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Owls Eyes

Updated: 5 hours ago

Trip to Rome

Our Lady of Lourdes was planning a trip, a pilgrimage to Rome, the Vatican, basilicas, catacombs and other highlights of Catholicism around the region. My mother wanted to take this trip with her church friends. She asked me to go with her to Rome as her travel and room companion. My brother Mark passed about 6 months earlier. My mother was very sad so I decided to escort her to Rome. I was the youngest “pilgrim” on the trip. The bus full of old people and me.

The best part of the trip at this point was the fact that it didn’t matter how I looked, my clothes, hair or makeup. (I worked for a plastic surgeon so looks meant a lot!) I was with my mom's peers, old people. The Pilgrimage, Rome, the Holy City. Yes, my heart was in the right place... I was with a bunch of old people and a couple of holy men. I had a motive much greater than my makeup. I was in Rome to take care of my mom. She was still very much in shock from Marks death, suicide. I too was very shaken with questions of why this happened and where is the sign from Mark telling me he’s alright?

We traveled on a tour bus. Father Dan and Deacon Tim stood at the front of the bus leading the group in praying the rosary every single time we enter the bus. We entered the bus many times. I was intrigued to see all the beautiful rosaries and to hear my fellow pilgrims tell the stories behind them. Where they were purchased, whether they were glass, precious stone, wood, or metal. Some were gifts with stories attached. The crosses on the rosaries had stories too, beautiful.

My mom and I stuck together partly for consolation. We smiled and joined conversations. Loved the journey, so many churches and the history lessons. However, the undertone was present…loss, sadness and bewilderment. I was so missed up during the trip. I was hoping to receive answers to my emotional struggle with Marks death. Every shrine, every basilica, every mass and every site tour I searched for my brother. I cried softly to myself when I didn’t get an answer. It’s difficult to hide a cry when a priest is nearby. Father Dan is a quiet man and spent time in Rome during his internship. He is a well-educated intuitive priest. He could see and hear my silent cry.

Mount St Angelo. High on a hill our hotel Palace of San Michelle sat on the top of a cliff with a beautiful view of the ocean. St Michael the Archangel first appeared in the grotto (more like a cave) which was consecrated by St Michael himself. St Michaels grotto was a cave with an arched ceiling. I thought of my husband’s man cave. A small statue of St Michael stood in a covey; his sword held high with his foot on the serpent. Our group was marked for visiting time, so it was just us, intimate and meaningful. Mass was said by Father Dan and Deacon Tim. They shared responsibilities. What a thrill for two religious men to be given a gift of sharing a mass in St Michael’s grotto.

After mass, we walked back to our hotel. After dinner I decided to walk outside and look at the view. The night was cool, and the wind was light. I held out my arms and opened my hands. I closed my eyes thinking of Mark, asking Spirit to bring me a message from my brother. Nothing. When I turned around to walk back to the hotel, I saw Father Dan standing there watching me. He turned and went back inside. I stayed outside, held out my hands again and closed my eyes.

I think Father Dan was looking out for me and my mother in his own quite way.

My brother Mark…

I finally found peace with Mark’s death one afternoon. I was watching my grandson and while he napped, I sat in my loft. All of the sudden, I felt a strange sense of peace. I felt there was a deeper meaning, but I wasn’t quite sure why. Just then, a spark passed through me, my brother Mark. At that very second, I knew Mark was alright. Owls Eyes, my grandson said when he woke from his nap that day. I smiled knowing messages and reminders come in many ways. Intuitive, loved one in spirit, Spirit sent, The Almighty will always find a way.

Owls symbolize wisdom, vision and the ability to see beyond the everyday.

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