me when I returned next time? Would she remember her grandchildren and greatgrands? Would she be happy in her new place? Would they be good to her? Was she safe? Was she happy? The tears came and I didn’t try to fight them. Dementia is the worst kind of thief for what it takes can never be gotten back. Lost memories. Lost time.
When the tears were spent, I gathered myself. Suddenly the weight of my sadness had shifted and I felt lighter, calmer and much more at peace. I was reminded that mom is on her own journey as are we. She is writing her final chapter and I am sad that my time with her is coming to a close.
I left the chapel and strolled back down the hill. I noticed a small gift shop and slipped inside knowing that I would find something lovely for mom. I chose a oval framed picture of Our Lady. It was perfect for her bedside table. I came to a painting and for the second time my breath was taken from me. It moved me so deeply that I knew it was meant for me. A few more small gifts and I was off.
Gracious and loving Mother, I am so grateful to you for inspiring me to visit your chapel. Thank you for soothing my aching heart and for filling my being with peace and love. I may not have made it through that day without your loving care.
Mom and I had a good visit. She really loved her picture of Our Lady and I placed it right next to her bed.
The next day my sister Jane and Dan drove me the two hours to the airport in Madison. I was so sad to be leaving them. We had had such an intense 10 days together. I had checked ahead and the flight was to be on time. When we got to the airport I insisted that they just drop me off. They had another two hours to get home and I hate teary goodbyes, so off they went.
As the exhaustion began settling in, the first delay was announced. Then there was a second. Then a came the cancelation. Oddly, I was not upset at all. I had become increasingly aware that there was a Divine plan for healing being worked out on my behalf. After about 2 hours in line I retrieved my luggage, made a hotel reservation and called a taxi. I checked myself into a nice hotel, ordered dinner and a snuggled into a fluffy king size bed with lovely glass of cabernet. Finally I slipped into a deep and restful sleep.
From Thursday until Sunday I did everything I could t0 restore myself mind, body and Spirit. I felt such great gratitude and peace. I understood on a deep level that because I had honored the call of Divine Mother to go to Her chapel, that She was able to set in motion a series of events that would bring much healing to her very weary child.
Thank you Blessed Mother. I love you.