Formed by Friendship

My friend in faith and spiritual sister is not well.

She first told us last Good Friday that the cancer had returned. We journeyed Passiontide in all it’s fullness last year. The Triduum was suddenly horribly real.

This week she called again.

She was worse.

For the past year we had refused to believe that she was not going to get better. We had besieged heaven with our prayers, our novenas, our Masses.

She Was Going To Be Well. It was going to be ok.

And we waited. We waited for the news that the chemo had worked.

While we waited we grabbed greedily at any opportunity to meet. We had afternoon tea in town, we went to the theatre, we had dinner, we phoned weekly. Then the news came, the chemo had worked, she was not out of the woods but things were on the up.

Over Christmas and in to the New year, things tailed off slightly and so did my conscious prayer for her because I began to forget. And I was justified in forgetting because when we spent time together, even last Saturday: She. Was. Well.

Really Well.

Three days later her reality shook me out of my comfort zone. I have to face up to the fact that my lovely, wonderful, talented, beautiful, faith-filled sister will not be alive for as long as I would like her to be. For as long as she would like to be.

And so this week I have been reflecting on the difference she has made to my life, the richness she has brought to it. 

There is no doubt she, through our friendship has formed me. I am not the person I was when we first met, all those years ago on holiday (www.catholicpeoplesweeks.org.uk).

Through our friendship she has constantly affirmed me,
as a mother,
as a friend,
as a liturgist
and as one who is beloved of God.
She loves me, in spite of my shortcomings.
She both prays with me and encourages me to spend time alone with God.
She enables me to see where to find God alive and at work in my life.
She laughs with me, oh how we laugh!
And this week, not for the first time, she cried with me.

Yes, she is still alive but I want to tell her how much she means to me before it is too late.

I want her to know how very blessed I am because of our friendship.
I want her to know that I love her, and that I will miss her.
I want her to know that if we never make another memory it doesn’t matter.
I can never forget her – I carry her with me in all that I am today.

May I ask for you to pray for her and her family…and those who also love her.

Fish messages for Jane

Perhaps this post should have been called the inadequacy of words, or maybe that’s for some other time.

Mothers and Sons

And Mary thanked Simeon for his lovely blessing.

For those of you who follow me on Facebook will know that my eldest son has left home and returned more than once. The first time was to take up a position for one year as a Lay Clerk at Norwich Cathedral. He returned home for the following year to make an album. September he started his Music degree (finally). The house he was planning to move into fell through at the last minute and although he half moved out a couple of times he always came home.

Of all of my children, this DS is the one whom fills me with pride and irritation in equal measure. It would be true to say that the reverse is also (probably) true.

I am of the firm belief that to enjoy all that university has to offer, students should not live at home. I have supported all my children in their strive for independence. Or so I thought.

On the way to Mass on Sunday, he blithely informed me that they (the members of the band) had found a house and were all off to look at it this week. This should not have come as any great surprise. Over the last few months they had mentioned more than once that they had been looking at various houses in the hope that they could all move out of the parental home into their own. But it did come as a surprise and my heart stopped for just a moment. My son was moving out and I would miss him. All of him!

And when the Gospel was proclaimed an epiphany occurred, like Mary, my heart too was pierced, and will continue to be so. For that is the cost of being a parent. Not that I would want it any other way.

CPW 022

‘—and you yourself a sword will pierce—’ Luke 2:22-40

Picture is of a sculpture at Downside School, Bath.