Before we go ahead and unpack my suitcase together, I must write of my Heavenly Mother and my very first encounter with “love” and the “hand” that would guide me throughout my life’s journey.

I will take you back now to the Summer of 1960 which would be the last one I would spend with my earthly mother. Everything seemed to be quite normal, but then all of a sudden, I found out that a road trip was being planned by my mom and dad. It was very clear that I was not going to be included as a passenger in the back seat! I found myself being excluded for the very first time in my life and I could not understand why I was being “left behind.” That had never been done before!

I was to find out that in the life of a ten year old, you are not told of “life threatening issues” such as breast cancer that had spread to your mother’s pancreas. Adults clearly do not have this option in their lives. Faced with what was to come, my dad probably thought this was “good enough reason” to take one last road trip with his wife alone.

You see, five years prior, my mom had found a lump on her breast but did not disclose this information right away to her husband nor to a medical doctor.  I’m quite sure she was very frightened with a five year old at home and being only thirty-five years old. Eventually she made that visit to the doctor and after having been counseled to have a mastectomy, life went on until the cancer found another home within her body.

I soon discovered that I wasn’t being completely left behind!  A “road trip” was being planned for me as well. I would be leaving the safety and security of our Long Island home and going to Jersey City to stay with my aunt, uncle and grandma for about two weeks while my parents traveled.

In my ten-year-old mind, I did not have a clue that I would be losing my mother in only a short time. I also did not have a clue that the “Heavenly Mother”. . . the Queen of Heaven and Earth. . . was preparing to make her presence known to me in the shadows of a darkened church across the street from my aunt and uncle’s home.

Within the walls of that church and the “shadows of love,” I would be forever changed. “Love” cast her “glance of grace” on me and strengthened me for what was coming and would forever impact my life.

© Anita Guariglia 2017

Image by Anita Guariglia