By Joseph Scerri, in Adelaide, South Australia.
Joseph sent this heart-warming
story about his mother after reading my gospel e-letter (September 2006).
CAN A MOTHER FORGET?
My mother is a frail, elderly lady. Ever since she suffered a
stroke a few years ago, Mum has become completely dependent on my
father for her basic needs. She can only say a few words in a barely
audible voice, and she cannot walk at all.
Last week, when my father had to be admitted to hospital, I went
"home" to sleepover and take care of my mother. Early next morning,
when I woke up to leave for work, I noticed that she was trying to
get out of bed. "Mum," I asked, "why don't you stay in bed a little
longer? It's still very early."
She answered in a soft but determined voice. "To make you a cup
I could not hold back the tears. She forgot all about her
disability, but she did not fail to remember to care for me, her
son, just as she did for many years before.
How I thank God for my mother's love, so pure and devoted. For
me, she is a beautiful reflection of God's everlasting love for his
"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no
compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will
not forget you!" (Isaiah 49:15).
Can a mother forget? Because of human weakness, perhaps she can.
But God will not! He is unchangeable and forever faithful. In the
uncertainties and upheavals of life, let us find our refuge and
comfort in God the Father. He promises his children, "I will not
My dear Mum was the eldest of six children; apart
from raising our family, she also had the onerous duty of raising
her siblings during the horrible years of World War II in Malta. My
dear Mum taught us to diligently ask to be blessed as we went out of
the house. We learned this so much -- Bezzjoni, Ma (Bless me,
Mother) -- that it became a habitual and nonchalant custom.
I got married at that tender age of 19 and
immigrated to Australia. My Mum also joined us with Dad in Australia
for some 10 years but then Dad decided that as pensioners they
should live out the rest of their days in the country of their
birth. Some years after dear Dad passed away and I had the privilege
to hear him speak the name of Jesus even as he exited from this
So Mum was now alone, so to speak, and we made
some trips to Malta to visit. Not a day passed by in which we were
not “blessed” as we ushered in and out of the house, having of
course dutifully asked for it.
With time, dear Mum started forgetting things and
it was not long before she was diagnosed with Dementia. At first it
was a bit funny and some facets of this disease could be construed
as uplifting. Occasionally Mum would remember some things that
nobody had any recollection of, only to be proved to be correct!
By the time that the disease condition
deteriorated, I had made a few trips from Australia to see Mum. It
was on the last trip that I understood the power of what you shared
about your Mum.
You see, brother, by the last trip Mum had
yielded to the disease to the point that she was in a persistent
vegetative state and totally incoherent. I knew this was the last
time I would see my Mum because I had to by then return to
Australia. My plane was scheduled for that day and I sadly made the
last trip to see Mum. I remember how very sad my heart was as the
time to leave approached and I had to say goodbye for the last time.
I held Mum's hand as I kissed her goodbye for the last time. Then I
uttered those well-worn words, Bezzjoni Ma! From the depths
of her condition, not having spoken for weeks, all of a sudden my
beautiful Mum leaned up, raised her withered arm and said to me: Kun
imbierek ibni, fl-Isem tal-Missier, u ta’ l-Iben u ta’ l-Ispirtu
s-Santu! (Be blessed, my son, in the name of the Father, and the
Son and the Holy Spirit!)
Brother, there is no greater memory that I
cherish as much as this. I now have been a Christian for some 23
years. Many times I have recounted to those who would hear
about the power of the love of a mother and the power of blessing
invoked on those we have oversight. May we remember some of the
great things that our parents have handed on to us even as we
understand more fully the wonderful purposes of God for our lives.