I'm off to Lourdes in a few weeks. For information, this trip was booked almost a year ago, I'm regional medic for the trip and I screen the forms of the children going on this annual pilgrimage in our area. Children with a variety of severe medical and physical and emotional problems all being given a trip into the mountains where Lourdes is found. Flying in by several planes in groups of about 20-30, all together several thousand in the largest childrens pilgrimage to go to Lourdes each year.
So I'm busy ringing up group leaders and asking them to get more info and visiting kids and trying to work out how on earth we can manage a child who requires tube feeding 18 out of 24 hours a day (answer- rechargeable pump that gets attached to his wheelchair!)
And I'm trying very hard not to think of the various discussions this trip could lead to. Or the emotions.
Lourdes for me has always been a place of high emotions, I met hubbie there, I first overcame the problems of suffering there, I broke down there the year T was so ill and didn't recover for 6 months. I remember the moment even, when sorrow overwhelmed me. It was when Bishop Regan started the Mass saying "the only way that we can be unhappy is if we are seperated from god."
I looked at my son, cowering in a corner, who was tormented by the voices in his head and thought how wrong he was. Misery and sadness flooded into my soul and have never really left.
But Lourdes has brought fun and laughter, as those with great difficulties show how one can live despite the pain and anguish.
I have no idea what it will do to me and to be honest, I really don't want to go.
With any luck I can still get out of it.
If only I didn't know I am needed so much to go...
People with my skill mix are unfortunately few and far between on the trip. So I guess unless I can find a replacement, I'm going.