“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Such was the case in late 2016 when I was in the Medical Mission Sisters’ chapel. After the service, upon leaving the chapel, the tiniest little whiff of a nun, Sister Gertrude, was suddenly standing before me.
It descends slowly, uninvited sly and clammy like fog.
Without warning, her eyelids grow heavy and wet a stinging sensation in her throat shifts to her chest belly heaving. Legs immobilized, feet stick to the floor. A face across the table saying what?
Then the memories a smile, a laugh, that yearned-for familiar voice. Their sorrow, her child’s and her own.
They say that to be a mother is to have your heart walking around in someone else’s body.
What they say is true.
But wait! When that someone else dies what becomes of her heart that was carried in that dear body? Turns out, it was the most fragile of things. Who knew it was made of spun glass so delicate that when it fell, it shattered into exactly Seventeen thousand five hundred eight slivers.
No restoring that.
And so, she scooped them up and carries them around everywhere she goes. Every grieving mother has a stigmata on the palms of her hands.