Good Fortune Prayer

The following post is a guest post from my son’s Godmother Patricia Grassi. She is one of the most faithful women I’ve ever met and serves as an inspiration to me always.

Chervony, the firey orange and tan long-haired cat was showing signs of distress.
Saturday, June 13, he stopped drinking and eating. The expression on his sweet
face resembled a stone. His eyes appeared overcast as he stared into space.
Maybe this is the way eighteen-year-old cats act before they die. His
disappearamce into the neighbor’s tall bushes the following day also pushed us into
thinking he wanted to go into the woods to die.

Early Monday morning, before Stacy called his vet, I was sitting at the kitchen
table, drinking a cup of coffee while engulfed in sadness. Like the distant note of
a songbird, a feeling of hope broke through my sorrow. I sensed a lightness within
me as I turned to my left and saw Marshall standing in front of the dishwasher,
smiling at me. I knew intuitively that he was a vision–a momentary gift from
heaven to bring me comfort and perhaps a message regarding Chervony. He was
dressed in dark blue jeans and a darker blue T-shirt. Everything about him
glowed, especially his face, which was clean-shaven.

Yes, he was happy, but he particularly wanted me to tell his mother that he loved her very much. As he slowly faded, I was struck by the fact that he was the embodiment of all the attributes of God, such as love, kindness, goodness, wisdom and especially joy, just to name a few. dark-clouds-173926_1920

After he left, I didn’t know exactly what Chervony’s situation was, but that whatever happened, it would be all right.*

*And it WAS alright. Chevony was found sick and with a fever, but post-vet care, he is making a full recovery.


Faith Muscle

Gift of Faith on Father’s Day

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Image by Mar Dais from Pixabay

My daughter “celebrated” this past Father’s Day in the same manner as she has done for the last 10 years: alone.

My son “celebrated” nine years in this same exact manner. I suppose the saving grace this year was he no longer had to experience the void, pain, anguish and feeling like everyone, but him, was blessed and he did something wrong to deserve the outcome.

Some fathers are just incapable of fulfilling their role as fathers in the same way some mothers are incapable of fulfilling their role as mothers.

I don’t want to minimize Father’s Day. Like Mother’s Day, it is a wonderful holiday to sell cards and gifts and it brings out the best in families, but I think those who also need to be acknowledged and recognized are the children and young adults who are robbed of a father * too early in life either through death or abandonment. They are the silent victims who have no seat on the sidelines, because the game is over.

It was a particularly difficult day for my twenty-something year-old daughter, who, as resilient as she is, this year she also had to deal with the lose of her only brother, her only sibling. It seems everyone was celebrating Father’s Day or had a crisis of his or her own to give her a shout out. Fortunately, this woman, who doesn’t deserve any of her fate, dealt with the holiday as she does every year, with maturity and acceptance.

Amazingly, this year on Father’s Day she received a very special gift and faith renewal from her brother. She was cleaning out some paperwork and an envelope dropped out. Inside was a $20 gift card from her brother that he gave her six years ago.

It was as if he were telling her, “Go ahead. Go celebrate Father’s Day. I have faith you can do it for both of us.”

Sometimes when you declutter your life and remove the stuff, you make room for abundance.

* This goes for Mother’s too.

NOTE: Our beloved senior cat is on the mend!


Faith Muscle

Window Angels *

Window Angels 3

Window Angels

Before the tragedy, I would swear to it that these two angels in the window protect our house. These days, putting my faith in the angels doesn’t feel like a sound investment.

I actually positioned the angels in my window yesterday, primarily because I think they are pretty. In fact, they are the first thing that catch my eyes when I walk by. Sometimes I think they symbolize my son and daughter standing side by side. My son is the way bigger angel, literally now. In secular terms, though, what is definite is that they are pretty wooden angels, and they make my eyes look up high.

Yesterday was also when my son’s cat Chervony (Ukrainian for red–though the cat is actually an orange tabby) went missing. The cat is 18 and has a heart condition. He stopped eating and drinking yesterday, and I knew what was happening.

Our plans of taking him to the vet went out the window, in the same way our plans for my son’s visit went out the window. The only thing I can be sure of is that I have wooden angels IN my window. The angels will not guide my son’s cat home nor do they give me a false sense of promise.

My mom used to say, “We make plans and God crosses them out.”

Investigating the dilemma with my son’s missing cat, I found the research below on the internet.

“Although it is not fully known why some cats go away to die, it’s likely that when our cats become very old and feel unwell, they prefer to be alone and rest. Unlike people, cats do not anticipate or know about death as we do, so they are not fearing what might happen.”

I have shed my grief-on-top-of-grief tears, but, strangely, I know our dear Chervony is at peace.

Maybe I sense this peace because peace is a regular part of my life. After all, I am in a 12-step community that promises me, “We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.”

I burst with gratitude when I say that promise has never been broken in over 35 years and even now serenity and peace do not leave my present grief-stricken life, and that’s what helps propel me to move forward and not give up faith.

It is ironic that my son chose to die in his own way on his own terms. And now it looks like his cat did the same thing. The realization provides some sort of skewed feeling of peace, and I correlate their endings like two bookends. Between the bookends, though, there were volumes of books brimming with love and memories. After all, a connection between a cat and its owner is special, angelic really.

*Chervony returned this morning! We talked to the vet and, for now, we are keeping an eye on him, because, he appears better. Maybe our window angels interceded in bringing him home or maybe my son’s Godmother’s prayer was answered when she asked my son to bring him home! Either way, what a test of faith. Will keep you updated!


Faith Muscle

Champagne Tea

Image by Bububácsi from Pixabay

I’ve reached the idea that my 26-year-old son won’t be returning after ordering a glass of champagne tea. Marking nearly 7 months since my son took his own life, the dream I had last night was the wet mortar that cemented the permanence of his out-of-order death inside my brain cells.

It was a bizarre dream and I’ll spare readers the unnecessary details. The gist of it is, my 25-year-old daughter and I waited over an hour at a fast food joint for my son’s return after he went to pick up his champagne tea. I grew angrier with each passing moment. It was the kind of anger that I would occasionally feel toward him in real life, and my response was typical. My ego was ready to plow into him, but my soul beat down my zealous ego and re-sized and minimized it down one hundred percent.

Gentle words it spoke: “Don’t blow your top. There’s a good explanation. He’s sensitive as it is, and you don’t want to hurt him needlessly.”

Powerless, my daughter and I stood frozen. Finally, my daughter gently whispered, “He’s not coming back.”

Only then did my brain unleash the absolute truth, a reminder of what had transpired nearly seven months ago after he had recently relocated to Auburn, Kentucky.

This is what I came to realize in my dream. This is what I know in my life. He won’t be back in an hour. He won’t be back tomorrow. The summer will pass without him. My first summer without him.

Earlier in the week, I pulled out a t-shirt inscribed with “Kentucky.” I quickly stuffed it back out of sight. Not so much because I had bought it with him while I was in Kentucky in 2018, but because of the fact that the last time I wore it was last summer when he was alive. The shirt magnifies the void. It’s like waking up to find you’re missing a foot, but more painful, because you have to hobble your way through life with the rest of your body out of balance. NOTE: You never “get over it”—not even for one single day, hour or minute.

That’s what out-of-order death does. It kicks you mercilessly out of the saddle of life as dust particles sting your eyes like bees. The only vision left is all the other riders in front of you galloping effortlessly forward in their high polished saddles.

Out-of-order death makes you think thoughts that would come to you if you accidentally banged your head on the car’s dashboard. The dang kid left to get his champagne tea and won’t be back. He stood us up.

In life, my son was a hell of a puzzle that I couldn’t figure out, and so it is in death. Now, I have to take his dark immovable brick of fate and cement the joints firm and unbroken into my brain. Acceptance is not an easy task when you are broken to smithereens, and faith seems far away and faded along with last year’s sunburn.


Faith Muscle

Simple Path

 I feel acceptance is love and love is God’s will for us.

From the book Daily Reflections
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.


John C. was a burly curmudgeon of a man, a retired plumber, who raised five sons. On the calmest of days, he was an exploding firecracker with the power of a bomb. Hours after he discovered that his wife of over 30 years was having an affair with someone half her age, John’s hands were twisting the guys’ neck at the younger man’s place of work. Fortunately, the warring sides did not suffer permanent or significant injuries, and John’s friends bailed him out of jail the next day.

Beyond his bigger-than-life explosive personality was the purr behind the roar.

It’s all about love.

That was one of John’s favorite sayings. And, sure enough, beneath John’s crusty exterior was his willingness to help others, whether providing rides or lending a few bucks, that was his way. In the 20-plus years that I grew to know and love him, on numerous occasions, he provided a non-judgmental listening ear and never broke a confidence.

Though John is gone, his legacy of words also imprints my mind. Sometimes I hear them when I least expect them, at times and with people that really do a 180 degree turn on any sort of compassion.

Like when:

I found out about the venom-tongued woman who spat her unkind words at my son and helped pave the way to his final chapter.

It’s all about love, and I know HURT PEOPLE HURT

I heard that Landlord Joey wouldn’t budge and return my son’s security deposit money when my son desperately need to break the house’s least because he was despairing, isolated and lonely.

It’s all about love, and I remember the grit and courage of my 25-year-old daughter, a sister with a dead brother, interceding on her grieving mother’s behalf in an attempt to get the security deposit returned to us. No, the landlord denied the request, but she was a testimony of when one steps up to the plate.

Coroner Mary called me with the news that no mother should ever hear and, also, implied that I was responsible for my son’s death.

It’s all about love, and my dearest friend, spiritual sister Pat never left my side from the time of that horrific call to this very day as she travels alongside me and puts up with my tears, fears, anguish, anger, secular notions and sometimes plain nonsense.

The sheriff dropped the ball on helping me find the whereabouts of my son’s missing fave jacket and laptop computer.

I’s all about love, and the two young adults whom I had never met before in my life never dropped the ball helping us pack and sort through my son’s belongings.

Last, and probably most painful, his father showing up to see my son’s dead body after a nine-year absence in his life.

It’s all about love, and like I said earlier, HURT PEOPLE HURT

Now, in the national news the senseless death of George Floyd in which my heart goes out to Mr. Floyd’s family and friends.

It’s all about love, and I can reasonably assume that none of the police officers involved in the hideous crime sought to do God’s will anytime earlier that day.

In fact, I’d wager to say that the venom-tongued woman, Landlord Joey, Coroner Mary, the Sheriff and my son’s father didn’t ask for God’s will before they willfully said and/or did what they did and or/said.

And, I accept everything just for today because “acceptance is love and love is God’s will for us.”

And for today I select to walk the simple path as described so poignantly below by Saint Teresa of Calcutta. When I venture on this path, there is no stress, because there are no constrains or requirements.

The simple path: silence is prayer, prayer is faith, faith is love, love is service, the fruit of service is peace.

~ Mother Teresa, Founder of the Missionaries of Charity


Faith Muscle