The Strength Of Women

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Today is Saturday right? I have completely lost all track of time. A few days in the hospital will do that to you, I suppose. I kept thinking yesterday was Monday, I have no idea why. All day I was really looking forward to watching The Bachelor Pad (totally trashy show, but I love it, I can’t help myself), until I realized that it was only Friday. Oh well, I digress.

What matters is that we are home and Abby is doing beautifully! I’m feeling a little silly after my long “woe is me” post. When I read it now, I feel like I was being a tad dramatic. Although, I don’t want to trivialize my emotions too much because I do believe what I was feeling was legitimate.

There’s nothing like visiting a Children’s Hospital to induce feelings of gratitude. Seeing all the sick kids and the look of helplessness in their parents’ faces was extremely difficult, to say the least. It certainly puts things in perspective. Things could be worse, much worse.

Abby’s roommate was also named Abby. (Apparently, there were two other Abby’s on our floor too—yay for little girls named Abby.) Little Abby #2 was just 11 months old and had been in the hospital for two weeks recuperating from her hemispherectomy. Hemispherectomy? you might ask. Little Abby #2 had half of her brain removed. Yes, you read that right, half.of.her.brain.removed, Apparently, she had been having continual seizures and a hemispherectomy is the traditional treatment for her condition.

I felt like an idiot when I heard that. I felt silly feeling sorry for myself and a bit guilty for the relative simplicity of Abby’s condition and surgery.

However, against all odds, little Abby #2 has shown remarkable progress. She has astounded doctors with her resiliency. Initially, they didn’t think she would be able to move the left side of her body, but she’s been kicking her legs and moving her arms. She is a miracle baby. I pray she will continue to amaze everyone around her.

As incredibly impressive as little Abby #2 was, I was more in awe of her mother. I’m not sure if I’ve ever witnessed such strength in a woman. She is enduring what is undoubtedly a soul wrenching situation with such calm and grace. I overheard her tell the nurse how much she had been praying. No doubt her prayers are being heard.

Witnessing this mother’s deep inner strength despite such intense circumstances, reminded me of a part in the book The World’s First Love by Bishop Fulton Sheen. The book is a beautiful tribute to the world’s archetypal woman, Mary, Mother of mothers.

The Venerable Fulton Sheen writes, “Which stands up better in a crisis—man or woman?” One can discuss this in a series of historical crises, but without arriving at any decision. The best way to arrive at a conclusion is to go to the greatest crisis the world ever faced, namely, the Crucifixion of Our Divine Lord. When we come to this great drama of Calvary, there is one fact that stands out very clearly: men failed.

In contrast, there is not a single instance of a woman’s failing Jesus. At the trial, the only voice that is raised in His defense is the voice of a woman. Braving the fury of court officials, she breaks into the Judgment Hall and bids her husband, Pilate, not to condemn the “just man”. On the way to Calvary, although a man is forced to help carry the Cross; the pious women of Jerusalem, ignoring the mockery of the soldiers and bystanders, console Him with words of sympathy. One of them wipes His face with a towel and forever after has the name of Veronica, which means “true image”, for it was His image the Savior left on her towel. On Calvary itself, there are three women present, and the name of each is Mary: Mary of Magdala, who is forever at His feet and will be there again on Easter morn; Mary of Cleophas, the mother of James and John; and Mary, the Mother of Jesus—the three types of souls forever to be found beneath the Cross of Christ: penitence, motherhood, and virginity.”


Is that not beautiful? Ah, Fulton Sheen, what a way you had with words.

Among the many mothers in the hospital, I felt fortunate to witness such fortitude, such grace. Mothers who willingly endure the endless doctors appointments, the uncertainty of a diagnosis, the severity of a treatment, the cold of the hospital, the sleepless nights when a chair replaces a bed, skipping meals for fear of leaving your child’s bedside, praying through surgeries and comforting your child even when all you want to do is cry. I felt humbled and honored to be surrounded by such women.

Indeed, as Bishop Sheen says, mothers will always find themselves close to the Cross. Love and suffering are inevitably intertwined and there is none greater love than that of a mother's.

Mary, Mother of mothers. Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us.

1 comment:

  1. Love this post....and happy feast of the Queenship of Mary!!!

    ReplyDelete

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