Day 56

Thank you in joining us in prayer for Catie and our family.

This is my favorite time of the day – nap time. Each afternoon for the past 11 years there is at least a two hour period of quiet in my day. Years ago I used to attempt to fill the time with all that needed to be done. Now I relax and use that time to renew myself for the rest of the day and dinner and bedtime, both of which are a little crazy with 6 kids that are 8½ years apart. Today naptime is not as relaxing. Catie is sleeping peacefully – since last night. I tip toe into her room and check on her as though she is a sleeping baby and I am checking to see if she is awake or even breathing. She is.

This weekend may have been the last time that the eight of us go out together. We enjoyed dinner out both Friday and Saturday nights. On Sunday, we returned to St. Aloysius for Mass and then back to the home of friends. There we are gathered and relaxed and prayed and ate and enjoyed one another. They are treasured memories. Catie is now completely blind in her right eye and has very limited vision in the left eye. When a former teacher came up to greet Catie after Mass, Kevin restated for Catie who was there. Catie quickly reminded her father that she was blind not deaf – the little lion awakens every now and again.

Over the past weekend Kevin and I have spoken to all of the children very directly about Catie’s future. We have gently explained the seriousness and how they can help not only Catie but also us take care of Catie. Each of the fab 5 sees things from their own point of view. Mia (who is 6) did not want to deal with the situation. She did the same thing at Lourdes – “I am not going in the water”. I attempted to explain that I was telling her what was happening so that she would be informed and not feel in the dark so to speak. She would not engage in this conversation. I told her that it was fine but that when she was a teenager I didn’t want her telling her shrink that her mother is to blame for …At this point Mia interrupts me to offer, “I will tell the shrink that you forced information on me instead of leaving me alone. What is a shrink? Some type of diet?” I do love six year olds. Today Mia asked if we could write a diary about everything that is happening. She explained that when Catie either goes to heaven or is cured that we could read the diary and understand how much we love each other and help each other. OK, so now I understand that she may “get it” better than I do.

Many people have come up to us this weekend while we were at several of the other kids’ events and offered us support. Thank you. We appreciate the fact that even if you don’t know what to say that you reach out to us. You look at us with tears in your eyes and the look conveys to us that you are sharing in our journey and that you understand our pain. We thank you for your prayers and your e-mails and your phone calls. Knowing that we are not alone in this is a huge relief. I try each day to read and respond to all my e-mails – both for Catie and me. Writing thank you has become a prayer to God for sending you into our lives.

This morning I explained to all of the kids that God loves us so very much to draw us so close to Himself and allow us to share in His son’s suffering. I can feel His presence in the house. Things are happening all over the house and some of them are being taken care of and some are not. I am fighting the urge to say “What does it matter? Does anything matter in light of what is happening?” The truth of the matter is yes these other things do matter. As do the issues and needs of the other children and Kevin and I have been called to address each of these. God calls all of us to be there for each other. Right now it seems as though we are called to teach our children through our example to trust in God and yet this is what every parent is called to do and commits to do through the Baptism of their child.

When we are baptized, it is a call from God. This past weekend, the readings at mass all focused on God’s choosing special messengers and their acceptance of the call by saying “here I am Lord”. Whether it was Samuel in the Old Testament or Peter in the New, the similarity in their call was in God’s choice of someone that might not be the obvious choice. He picks a child in Samuel, and a fisherman in Peter. When He selected Moses to be His mouthpiece to Pharaoh, choosing someone with a speech impediment might not seem like the best choice. When he chose Bernadette of Lourdes, a poor, uneducated teenager, to deliver His message, again, the choice was not an obvious one. And yet, in each case, the message was successfully delivered and God’s choice was vindicated. So when He chooses Catie to deliver a message to all of us, we need to accept the choice from a Father who has our best interests at heart. Our job is to not allow her suffering to be in vain. We need to listen to the message and allow it to change our lives. The most heartening aspect of the last 7 months are the messages we have received of people returning to church, reconciling with loved ones and deciding to be baptized. Souls are being saved because we are following the prayerful example of this little angel.

Thank you all for continuing on this journey with us and for your love and support,

Never without hope,

Christine, Kevin, Maggie, Max, Catie, Mia, Molly, and M.E.

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