I don't know exactly what happened to me when I was there, but I grew so much in my faith in the months leading up to the trip and since then, I don't quite know how to explain it. Now that is not to say I am anywhere NEAR where I really need to be faith-wise. Far from it. But I think learning about the travels of the apostles and the early Christians there in Rome and then going to the places St. Peter and St. Paul walked and where they lost their lives for the faith really left a profound impression on my soul.
I have busied myself since my trip watching every documentary and movie I can get my hands on about the apostles and the saints. I love the stories and have really enjoyed learning as much as I can. That is a never-ending process, however, I have discovered. I think I have exhausted Netflix and I'm going to have to look elsewhere for some more. I really would like to learn more about St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, and a plethora of the other saints I have not yet studied.
I haven't written in a while, so I really feel like I should talk about the other things that have been going on. Last I wrote, I was talking about Eric, who we lost in a horrible accident at the end of July. It really affected our little town and the people who loved him.
About a week after Eric died and was buried, I went to the cemetery to visit Lauren's resting place, as I do about twice or three times a month. I usually place purple and lavender flowers on her gravesite in August, in honor of her brother and sister-in-law. They had those colors in their wedding two years ago, and I did that then. Aaron and Anna seemed to like that idea, so a little tradition was born.
Anyway, I knew Eric was buried in the same graveyard, and I had heard that he was close to Lauren, but when I got there I discovered he is literally next to our family plots. I saw his wife Angie and daughter Christie a few weeks later and when I remarked on that, Christie smiled and said, "We chose that spot to be close to Lauren on purpose." Wow. That really blew me away. I visit him and my sweet little friend Hanna's baby son Hayden, who is also nearby, every time I am there. I know that those families visit Lauren too. It does me good to know that for some reason.
I had the opportunity in August to share with the Northwest Foundation board about Lauren's scholarship. One of Lauren's favorite teachers and her principal are both members of the board. I was thrilled to talk to them and tell her story to those who did not know her, and just to let them know, from the donor's standpoint, how much those scholarships mean to us. It was a great honor to be asked to do that. Our foundation does such great work and to be able to help a student in our daughter's name is very healing for us.
It is time for our scholarship ceremony and reception next Monday. We have a wonderful young man, Michael Wooten, as our recipient this year. He is a drummer who is studying Automotive Technology at the college. He was so happy to get the scholarship. I met him the day he got it and he told me he had seen Lauren's picture in the band room at school. He is really a snare drummer, and when they told him they needed him to play bass drum instead, he was happy to do so. Great kid. So we'll sit with him and get to know him, and tell him what a wonderful girl our Lauren was.
|Michael and me at the band's debut "on the lawn" this August.|