03 May 2014


Naturally, it was not reasonable for Susan to go to the canonisation ceremony for Saint Josemaría.  It was to be held in Rome - much too expensive to consider such a trip.

I said she should go.  There was to be a group going from New Zealand.  They would be housed inexpensively in Rome in a place called Domus Croata (ok, that site is in Croatian; it's the only one I could find!).  I knew we would have to borrow the money, but I wanted her to go.

I did want her to go for her own reasons; I had, however, an ulterior motive.  I had seen my brother in 1997 (I think it was), when he and his wife visited us in New Zealand.  I had discovered something then that I had not realised theretofore: I discovered that I loved my brother.

'Discovered' is the right word.  I had last seen my parents and my sister in, I think, 1980, during the trip I had made whose consequence was that we returned to New Zealand in 1984.  When I last saw my brother, I don't know; perhaps not since 1966, when Edna and I moved to Hawai'i.  At that time I was 23 years old - still not much more than a child.

Of course one loves one's brother and sister, barring any positive reason not to; nevertheless, at 23, I don't think it is a matter one gives much thought.  And during the years between then and 1997, I had done a fair amount of growing - perhaps, one may hope, maturing.  Still, realising that I had a brother whom I loved came as a bit of a shock.

Sue was talking of going to Rome.  I decided that I wanted to go to Hawai'i.  I wanted to see my father and mother - by the time I went (late September, 2002) ages 88 and 87, respectively - and my sister.  I hoped that Peter could come to Hilo to meet with me.

The event was infinitely better than I could have hoped.  Peter did come - and so did Edna and our daughter, Kathleen.  Although there was a sort of official state of forgiveness, of letting bygones be bygones, between me and my ex-wife and our child, I felt in need of sealing matters with a meeting, a touch of hands, a look of the eyes.

So it happened.  Sue went to Rome.  She may like to post separately about her experience there.  I believe they had only two weeks for the whole trip, and part of the time, of course, was spent in travelling to and from New Zealand.  I believe they were able to visit Florence - Sue can say.

The experience for me was an unexpected joy.  I stayed at my parents' house in Hilo.  Peter, I believe, stayed in a motel somewhere.  But we saw one another quite a bit.  And Edna and Kathleen stayed in a hotel.  We met in the hotel's bar, had only a few hours together.  I had a little over a week in Hilo and had to come home.

The impact of the visit may be measured by the fact of what I said to Susan, when she and I were together again in Pukekohe.  I told her that I wanted - insisted, in fact - that she and I go - together, this time - to Hawai'i - and to California - the following year.

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