Thinking of Mom

Family Photo, Last
Our final group family photo. Mom and Dad are, of course, in front. In back, from left, are me, Jerry, David, Steve, Kim and Ron (which is also the order of everyone’s birth).

By Charlie Johnston

I have been working on a delicate and complex piece the last week. Complex, of course, is easy; boiling it down to where it is easily communicated is hard, indeed. In his dotage, a letter from Thomas Jefferson to his old rival, John Adams, began with an apology. “I am sorry for writing you such a long letter,” Jefferson said. “I didn’t have time to write a short one.” I have always loved that quote. I am finished with the piece, but complicating it is that I expect a couple of big stories to break later today or tomorrow – and I am going to write about it and update you on the situation with David Daleiden and Planned Parenthood as soon as those stories break. I have decided I want to print that first and let it sit for a couple days before publishing the other one.

It was eight years ago today that my Mom passed on from pancreatic cancer. It was a Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day and the Eve of the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima. Her illness had developed while I was on my pilgrimage. I was in Mariposa County, California, just west of Yosemite when I got word that she was not going to make it and only had a few weeks left, at best. I was a good 200 miles from anywhere I could get any transportation. Fortunately, my family, led by my brothers Steve and Ron, made arrangements to get me back for her final days. It was a gauntlet involving several Mariposa County Deputies (God bless them), two trains, two buses, two cabs and four planes, but I got home. My brother, Steve, had driven out from San Diego and said he would take the northern route home and drop me in central Kansas to complete my pilgrimage.

At this stage, Mom was going in and out of coherence. Oh, how I thank God that she spent her final days at home in the bosom of her family! My sister was in charge of her care – it was just too fraught with emotion for Dad – though it was not a piece of cake for my sister, either. Mom was seeing angels in those last few weeks, all around her makeshift bed. My sister said that, ever since she had taken the final turn, she had been restlessly asking everyone, “Where’s my baby?” – and terribly upset that she could not find that baby. Her fearful anguish over the matter upset everyone. When I got there, as I walked into the room, Mom lifted up in her bed, pointed her arm at me and, with a great smile, said, “There’s my baby!” She did not ask the forlorn question again over that last week.

Married barely a week after her 14th birthday, Mom was just 15 and a half when I was born. She went into labor with me on Friday, Feb. 24. But she had the Mumps – a childhood disease – so the doctor gave her some injections to try to prevent my birth until the mumps had subsided. At seven a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 26, I came into this world, injections or no injections. It always irritated Mom that they sent me home with her mother before they would let her out of the hospital. To a certain degree, Mom and I were babies together.

For much of my adult life, the encounter between Mom and me was an uneasy one. For whatever reasons, we did not click well and frequently offended each other, usually unintentionally, but sometimes with intent. Mom had a very sharp temper – and a sharp tongue to match when her dander was up. And yet, we had many delightful moments as well.

In the year before I left on my pilgrimage, I lived in the downstairs apartment at my parent’s home in Alabama. What a grace from God! In that year, all the offenses melted away and Mom and I became as close – perhaps even closer – than we were when I was a little fellow. Every Wednesday night we would watch the TV show, “Criminal Minds,” together. If I wasn’t upstairs ten minutes before the show began, Mom would be on the phone telling me to get a move on. Mom loved Matthew Gray Gubler, who played Dr. Spencer Reed on the show. My sister later told me that she loved him because he reminded her of me – intimidatingly smart, but lovable in his good intentions and frequent painful awkwardness. At the time, Dad was working a part-time retirement job as a security guard at the local hospital. When he would go to work, Mom and I would get together and chat and reminisce, just enjoy some alone together time as we discovered each other anew.

I got my occasional sharp temper from my Mom and her side of the family. My story-telling came from Dad’s side of the family. Poor Mom had trouble telling a story at the best of times, and could not tell a joke to save her life. It could be very frustrating for her, having spent her life surrounded by raconteurs. She had had a heart attack about ten years before she passed on – and both it and the medication she took played havoc with her short-term memory. Though she was awkward telling a story, she did it with great relish. Once, sitting in the parlor with her, she was enthusiastically telling me a story. It had taken four wild changes of direction. Suddenly, she was quiet for a moment, and then started crying. Alarmed, I asked her what the matter was. She said that as hard as she tried, she couldn’t remember where she was at in a story and now didn’t remember what her point was at all. I chuckled and told her that it didn’t matter – that I enjoyed her little stories. When she began one, I said, it was like watching a rabbit go into a thicket: I knew where it went in, but had no clue where it was going to come out – and it was kind of fun to watch. She thought for a moment, giggled, and said, “That’s exactly how it is for me.” After that, she had no self-consciousness at all about telling me her little stories – and we would chuckle together in gentle amusement on those occasions where she lost her place altogether. It was such a moment of tender grace for us.

When she died, it tore me up for a while. One of my closest friends was startled by my grief, saying that surely I knew better than almost anyone that she had just been born to the next world. I agreed with him, but pointed out that when Lazarus died, Jesus – who was Lord of life and death – wept over the loss of His friend, even knowing with complete certainty that it was only temporary.

Mom is one of three people who have not been canonized who I regularly pray to for intercession and help. No, I am not presumptuous. When I began, I told the Lord I did not assume anything – that if any of these three are not in heaven, please apply my prayers to them for their purgatory or for whatever other need is there. I usually spend every Saturday asking for Mom’s intercession – and when I am struggling with something heavy, I ask for Mom to help her little boy.

Once, confronted with a particularly thorny problem, I was praying intensely, asking Mom for help. At one point, I said, “Please Mom. You have to help me out. You’re smarter than me now.” I’m sure it was my imagination, but I could swear I heard her giggling with delight right after I said that.

I miss you Mom and would tell you to rest in peace – but I prefer you stay busy interceding for all your family and friends.

111 thoughts on “Thinking of Mom

  1. Beautiful. Heartwarming. Inspirational. Filled with lessons about enduring love and God’s wondrous ways of making all things news. A virtual hug for you on this most special day, {{{{{{Charlie}}}}}}. PS Love seeing again this photo of your clan. It brings to mind how God chooses each one of us from our ordinary beginnings to become what He wishes each of us to be, if we stay strong in living the particular mission entrusted to us and partner with Him in bringing His Kingdom more fully to earth.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your memories of your mother with all of us, Charlie. Seeing you in this picture of your family helps me to realize something about you. Like you, I am the oldest of six siblings, five (now) women and one man. I always wondered when you had your early encounters with supernatural realities why you didn’t ask an older brother or sister about them, this makes it clear. You were the oldest, so there would not have been another to go to.

      Now, I would like to switch subjects for a moment. I believe it is my place to eat “Virtual Crow”, and admit that I was wrong about the Coronavirus a few months ago. It seems that Charlie was correct. While our lock down across the U.S. may have “flattened the curve”, it also appears that the predictions of illness and death were wildly overblown. I don’t know if this was accidental or on purpose by some. However, the results are that our country and state are in some ways a worse police state than China.
      I live in Butte County in northern CA. We are a 2 hour drive north east of Sacramento. In our county we have had 20 cases, no deaths, and 18 are fully recovered, the other 2 are at home. The last active case was April 14th. However, we are still locked down like New York City and LA. We now have testing in our county, PCR test results in hours. We also have antigen testing available in minutes. They have been doing 100 people per day in a drive through clinic at one of the local JH schools, since our children don’t go to school anymore. Out of the 100 people tested last Monday, one was positive for the virus. The same results on Tuesday: 1 out of 100.
      We also are on the same lock down with no Masses or Sacraments. Our Governor, Gavin Newsom, appears on daily press conferences, with perfectly coiffed hair, in spite of barbers and beauty parlors being shut down. He says that more of our state will be opening up over these next few weeks, but not churches until phase 3. This is 2-3 months away (or longer). I think that our church leadership are exploring options for opening the churches and having Masses whenever we do reopen. One concern that I have is that we are in the best time now to open things up. Come fall, with cold and flu season, there are bound to be more cases. Will this be a further excuse to keep churches closed? I have heard that many churches may not survive this time of shut down financially, they are going bankrupt. Is this part of the strategy, to kill off the churches?
      It appears that political operatives have hijacked this opportunity to advance their own political agendas and personal aspirations. I apologize if I unintentionally misled anyone in this community. I truly believed that it was a dangerous situation. In my extended family in the area our thoughts were of my 84 1/2 year old mother with COPD. The last time I saw my mom before the lock down was on Ash Wednesday. I brought her Holy Communion and blessed ashes. The next week I got sick and was hospitalized, and by the time I was home from the hospital and released by my doctor, we were in the lock down.
      The week before Palm Sunday, we began our family Zoom sessions. We have continued them every week. We even had a special one on Sunday, for Mother’s Day. In the meantime, a few weeks ago, my mom was unfortunately scammed by someone on her phone and her bank account was compromised. Mom and I had to go to the bank the following weekday, open a new account, and as her financial person, it was my job to transfer all of her automatic deposits and withdrawals. (I had set up automatic bill paying a few years ago for her. Interestingly, the last account was set up a month before the fire. I feel this was providentially motivated, when we were evacuated for a month, with no access to any paperwork at home.) To move all of my mom’s accounts required me to visit her and call the different companies, when their websites did not do the work for us. This meant I had to visit her for hours at a time for several days. Initially I was wearing a mask. After a couple of days, I was just keeping my distance, as needed. Finally, as I was finishing up the last day, I walked up to give my mom a hug good-bye, like the old days. Just as I was getting ready to embrace her, we both froze, realizing the break in the protocol. Mom said to give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek, which I gratefully did. She said she had just given my other sister a hug recently.
      Mom said something important to me. We had all been trying to protect her. She said that she is old and preparing to die, whenever the Lord calls her. She does NOT want us to protect her by isolating her, not visiting, and being able to give her a hug or kiss. She is willing to accept the risk. I thought that was especially important. Mom wants our love and affection with whatever time she has left. This does not mean that we should not take prayerful and prudent precautions, but we need to also remember not to kill the spirit as we are protecting the body.
      When they told us in mid March that hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people were going to die, I think we all were willing to sacrifice “two weeks” for this intention. However, this 2 week lock down has now become 2 months, with no end in sight in many places. In China, they had Wuhan. It was locked down for 2 months, but even they are free now. In other parts of China, they were closed for 2 weeks, unless there were hot spots. Not every place in China was Wuhan. Not every place in the U.S. is NYC or LA. I believe we should be prayerful, prudent, and discerning in our precautions, but not kill the spirit of our people, our relationships, businesses, and economy. We need to be wise.

      In my opinion with testing available, we should be opening up, and looking for hot spots, but let the healthy resume life, and when there are people who are infected, let them quarantine. Not everyone.

      I am now going to switch gears one more time. I want to clarify something that I posted a couple of weeks ago. While I personally do not discern the same as Charlie and Beckita regarding some other websites, I want to support and acknowledge both their authority and discernment in this matter. They have the responsibility for managing this community, which I know they take very prayerfully and seriously. I may not agree with everything they say; however, I completely support their authority, and I will be obedient to this and all other forms of “legitimate” authority. Charlie has talked about this much more articulately than me. But I believe in this time to come, it is going to be VERY IMPORTANT to be obedient to LEGITIMATE AUTHORITY. For example, I was in the military, as many of you were also. We need to obey orders from those in authority over us, as long as they are legal and moral, even when we do not agree. God gives us people to be in obedience to, as a gift and a blessing. We can offer the gift of obedience. This is a sacrifice that is very pleasing to the Lord. (Psalm 50: A covenant lawsuit stating that the sacrifice God really wants is the sacrifice of praise accompanied by genuine obedience.
      We should pray for all in authority, that they make wise and discerned decisions. If asked to provide input to the decision, we should do so. If someone makes what we think is a very bad decision, depending on our relationship, we may offer our counsel as warranted, but ultimately we need to obey and pray for the leader, their discernment, and the implementation of the order. God may even bless a poor command, because of our gift of obedience.
      Obedience is only tested when we do NOT agree with the order. If I agree with everything I am told to do, there is no test. When I follow the order, even if it is not what I want to do, would like to do, think is the best option, then this is really exercise of obedience. Again, I am not talking about being ordered to do something illegal or immoral, like killing someone, lying about them, harming them or molesting them in some way. This is an important distinction. Prayer, discernment, wisdom. I think in the times to come, we will all be tested in obedience. I am grateful for the wonderful gift of Charlie and Beckita who are watching out for us.

      God’s graces, blessings and gifts to all of my brothers and sisters: Acknowledge God, Take the Next Right Step, and be A Sign of Hope to all around you (even virtually on Zoom),

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      1. Ah, Deon, you need not apologize for being totally sincere but off on your interpretation of what you were seeing. We reason here together. I have to tell you, I am VERY thankful for the people I respect who have a significantly different opinion than me at times. On more than a few occasions it has saved me from going off on an less than prudential tack. You were one of several people I deeply respect who had a much different take on it than I did. That disagreement kept me restlessly looking for what I was missing. I developed a much better understanding of the virus and its very novel and unknown properties than I otherwise would have. I am a huge believer in the concept of dynamic tension – that people of good will who can vigorously disagree without impugning the motives of each other force themselves to come up with better answers than they would without that free and respectful openness. Please, keep saying what you really think, understanding that each of us will be off on our analysis sometimes – but the open sincerity helps all of us be better. Had it not been for all of you, I might well have unthinkingly gone down a know-nothing path.

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      2. God bless you, Deon, and your respectful ways. What a beautiful story of how you and your family have worked out the sensitive details which have arisen due to the covid19. No worries about how you were figuring things out through the early days. We ALL have had much to ponder, research and consider while discerning our next right steps… and that continues. What I appreciate so very much around here are the ways we share out thoughts, even when we disagree. Divergent opinions and discernment are bound to happen. And, still, our faith and desire to tend to God’s people, as we carry on, binds us together in solidarity which encourages and builds us up.

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      3. Deon!!! Oh my word you have been through A LOT girlfriend!!!! I guess we all have and are… I reiterated just today on Charlie’s last piece that I am VERY grateful these days for knowing just to acknowledge God, take the next right step and trying (usually failing😫) to be a sign of hope for those whom God puts in my path…very few 😂😂😂 thankfully because I’m a pile of nerves!!!🙄 it’s all just too much and too big for all of us as Charlie says. I’ve been doing the surrender novena. I just keep repeating it. Prayers for your mom, Deon! She sounds so Saintly!!!😇

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        1. Lost my mom New Years Day 1979 from breast cancer. She had just turned 60 and I was just 28. My friend passed away 2 years ago and her daughter on the anniversary of her death posted on Facebook how much she missed and thought about her. I told her that although my mom had passed 40 some years ago, I thought about her almost every day since. I frequently contemplate the many lessons learned from her. And this is true, at least 4 times I have vividly dreamed of her. So much so, so much in reality I was with her and spoke to her that I woke up with a start and as I mulled over what just happened it gave me such peace that I could only smile and rest in the joy of the experience. TY Charlie. Here’s Father Mark Goring’s MOM reflection. The beginning of it for me is profound. You can find it on YouTube by the title The Experience of MOM.

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          1. I’m so sorry for your loss joanne1950!😥. But it is true that while we lose them it seems we gain them in a way much deeper than words. Oh the things of heaven 🤗❤️🙏🌹📿😘😇

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      4. Thank-you Deon, for your words on obedience…because every single day I flirt with disobedience. However, considering that it may well be a test than I must rethink my inclination.
        Thank-you so much! Time to think and to pray. ~And be a Sign of Hope and Take the Next Right Step. Amen
        Thank-you, Charlie for your reflections that got us started thinking once again.
        Katey in OR (We have mass in groups of 25 or less – a blessing!)

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      1. Then she was truly a life saver. I worked in a hospital blood bank and I know personally how crucial each unit of blood is to someone who is fighting for their life. It was a precious gift because she gave something so completely hers, a part of her, an intimate gift of her life. I always have a deep appreciation for blood donors.
        Thank you for letting us know your mother.

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  2. So heartwarming Charlie!!! I too giggled at the part of the rabbit 🐇 in the thicket! I can relate to your momma in mind, heart and soul! By Golly, I’m going to start praying for her intercessions too!!! Need to re-read for her first name???

    I am also sorry for your loss Charlie!!! Funny thing, the longer my mom is gone, the more I think of her and her good qualities and love and devotion through the years I didn’t recognize when she was amongst us! (Jeanne has been gone 2 yrs last March 15) Funny we remember the day our mother’s died to go home with God!!!

    What a beautiful family you come from Charlie!!! I can see why God chose you for this post at this time!!!

    God bless you and your mom and your family forever!!! So happy we are in your family too so I KNOW your mom is heaven helping us too!!!

    TNRS ASOH🤗❤️🙏🌹😇😘📿🐇

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    1. Her name was Laura – but from the time she was a little girl, she was always know as “Tootie.” Her grandmother always called her a “tootie-bug” when she was little and it stuck. I really doubt that more than a handful of people knew her given name. She was Tootie to everyone.

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      1. Charlie, I love the picture of your family. Your mother was just as cute as a bug! Also, you look exactly like your father. 🙂

        That’s funny about your mom’s nickname. My grandfather’s name was Nelson, but everybody except my Grandmother called him “Jug.” That’s because when he was a little boy, some neighborhood kid said that he (my grandpa) was “nothing but a jugheaded fool.” And “Jug” stuck. And it’s ironic because he was one of the wisest, most intelligent, and hardest working people that I’ve ever known… and also one of the most generous.

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  3. “I am sorry for writing you such a long letter,” Jefferson said. “I didn’t have time to write a short one.”😂😂😂 just got that now!!!😂😂😂

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  4. We always enjoy your stories! Today we heard about Paul and Barnabas.Thank God for our adventures in Grace.

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    1. Bart Starr was my Dad’s great sports hero. One of my brothers bumped into Starr at the airport in Atlanta once – and told him what a great fan my Dad was. My brother asked if he could give him an address and get Starr to send Dad an autographed picture. The great quarterback did better than that – he gave my brother his card and told him to have Dad give him a call. Well, Dad did – and Mom said Dad and Starr talked for almost five hours one afternoon…that she had never seen Dad grin so big in all her life (and Dad has a very big and infectious grin). It didn’t surprise me. Dad has a near eidetic memory on his favorite sports – and I knew he might well remember Starr’s career better than Starr did. It was a classy thing to do (and I am sure the retired great enjoyed chatting with someone who so intimately remembered his great moments) – and Starr sent both Dad and my brother an autographed picture. When all is done and the shouting stops, grace remains.

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      1. Eidetic! Didn’t know that word! Thanks, Charlie. I guessed what it meant but looked it up to be sure. Hope I’ll remember it!

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      2. I’m a Lion’s fan myself (I know, I know…), but I’ve always had a soft spot for the Packers. It might be because of my dad, because a guy that graduated from his teeny, tiny high school played for The Pack. Ever heard of a fellow named Zeke Bratkowski? 🙂

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  5. Very touching, Charlie! I hope you know that in Catholic teaching, even those who may not be in Heaven yet, the souls in Purgatory, can also pray for us. We don’t have to know where our loved ones or friends are. I remember how shocked I was to learn long ago that a friend of mine, a lifelong Catholic, didn’t know this about the Holy Souls praying for us. God bless the nuns who taught us all the wonderful teachings of the Church! And thank God for the entire “Mystical Body of Christ”.

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  6. Prayer for her increased blessing..

    My Midwest neighbor in the 70s used to make daylong trips to meet halfway her dear friend, Tootie….hmmmm 🙂

    And, we had always wanted to name a daughter Laura; but it never worked out ( pairing it with relative names Etc) But it remains probably my favorite female name, along with Deborah.

    Finally, my husband passed with pancreatic cancer; winning for a little over four years.

    Ah, associations and musings. Amen.

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    1. Wow, your husband was very unusual. The only thing good about pancreatic cancer is that it is usually mercifully quick. It took us by surprise as cancer does not run at all in our family, on either side. From the time Mom was first diagnosed, it was only a couple of months. It was hard. I kept praying for a miracle. I wanted to come home, but I was fearful that if I did, no miracle would be forthcoming – that I was supposed to stick with my pilgrimage faithfully until the end. My sister was the only one who really understood how it agonized me…and when she called to tell me it was time to come home, I didn’t hesitate – and with the family’s help began arrangements. I was in a mountainous wilderness area when that call came – and I did not have a cell signal there – except for that call. Lord, I was blubbering like a baby on that mountaintop after I got off the phone.

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      1. It always amazes me when I contemplate how Jesus wept too. That had to be soooo hard, Charlie!😢I think I only saw my dad cry once…that was when his mom died! I’ll never forget…oh wait…one more time…when he found out he had Lou Gehrig’s disease 😭

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      2. Yes–pancreatic cancer is so quick. I am a Jeopardy-aholic. I record it every day to be sure I don’t miss it. Alex Trebek (the beloved host) was diagnosed with it last year. It has been remarkable to watch him continue to tape shows while going through treatment.

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        1. Me too, Kim! Never miss the show if possible, and I agree about A.T.; amazing he’s still at it. I’m watching the tournament now; guess it was a previous recording and I still root for James H. He seems like a good guy, not egotistical. (The show is good, clean fun!) 😁

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          1. Annie– “Jeopardy” James has been my favorite. He was so much fun to watch. I saw that tournament when it originally aired. That guy is so smart, fast and was daring in his wagers. Cute personality, too. There have been several memorable contestants– I liked that bartender from NYC, too. Quirky is always appealing to me. I’ve been wondering when the would quit airing original episodes due to the “situation “.

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      3. God Bless You, Charlie. I lost my dear mom Jenny, 15 years ago, and it still seems like yesterday that I was standing in her room, holding her hand and whispering goodbye.

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  7. I’m sorry for the loss of your mother…May she rest in peace as she experiences’s God’s love. We now see through a window darkly but then we shall see face to face our Lord.

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  8. Wonderful memories of Mom, Charlie. My mother died 9 yrs ago May 11th. I was so relieved that she waited until after Mother’s Day. It was hard enough to lose her. I was blessed to be with her when she died, even though we lived on opposite sides of the country. I have special memories of her too.

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  9. Very moving story with many wondrous layers. Was contemplating and comparing long walkabouts vs. relationships. Some might think the long walkabout a piece of cake by comparison, others just the opposite. I don’t even have to think about it to come down on the side of long treks being relatively easy by comparison. And if there’s someone out there thinking relationships are easy, then I’d be tempted to question their honesty. There may be nothing that requires as much endurance as a healthy relationship, but the reward is GREAT! After the long trek, what is there but to have it done with, sit down, and take a breather before getting back to those relationships!?

    I’m going to let Tom, the Packer apostate, slide with that above jab, which likely can be attributed to geographical roots. My dad went through ND with “The Golden Boy” (Hornung) who I got to meet on several occasions. Sadly, never got to meet Lombardi… but you have reminded us on many an occasion that we won’t get Heaven until we get Heaven.

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    1. Thanks MP. Though brief, it was a very emotional piece to write. I misted up several times. I hope the intense memories it brought me sparked some echoes of sweet moments of grace others have had in their relationships. And having done both (relationships and long walkabouts) I completely concur with you that relationships are much harder – but even more rewarding when persisted in.

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  10. Anxious for David Deliedan news!!! Hope and pray it’s good news!!! This is a battle between good and evil between Christ and antichrist to be sure!!!

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    1. Something I say to my husband regularly applies to us here: “I’m sorry we have to be going through this, but if we have to, I am glad we can do it together.” Glad to have all of you to get through this together.

      One more thought: Tomorrow is May 13th: 103rd Anniversary of the first Apparition at Fatima. There will be a Mary-thon of prayer.

      Also, Pope Francis is asking us to join with people of all faiths in prayer for the end of this virus on May 14th. Here is the Tweet from May 11th:

      I would like to remind you that on 14 May, believers of every religion are invited to unite themselves spiritually in a day of prayer, fasting and works of charity, to implore God to help humanity overcome the coronavirus #pandemic. #HumanFraternity #PrayTogether

      Just a couple of thoughts. Prayer always helps. Not always in the ways we think or expect. Love to all.

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  11. Thank you Charlie for another wonderfully written post with this one being especially touching and beautiful. I had the honor to meet you last year, and I wanted to do so for 2 reasons. Firstly, I desired to get a sense of you in person (in part because I find you such a compelling on-line personality).

    Secondly, I desired to “sit at your feet” and learn from you via your spoken word.

    I am very appreciative for the opportunity I had with you last year and fulfilling that first desire. I am even more appreciative that you add to that “sense” I now have of you by sharing your family with us and the intimate moments within the life of your family.

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  12. With Mother’s Day recently past & Charlie’s post, I couldn’t help but remember my Mom’s last picture on Earth …. that happened to be with me 😉 …. 30+ Years Ago!!! ;-(
    It’s really a funny story. I had just reported to my last AF unit …. A unit that I had served with seven years prior … same mission but different airplane … when I arrived, I was an Ol’ AF Command Pilot with lots of “Been There & Done That” but the young Training Officer assured me that the Syllabus required that I have a Cross-Country Training Flight. After saying: You’re pulling my leg .. Right? … I said OK! We’ll fly up to my Home Town and show My Old Mother … THE JET … So we did. 🙂
    Mom was the daughter, sister, wife, sis-n-law & mother of Naval Aviators … & Mom of One Black Sheep Silver Winged Guy 🙂


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    1. Aw, CD… thank you for the beautiful story. Your mom looks like a sweet lady. And you… you have the eyes and the smile of the Irish about you. Am I right, or way off base? (Something about your eyes and smile reminds me of my husband’s grandfather, and he was as Irish as McGinty’s goat. Career Navy man and all-around good guy.) 🙂

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      1. “…Irish as McGinty’s goat.” AAAAargh, just the thought of that cracked me up, LOL. Thank you for the humor! 🙂

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        1. Littlelight, I wish I could take credit for the humor, but I can’t. I heard that expression in a movie, “The Scarlet and the Black,” many years ago. It was spoken by Gregory Peck, who played the Irish priest Msgr. Hugh O’Flaherty, who saved tons of Jews and Allied forces in Rome during WWII. I’ve loved the expression ever since.

          If you’ve never seen the movie, it is fantastic (and it is about 90% accurate historically; for the historical account, see the book “The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican,” by J. P. Gallagher).


          1. Ditto thanks, Mick; will fwd to my son who’s always looking for this type of movie to stream. (I recently watched, ‘I Remember Mama’, which brought back fond memories of grandparents.)

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            1. This is weird, Maggie: Just yesterday or the day before, I was thinking about the movie, “I Remember Mama.” It was such a great movie! I’m pretty sure I bought the book a few years back (it’s called “Mama’s Bank Account,” by Kathryn Forbes). Now I’m gonna have to look for it and put it on my “read sometime this year” list.

              Another wonderful old movie is “So Big.” Have you ever seen it? I loved both the 1932 version with Barbara Stanwyk and the 1953 version with Jane Wyman. Hmmm… now I’m gonna have to rummage around and dig up my copy of that book, too.

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          2. CD, I love the picture and story. I can see the pride radiating from her — as it should be.

            Charlie, so much truth and beauty in your story. In a strange way, I’ve felt deeper grief in losing loved ones with whom I’ve had complicated relationships than those that were steady and straightforward. Maybe something to do with a longing (however imperfectly) fulfilled and then (temporally) lost again. I don’t know. Ive always thought the sweetness of it is a foreshadowing of heaven – where I imagine unfiltered grace for connection and understanding will be one of the main sources of unending joy.

            Mick, thanks for the movie rec. We’ve always watched the Scarlet Pimpernel, and I had no idea there was another to choose from. Now on tap for this weekend. Yay.

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    2. CrewDog–I love it! She must have been so proud! Many thanks to you and all your family members for your service!

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  13. Charlie, what a beautiful tribute to your Mom. You are all truly blessed. Thank you for sharing that with us.

    Heavy, distressing on my heart is this story today:

    I love what Susan blogged:

    We have many commentators here who have stated that we are all gonna die—have some perspective! Faith instead of Fear is most important! There is so much evidence every day that the crack-down response is worse than the initial threat, and the real battle is on of Fear.

    There have been examples of a priest administering +Jesus+ to those kneeling, by mouth. What a beautiful example of faith—but more it even makes sense scientifically as the distance between faces is greatly increased this way.

    Also, what happened to choice? If you legitimately need to take more precautions, do so! But to force that on all, seems at best unwise, at worst aiding and abetting the complete destruction of all we hold dear.

    What saddened me most was the tone of Bishop’s response. Tone was very disrespectful to that of the common person. It sounds like a threat, and seems punitive. Surely we all can do better in our discourse with each other. Full disclosure: I have personally received +Jesus+ in my hand when I have been mildly sick. But this is not my preference. So personally, I can understand why the need to protect people this way may be convicting. Also Full disclosure: When this topic first came up, I myself thought it a great idea to go into full battle ppe gear. A simple, heartfelt testimony changed my mind.

    We have all been taught that if we want respect, we must earn it, and treat others the way we;d like to be treated. The tweet response missed the mark on all accounts.

    Charlie, I speak for myself. I would love some practical concrete guidance on how to discern the best course of action in what is certain to be an ever increasing confusion. However I’m guessing the advice as to the best personal course of action will be cling to +Jesus, Mary+, attempt the best tnrs, knowing mistakes are guaranteed. Mercifully, God looks at our intention, and can bring good out of even serious blunders.

    +Dear Lord, thank You for Your love and care, even now+

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    1. Susan, that is a big part of what I work on right now – and why I tend to be slower between posts, My watchwords for these times are to be deliberate, be steadfast and be just. Neither go chasing after every squirrel of information that passes by nor be quick to condemn anyone for taking a different tack than seems right to you. I have no problem with condemning those who are busy condemning everyone else, but those who honestly disagree with me, who are honestly fearful, who are honestly trying to find their way forward? No, this is not the time for that. We need to be very deliberate, know what we are doing and what our intentions are when we do it – and be charitable with others and rigorous with ourselves. The knee-jerk hyper-partisanship that has taken hold of society does not help with that…but we have to work hard to be deliberate, steadfast and just.

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  14. Charlie, this is a beautiful and touching essay. I think each one of us could use the same headline and write our own essay. In most cases, our mothers are/were not the Blessed Mother. One rich aspect of relationships and personal/mutual growth is moving through the process of reconciliation. Experiencing God’s grace in the midst of that is part of the wonderful mystery.

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    1. You are so right, Sr. Bear. We all have feet of clay – and the most moving moments, for me, are when someone I love sees and acknowledges their own or when I see my own and acknowledge it to one I love. I think we rest in each other when we do that. In many ways, God teaches us, through life, to rest in Him and, in moments of grace, in each other.

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    1. Done🙏🏻

      Including you in my rosary and divine Mercy Chaplet too.

      May St. Joseph be at your side at your rebirth in to eternal life day!!🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

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    2. Done, dear one. I have also offered up a Prayer of Miraculous Trust, through the intercession of St. Joseph, St. Anne, and all the Dominican Saints and Blesseds. I will remember you in my rosary and chaplet this evening. And lastly, tonight I will be able to attend Holy Mass for the first time since March 17; I will offer my Holy Communion for you and for your intentions. May I ask, will you please pray for my family and me when you get to the other side?

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    3. I add mine to others. I pray you are surrounded with ridiculous joy and the light of +Jesus+ every step of the way.

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  15. What a heart-warming tribute to your sweet mom, Charlie. Who knows, perhaps she has started a club in heaven: parents of ASOH members, with Laura J. presiding as Madam President of course 🙂

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      1. I loved this remembrance of your mom Charlie. Some of it is familiar to me as I remember the rabbit into the thicket metaphor. She sounds like a wonderful person and your love of her so admirable. A wise priest friend of mine once told me a dutiful mom performs all the corporal works of mercy in her daily work.

        One of my favorite aspects of the ASOH family is the wonderful stories people share about their personal life experience. Thank you Crew Dog, news aggregator extraordinaire, for the pic of your mom and yourself next to that beautiful bird you flew.

        I’m wondering,Charlie, if God calls your mom Laura or Tootie when he talks with her. I suspect both.
        Who is like God!

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  16. Charlie, this is touching and so very honest. Relationships are like that. My mom died five years ago on a Friday March 13th. She had been sick with cancer. My sisters and brother got a call to go see her. We all talked to her even though she almost wasn’t there. When some of us were ready to go home and had just left, we were told she had died. It was a blessing. She hung on until we all could say our goodbyes (not forever – the goodbye!) I had had many hard times in my relationship with her. I had lived in foster homes at 13 and on (as had all of my family). I got to know her better later. And she was a kindly down to earth person that truly loved her children the best that she could given a strong case of mental illness. She recuperated from this in later life. It came back the closer she was to death though. I pray she is with God now. And is praying for all of my 9 brothers and sisters. One of my family commented “Who will pray the rosary for our family?”. She had prayed several every day and made them. I have been saying one every day and add extras here and there. Hopefully I can carry on that legacy.

    Asking for prayers for myself during these hard times. That God can help me to love those people that think so differently than myself on politically and moral issues. Love the sinner not the sin. Lately I’m finding it hard to love the sinner. Ugh. 😧

    Bless all here.

    Liked by 7 people

  17. JESUS = GOOD NEWS! 😉

    EWTN has a special on St Damien this Friday @ 8PM EDT.
    On the grounds of the HI State Capitol they have a nice statue of Damien …. unless THEY have removed it? CA dumped St Sierra … Ya know! ;-(

    Let US Pray!

    I certainly hope that The Good Guys are keeping a close watch over The Usual Suspects? “These-Days”, I would not be surprised if I awoke some morn to learn that a large planeload of Traitorous Scum had arrived in China and were demanding Political Asylum ’cause Mean Ol’ Trump and his Deplorables were out to get them.
    Of Course! The LeftStream Global Media would …….. ;-(


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  18. Happy and Blessed Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima, Everyone! In each person who turns to or returns to Her Son, Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart triumphs. SO looking forward to the day when that Triumph is complete and she has rescued us in safety.

    Our hearts are fixed on your Heart, Mother Mary! Our Stella Maris you are as we acknowledge God and take every next right step to which Your Son calls us, all the while relying on your Spouse’s Power to give our best.

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