These last few months have been very difficult for me and my family (parents, 5 brothers + sisters)..... a long, difficult and very painful story (involving the most disturbing and sordid events imaginable, most of which took place many years ago but have only been spoken about in the family this past year or two). In the midst of all this, my mother (my parents live in Co. Limerick having retired back there in '92) is struggling to continue living with the consequences of a brain tumour she suffered 25 years ago. The treatment she has received over the years for epilepsy has now weakened her to the point where she can only manage a few minutes of full awareness (with a little conversation) a day at the best of times. Sometimes none. I spent 2 weeks there recently, missing time off school.

Anyone reading this, could you keep us in your prayers.... Many graces have already come to us through our mother's illness/calvary. It has actually helped re-open channels of communication long closed and brought us closer together as a family... but there's a long way to go and so much pain still carried. I think in particular of one marvellous afternoon spent in my mum's nursing home room. She was out to the world. Me and my 2 sisters who had both come over at short notice (one from New Orleans, one from London) due to the seriousness of my mum's condition (she started to reufse to eat and drink soon after my arrival) spent a few wonderfully cathartic hours sharing experiences and stories... laughter + tears... lots of both, followed by a big group hug.

How long mum can continue like this we don't know. Could be a while as all her major organs other than the brain are still functioning fine. Mum (a true saint... her faith is a constant inspiration to me) is still working her magic and keeping/bringing the family together even in her current state.

I know so many families go through this kind of situation, but the family revelations that have come out recently just make all of this so much harder to bear for us all. I am incredibly lucky to live the life I live as a Brother. Our routines of work + prayer has been of great help to me. God has been holding me (+ all my family) in his palm. I don't know what I would do but for his love... I have felt it so strongly in the support, love + friendship shown to me by my confreres, friends, colleagues, pupils... and family.

Whatever is your will, Lord.... as always.


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