Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Search for Significance in Prayer


 Here is something I have been wanting to share
 since my father passed away on 03/14/2018 this year.


We called this the "Papa Shack" where my father kept many of the books he read, including those related to theology and prayer.  
We keep finding prayer cards everywhere.
Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom


Our family recently decided to participate in a school related prayer rotation in honor of my father, Bella’s grandfather, who died on 03/14/2018.  Each family who participates adds a note to the prayer journal.  I added the following comments today, and tomorrow will pass the book on to the next family.  
This is a beautiful tradition. 


Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom


Our family made an emergency trip to Georgia when I found out my father was in the hospital. I truly believe the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and advised me to get there with the children without delay. We made it in 2 days by car.  Less than 2 weeks after receiving the news that my father had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had metastasized, my father transitioned from this world into the arms of Jesus.  The moments we shared while being present for my mother and father during that time were some of the most precious times we had spent together as a family.   

Our family met with the parish priest to discuss funeral arrangements. He asked each family member, from wife to children to grandchildren, to send him our thoughts regarding my father’s life and the impact he had in this world.  I’d like to share my contribution with you. (Some minor editing has been done to create this post.)


Dear Father,

Please consider these thoughts regarding my father and the grandfather of Isabella, Nathan, and Sebastien for your homily during my father's funeral mass.

My father taught us to be faithful and encouraged us to embrace the power of prayer.  Our earliest memories involved us praying together as a family.  We gathered together for meal time prayer and every evening before bedtime. Our night prayer involved praying for every family member and for the souls of those who had already departed from this world.  Everyone was included.  By praying for family members who had passed, he was in a way preparing all of us for the time when our earthly existence would come to an end.  This is something I have shared with my own children.

Dad also began a tradition of blessing each of us with the sign of the cross on our foreheads at bedtime and whenever we were getting ready to leave after a visit. It was a symbol of his faith and one of the gifts he bestowed upon us even when he was ill in the hospital.  I treasure the moment each of us was able to bless him with the sign of the cross on his forehead, place a kiss on him, and touch the arms that had held us and hugged us, as we watched him prepare for his transition from this world into the arms of Jesus.  How can such a moment be so sad, sweet, and hopeful at the same time? 

I am confident that my father changed the world for the best. By planting the seeds of faith in each of us, teaching us to accept and embrace people even if they have differing views, and showing faith in action, my father left a legacy that encourages and challenges all of us to reach out to those in need.  It is up to all of us now to plant, grow, and nurture the traditions of faith that might lead others home to Jesus too.  Each of us have gifts and talents that are meant to serve as strategies for faith in action. 

My father had special gifts in musical performance, conducting, teaching, and discussing religion.  He never turned away anyone who came to our door to talk about their faith.  The day after he passed, two young people came to our door to invite us to their church.  I spoke with them and remarked how incredible it was that they had chosen the day after my father was called home to visit.  I spoke with them about my father's faith and how he loved discussing theology.  I encouraged them to take that story with them, hold it in their hearts, and remember they are making a difference every time they extend an invitation of faith. I thought to myself, "Thank you, Dad, for giving me this opportunity to speak with them on your behalf. You made a difference even after your death."

When I was a child, my parents had a large rosary hanging over their bed. It glowed in the dark and made me feel so safe and secure. If I had a nightmare, I knew I could find my way to my parent's room by looking for that rosary.  I believe that God lead my father past the pain he was experiencing in the same way. Although we will miss my father's physical presence in our lives, his spirit will always be with us.

Here are some things my children wanted me to include:

Always a loving person, my grandfather taught me how to stand strong in the waves even when you didn't know where the current was going. To literally go with the flow. While I will never forget our inside jokes, the ongoing screech of his lullabies, or his constant smirks at the dumb stuff our family would do; the one thing there is to remember was the humble hearted man who taught me to just be. (Isabella)
 
I've known Grandpa all of my life.  He was a quiet person, but he had his sweet, funny personality and the warped sense of humor that my family knows and loves.  I never really knew what Grandpa did until I got older and could understand better. I was AMAZED. That's my Grandpa?  I have a pretty cool Grandpa.  He played instruments, conducted, was in the Army, and he studied hard for so many things.  The best part of all was how humble he was.  He never bragged or talked much about his accomplishments, but I know he would have appreciated being acknowledged.  I love my Grandpa and my entire family.  He left behind a legacy that will live on, and I thank him for that.  Thank You for being my sponsor for baptism and confirmation. We all love you Donald/Grandpa.  May you rest in heaven in the hands of God. (Nathan)
 
I had a really hard time seeing Grandpa so sick.  I love him and appreciate the funny things he said to us.  The last joke I told him was the one that made him laugh the hardest before he got so sick.  When I was three I said, "Why did the chicken cross the road?"  He asked why.  I said, "To slap the fish."  The way I said it was so funny that it became one of our stories.  I am glad I inherited his trait of being left handed and also his sense of humor.  It makes us special.   (Sebastien)
 
Father, we know you can't include all of this, but we hope it will help you understand a little more about our Dad.  We greatly appreciate that you took time to speak with us last Friday, and we look forward to hearing you speak at Dad's funeral. If there is anything else I can do to be helpful, please let me know.

Kindest Regards,
Mary

Our family looks forward to hosting the prayer rotation again soon, as a reminder that living a prayerful life is an important part of our contribution to our family, friends, and community.  My father lived this way throughout his life, and I am grateful that he taught us how to pray.  Even now, my mother continues to find evidence of my father’s daily prayers.  He had hand written pray cards throughout the house, including on his treadmill where he ran and apparently prayed for all of us. 

Lovingly,
World of Writer Mom



 Writing for these characters, and hoping to make a difference!
Copyright 2018 World of Writer Mom








2 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting this. Words cannot express how this affected me completely (tears) but I feel your children's pain. My Nana passed a few months ago. In place of a funeral, we had a Celebration of Life (literally a party). It was the hardest time for me but it was the happy memories that got me through this time. She was an awesome prayer warrior and taught me many skills. I can't wait to pass it on to my future children.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Tabitha, Thank you so much for reading this post and for your comments. I hope you will continue to visit World of Writer Mom to share your thoughts. It reinforces our faith when we connect with others who share their experiences. I love that you had a Celebration of Life for your Nana. I truly believe that is what we experienced with my father's passing too. As much as I feel sad he is no longer physically present, I have a sense of peace and calm that we honored his memory. Kindest Regards, Mary

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Thank you for visiting WorldofWriterMom.org I appreciate your time and comments. Kindest Wishes, Mary

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Mary Varville-Rodriguez, BSW, Child Development/Early Intervention Specialist/Advocate (15+ years), Prior experiences: AFAA Certified (Frankfurt, Germany) & Global Wellness Certified (Augsburg, Germany) for Personal Trainer/Aerobics Instructor/Exercise Prescription, UTMB at Galveston Dept. of Pediatrics - Project LAUNCH - Community Outreach/Referral Development/EIS-C, Current: World of Writer Mom.org Writer/Publisher/Marketing Affiliate/Advocate