Thursday, July 21, 2005

A Mother's Love.... Endures

A mother's love for her child is beyond words. Watching "The Passion of the Christ" last year, one of the most poignant scenes was Mary watching the child Jesus, falling...and watching the adult child Jesus...falling. You know her pain, as a mother. And the anguish she felt was VERY poignant when Mary stood and watched as they crucified her Son.

It has been published in interviews that Maia Morgenstern,
the Romanian actress who played Mary, the Mother of Jesus in the movie, was able to draw from her own Jewish background, and make suggestions to Mel Gibson about how she could play scenes. One shows her anguish near the end of the film when she grabs handfuls of gravel.....stands...and opens her hands slowly, allowing it to fall in bits to the ground. It was powerful.

I sat by my only son as I watched that film, and knew that I did not have the courage that was being shown on the screen in that film.

Nightly, nearly, I watch as another anguished mother tries to find her daughter in Aruba, and I see the strain in her face as time goes by. I have watched as many mothers and fathers have searched for missing children on news....

As a nurse, I have often seen mothers, young and not so young, do what ever it takes to bring forth a healthy baby. Most often, that means bedrest for weeks on end. Hard, yes, but not the worst one can envision for such a reward. Just a very long, boring time.

EVERY OB Doctor and Nurse knows that we deal with not one, but TWO patients everytime a pregnant woman comes in. Two patients. And every mother knows that she is not alone as she feels that child inside moving...

Then you read of women, again, young and not so young who have been told that they must make life and death decisions about saving their own life by aborting their child and beginning treatment for their newly diagnosed cancer/heart condition/etc immediately.... or choosing to wait until their child is born.

I have known a few who were given this choice. None opted to abort.

I remember Kim, who had such complications during her pregnancy; as she left her room for surgery, I said (as her nurse...) "I will pray!"... There was bedrest, after, but her baby was ok. She was told to never have another child, but she chose to find another MD who could help her to have more than just that one baby that she'd had.

There was Bev who worked with us, and had Lupus, yet had a slew of boys.

There was Wendy,
who I wrote about before, and oh, so many others.
( )

Now, there is Susan, whose entire family has said that she would want them to fight for the life of her child even though she is now on REAL life support of a respirator after a melanoma tumor began to bleed into her brain unexpectedly, causing brain death. Not brain damage. No hope for her to breathe on her own, ever.

Her brother in law has said that in that ICU room, Susan is the strongest one there. Susan has survived now, long enough that her child may survive if they have to end the pregnancy. And I believe that she is fighting to go on as long as she can ... as long as her heart is beating... for her child.

God bless both Susan and Jason Torres, and their son, Peter, and their unborn child, whose kick was felt by Dad about June 21.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

And what of Luis?

The world has become smaller. The wonder of communication via the messengers just amazes me. I can, in one day, 'speak' to someone in Canada, in California, in Australia, in any State of the Union, and in any country of the world.

I am language challenged, however, and though I can sometimes follow written Spanish in written form, I am limited to English speakers.

Tonight, I was talking with my friend Grace who told me of the unexpected death of Noelle, who had a very well known bed and breakfast in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. I had met Noelle, and many will miss her smile.

She also showed me a blog about one of the Seminarians there.

The Dominican Republic is a poor Third World county. Those who frequent the 'all inclusives' and never leave the hotel complex have no idea of the country, the barrios, the campos. So poor that at times, people have to depend on the orphanages to help to raise their children...

Many cannot own vehicles, and have to depend on public taxis, 'gua guas', and motoconchos for transportation. Education, beyond high school especially, is very expensive to them, but to us, it is amazingly not! Many more kids could go on to school if there were ways to pay for that education. Not everyone is blessed to be able to, however. Some very smart kids simply go on to live as their parents and grandparents did for lack of funds.

I have no idea of the actual costs right now, but a couple of years ago, one young girl was waiting for the nuns of the orphanage I do dental work at to find a donor to help her go to college to study to be a nurse... and my friend told me then, that it was at that time, $65 US dollars per month.... way beyond the means of a Dominican girl being raised in an orphanage.

Many of those girls are not what WE think of as orphans. Some are. Some are simply left in the care of the nuns because their family has not the means to take care of them. One family was destroyed when a mother took off with the two youngest children, leaving the father to raise a daughter and sons. Dad knew he could not do justice for his daughter. The dangers of a young girl on the street was more than he wanted for her. He kept the boys, as they could 'beg' and help to support the remaining family (no education probably), but he took his daughter to the safety of an orphanage to be raised by the nuns there, seeing him and her brothers occasionally. He wanted more for her than he could give her.

Then there are others who have no one...and that story is best told by the author, Carina, here...

Addendum added on July 25, 2005:

The Bishop was happy to hear of the response, and said that there are many other young men in need of support for the tuition in the Diocese and if others are interested in helping, they can use more assistance. God bless!!

Monday, July 18, 2005

Let God be God

For what it is worth, my 2 cents:

One of the worst things anyone involved in a mixed marriage is to try to convert them, and by doing so, attempt to be the Holy Spirit for the spouse. One question asked by some is "What will you do about your mate if he/she NEVER converts?"..... The answer... grieve for the entire marriage? Or better, I will still love him/her.... ?

Then if the answer is the second, it must be obvious that we must stop trying to be the one to bring them in and just LOVE THEM where they are! We cannot change them. We cannot have 'the right words' ... we can only love and pray for them...and Let God be God. God wants them home worse than we do.

I was on my way home from work last night, listening to Relevant Radio, the Catholic station here. The Journey Home was on, and the guest was Tim Drake. He said that not one time had his wife ever suggested that he become Catholic, nor try to convert him. Had she done so, he said, it would have caused a rift, with him digging in and trying to prove her wrong. AFTER he entered the Church, she told him how long and how hard she had prayed for that. I have heard the same thing from many others.

Some do NOT convert. So we then choose to have a less than happy marriage by grieving something that we cannot control...and worse, making ourselves and others miserable by dwelling constantly on a negative? This is worse if the couple chose to marry knowing full well that there was a difference in faith in the first place! Are there precedents for LOVING that person and being the best wife/husband we can be for them? YES... myriads! Saints, Blesseds, etc. A good and more recent example is Elizabeth Leseur. Had she spent her life grieving Felix's lack of faith, she would not have had the peace she did. She prayed, she offered all of her sufferings for him, she was an excellent wife, she kept a secret diary, she influenced and helped others, she led a very devout prayer life and a very active witness to others... at her funeral, her husband was shocked to see so many in grief at her death...and then he found her diary....

He not only converted, he became the Catholic she had told him he would become one day, and he became a priest. He gave retreats, at least one of which our own Archbishop Sheen attended!

We cannot ever know when or if our mates will convert. We cannot be the Holy Spirit. We can only hinder the Holy Spirit in His work when we try to be... we are only responsible to LIVE our Faith, to LOVE our mates, and to pray for their salvation! What were our vows?

I, ... take you,.... to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife. I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.


I, ________, take you ______, for my wife/husband,
to have and to hold,
from this day forward, for better,
for worse, for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health, until death do us part.

No place in those vows does it say to change our spouse, or to try to be God in their life....

I have seen too many people give up so much happiness by not loving their spouse right where they are, for better or for worse.... by living in the 'if only he/she would....'

Wedding Preparation

I have aided in some small way, two of my children's wedding preparation, and am now witnessing the third and final one. We have been to a huge wedding exhibition (they have been to another..) and we have researched centerpieces, etc. They have lined up the Church and the hall, figured out the menu, chosen a Friday so that they can save themselves and their parents money (smart!)

The wedding dress and the bridesmaid dresses as well as the flower girl's have been chosen and ordered. Not sure if final decision has been made on the guys' tux or not, but it has been looked into and discussed (color is a big thing here...). Flowers are being looked at, cake has been chosen. Guest list is being made and whittled to fit the hall and the pocketbook of all involved (difficult when one side has average to large, and other side has large to huge immediate families!).

They have spoken to the Deacon of the Church, and he has agreed to perform the ceremony, while Father will say the Nuptial Mass. They have discussed the impact of parental divorce on their wedding, and have decided that the D word will not enter conversations... hopefully this will also be spoken about with the Deacon during wedding preparation, in depth.

They have verbalized the three requirements for a Catholic wedding... permanence (indissolubility), fidelity (faithfulness), and being open to life. That is all it takes to form a valid marriage. Happiness itself is never guaranteed, but does not make any marriage invalid, and they know this. Their main job as a married couple is to seek the salvation of their spouse, and themselves.

The rest is choices. CHOOSING to love, to sacrifice for the other, to serve, to honor, to treat the other with dignity and respect always. Being human, they may fail. We then pick up the pieces, and begin again to choose to love, etc. Above all, forgive.

God bless them on their journey. Photographers are important, cakes are important, the gowns, etc are, also, but all of those are for one day. Marriage is for life, til death parts them... I hope that they learn to prepare for life, not just for a day....

Update June 27, 2006 The Wedding


Dear Readers,

A week ago tonight, I spent the night with someone, dying of a very rare, very rapid cancer that had already spread to spine, heart and liver when it was diagnosed. She died, just as I was getting ready to go to care for her again.

Last night, I was with another woman, born not long after my own mother, comfort measures only, also dying. Tonight, I was there to witness her death. I had just sat down beside her son, on one side of her bed, and her daughter, on the other side of her bed. She looked like it would be soon...and it was.

From diagnosis to death for my first patient was just over one month.

From sitting down by her son to death for my second was less than ten min. Her daughter and son had earlier showed me a picture of her when she worked at the same hospital I began to work for as a newly graduated nurse... We both worked there 16 years..and left the same year... when I saw her picture, I remembered N-----. I am sure that my mother would also remember her with that picture...and that N----- would have remembered my mother. We all worked different shifts, with my mom there longer than N-----or I was.

Tonight, as she neared that time, N----- reached out once again for their hands, looked over at her son, and breathed her last breath... and the only thing that came to my mind to say was.... "I think she just said good bye to you"...

Life, I have learned, ends rather quickly for some, after a long life, or after 57 years.
Some die as a child or infant, some as a very long lived human being.
Some die instantly in an accident, some after years or weeks of suffering.

Some after having a chance to forgive and be forgiven, some without ever having had that chance, others having refused that chance.

Some with their children present, recently happened this past week, after allowing ayoung boy of 13 years who desperately needed to be with friends for a little while to have a break from sadness.... end up without their child present when 'it' happens. I think, in many ways, this was what that Mom had protect her child from that memory.

Some deaths are not deaths at all, but loss of friendship...or loss of marriage. Some end in a tragic exchange of words, some end in a slow agonizing way with hurt feelings that never go away. Regardless, everyone near is affected forever.

Tonight, I also got this from another online friend, and it was what I needed to read/hear/see...

Just my thoughts tonight... I have already decided that I just CANNOT work tomorrow. I need time to be alone, to reflect, to rest.

God bless!

"Right is still right if nobody is right,
and wrong is still wrong if everybody is wrong,"
--Archbishop Fulton J Sheen author of The Life of Christ .

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Patti

Sometimes in life, you find a special friend;
Someone who changes your life just by being part of it.
Someone who makes you laugh until you can't stop;
Someone who makes you believe
that there really is good in the world.
Someone who convinces you that there really is an unlocked door
just waiting for you to open it.

This is Forever Friendship.

This is the sacred RED ROSE.

Pass it on to all your loved ones....May we all be loved so much.

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be
discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

-Joshua 1:9