Monday, November 3, 2008

Big Families with All those Souls

So a few posts back I talked about hearing that Mrs. Gau had passed away. The Roses are all around! We discovered over the weekend that some other friends had lost their matriarch. She was 98 years old. Her name was Evelyn Elder. She was the mother of 7 and had led a good life. Three of her children live in our neighborhood. We know them from Mass and her only son is our Realtor. We didn't know her well but the few times I spoke with her or her children I could see the love that this woman had for her children, their children and their children. I could relate to her in so many ways. She was a very strong Catholic wife and mother that cared for her children with her entire being. This woman leaves quit a huge legacy with her 7 children, her 44 grandchildren and her outstanding number of 117 great-children with 4 more on the way. Wow. Her daughter once told me that she loved each and everyone of them and prayed for all of them every day.

This made me think back to the past generations. I wonder how many of my distant relatives are sitting in the eternal bliss of heaven praying for me, my siblings, my husband and his siblings. I thought long and hard at Mass last Sunday about Mrs. Gau and Mrs. Elder. They were both strong Catholic woman that loved God by loving their families. I pray that they are now in heaven enjoying their eternal reward while still praying for their families.

I sat at Mass on Sunday, also the feast of All Souls, and prayed for my family. I asked God to protect my children and all of our off spring, generations to come. I begged God to keep each one close to him through out their lives. As I sat and prayed for my family to come, I also prayed for the family that has passed. I wonder how many generations are in heaven looking down praying for us. I know that my Mommom and Papa are there. The faith was so important to each of them and I am certain that they desire it to be a part of our lives as well. When I received Holy Communion I felt very connected. It was one of those rare times that I felt like I was part of the Communion of Saints.

My mind was on all of these souls as Mass ended. I thought of adults, children, siblings, grandparents. I thought of lost souls and future souls. I prayed for my family and for your family. After Mass the two couples behind us started telling us their story. As it turned out they were number 1 and number 2 of a family of nine. They said they loved watching us during Mass as we reminded them of how they acted growing up. Each one fighting over the baby. Each one loving that baby above all else. They said over and over again how wonderful it was growing up in a family of 9. The oldest sister and the oldest child starting telling Dani how she is still the second mom of the group and loves each one of them as much today as she did growing up. The oldest son (the second child) expressed how much he still depends of every single one of his siblings. Both of their spouses went on and on about how much fun the Holidays are.

As we started to head out they stopped us and asked us to wait just one more minute. As it turned out their mom and dad were in town and at this very Mass. They really wanted the mom and dad to see the young kiddos. The second child (the oldest son) had gathered everyone together the day before for his oldest child's wedding. Each aunt and uncle went on and on about how special that day had been. They had enjoyed it so much and it had started with a beautiful Mass. The other siblings and their spouses and grown children were making their way across the church to our location with the mom and the dad. As each one approached they started sharing stories. All of them wanted to tell me something and tell Jason something. They all talked at one time but with the utmost respect for each other, just like my own kids.

Each grown adult child found their counter part in our group. The first born found Pooker. Number nine wanted to hold Jumba. He whispered to him that he was the luckiest one of the group. I heard things like, "I'm number 5 who is number 5." And then after finding Moogie it was like a reuniting of old friends. Each one pairing up with the adult from the other family telling my children the joys of being who they were.

Then mom and dad made it over. The crowds parted like all big families do when mom and dad join the group. I stood face to face with a woman that I now felt very close to. She was clearly in her 70's, but I had no idea of her exact age. I could just see a joy in her eyes that shined as she grabbed my hand. The dad was ushered over to J and they greeted with a warm hand shake. All of the children around us started talking again. It was such a joyful sound. She held my hand and said, "You have no idea the joy that this life will bring you!" I smiled and noticed that she also had a tear flowing down her cheek. "The love will just continue to grow! You will have hard times, you will have sad times but you are so blessed!"

"As are you," I responded. "Your grown children are wonderful and a true reflection of your loving motherhood."
"I know!" She smiled, "I am very blessed!"

"I see in your children what I saw in mine. It is rare but wonderful. They really love each other and that will get you through all the tough times. It really is heaven. I just wonder how heaven could be any better than the wedding Mass was yesterday!" She said.

"It was a piece of heaven." I assured her.
We embraced in a warm mom to mom hug and promised to pray for each other and each others families. Parting with them was like saying goodbye to mom when you move out of town. We knew we had to leave but really didn't want to.

This mom and I were separated by 35 or 40 years. I have no idea if I ever even heard her name. We have different challenges. She had 6 boys and 3 girls and we are the opposite with 6 girls and 3 boys. Her children are grown and mine are still very small. Yet the bond was so strong. Just like I felt with Mrs. Gau and Mrs. Elder. Thank heaven for these wonderful examples of true love in the world.

God please bless and protect each of these large families and keep all of their offspring close to you. Please allow Mrs. Elder and Mrs. Gau to rest in peace and share that same peace with their children.


  1. I have tears in my eyes just reading this... I so wish I had you in my life Shann

    Love you,

  2. I'm crying just reading it. What a sight to behold!!!

  3. Shannon, you have such a gift for connecting with the people in your life, whether random passers-by or close friends. I imagine that woman you met will be praying for you and your family for a long time! Such a great story -- thank you for sharing it!


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