When I was a kid we used to visit my grandmother on my dad's side on holidays. Thing is, she had previously suffered strokes and was unable to talk properly. In fact most of what she could get out was complete gibberish or often curse words. It was very sad really and as a kid I really didn't understand what was going on all the time until I got older.
She was still able to communicate though through gestures and other non-oral-non-written ways. For instance she could point at something she wanted or give you a hug to show affection. Things like that.
One thing she did every time we saw her was bring us Catholic religious items. Icons mostly but also prayer cards and other trinkets. My father was raised Catholic and says "he was supposed" to raise my sister and I that way. Obviously that didn't happen. But my grandmother did her best to continually give us Catholic items at every meeting. It was her way of communicating the faith to us. As kids we thought it was a bit crazy that every time we saw her we got this stuff. We smiled and said thanks but after we dropped her off or left wherever we were my parents just took the stuff and we never saw it again. Now I wish I had it back.
Flash forward to 1997, her funeral. I had been playing in some Catholic masses on Saturday afternoons for a little while but didn't play her funeral mass. All of my dad's side of the family was there and even some of my mom's (to support us probably). Now, I don't want anyone to think I was super close to my grandmother. Effectively we never really got a chance to know her even though we'd seen her many many times over the years. She of course was not able to communicate with us so it made interaction difficult. Anyway, out of everyone there somehow I managed to walk out of there with the gift bible from the occasion of her funeral. It was my first Catholic bible. It is also the bible that would help begin my investigation into the Church.
Moving onto college. Somehow that bible was the one I chose to take with my to school. I'm thinking now thats because it was my newest one. I didn't open it for a while (junior year maybe) and really begin reading it, but once I did I noticed all kinds of words like "magesterium". After that I turned on the TV and saw this old nun talking and joking around... and the rest you can read about in the archives of this blog.
I've always felt that somehow my grandmother was involved in my conversion. She obviously wanted us to be Catholic badly and probably prayed often for that intention. I'm not saying this is some sort of miracle or that I've received a kind of divine personal revelation here. Its not my place to judge things like that.
Yesterday at while getting ready to sit down for Easter dinner my sister mentioned that it would have been our grandmother's birthday. I perked up when I overheard her say that, because it was also the day of my first Holy Communion. Coincidence? Perhaps. Providence? I hope so.
I hope she had a wonderful birthday.