As I was watching the new Star Wars movie last night, this quote stuck with me more than anything else in the movie. Three months ago, Stephanie left this world, and while at times it’s been difficult to feel her presence, there have been plenty of signs and reminders that while her body is gone, she’s still here with me in spirit. At times it’s been easier to feel than others, but I’ve also started to realize that times when I have a hard time feeling her are usually followed by someone else sharing with me how they’ve felt Stephanie. I know that Heaven and its concept are incomprehensible for us, but I’m human so I try to make it make sense anyway, and so I take comfort in thinking that when I feel furthest from Stephanie it’s because she’s helping someone else.
One of the ways I’ve tried to keep Stephanie alive is to think about what she would have done. Particularly when it comes to adventures, I was always someone who wanted to save up and postpone trips while if Stephanie wanted to do something, she’d make it happen. One of those things she wanted to do was take Sarah to see the “floating lights” just like Rapunzel. So in November Sarah and I flew to Missouri to attend a lantern festival with Stephanie’s best friend and her husband. It was a trip that honestly I wouldn’t have probably made a priority to make happen, but I know Stephanie would have, so we went. We’ve also booked some other vacations we’ll be taking early next year to go places we want to go and see people we want to see because as Stephanie put it, no ones guaranteed any amount of time.
Another way I’ve tried to keep her alive is through prayer. One tool I’ve used to help remind me to pray is to sign up for novenas. There’s a website, http://www.praymorenovenas.com/, where you can sign up and they send you an email each day when a novenas going on. The first one they sent after I subscribed was a novena to St Jude, the patron saint of the impossible, and it could not have been more perfect. Especially at that time and even sometimes still, enjoying life again seemed impossible. Each one of those nine prayers ended with the following:
“Pray that I may have the grace to accept God’s holy will even if it is painful and difficult for me.
St. Jude, you loved our Lord, help me to love Him more.
O St. Jude, pray for me that I may grow in faith, hope and love and in the grace of Jesus Christ. Pray for these intentions, but most of all pray that I may join you in heaven with God for all eternity”
I encourage each of you to subscribe to the novenas as well. Even if you don’t want to pray it to a saint, you can still use the words to pray to God, and it’s a great reminder to pray each day.
There was one more quote from Star Wars that stuck out to me last night. The quote is: “It wasn’t sadness or pain. It was peace and purpose.” Now that’s definitely not what I felt when Stephanie died. And it’s not anything I’ve felt in the three months since. But I hope someday that I can look back and that quote will describe how I view it all.
Today is Christmas Eve, and that brings with it a whole other dynamic. The usual joy of the season has been overshadowed with loneliness and tears, even though I know it’s not what Stephanie would want. But I did receive something in the mail, that while it was very difficult to read, helped remind me that while I’m missing Stephanie terribly, she’s celebrating the birth of Christ with Him this Christmas.