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17 June, 2013

ST JUDE

In my wallet I carry a Prayer to St Jude. Before my Mother passed away she gave me two things: this prayer and her medal of St Jude. It’s not a prayer I say regularly, but that’s not what it’s designed for either. St Jude the Apostle is the Patron Saint of desperate cases and lost causes and you just never know when you’ll need to turn to him. The point is, he is there waiting patiently for us when we do.



There is more behind this 'Jude of Galilee' in our family.

Around the same time my Mother passed away, my Grandmother suffered a massive stroke which stole her speech and impeded her movement. Our family had our two central figures taken from us as we scrambled around in personal shock, loss and grief for months and even years.

Such is the Spirit of my Grandmother, she turned 86 this year. Although very fragile, I can still hear the same laughter in her that would fill our kitchen as she would tell us story after story. The good storyteller’s get away with repeating themselves and Gran was so good at them we would find ourselves asking her to “Tell us that story about you and Aunty Joy at Bingo again!” Most of her stories were funny and would make the walls of a room rattle from belly laughter. Thanks to our Grandparents, my family and extended family are very talented at two things: laughing and crying.

These days when I sit with Gran, I tell all the stories but I don’t have her natural knack. The stroke robbed her of so much but miraculously not her ability to recognize music. I can’t make sense of any of the words Gran is singing, but the timing is right, the tune is right, the feeling is right and her facial expressions are perfect. There is a little piece of wonder intact in her brain where the music still makes sense to her. When I spend time with her, it becomes the best place in the world because we both adore each other. We were driving home from an outing one day, many years ago, when she started a story “Darling, I’ll tell you something that I haven’t told very many people before because I’m scared they will think I’m mad.” She continued all choked up with tears in her eyes. “My mother said when I was born there was the brightest light shining at the end of her bed but she just couldn’t make out what it was. Then when I had your Mother, I saw a bright light too and I'm certain I saw St Jude standing at the end of my bed. It was the brightest light I’ve ever seen. I'll never forget it!”

Whether this story is true or not lay in the heart of personal belief. I saw the look in my grandmother’s eyes and felt the belief in her own voice and that was enough for me. My Mother was christened Judith Ann and I sit here tonight reciting the Prayer to St Jude.

Light and Love.