One thing Lourdes always pulls out of me, whether I want it or not, is thoughts that have a certain wistful quality.
This is the place after all, where M and I met, where at 34 weeks pregnant with T I went into the baths and prayed for a safe delivery, where I have made so many friends and experienced so much emotion and love.
When I finally came face to face with the grief that was the loss of what T may have been.
This year I wept once deeply, but mostly was too busy to dwell on my wistful thoughts.
That time is now...
One thing that strikes me is how I have lost a certain sense of belonging. Once I shared a common belief with these people, a common life view, a common purpose.
But with every Mass that I did not receive my separation became clearer and clearer to me.
And a gulf opened between those I love and me.
Because the only thing that will bring us back together is me returning to belief.
And that I can never see happening.
And that gulf also exists between my family and me
More worrying still...
So my wistful thoughts on last time I went, sitting at the Grotto at night and feeling so close to God, so close to others, now gone.
And on returning, unlike the others, not to peace and order but to the chaos that T leaves in his wake and the uncertainty of his future...
With no one to pray to and intercede on his behalf.
I'll go with the flow, meeting each challenge as it comes, but without the back up I once thought I had.
And the sorrow is not all consuming, but gentle and soft and liveable with.
I just wish he was like the ones on the street "with the nimble feet, playing out a normal part."
And I wish I hadn't lost my faith...