Being born at a very early age to Polish and Irish second generation parents, I inherited and received strong stubborn genes. I like to think of it as a determined and driven personality.
After high school I applied to the convent. How if you believe this, I was rejected! So my husband Tom always referred to me as his convent reject.
I was basically brain washed by the good sisters to be a nun. I longed to be a nurse since I was 10 years old. It was then that the good sisters told me what a good sister I would make. Being impressionable I thought for sure God would want me to be a nun rather than a nurse.
I was always a good two shoes although I attempted to camouflage this by my potty mouth in use of foul language so I would appear cool and not religious.
When I was 15 years old, supposedly the age Mary was asked to be the Mother of God, I thought, “Wow God, if I was around back then I would have said yes to you.” How’s that for being grandiose?
Tom and I had financial difficulties along with health issues in our marriage. It made us stronger and we were too poor to throw in the towel, even if at times when we were stressed we might have wanted to. Tom’s losing a business investment threw him into a depression early in our marriage. Better living through chemistry and counseling saved our marriage and it gave us a renewed strength that bonded us through it all.
We eventually had 8 grandchildren. Unfortunately my husband never saw our youngest granddaughter except from the celestial side. Tom was diagnosed with Acute Myloid Leukemia in August of 2007.
Prior to Tom’s diagnosis our eldest son went through a divorce. This is most difficult as a parent to watch your adult child in sooo much pain. The saying—that little children step on your toes while adult children step on your heart—came true for me.
Each day was a roller coaster ride to see the blood results and the effects of how Tom’s body was reacting to the chemo. Delirium, confusion and fear were his daily “friends.”
We made it through the holidays, which we knew would be our last, but we carried them off with the big elephants sitting in our living room.
Throughout this whole experience I was never angry at God, yes I was scared, not knowing what the future would bring. One day when Tom was still at Northwestern I took a walk to the lake as this was my solace place of comfort. I sat on the bench just watching the waves toss and turn. The buoy on the water was thrashing about with the waves. It was then that I clearly heard God say to me as sat there, “You see that buoy? This is your life right now. Don’t be afraid as you will not sink.”
My thoughts to God at this time were ‘whatever, Lord. Have it your way, but it would be nice if you would get off your coffee break and let me know where and what I am supposed to do. I remember talking to God and saying, ‘You know, I know you are my friend, but if you treat your friends like this, I would hate to be your enemy.”
When my son—named Tom after my husband—went unemployed for a long time and wasn’t going to church, I would often consult with God and tell him, “Now if you got Tom a job, maybe he would come back to you again.” And God kindly returned his thoughts to me with, “And so who is really God here?” God speaks to me with my own personality, which isn’t always so gentle.”