Being at the prayers in Canada for my mom was very hard. She was born in Italy, and came to Canada when she was eight. We have a huge family in Canada and I knew I would get to see relatives I had not seen since my wedding almost ten years before, some even longer.
Since I flew in the night before the prayers, my sister had bought butterfly necklaces for my niece Molly, for herself and me. My mom adored butterflies and it was a little token that my sister thought would be special if the three of us wore them. It was special and I loved the thought. She also gave me a special ring that my mom wanted me to have – it was a ring my dad gave her on her forty second birthday. The last few times I spoke to my mom on the phone she kept telling me she couldn’t wait to see my face when she gave it to me………she never did get to see my face, but the memory of the ring, which to me represents my mom and dad, is just beautiful.
At the funeral home, I didn’t even want to look at my mom. It had been a week since she passed away and she just didn’t look like her and I just didn’t want to face it. To be honest, I didn’t really look at her or even accept what was happening that day.
I sat at the front pew with my brother and sister and their spouses and then the people came………a couple hundred. Each giving their love and sympathies and kind words. There I was with tubes, very sore and hoping no one grabbed me too hard as my chest (or what was left of it) was very, very tender and sore.
Instead of focusing on what was happening, I wanted to enjoy seeing everyone I hadn’t in so long. I stood up for many of the older relatives and smiled at them and told them how nice it was to see them……and I meant it. I loved seeing everyone, and remembering the old days and times with my mom and dad. I loved to see the people whose lives she touched and to hear stories. Having the mindset of being thankful for seeing everyone and making it about that instead of being sad about something I could not change made the night easier.
The other amazing thing about Italian families is that they can get the word out quick, and they are sure to pray for you. Once my mom passed away, my sister let a few family members know what was going on with me, to give a heads up in case I didn’t travel for the funeral. All you have to do with good Italian families is let the head of each family know, and everyone will know ASAP! True story!
This was great, because almost everyone at the funeral knew I just had breast cancer surgery and they were gentle with me, they were asking how I was recovering and they saw that I looked good. They saw I was coping and I kept giving all the credit and glory to God. That to me is the best example of God and His glory, when so many people could see that I just had a bi-lateral mastectomy the week before, yet I was there, and I had a smile and I was able to travel alone because God provided.
That’s why I keep praising God in this storm, because He is fair, He is loving, He is always with me and He gives me strength to get through anything.