When I was sixteen I attended a retreat as part of my confirmation in the Catholic church. It was held at a former monastery. The evening before the conclusion of the event there was a meeting in the chapel. During the prayer portion we were asked to pray for someone in need. My thoughts were of my Great Aunt Helen. She was my grandmother's sister. She helped my grandmother with my mom and uncle while they were growing up. She was a devout Roman Catholic and seemed to be a very stern woman. She was old fashioned, conservative and never married. I often wondered why she didn't become a nun. I later learned that she had a serious relationship when she was young and all my grandmother would say is that it just didn't work out.
I wasn't close to my Aunt Helen. I was a little bit intimidated by her and she wasn't the huggy-feely type. And as I sat there praying I knew all I could do was to pray for a pain free passage for her, as she was in the last stages of cancer.
As the events of the day wrapped up we were given some free time. My friends and I all hung out in a friend's room until the counselor made us go to bed. I went into my room and laid there trying to sleep. I thought again of my aunt as I said my prayers. And then I knew. I just knew. She had passed. I looked at the clock and noted the time. (It was over twenty years ago, so I can't remember the time now, but I think it was around 8:45pm).
In the morning as the parents arrived for pick-up, we had a youth service and the song, The Rose by Bette Midler, was played during the reflection portion. I wondered again about my aunt and figured it was my imagination the night before, but I felt incredibly sad and I couldn't stop thinking about my aunt. As I grabbed my bag and headed to the car I could see the look on my mom's face. She said she had bad news and I knew before she finished her sentence, my aunt had passed. I told her about my premonition and asked when it happened. She said that my grandmother got the phone call from the hospital at around 8:30. Perhaps my aunt was visiting me or I just sensed it in general. I hope one day I'll be able to ask her.
I wish that I had gotten to know her better. I'm sure I would have learned a lot. She was a devout Catholic, a hardworking person and very dedicated to her family. To this day every time I hear the song, The Rose, I think of my Aunt Helen and smile.