A day to treasure.

I really should be saying good morning. But i’m saying good night, into the we small hours of the start of the most emotional day in my life so far pretty much. The day where I’ll have all my friends and family round me. Where I’ll be received into the most caring, kind, inspiring group of people I’ve ever met, and also, to be with God, The Son, the Holy Spirit, and Our Lady. A day that will be no-doubt be filled with happyness and sometimes tears. But tears of joy, and acceptance. The journey of conversion from Anglacan to Catholicism was but a long one. It started in 2010. I was a young 17 year-old. I was taking singing lessons off an Italian couple. Marco, and Gina Pasquero. They were devoted catholics, and used to teach me a lot about God. We would make it a frequent conversation, after my vocal lessons, which would last for 2 hours. It was then, the thoughts of perhaps converting to catholicism crept towards the forefront of my mind. I had a rosary, That I bought in Rome just 2 years before. Once arriving there, I stepped out into the street off the coach, and immediately felt at home. I said to Nana, I feel like i’ve been here before. The basilica made me cry, but not like Lourdes. The feeling of ease, was still there. Normally, if I stepped into an anglacan cathedral, or any cathedral for that matter, I would always feel intimidated by its vast, and echoing interior. The space that never seemed to end. The silence punctuated by the echo of peoples’ feet, and the organ. Back to the present moment in focus. I carried my rosary everywhere, as since the visit to Rome, I had carried my rosary, or wore it round my neck. It gave me great security, and comfort, during school days, and the ability to cope with any upset, or anxiety that the week should throw at me. I could always squeeze the beads, and hold the crucifix, which was close to my heart. As near as I could get it to my skin. So, At first, The thought was there, but I kept trying to push it away, as the worry of disapproval, was always there. My family are anglacan, so how would they react. A few years went bye. During which I lost my way. I was always from day one, brought up with the Bible. Reading the bible to me was a frequent duty that my Grandad and grandmother did and took in turns. My grandmother bought me tapes of the Bible, and encouraged me to listen to them. She also encouraged me to listen to the movies that were made for the television. Christmas, for example, was not just about giving, or receiveing. It was also made important, to remember Jesus’s birth. Nativity scenes were put up in our household. The figures were placed carefully in the bed of straw underneath. The base was made of wood. A flat table, on which was a bed of straw, and cotton-wool. The porcelain figures and pottery were placed in order of sequence. I was to learn this every Christmas, and had the task of placing them myself. Easter was also a significant time in the house. The sacrifice Jesus made, by dying on the Cross for us, and taking our sins with him. Again, something that would be drilled into me, every year. Via the story of the Last supper, and the adaptation for TV. The Greatest story ever Told, is the name of the film. One of the most realistic, moving, graphic adaptations I have ever heard. So yes, religion played a role in my house, and at school. Not eating meat on Good Friday, is still a tradition we have carried. Anyway, after 2010, the thought of Catholicism was pushed back, to the back of my mind, but always kept popping up. There and then. But things happened, where I lost my way, and somewhat, my faith. I turned away slightly, and tried to avoid the bible side of things. But then, I met my lovely friend, and sponsor, Angelina. On a warm spring day, my birthday, back in 2017. We were in Costa. Unknown to each other, we were just feet away. Excuse me, said a small voice, Yes? And then, the Italian conversation started. Since then, we met more often, and the conversation started. After that, I went to mass for 3 years, and last year, started the RCIA course. This year, I made the trip to Lourdes. And I’m determined to go back there, every year. I have a record of 22 times to beat. The journey to Lourdes was a long and tiring one. I was apprehensive. The masses would be very formal. With chanting, latin, and responses I will not know, I thought. The people would be very strict catholics, and… Well, would I enjoy it?

How very wrong I was, but correct in my question of would I enjoy it! Answer: Yes! I very much enjoyed it, and immediately, felt the freedom, but closeness, relaxed, Strong connection, to our Lady and St Bernadette. The strong feeling of wanting to help others. But also, the emotion of joy, happyness, slight sadness, in the fact I was miles from home, but more overwhelmed. Almost like loads of emotions hitting you all at once, but what can one make of them. The only way? Crying. But the sheer beauty, and awesomeness, of the blessed sacrament precession, the torchlight procession, and the underground basilica, were all too much. Too much in the fact they were so beautiful and inspiring, I could not contain the tears that flowed like flood-gates being opened. A feeling of joy that was so strong, it had to be let out. And the joy kept coming.

That was the ultimate catalyst that helped me reach my decision. And here we are! And thanks to my mentor and now sponsor along with Angelina, Clare, we have reached that moment! The moment where I become a catholic. And the moment where metaphorically, a teen becomes an adult. And the baby is baptised. I am nervous, but not nervous out of fear. I guess the feeling is nervous anticipation. There will be tears, I can assure you of that. I will now say this. From the bottom of my heart: Thank you to those who have been with me and along-side me on this journey. Thank you to those who joined me on my journey when we met for the first time in Lourdes. Thank you to those who are making the journey over from Liverpool to see me get baptised, confirmed, and receive communion. Thank you for the friendships I have made, which I hope will be there for years and years to come! Again, thank you all! And treasure this moment, as I will. It will be a momentus one. But have the tissues!

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IST, Faker, or not?

IST, the condition that leaves doctors stumped, puzzled! What are we dealing with? A patient like myself, walks into their office, expaining they have palpitations, and tachycardia almost all the time. But… All the ECGs are normal, so, there’s nothing wrong, right? Or, is there!

The condition looks like something fake, like tachycardia related to anxiety or other things but it’s far from it! Infact, the autonomic nervers system is failing in its duty to control our heart rate. It beats inappropriately and forcefully fast! Here’s what happens most of the time to us. I shall tell you, a small part of my story.

A warm day in may, although I’m feeling like crap! I decide to go to town, because well, it’s warm right? I head out, and off to the cafe for lunch and then, it starts! The racing, pounding, breathlessness, fatigue. Sitting, I tried to eat, but every mouth-full was becoming an effort, an effort to stop the accompanying threat of nausea, due to the fast heartbeat. I got my stuff and left, leaving almost half my plate untouched. Went home, and headed to the GP for my appointment I’d already scheduled that day because of what I thought was asthma. Arriving in the surgery, my heart still racing, very breathless, and shaky, I sat in the seat, waiting. The GP called me. Checking my sats, and heart, he stopped mid examination, and said, you’re going to ED, your heart is 155. How long has it been like this? I said I don’t know, but it’s just been racing away. All day. An ambulance was called, and I was taken to hospital. On the way, I was sitting almost halfway between upright and lying down. My heart, still racing. I said, through tears, It’ll go down, it’ll go down. And then they’ll send me home. They’ll say there’s nothing wrong! I’ve had this 4 times already. I want answers! The paramedic was still looking at the monitors, which showed 120-140 bpm, and still bouncing around. I was taken to majors, where I was placed on ECG machines, and a monitor, which kept switching between a constant beep, and a very loud alert. The loud alert was when it reached 135, and the constant dinging noise, was the tachycardia alarm. I demanded to be admitted.

ED at night was a very strange place. People coming and going, and the strangest of cases coming through the doors. Some, quite entertaining. Eventually, I was taken up to a ward. The ward was a quiet place, away from the bustle of ED, and with music playing in the background. From a person’s headphones in the next bed. I was given a cup of tea, and some toast, then helped by a nurse, into bed. A telemetry heart monitor, also known as a holter monitor, was attached to my chest, shoulder, and just under my breast. This was to monitor my heartbeat over night. The drama though, was not over. I awoke in the night, coughing, and struggling for breath. Wheezing, I waited to see if it would disappear, but it didn’t. I called for assistance, explaining through coughing and wheezing, that I couldn’t breathe. Asking me was I asthmatic, she gave me my inhalers. I tried to refuse as they would only exacerbate my tachycardia. She refused to take my refusal, as by this time, my breathing was getting more laboured. My inhalers did not work, so it was heavy duty artillery time, the nebuliser. This contained both salbutamol and ipratropium. A steroid that is a little stronger than beclamethezone, the standard in your pink or brown inhalers. This worked, but 2 hours later, it was back. My inhalers stopped it this time, but an hour or so later, I needed the nebuliser again. Next morning, the cardiologist came into see me. He sounded quite happy when he walked in. At first, I thought this will go well, how wrong was I. He proceeded to tell me I was fine, just anxious, overusing my meds, and deconditioned. After rowing with him on the ward, I burst into tears. Another one against me. another who does not believe me. Perhaps I’m what they said, a faker, a liar, and a time waster! Perhaps I don’t deserve this help! I thought. I rang my cardiologist’s secretary, sobbing so hard I couldn’t breathe.

In the end, what we found that was causing the tachycardia to be out of control that day, was a chest infection, that had also exacerbated my asthma. With a normal person, one’s heart rate may go up from 60 to about 90, at the most, or maybe 100, with infection, but with someone who has IST, it can do exactly what mine did.

IST doesn’t just test the doctors, it tests you, too! Are you lying? Are you a time-waster? Are you just faking it? Are you a hypochondriac? What’s going on. There’s something, but you don’t know, you don’t understand. It’s like the song, Oh lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood! Except this is being misunderstood regarding your health, not love. I hate it when people do not understand, especially the people you think can help you, the doctors. So what are we to do? Go round and round in circles. If it’s not the anger you have towards family, not understanding, it’s the anger towards the people who you trust, the physicians! Why? How can you not know? What am I doing that I shouldn’t be! Please, do not misunderstand me, do not shove me out your office because all you see is sinus tachy! Do something, please! We need help too! And the more you push us away, the less we trust people in your profession, and the les chance you have of us coming to ED when we actually need too! Please, please, listen!

IST is a huge, long fight, and it may take years before you find the right doctor who will help you. I’ve found mine, but now the fighting to see different people over different aspects begins. So more trusting doctors, that do not trust us. Please, understand us, understand IST. Help us to help you.

From a sufferer of IST.

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An experience I’ll never forget

Life has its experiences, but this one coming up, I will never forget. This one though, has a backstory.

As you all know by now, I am converting to catholicism. I decided to do this, because I enjoy the community spirit, and the way they all care for each other, and the belief and faith that is strong. We all help each other in our own ways. Lourdes, showed me the way. Showed me that Catholicism is where I belong, where I will be looked after, not just by people I have grown to love, with extremely strong friendship, but looked after by God, and our Lady. I imagine our Lady, to be quite small, Perhaps an Italian lady, with a soft but strict voice. Perhaps she would have jet black hair, like most Italians do, but long that flows. I imagine she’d be the type that is very tactile, and loves hugs, like me. She probably was a singer too. She would be very compashonate, but very severe when she needs to be. Severe but fair. Bernadette however, I imagine to be very small, about 4 foot 10, which is what she was, round about. We know this already. I imagine she would have a french accent, but speak broken English. She too, would be compashionate, but firm. Her voice though, would be soft. As she had asthma, she would probably cough a lot like me, but wheeze too. I wheeze at times, but only at night, and when stressed. She may have been thin like me too. Going back to the main point.

I am getting baptised and confirmed this year. First, the baptism.

I was never baptised, however, I was blessed, as I was born 3 months early, weighing only 1lb 11oz. I was also born 1 of twins, and my twin, was 1lb 13oz. We were both blessed quickly, as we were thought not to survive the night. Sadly, my twin brother, Benjamin, did not survive. I did. I was never properly baptised, so that means I will be baptised before confirmation.

I do not know what an adult baptism entails, but I’m not nervous about it. If anything, I’m extremely excited. I am hoping, that this will help me. Help me and others, to forget the past and move on. I pray that it will. That I’ll be a new person, and be given the strenth, to help not just myself, but others. Pray that no more people will remind us of the past, the old Sam. The sam who was not very faithful. The Sam who didn’t really obay people. The Sam that had issues. Pray that no other people need to be involved, and intervene. What’s happened has happened, and one can’t change that. My view of baptism is this: If baptism wipes away sin, then I believe people should be the same. We should all start a fresh, from that day forward. A new beginning.

A new life.

An end to the life before.

Confirmation will be next. The gifts of understanding, And other things will come too. Therefore, I will get further strenth to be better than I once was. The fact I was under the influance of some medications that can make you a completely different person, did not help my cause either. I am due to go to Liverpool in November, as well as to my hospital appointments in London. It will be nice to see my friends again, in the community of WestDerby. It will also be a lovely surprise if anyone makes it to my confirmation day, the 20th October. I have picked 2 names, from 2 saints.

Cecilia, The patron Saint of Music. Because I sing. St Bernadette, because I have illnesses, and because she looked after people with Illness, and poverty.

I wear my rosary, which has 3 Medallions on it. One of St Bernadette kneeling beside our Lady of Lourdes, the miraculous medal, and the medal of St Jude, the saint of lost causes. I feel more secure with the rosary round my neck. I’m very excited for those 2 experiences coming up. I will start to feel complete then. Now next year, I’ll just have to complete my Lourdes experience, faith wise, by sitting in the water. I will try though, to continue to go to Lourdes every year now. I feel that is what I must do every year, to help both my faith, and my wellbeing. To allow me to let go of the year’s stresses, and to start a fresh when I go back home. If one has not been to Lourdes, it is an experience one must do before their life ends. The sick, take the stage, however the carers also do, too. It is a joyous and wonderful experience, but combined with a feeling of relief, and overwhelming emotion. Like everything you’ve bottled up inside all year, is suddenly released. Like the emotion you felt all year: Anger, happiness, excitement, sadness, grief, are all released at once. But to be combined also, with joy, faith, relief, and peace. Like someone has their arms round you, comforting you while your tears flow. While the flood gates are open, the comfort is also flowing. The imagining of our lady of Lourdes comes in here too. Her voice, an Italian voice, perhaps Roman, sing-song, but soft, telling us it’s okay, we’re alright, we’ll be fine, and to let go. Let go of everything. And giving us a hug, that is so firm we can’t and won’t want to escape it. A peace that is so beautiful, you don’t want to leave her. The peace and quiet, of the birds, church bells of the grotto around you, ringing every quarter hour, the prayers of people around you, either praying out loud, or in silence, the warm breeze on your face, as the sun beams down, like an ever lasting light, or warmth, keeping you safe. The town I never want to leave. The town I always want to return too. To let go. To help others let go too. To sing, to make people happy, in their hours of need.

This experience, and both the others I mentioned, the major momentus moments in my life, will be memories I will treasure, and memories I want to enjoy with my friends, to let them treasure too. Thank you so much. Thank you God, Thank you to our Lady. Thank you, for showing me the way.

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an emotional reunion

Friday 30th August and I decided to visit Liverpool to meet up with the youth from Lourdes. I had arranged to stay with my friend Helen, an d she was meeting me in the arrivals hall. So far, the flight and assistance had gone smoothly, until the assistant in Liverpool had left my bag on  the mobile lift that carries wheelchairs down to ground level. Eventually, I met with Helen in arrivals, and arrived at the house about half an hour later. It was a small house, with a little porch when you entered through the front door. The front living room was on the left when you walked into the hall, and next to that, but on the opposite side, was the back living room, with the kitchen at one end. The bedrooms were upstairs, with an attic above that. Sitting down, I had a cup of tea, and some toast. After meeting with Helen’s daughter, Katie we went out for lunch to surprise my friend Alice, who was also born premature like myself, only she weighed 1lb 15oz. Sitting in the pub, I held the menu close to my face so she wouldn’t see me. Eventually I removed the menu, and she saw who it was sitting next to her. A surprised look was on her face I was told. We had lunch and then returned to the house. Alice and her mother, Tracey followed us, and we all had tea together, some curry with chips and rice. That night, Helen was asked by her daughter Jenny, to mind Elvis, a little tiny daschund. He was very excitable and had short fur. Another person we met that night was Angela, who I had also met in Lourdes. She took me to her house, where I met her husband John, a police officer. As well as that, I met Louis, a Shih Tzu. He was 11 years old, and did not get on with Elvis very well. They kept growling and barking at each other. We also met some Patterdales called Ziggy and Bear. They were Helen’s next door neighbour’s dogs. The next day was another busy one. In the morning, we didn’t really do much, however, in the afternoon, we headed to Helen’s sister’s house. Evonne was very nice. She sounded like Helen, except she had a slightly deeper voice. At the house, there was a buffet for her daughter Elouise who was 10 years old on Monday,. There were 3 dogs at the house, including Elvis. Sunny, was a King Charles Cavaleer spaniel, and Conie who was of mixed breed. Sunny was the oldest dog. After meeting Helen’s mum, Brenda, as well as Simon, Evonne’s husband, and his mother, Mary, we all sat down to enjoy the food, which was the usual, little sausages, chips, and sandwiches. Later, we played Dog bingo. Yes, dog Bingo. It is like bingo, however instead of calling out numbers, you call out dog breeds. The breed that won? Australian Kelpie.

 

Sunday was a slightly more chilled out morning, as we had spent the night up late, watching the film The Song of Bernadette. We headed to Helen’s parish church club, where we met Beryl, a friend of mine, and Helen. As well as Alice and Tracey. I sat down and spoke to them. Having a cup of tea. Beryl then gave me some beautiful rosary beads, in a small bag. They were from Rome, and were blessed by the pope. Later, after getting the wheelchair, me and Helen, along with Dave her husband, who I met when I arrived on Friday, went to the cathedral. Dave stayed in the car, while me and Helen went inside. The cathedral is a large hexagonal building, and overlooks the Anglican cathedral across the street, Hope Street. The Anglican Cathedral is more of a traditional church, with spires on the top. The organ was playing when we entered the cathedral’s main hall. Little side alters were all around with different dedications. Remembrance, St Joseph The Carpenter, and other chapels, for children as well as other things. Ropes separated the isles and places members of the public were not allowed into. The security guard saw us, and spoke to us, saying that I should enjoy the cathedral as much as a sighted person should. The most surprising part was yet to come. He started to move the ropes pulling them to the sides, and allowed me and Helen, onto the main alter, where I could feel the lectern where readings took place, and where the priest stands. As well as that, he allowed me to stand in the baptismal room, where babies were baptised. A momentous moment for me and Helen. Crying, we stood taking in the moment we had, while Helen took photos of it. The parts of the cathedral we should normally not go into! Wow! Thank you to that security guard. That night, was the reunion mass. An emotional time, as the person who pushed my chair, saw me. I met with her mother, as well as some people who had not met me, but who had heard from me in Lourdes. All in all, Liverpool is a lovely place. I have met some lovely people, and some life long friends. I have been asked to return in December and I will do so. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Monday was the time it all came to an end. After a lovely lunch, and visiting Kathy, another lady who was in Lourdes with me. We went to the airport, only to discover, that EasyJet had oversold my flight. I did not have a seat; Standing there, feeling upset and nervous, I listened to the man talking. His phone behind his desk kept ringing. I heard so what is she supposed to do then? the words Standby and wait until boarding to see if someone will give up their seat. By this time, Helen had had enough! Explaining I was a vulnerable adult, she stated that she would be complaining. Leaving me, she told me to let her know what happened. I went off with the assistant, to security. On the way, my assistant received  a call on the radio. It was good news, I was travelling. I was on the plane. An emotional time, that was brought to an emotional and dramatic end. Hopefully nothing will go wrong next time I go over. Thank you very much to Helen and her family for putting me up. Thank you to Jenny, Angela’s Daughter for. letting me stroke her two patterdales, Barnie and Penny. Penny a wirey Patt and Barnie a smooth haired Patt. Thank you to Aidan for letting me stroke your two Patts  Thank you all so much. Here’s to another lovely trip soon.

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IST; The never ending fight

IST. A condition no one knows about. It stumps doctors, makes you feel a burden, a pest, a hypochondriac, even though you’re not. You get told, it’s all in your head, it’s anxiety; That’s why your heart is beating fast. Explain the chest pain? The random pains in your left shoulder, like a pulsing ache that goes down your left arm. The flutters, extra beats, so many the person checking your pulse cannot count it? Countless holters, linq recorder inserted, well over what seems like a million ECGs? 4 cardiologist opinions and EP opinions later, and you finally get to see a specialist! In the mean time, you have asthma issues, breathing difficulties, irritated throats, tachycardias. All this. Can this really be IST? Is it IST with dysautonomea? Is my autonomic nervers system really screwed! A year of fighting! A year of going to the GP, and I’m still going! It’s getting old! 4 medications, and they’ve either given me intolerable side affects, or not worked! It should be called intractible sinus tachycardia, not inappropriate! It’s inappropriate, but refractory! It can’t be stopped. It will not stop! Yet the US are ablating and pacing! We are told that is dangerous, so why are they? Why are they doing it. Every day, you sit with your phone, reading, researching, looking at forums with young people the same as yourself. But on the isle of Man, you’re alone. No one has come forward with the same condition as you. The tachies come like clockwork. The day begins, and up it goes! You stand, and it doubles! Then there are the dips into the 40s; BradyTachy? TachyBrady? Theories from different doctors, stating different things. It’s a marshland, a marshy quicksand that you’re stuck in, and sinking ever lower into the thing that will Bury you alive. The hypotheses, the meds, the abuse you get off others who are too ignorant to care. Munchausen, anxiety, it’s an obsession, stop worrying about stuff, it’s something you have to live with, it’s all psychological, you’re faking. You’re lying about meds you’re on. You do not get verapamil PRN. It’s like a montage of video shots. Echoing over and over; Every single day! Yes, you’re defensive. Yes, you get angry. Because people are ignorant. Cardiologists too ignorant to bother reading your notes. Salbutamol overuse, anxiety, deconditioning, too thin, underweight, Just some other opinions from doctors over this year of fighting I’ve had. It’s taken a year, in which I’ve faught, I’ve been crying, kicked while I’m down by cardiologists, Told I’m obsessed with my heart rate by paramedics! I just want answers! The tilt test I never got, until now; The stress test, The holters. Yes, I’ve had holters, but stress tests and tilt tests? Not until now. Not until I managed to fight hard, and finally get in with Dr Gall, who specialises in IST, POTs, and is the best in the UK. He gets it; He gets the whole ignorance thing, the misunderstanding, of doctors. The patients like myself, ending up in tears in ED, or on wards, wanting to shout at cardiologists who are so ignorant it’s unreal! I just wanted to put this up here, so if anyone else is going through this right now, I get it. I understand. I feel your pain. If you’ve just started the fight, don’t give up. I know you have the down days, the days where the abusers of you, have won. The negativity has finally got to you. You are the hypochondriac berden they say you are, but we’re not. We’re sufferers of this rare condition, only discovered in 1979, and it’s widely misunderstood.

I hope this will explain to some medical professionals, what you clearly need to research.

http://www.heartrhythmalliance.org/aa/us/inappropriate-sinus-tachycardia

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Lourdes part 4

Next morning, I had found out, I was to sing in the international mass, during which people of all different countries, sung as one, but in different languages. This was again, in the under ground basilica. After the mass, I cried again, as the fact I did that, and pilgrims do not usually get to do this, so it was rare,. As well as this, the organ playing, and the trumpets playing with it, was so beautiful. It was like being somewhere you could not feel anxiety. Somewhere, where all you felt, was joy, and relief.

That night, after a very hot day, we had a night of entertainment, where the youth from Coach 5, out of 9, were to sing for us assisted pilgrims in the Saint Frai. The hospital kind of hotel. I had also been asked to sing. By now, the fact I could sing, and the fact I had sung, was going viral. As I prepared myself I waited until the slot for me to sing was available. The director of our choir at home, was also in the audience. No pressure then. I began the mini recital, by singing Donna Nobis, one of the hymns we’d practised, followed by Ave Maria. There were people crying in the audience, but what was going to be the most talked about part of the evening, was to come. I invited the youth to sing the song, My Lighthouse, by Rent Collective, with actions. The whole room became an erruption of cheers, followed by people coming up to me, tears in their eyes, not with sadness, but with joy. I too, started to cry, as it was the penultimate night, we were to spend as what we called the Lourdes Family together. The next day, was the blessing of the Sick, also called, the anointing of the sick. As I was well, sick, as I have epilepsy etc, I qualified. The helpers and volunteers, also qualified for anointing. The service was to take place, in the subterranean basilica. A huge underground basilica, that holds 25000. That morning, was slightly cooler than most of the other mornings we had endured, but still,. The service was a moving one, with music being played, while the priests came and anointed us. Using oil, crism, and saying a prayer, while making the sign of the cross on our hands, and heads. Again, another moment where I cried. Crying is a popular sort of pass time while in lourdes, as it’s a place full of peace, tranquillity, and joy, as well as relief, as one can release the pent up emotions, they’ve been holding inside. After that service, we came back to the Saint Frai, where we held a thanks giving service, and people got meddles. After that, the main service was in the Rosary Basilica and yet again, I was asked to sing. After crying through the whole mass almost, I had to try and compose myself, I had a job to do, and I had to do it well. Hoping my technique wouldn’t let me down, or my breathing, because of crying, I stood up, followed Kieron, and got ready to sing. It went floorlessly. Although I was not yet to know this, until afterwards. Yet again, people had stood and applauded. Now, it was time to pack up and leave. Some were already leaving, on a vehicle they call, the jumbulance, a little like an ambulance, but larger. They drove back from France, to the UK. Crying, as the people left Lourdes, we stood, waving them off, as it drove off, into the distance, with the sun beaming down, with the heat, ever there. And ever strong. The breeze, almost non existant, and the perfect backdrop of the Pyranees and basilicas around us. Later, we all started to pack our stuff, and prepare to leave, but for me, there was just one little reward, or miracle, that Our Lady had in store. After tea, I went up onto the roof, as I had begun to do throughout the week. The view of the mountains stretched beyond, with a castle standing atop one of the hills, towering above. As I stood on the terrace, a rumble of thunder; Our lady was giving me what I’d prayed for all week, a thunder storm. Something to clear the air, and relieve us of the heat and extreme temperatures. It’s true what they say, miracles do happen. And in lourdes, I learned this. As we got up early the next morning, it was raining outside, after a week of hot, humid weather, it was breaking, with cool refreshing rain. Little did we know, of the deluge that followed, while we were on our way back to the UK. As I walked onto the roof, for the very last time this year, I burst into tears. Such a beautiful, relaxing, time of peace, was now coming to an end. The time of meeting such lovely, friendly people, was coming to an end. The time, of being with our family, was coming to an end. I began to feel an overwhelming feeling of berievement, and grief. Something I’ve not felt in a long time. I was crying so much, I could not breathe. With difficulty speaking, and taking a breath, I began to give people hugs, and while doing so, my eyes streaming with tears. As I turned to say goodbye to people, we began to sing for the last time. The last time together, for a whole year. Singing different hymns, as one chorus of people, together, and at peace. Finally, the coaches had arrived, and it was time, to leave. Time to walk through those doors for the last time, time to walk out into the canapy for the last time. From now on, I have decided I am going back, every year. I made that promise, when I went to the crown Vergin statue, and said 3 hail Maries. Until the next pilgrimage, Until we meet again, the Lourdes Family.

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Lourdes part 3.

The next day, was the peek of the heat-wave. Where temperatures were to reach 40 degrees C. That morning, I was going to go into the water. The water that had was the cause of many mirracle cures, and emotional heeling. I went down to the water, with my friend, Angela. Eventually, it was time to go in. Getting changed, into a long gown, that reached the floor, I was guided to the edge of the pool. Once there, the long gown was removed, swiftly followed, by a cold wet cloth. This took my breath. I could hardly speak. They kept telling me, breathe, breathe, breathe. As hard as I was, I proceeded down the steps, into the fridgid water. But I did not feel scared, or frightened. All I felt, was cold. I stood in the knee deep water. And prayed. I wanted to sit down, and get lowered, but it was too cold. As well as this, I think Our Lady, was teaching me a lesson, You’re not ready to take that huge step. Next year. Perhaps, or the year after. Don’t run before you can walk. Something, I admit, I’m guilty of. After standing there, I made the sign of the cross, or attempted it. I was still learning, and sometimes, got the parts where you move your right hand towards your shoulder a little wrong. Eventually, I walked forward. They asked did I wish to sit, to which I replied, I’ll walk this time. I feared if I sat, I would stop breathing. Of course, I doubt that would be the case. Although they were a little worried, because of my breathing. Eventually, coming out of the water, I got dressed, and headed back out into the boiling hot and humid weather. 100% humidity combined with 40 degree heat, and sunshine, isn’t a good mix. I went back to the sanfrai, where I had a huge bout of tachycardia, but before I went to mass, it calmed, and went back down to normal sinus, but still fast. Around 88. That night, was the torch light procession. A procession in which you carry a candle, and hold it upwards, when the time comes round, to sing Ave Maria. It’s like a little mass, but with a procession mixed in with it, and without communion. Or gospals. Again, I cried. Sitting in my chair, with a little electronic battery operated candle, so as not to set my paper on fire, which many others did, I sang along with the other 10000 or so people who were there. Bursting into tears, I thought of how people come together, even those who do not know each other, and help out. Those who in normal life, may have not been so caring towards others, are now doing so. People getting to know each other, and building strong friendships. The very strong friendship I had built with Angela, Christine, Barbara, and a lot of others. As well as the helping out I tried to do. Again, that order was around my head, You must assist one or more of the assisted pilgrims. I couldn’t sleep that night. The sticky humid weather prevented sleep. I walked out into the atrium, and sat, talking to the staff, and listening to the monitors they were listening too in case of any problems during the night. I found it very interesting.

Part 4 will be posted shortly.

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