Thinking of others

As a country we love talking about the weather, it is either too cold, wet and on a rare Summer’s day after a few hours we complain about the heat. Ex Hurricane Ophelia was an unprecedented event to occur in Ireland and unfortunately three people lost their lives as a direct result of the effects of the weather. It was all rather sobering and our family was extremely grateful that we had only minor inconveniences compared to others.

A fallen tree after Ex Hurricane Ophelia

On a lighter note, can you imagine how thrilled our kids were getting the news that all schools were closed! It was rather short-lived however once the electricity went and that was the end of their devices! Five minutes later they announced they were bored. Soon I noticed the board games being resurrected and they spent a few hours happily playing away for the afternoon as the wind literally whipped up a storm. All rather banal thankfully and Hubby and I spent a guilt free afternoon reading!

As the light began to fade and I couldn’t read anymore, I had plenty of time to think and reflect.  I also remembered that I needed to buy some cards for people. I must admit I am not the best for sending cards. I do try but sometimes I just forget and they tend to pile up. My mother and sister are brilliant for sending cards. My dear mother never forgets our birthdays including all her grandchildren. Every birthday you can be sure of her card arriving in the post on the day. My sister has inherited the same trait which I find so thoughtful. I try but I wish I was more like them. I thought about when my youngest child started becoming more proficient at reading, each time a card arrived on birthdays, the envelope was carefully opened, the cover picture studied and commented on and only then the card was opened and the message inside was read, slowly and carefully as if savouring each word. In the early years there may have some difficulty with reading the handwritten note from adult relatives but once read aloud it was reread silently.

There is a tradition here in Ireland, when someone is unwell or recently bereaved a mass card is sent to convey a message of sympathy or provide comfort. At the beginning of the mass the priest usually offers it up for an intention and the idea of the mass card is to ask the priest to say mass for that person. An offering or sacrifice (money) is usually made and the card is signed by the local priest. I certainly got many mass cards around both times I was unwell and I did feel grateful that someone considered getting a mass said for me. A bit like my child I read and reread each word and was filled with gratitude when people took the time to send me a card, especially at times when all I could think about was hospitals, appointments, scans and treatment. It helped remind that I do have another life far removed from the reality of that time.

Recently, when a person I went to school with died, it took me by surprise as I had heard she was unwell but wanted to keep things private. I wanted to send her a card but wasn’t sure if I was being intrusive. With all my procrastination, fate intervened and she died. Of course I regretted not sending her a card. Now I wish I just sent a short note just letting her know that I was thinking of her. That’s all. Nothing more. Too late now, so I will live with that regret.
So, last week I called to my local parish office and bought mass cards for a lot of people in my community. As I handed over the money even the parish secretary commented about how it all adds up when you leave the cards to buy together!   (Procrastination Queen!)

As we await Storm Brian this weekend, which hopefully won’t  cause any major damage, perhaps consider reaching out to someone you have been thinking about but not quite getting around to sending that card.

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