all saints' day mass

Every Thursday I look back at a specific day and time that was spent with my daughter Matilda as she waited for, received, and recovered from a liver transplant. She was in the hospital for 72 days and we remained in NYC until she turned four months old.

November 1st, 2012 - all saints' day mass

I was out getting coffee when an alarm on my phone chirped. It was All Saints' Day and mass would be starting in 15 minutes. I texted Tyler that I was going and headed up the street.

The church was quiet and full of lit candles. A few people were on knees praying, a few chatting about their day, and a small group talking to the priest. I felt at home in this parish. I found my usual spot and sat down to pray. Praying is the hardest when you have so much to ask. But I did my best and in return I felt a wave of peace rush over me.

Before mass began, the priest stood in front of everyone for an announcement. Superstorm Sandy had crashed into the area and many were in need. He spoke beautifully about how the parish was already stepping up to collect blankets, coats, food, and other items to help those in need. They were organizing bus trips out to the most affected areas to clean up and sit with those impacted by the storm. He spoke about doing something, anything for anyone who needed help. A local news anchor stood up and offered advice. A second collection would be taken up and the money would go toward supplies to aid in the recovery.

My heart ached with pride. Over the last few months, I had seen firsthand a community come together to lift us up in kindness, love, and prayer. I had felt the effects of simple acts and warm support. I was happy to see such fervent action from an area of New York that was not directly impacted by the storm. I was happy to be reminded that the world is full of selfless people willing to give.

Mass was beautiful. My spirits were lifted and my tears were replaced with hope. God was holding my hand, walking me through the city, and showing me how beautiful life is. How beautiful people can be. How acts of kindness and giving are all around us. My eyes were opened and my heart was full.

I didn't stop by Matilda's room when I returned to the hospital. Instead, I finally made my way to the pumping station in the NICU. I got out my rosary and continued to pray. And, just as I was starting on my second side, I heard a man shout my name, "Kelly, Ms. Smith, are you in there?" My heart stopped. A second voice spoke up, "Kelly, it's Jen. The surgeon is in Matilda's room." It was time.

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