The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mom

Martha Catherine (Cavanaugh) McCarthy was born at home in Fairfield, Connecticut on June 28, 1909. And so today would have been her 108th birthday. I guess when your mother was born 108 years ago, you know you're getting old. 

Mom at the time of my childhood
Mom was the youngest child in a large family of eight children. Actually, four of her siblings were half-siblings since her mother, Julia, was a remarried widow who had four more children in her second marriage. Mom was only nine years old when her mother died, and her father, Thomas Cavanaugh, subsequently remarried. Unfortunately his second wife wasn't the most agreeable person -- I suppose that's a nice, pastoral way of describing her -- and so I always got the impression that Mom's teenage years were not very pleasant. It was also during this period that she lost her closest sister, Edna, to what I believe was scarlet fever; a personal tragedy that affected Mom deeply.

After high school she entered nursing school at St. Vincent's Hospital in Bridgeport, CT and ultimately graduated as an RN. It was around this time that she met my father, and they married on July 4, 1935.
Mom, the new RN  
Mom was one of those quiet, thoughtful, and very intelligent people who prefer to stay in the background, far out of the limelight, but manage to have a significant positive impact on others. She died 40 years ago and I miss her deeply, but I still go to her for advice. That's the nice thing about memories: through them we can relive and relearn what others tried to teach us when we were too foolish to pay very much attention...but the words remain.

Happy Birthday, Mom. God's peace...

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