Just now left France. Lourdes. I adore France. I am positive I could live here. I think though that I feel that way about most of the places I go! I’m inspired by the scenery, gastronomy, and the kindness of the people. There are on average 20,000 people a day that visit Lourdes. They are second only to Paris in beds available per night. Pretty interesting for a location that pretty much was non-existent except for the fact that the Virgin appeared to Bernadette 18 times in a grotto. The site itself is breathtaking. Awe inspiring. We participated in all there was to do here. We went to mass, prayed the rosary…I haven’t done this since catholic school-elementary school. I’m getting better!???. Anyway, we attended candlelight processions , checked out all the basilicas and churches, learned about all the saints and various people involved in the apparitions. We then participated in the baths. We waited 2 hours in line to be brought to basically what looked like a cabana themed preparation room that smelled like roses. Hundreds of volunteers were there to assist with the baths. 1000’s of people daily hope to have an opportunity to have this experience and they hope and pray for a miracle. There are literally 1000’s of people in wheelchairs, with deformities, and in various stages of impairment. It is heart wrenching. When it is your turn, you are escorted into a changing cabana so to speak. They hold a drape around you while you disrobe. Then, when it is your turn you are led to a marble tub with constantly flowing water from a spring. The story is that the virgin appeared and asked Bernadette to drink from the source of the spring and bathe in it. At that time, there was no spring, but she began to dig and it was if she were in a trance. The water sprung from under where she was digging. It has been a holy place since, a place of miracles. Before your bath, you pray, set your intentions, and then you are immersed several times in the icy water. You are blessed and prayed over by these 3 women that are assisting you in your bath. It is a life altering moment that invokes a flood of tears. Beautiful. While in my bath, during my time of quiet and prayer, I envisioned myself and the people I prayed for, surrounded and encased in white light. Pure beautiful warmth, love, energy and light. Lovely. I highly recommend this beautiful and life altering experience and destination as part of your journey.
Today we head to Barcelona, Spain. I’m Excited! I feel as though I am growing a bit tired and weary. I miss my family, and I haven’t been able to take any time for myself. I’m used to a lot more autonomy. As much as I adore my mother and am savoring all these beautiful, life altering moments with my sweet mamma,it is difficult to be “on” 24/7. She has become very absentminded, gets lost in seconds, and confused in her thoughts, words, and sentiments. She misunderstands people constantly. Often, she feels as though people are mocking her or diminishing her thoughts or process etc. She is also having a difficult time discerning social cues, such as when a conversation is “over”,when one should stop speaking, or allow someone else to speak, etc.. We have met beautiful, kind, gentle, souls on this journey, that respect our journeys respectively. For that I am Grateful. Today is the first time I broke down and cried. It was over breakfast. I was embarrassed. I did not want to explain why the tears just kept rolling. People very kindly and gently asked if I was ok, and where “Mamma Maria” was. She was waiting downstairs by her luggage which I had to haul down 5 flights of stairs because she couldn’t get her self together in a timely fashion. This process of packing goes on late into the night, every night, and still isn’t wrapped up by morning. She packs, unpacks, repacks, and may do this several more times. I had set out her things for her as I had done nearly every night. I packed her back pack and then attempted sleep. She went through this packing process several times while I was sleeping. In the morning, she couldn’t find any of her clothes, undergarments, or various other items. She was flustered, and many of her things were “lost”. It was frustrating for both of us. She had a difficult time figuring out how to use the shower, and swore it didn’t work. It was just a difficult day and it wasn’t even 8am. I just needed a few minutes and some coffee. Anyway, I fell apart and am now sitting apart from my mom so we can both pull ourselves back together. We are stopped now, so I’ll chat later.