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submitted by Maria Whyte on 29.08.2008

A story from Maria of Louradianika

My grandfather was the Reverand Emmanuel Lourantos and my grandmother Maria Lourantos who had passed some years before. I took my eldest son David, who was so like my much adored Uncle Nick with me. Uncle Nick was in my life from the day I was born. My grandparents were buried adjacent to the Church, it is difficult to explain, but the resting places made of cement, were attached to the side wall of the church. Further along, were the burial places of my greatgrandparents also, as my greatgrandfather was also a Greek Orthodox Priest. It is customary for the wives of the priests be buried alongside their husbands. I come from a long line of priests, both maternal and paternal.

The church was being restored at the time, and every day I would go and light a candle when my other elderly Uncle Nick would drive his tractor down to the church to open it for a short time, and then lock it for safety. I have heard that a wealthy Kytherian paid for the restoration of the Church. I felt such peace, knowing that this had been done. Not one day passed without my going to the church to light candles for my loved ones. Last night when I was speaking to my son, now 36, he asked me if I remembered how when we had arrived in Kato Livadi, staying at Theophillos, we had slept for 17 hours as we were badly jet lagged. David had one dream that entire 17 hours. He remembered it so vividly, and asked for me to write of it. He dreamt that he was standing looking in through the one broken window of the deserted house, and he saw a form dressed in white and glowing, and the lady whose form it was, reached out, and placed her hand on his arm and said "do not be afraid". My poor son had been chosen to go through the broken window the day we arrived on the island, to gain entry to the house through the broken window, and I remember how afraid he was. We have never been able to understand where the flock of doves came from, and how they simply vanished.

Uncle Nick came to my family home every Sunday, and every Saturday, he would take me fishing with him. We never caught a fish, but we spent quality time together. We did not need to speak when we fished, we were happy just being there together for the company. He loved me so deeply, as I did him. He stood well over 6 foot, and he was a large man, with a huge heart. I am writing this story in honour of my Uncle Nick.I miss having him physically in my life, but I know that he is always with me in spirit.

I believe so strongly that there is a life beyond the physical one we live. Some years ago, on the evening of one wedding anniversary, my husband of 40 years now, were celebrating this special day by dining at a beautiful restaurant. I was just starting my meal, and because of my existing illness, my ability to swallow is very difficult. This evening, a piece of seafood stuck in my throat, and I stood, choking, and collapsed. My husband tells me that I turned deep blue in the face, and my eyes were open and staring. I must go by what he has told me. Being very slight, no one could use a technique to help dislodge the food. During this time, it was confirmed by paramedics who happened to be next door, that I have died for at least 3 minutes. I must mention one thing here, an important part of "my story". When I was a 15 year old child, ny Grandfather and I stood at the door of the house at Louradianika, and we looked over the fields of red poppies. Grandpa had told me then that if I truly believed in God, I did not have to go to Church, I could stand anywhere in an open field even, and God would hear me. I mention this, as it plays an important part of this story.

Returning now, to the restaurant, while the paramedics worked on me, I was in a place, which I can only believe was Heaven. I was 12 years old again, my hair was flowing down my back, past my waist (as it was when I was 12) I was wearing a flowing white dress, and on my feet there were little white atin slippers. I was floating above green fields, with manicured green grass, gently sloping. My arms were spread straight out besides me, both my shoulders are now frozen) and I was laughing and singing. I was coming towards a field of flowers. Red poppies, and I was so happy! Just as I was about to reach the flowers, the paramedics caused me to take a breath. I was so upset, and angry. They had brought me back to a life of pain. The pain then was nothing compared to the chronic pain I suffer now. I wanted to reach the flowers, as I knew, that I would be reunited with my loved ones. So many, my father, who I did not manage to say goodbye to, my Uncle, my Grandfather, so many more. But, it was not to be. The ambulance raced me to hospital, and my specialist when he saw me, said "You were up with the Angels". I am sharing this story, as a tribute to my beloved Uncle Nick, my Grandparents, and every one of my loved ones who I miss so desperately. God has chosen for me to stay on this earth for a reason, as I was meant to meet by emails, James of Berlin. He has asked me to share my story with you, and not keep it to myself.

There are many more stories to share, as a tribute to my loved ones.
I thank you for reading my story, as I mentioned before, it is a tribute to my loved ones, and to put Louradianika on the map.

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