Friday, May 7, 2010

Finding meaning and blessings in sorrow

By Mary DeTurris Poust

Today's featured Catholic mom-writer is Cathy Adamkiewicz, communications director and editor of PIME World Magazine and the author of Broken and Blessed: A Life Story, an incredibly powerful book about her daughter Celeste, who died at only four months old due to a rare heart defect. I picked up Broken and Blessed one night a while back and could not put it down until I was finished. It is the beautiful story not only of a short life well lived but of a mother's steadfast faith in the face of unbearable suffering.

I know that for some moms this Mother's Day will not be easy or happy because they are suffering with children who are sick or are grieving children who are gone, so I asked Cathy if she could offer some words of healing to those mothers. What she had to say will touch the heart of every mother (and father):

"It seems mothers' hearts are made to be broken. They break a little each day as our children grow and move away from us. Every time they get hurt - which of course they all do - it hurts us, too, because we are bonded to our children in such a unique way. But for those of us who lose a child to death, the heartbreak is so intense that there are really no words for it...

"Five years after my daughter's death, I feel the pain just as intensely, but because there is truth to the old adage about time healing all wounds - even wounds like this - I seem to feel the pain less often.

"Truthfully, I can't imagine getting through such a loss without a relationship with Jesus. When people ask me 'How did you do it?' all I can say is 'Jesus.' I say it not to make myself sound pious. It's just the truth.

"From the moment Celeste was born, I threw everything - my pain, my worry, my stress about her condition, my hope - right back at God. It was simply too big for me to handle. I felt tiny and weak, and so very helpless. My daughter's suffering and the fact that she might never come home were such big crosses that I wanted to run away, but I couldn't. So I told Jesus that I trusted Him. And I gave her back to Him, because she was never really 'mine' to begin with.

"I also found a renewal of my relationship with the Blessed Mother. She could understand my suffering better than anyone. She knew what it was like to watch an innocent child suffer. Each day when I left the hospital, I left Celeste in her arms. Today I still do that with my other children when I'm worried about them or can't be near them.

"In the past five years I've learned a lot about life from my Celeste. I learned that every single life is incredibly precious - and MEANINGFUL. Each of us has a unique purpose. It comforted me immensely to know that God had a plan for my daughter, and that she fulfilled it. I also learned to worry less about the small things in life, and to really enjoy the beauty in every day. I'm reminded continually that 'our value in is our being, not our doing.' Each life - no matter how brief - is a tremendous gift to our world from a loving Father."
To visit Cathy's blog, "From the Field of Blue Children," click HERE. For more information on her book, click HERE.

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