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Lost in Rome

Timing is everything. It's about letting go and finding yourself right where you should be at that moment.

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My family's parish was planning a trip to Italy. A pilgrimage to Rome, the Vatican, basilicas, catacombs and all the other highlights of Catholicism. My motivation rested more on the wine.

My trip to Rome, Italy

My family's parish was planning a trip to Rome, Italy. Did I say trip? A pilgrimage to Rome. The Vatican, basilicas, shrines, the catacombs and other highlights of Catholicism around the region. My mother wanted to take this trip with her church friends. She asked me to go to Rome as her travel and room companion. My brother Mark passed into spirit about six months earlier and my mother was very sad. I decided to escort her to Rome. I'd be the youngest pilgrim on the bus. A bus full of old people and me.

The best part of the trip at that point was the fact that it didn't matter how I looked, my clothes, hair or makeup. I was with a bunch of old people and two holy men. The pilgrimage, Rome the Holy City. Yes, my heart was in the right spot I had a motive much greater than my makeup. I was in Rome to take care of my mom. She was still very much in shock over my brother Mark's passing. I too was still very shaken with questions of why and where was the sign from Mark telling me he's alright.

I was so messed up during the trip while trying to be a rock for my mom. I hoped to find answers to my emotional struggle with Marks sudden passing. Every shrine, every basilica, every mass, every site tour I searched for my brother. I cried softly to myself when I didn't get an answer. It's difficult to hide a cry when a priest is near. Father Dan is a quite man. He spent time in Rome during his internship. He is a well educated and intuitive priest. He could see and hear my cry.

Saint Peters Basilica's morning tour was amazing. After the basilica tour our schedule allowed time for a walking tour of the city. Father Dan proudly acted as our tour guide.  After touring Saint Peters Basilica and prior to the start of the walking tour, I went to mail a few postcards from the Vatican post office.  On the way back to our meeting place I got lost. I searched everywhere but could not find the parish group.  When I finally found everyone about a half an hour later I was in distress. My mother was upset and worried about losing another child. As the walking tour began I started to cry. I cried and whined through the entire two hour walking tour. I cried for myself. I cried for my mother and I cried for Mark.  When we stopped for lunch at a ristorante Father Dan asked if he could sit with my mom and I.  We all quietly ate our pizza margarita. I passed on the wine and decided enough’s enough.

Mount St. Angelo, high on a hill. Our hotel, Palace of San Michelle sat on a cliff which over looked the Gragano Peninsula. St. Michael the Archangel first appeared in the grotto (a cave) which was consecrated by St. Michael himself. A true man cave. The group was marked for visiting time and a mass. Mass was said by Father Dan and Deacon Tim. They shared responsibilities during the mass in the grotto. What a thrill for two religious men to be given a gift and to share a mass in the hallow cave. St Micheal's statue sat in a covey glorious with sword held high. The protector.

After mass we walked back to the hotel and had dinner. After dinner I decided to walk outside and look at the view. The night was cool and the wind was light. I held out my arms and opened my hands. I closed my eyes thinking of Mark. I asked Spirit to bring me a message. Nothing. When I turned around to walk back inside I saw Father Dan standing there watching me. He turned and went back inside. I decide to stayed outside. I held out my hands and I closed me eyes.

My mom and I stuck together mostly for consolation even though her friends were always near. So many beautiful churches and history lessons. Lots of rosaries. My mother and I were in the right place at that time. I think Father Dan was looking out for my mother and I. He had a strong yet quite way of bringing peace during a difficult time.

My brother Mark.

I finally found peace with Marks spirit one afternoon. I was watching my grandson while he napped in the loft. All of the sudden I felt a strange sense of peace. A spark passed through me, my brother Mark. At that very second I knew Mark was alright. Owls eyes my grandson said when he woke from his nap. I smiled knowing messages and reminders come in many forms. Owls are symbolic of wisdom, vision and the ability to see beyond the everyday.

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