Katherine Gregor’s wishes for a Happy New Year came at the perfect time for me to put pen on paper and tell a story. Since, she also mentioned that she was looking forward to my next post. I told her that I hadn't been on Red Room as I’ve been busy with the holidays. I also mentioned that I was glad to have something as wonderful as the light of Christmas to keep my focus on after the Sandy Hook tragedy that continues to grip my heart. This is certainly a tragedy that has changed us forever. We will never be the same. Nor will we ever have all the answers, but we can try to light the darkness for one another. Perhaps, we might remember what helped us thrive against all odds. Here’s one of them:
Imagine a mother with seventeen children, being aware of one missing child alone in her bedroom for too many hours. She then goes on to make all the necessary arrangements to let this child know that there’s a world outside waiting for her, and needs her. This is just one of the things she did for her youngest child, Shirley, who was fourteen-years-old at the time. I was married, and with a four-year-old daughter when I received a phone call from my mother like this: “Hi Cathy! Can you please do me a favor? Can you call Shirley on the phone and ask her to come over your house to help you with Natalie, because I want to get her out of her bedroom? I’m concerned, since she is the youngest one in the family, and a girl, alone, who doesn’t have the same interest as the five boys have with one another.” I made the call, and Shirley came. She had a wonderful time with us.
You see; Shirley was born in our family after a run of five boys, just a year apart. Seven other girls in our family were away from home or married by the time she reached her teens. This meant Shirley needed a little more attention then the rest of us. And this is just one incident of how my mom handled each one of us, while there were sixteen more occurrences that same day.
Against all the odds, Mom saw to it that all of her seventeen children were healthy and thriving. It was only after she died that everything changed. She wasn’t Alexander Graham Bell, or Thomas Edison, but she truly found the remedy for raising happy children. In the same way, we lose power by turning off the lights or hanging up the phone. It was her presence that brought light and sounds of love to our world. And regretfully, it was her absence that left us in ignorance and darkness.
Sadly, this led to broken families and even strain for some of the mothers with young children who had to work outside the home. This lifestyle became normal in the modern-age, especially, since mom wasn’t here anymore to put us back on the right track. Within two years after her passing, there were mental health issues that resulted in drug dependency, even some of the teens dropping out of school. Soon, work and responsibilities in a marriage and parenting were put aside to fulfill passions and careers. There was no mom to face up to for those things we weren’t doing right, until we fell down and faced ourselves, and cried.
Just in the past couple of years, we mournfully buried four young nephews, and two younger brothers. We cried over our sibling's teens, two of them, attempted suicide; all from broken homes and depression. We didn’t see the warning signs either that my remarkable mother’s wisdom with seventeen children miraculously put her hands on to prevent them at all measures. I know these things could have happened while she was here, but the true fact of the matter is that none of them did. And I also know, at all cost, I have a duty and responsibility to be a parent first. These things she taught me, as she did them with grace.
I wonder if my mother heard God's whispers from bearing so many children, or did she understand the hearts of her newborn babies. Given she was aware of her babies cry after the cord is cut, that we continuously bear the tears throughout our lives. However, somehow she knew we’re still attached by an invisible thread. She obviously had this insight, because by no means did she separate herself from us. Although, we’ll never know for sure how she managed all of us so tenderly, until we live God-like and know we are His favored.
Causes Catherine Nagle Supports
Church, Single Parents, Orphans, The Homeless, The emotional and physical health care and rights of children.