Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Mother's prayers over years makes one look back at good fortune

David clutched a red heart-shaped pillow to cushion his chest should he cough or sneeze. The bowl of tomato soup — still full because he doesn't like tomato — sat on the tray along with a new rosary and a water glass. The young nurse had offered another kind of soup, but he insisted no because it would be too much bother. The bigger-beaded rosary was purchased by his daughter from the Saint Marys Hospital gift shop.

The prayers must have helped because David was doing remarkably well just a couple days after heart surgery.

"It's a habit that he picked up from his mother,'' said Darlene, David's wife.

Prayer power is a mysterious and many health care professionals say real force in the healing process.

Doing well


David's mother would be proud of her eldest son, the first of seven raised in an always too small home brimming with commotion. David caused her concern when he did what teenagers sometimes do. A cigarette fell from his lips and he reached to the floorboard to pick it up and the car became lodged in the river. Mother did not find out the truth until 30 years later when she could laugh at his foolishness.

David and Darlene's children who gathered around his bed mostly were strangers to me, their uncle. Marriages, children of their own and graying hair had replaced the youths that I remembered.

Stories, told from his youngest brother's perspective, were shared. Darlene had written her telephone number on David's frost-covered car windshield. Her now-adult children were shocked at her past boldness. Love can make a reserved person bold and the strongest person weep. David could not or would not say why he took her phone number down, but everything changed because he did.

Embarrassed Darlene changed the subject.

"Everyone here has been so nice to us,'' she said.

Someone from Illinois says hello and asks how he's doing and a nurse drops in to check on blood pressure.

It's time for me to go.

Relying on faith


It occurs to me on the walk back to work from Saint Marys that Mother depended a great deal on her rosary.

When the draft board called, she prayed Art wouldn't be sent to Vietnam. When he went she prayed the rosary in her corner cushioned chair and made sure that her youngest son didn't neglect to do the same. She kept his letters home in a shoe box and would bring them out to reread when she hadn't heard from him for quite some time.

She watched Walter Cronkite to see where the fighting was to ascertain if he might be involved. Mother packed care packages per Postal Service guidelines and never doubted they arrived to bolster his spirits. She cried when he left, but there was no need to cry when he returned.

Tears fell in the midnight madness when her husband of more than five decades died. The lighted candles were placed to help guide his soul to heaven. When her time came, a beautiful rosary was entwined in her hands — a fitting tribute to her faith and to who she was.

Lord knows she must still be working it.

A little help

Darlene says it's a miracle that David made it to the hospital. The ambulance crew quickly came to revive his heart twice.

They will have what they most want — more time to spend together.


I wonder how it might have turned out had Darlene not cast aside her shyness to write her telephone number on his car's frozen windshield. What if he had not called her back?

A person with faith might say it turned out just as it should have.

It leaves one open to wondering if a woman and her rosary helped along the way.

What To Read Next
Get Local