I had two children of my own. I was twenty four years old, and lived far away from immediate family.
My life experiences were living on a farm in a big family, going to an all girls school, and attending a new university in a small town in Northern Ireland.
Things were about to change. There was turmoil in our country with bombings and shootings. People were killed, buildings reduced to rubble. The dark clouds gathered. Even the weather portrayed the gloom and fear over the land.
I must have been affected by that fear in the atmosphere even though the town where we lived was a safe place. I began to wonder how can I keep my two children safe? What example can I give them? Who is right in the middle of the war? What values can I pass on to them.
I remembered back to my own upbringing by my parents. Mum and Dad worked hard on a farm to raise us ten children, eight girls and two boys. They did not have much money. They sacrificed their own comfort and luxuries to look after us. Dad was a pioneer. He educated all of us. He believed girls should get the same opportunities as the boys. They had quiet faith in God. By their actions I know they were Christians, as the old chorus goes “They will know we are Christians by their love.”
I knew nothing about sectarianism and wondered why Catholics were fighting Protestants. I began to seek God. I began a journey of faith.
As my family and my faith in God grew I was able to appreciate the values my parents held and their willingness to lay down their lives to rear their children and overcome hard times, trials and disappointments. Brendan and I did not want our children to grow up to be bitter and have hatred in their hearts for their neighbours. We worship with and love Catholics and Protestants. Our children have married into both groups.
I did not appreciate my parents when I was growing up. I did not thank them. I did not honor them. I wanted to leave home and see what the world had to offer. Now, as I have gone through the work of raising children I appreciate what my parents did for me. I have a good heritage. I honor them.
My mum died at sixty four. She did not get to see all her grandchildren. I could have died three years ago, but Praise God he healed me and I am alive to tell other mothers there is hope and life. May you live to see your children’s children.