Just for Catholics - Testimonies

BLESS ME, MOTHER!

By Joseph Scerri, in Adelaide, South Australia.

Joseph sent this heart-warming story about his mother after reading my gospel e-letter (September 2006).


Gospel e-Letter

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 of coffee."

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 children.

"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 forget you!"

JM.


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 life.

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.

Blessings!