It’s hard to believe that a month ago on May 10th, we came home from the hospital! Here it is June 10th (already) and it’s getting to the point where our 50 long days of being in the hospital are beginning to take on that foggy distant memory type of feeling, fading a little bit more with each new day.
Yesterday evening we took the family to Holy Trinity Church in Hartford for Mass. Holy Trinity is where Matt and I went weekly while Amber was in the hospital — a very much needed healing spot for the two of us to go and take a break, even if only for an hour, to be able to reflect, breathe, and refresh our souls during such a turbulent time in our lives. Holy Trinity is Father Charlie‘s church, and while Amber has met Father Charlie in the hospital, she has not seen his church, and has been asking weekly to go and visit. Father Charlie has not seen Amber out of her hospital bed, hasn’t had the opportunity to see her talking or walking, and so we have been anticipating this visit for quite some time. We were very excited to not only see Father Charlie but the parishioners as well because we knew that they have all been praying for Amber and our family.
Right before Mass, Father Charlie comes right over to see us, to see Amber, with a big hug for each of us. He cannot take his eyes off Amber and keeps remarking about her being a miracle. And then, during his sermon; talking about Veronica and Simon’s aid to Jesus as he carried the Cross, he calls across the church “Matt, Matt, would you be willing to tell us Amber’s story, at the end of Mass?”. It occurred to us that this Church, this new part of our community, has helped us carry our Cross, and has helped Amber carry hers. Of course we would share the whole story with them. And so, after Communion and before the Recessional Hymn, Father invited our whole family up to the front, and Matt had the opportunity to address the Church. He talked about a few of our personal experiences, as well as emphasizing how hard it has been to accept that, as “The Dad”, he can’t just fix this by just working harder or longer, and therefore has to put his faith in those that can fix this; in Amber’s case, it’s putting trust in the doctors, nurses, and the people around us, and having faith that God brought us to them for a reason. Matt also made a point that you just don’t know if you can lift 300 pounds until you try, and in the same way, we didn’t know the strength of our faith until this test.
After applause and some tears, we headed back down to the pews where we finished Mass. Before leaving, we had many of the parishioners come up to us with kinds words and hugs. Holy Trinity has become a part of our community, our family in support of Amber — Our Church away from Church.
And after that, we said our farewell to Father Charlie and headed out for dinner at a spot we would often hit after Church, J’s Restaurant — another thing we HAD to do now that we had Amber with us! A celebration for sure!
It is so comforting to know that we have people cheering, praying, and rallying for Amber and our family. Amber has her army behind her helping her fight this battle, and it’s her battle that will be won, on her terms, in her way.