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.