St. Pio, My Mam and Me.
L-R: Ann Murphy (RIP) and the newly minted St. Pio Lapel Pin
Christmas Eve 2016.
Those that know me are aware I'm not a big mass goer. I always say I'm probably a lousy Catholic but hopefully a decent Christian. Having said that, and it is already known by you, if you are following my blogs, that I do have a relationship with Padre Pio, or to be chronologically corrrect, St. Pio. My late mother Ann Murphy had a big devotion to this man. Since her passing away 16 years ago, myself and St. Pio have been getting along quiet well. We have one thing in common in that we both walked on the same Earth and breathed the same air for 8 months. I was born in January, Padre Pio passed away the following September.
St. Pio in-flight over Mondovì, Italy.
Photo: © Giovanni Aimo
When my late mother passed away, I had not yet commenced my balloon flight training. I was still two years away from taking the plunge, but when I did, it was an offshore (CAA approved) flight training school that caught my attention. The first day I arrived in Rhonda, Spain at the then Lindstrand School of Hot Air Ballooning, I discovered it was a day of celebration in the city for Padre Pio. Portraits and statues of this pious man adorned the narrow Andalusian streets. On the instant of me absorbing all this, I made a promise. If I ever got my pilot qualification, I will fly a balloon in honour of my late Mother but call it after Padre Pio. Two years later and I had all the boxes ticked. I had a promise to keep. I got in contact with Cameron Hot Air Balloons in the U.K and 1 week later I was the proud owner of Hot Air Balloon 'St. Pio', aircraft registeration G-PPIO. It's colour scheme uncannily similar to those of the Swiss Guard (official bodyguards to the Pope) and here's the twist, I had zero input into this colour choice as the balloon was what's called a 'stock envelope', pre-made by the factory when production time allows.
So with that in mind, here (above, right pane) is my newest lapel pin. It's dedicated to St. Pio and by inference, to my late Mother too. Like the lapel pin before it, this pin will find its way to the amazing people who have been and indeed are a big support to me during this challenging time. Call it a show of solidarity if you like, but I'm always a believer of giving something back and for now, this is it.
So tomorrow morning Santa arrives. It's going to be extremely emotional for me. As Aoife runs downs the stairs to see what Santa left, I'll be thinking of next year. Will this girl I dote on have her Daddy? Will she be pleading with Santa to bring her Daddy back? Oh god, these thoughts have been haunting me over the past few weeks. The closer the 25th comes the more raw and unnerving these bastard of thoughts become. I make no excuse for my wording, these are illegitimate thoughts, not of my DNA but of a toxic tumour that is parasitising my stomach, the bastard !!!
Tomorrow morning is time for me to stand up and be brave. I have to. I'll be doing it for Alison and Aoife and of course myself. It's part of the fight, I need to knock it out in the morning, out cold and I will.
In the meantime I'll have a quiet word with the Mammy and St. Pio too.
Thanks as always for reading my blog.