Day 71

Today was Palm Sunday. Next Sunday is Easter. It is hard to believe that in less than a week, ready or not, we will have celebrated our first major holiday without Catie. We all feel her absence. Last night we were out eating dinner and at the next table a birthday was being celebrated. We were all laughing and enjoying one another until I heard the hostess announce that “my friend Ben turns 8 today.” My ears stopped listening and the tears began to fall. They continued throughout most of the night. Each of the kids crawled into my bed and hugged me, wiping the tears from my face and telling me that they love me.

So many people continue to tell Kevin and me what an impact Catie has had on their lives. We are grateful for this but we still miss her every day. Many people tell us that the first of everything will be hard for us (the first Easter, the first birthday, the first vacation without Catie) and yet the firsts will never end. So what do I do? Last night in the middle of my sadness I crawled into bed and I cried. Everyone attempted to comfort me. No one could and that made everyone feel helpless. I felt terrible and so did they. I attempted to shut myself off from those that love me and dwell in my sorrow – I was closed.

This was the very opposite of how we have handled everything up to this point. Up to now we have remained open and have shared every moment with anyone who wanted to read what was going on in Catie’s life and in our lives after Catie died. Last night might have been the worst night for me since Catie died. I was being selfish not allowing anyone to be there for me and not being there for anyone else. In fact last night I couldn’t even find any comfort in prayer.

As I have been thinking of this and trying to figure out what was wrong, I thought, “how did it get this way and how can I fix it?” I found myself at Mass this morning. A song was playing in church, I can’t remember the name, that reminded me that my sorrow was not mine alone. Everything that I feel, Christ himself felt as He humbled himself to become a human being. He opened Himself and bore the weight of His cross not just to save me from my sins, but because He loves me TODAY. Today, in my sadness, I am only alone if I make the choice to be alone.

Today that is not the choice I made. Today instead I chose to be present to those I was with and soon after that my tears dried up and so did my sadness. We shared Mass with Father Keith at his parish, St. Jane’s in Easton. It was great to see him again. Then we shared Palm Sunday at my sister, Kathleen’s new townhouse. It was good to see many members of my family. The kids had an Easter egg hunt and everyone enjoyed too much food. Kevin did one small home improvement project for KC. He hung this awesome wood representation of the Last Supper which is perfectly timed for Holy Thursday. Life does go on and if I dwell on the fact that there will be things we do without Catie my sadness might very well stay with me. If I continue to choose to see our life as part of God’s Divine plan for us then we can smile and go on and Catie will always be with us.

In a way, she was with us today in a very special way. As drinks were being served, we used plastic cups that Mom-Mom had brought to the party. Many times with a bunch of little kids, we write their names on the cups so that the kids do not get confused and drink from someone else’s cup. As I went to fill Max’s cup, I noticed that his cup had “Catie” on it. Apparently it was a cup leftover from a family gathering last year. We all laughed about it and asked if there was a cup for GP and Aunt Lynn who have also gone home to heaven.

May the peace of God be with you and may this Holy week be filled with beautiful, lasting memories,

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

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