Living in Unconditional Love (9)

May 09, 2021

  Living in Unconditional Love (9) 

“Love flows from God to humans without effort: 

As a bird glides through the air without moving its wings- 

Thus, they go wherever they wish united in body and soul, 

Yet separate in form.” 

–Mechtild of Magdeburg 

My wife Eileen died from esophageal cancer in February 2020 one year after being diagnosed, 60 years to the day that we met on Long Island. Then my brother Tom became ill, and I spent a total of six weeks being with him in Ohio, but he died in October 2020. My sister-in-law Sue Mahoney died from Covid-19 in January 2021. On top of it all stood the pandemic, locking everyone down for over a year. 

05/09/2021 Mother’s Day is tomorrow as I write this, and I spent much of the afternoon working and completing (for now) that paint-by-number of Eileen holding Barbara at three months old that I talked about last week. I am unable to post an image at this time.  I should probably touch up many areas, as tiny spots of canvas come through, but at normal viewing distance they are not visible. As I mentioned last week, I had to create a few outlines of the face and head, but very little changes. Working on these family paintings, especially of Eileen, but the whole family, is very moving to me and truly eases my soul. I have one I just started today, one of Eileen holding Barbara at two-weeks of age right after her baptism, gazing down at her in wonderment, resting in her arms. This one is going to be much more of a challenge as much fine detail is present, in the brick work of the church and Eileen’s clothes and hat. (Hats were worn in church in those days.) Again, I am amazed at the quality of the image, as it is extracted from a 3-inch square black-and–white photo taken by my Mother at that time in 1962. Barbara was their first grandchild, so they came out as soon as we could have them, and since we were in our tiny apartment, they stayed at a nearby motel. 

Eileen was the consummate Mom. As she told her mom when she was holding Barbara (our first) in the hospital, this was the reason she was created. She had an amazing ability to relate to a child at any age – from a newborn to a teen and beyond. She had perfect memory of her own growing-up, and she was apparently a challenging one. She was a true active child and understood the boys as clearly as the girls. This translated into running the parish teaching program for all children for over 25 years. Through the years she had a constant stream of troubled young people wanting to talk with her, and this was her strength. Her advice was always good, I heard from many a person as they matured. The eulogies (see the late February journals) by Barbara and Dan said it well. 

I am amazed at the aids that God has provided over the years and is continuing to provide. Little things are often the means of easing pains and burdens. This past year after Eileen’s death, I was asked to help my brother which occurred at a time when the pain of loss was becoming overwhelming, given the means to start many small hobbies to fill my time and stimulate my creativity, friends to help who have lost much, and so much love from family and friends. I am aware that living alone has its drawbacks, especially if I should fall or something occur. I am much more careful than I used to be when climbing stairs and try to keep my phone in my pocket unless it is on charge. I am in good health, feel good, and am not hesitant about taking an afternoon nap.  

One of my joys in life is on Tuesday mornings as we now have a communion service at St. Patrick’s in Whitney Point. No mass (the priest retired due to health), but the communion service is nice, and those who attend, usually 5-6, come down afterward for coffee and a snack. At home I use music to keep joy present (I use the Disney channel for fun songs from the many Disney shows and movies.) 

The weather has been too cool and wet to do much to my bonsai, as I work outside, but I have repotted those which required it, and will start to trim the others. This coming week will remain quite cool, but if the sun shines, I can do some work for a short while. Most require a ‘haircut’ or trimming to reduce bunching and opening the branching to encourage growth. And fertilizing each week – “weakly weekly”, a teaspoon of rapid fertilizer per gallon of water. The trimming takes anywhere from a few minutes to several hours per plant. I thought I had lost two of my best, but they seem to be still with me with some foliage loss. One thing you learn with bonsai is patience. One never knows for sure how these living beauties will behave, so patience (over years) and gentleness is the key. Some consider me ruthless with my pruning shears, but in truth, careful opening up the growth lets the light in to stimulate plant life and the plant is happier. 


Gentle One, I rest in Your Being each day. I am fully aware that time is slipping away, and my time in this wonderous world is winding down, as life has always done. You have filled my life with wonder, and You amaze me each day with beauty and joy, even though my source of joy for 60 years is no longer here, but You encourage me to grow in love and open up to new paths of joy. Once again You give the joy of spring and the greening of the world, as the many trees are blooming, and the daffodils are screaming “yes!” to life and the ever-going cycle of the year continues. 

4 thoughts on “Living in Unconditional Love (9)”


  2. I see a parallel between you and the bonsai. Read what you wrote this way: “Some consider God ruthless with His pruning shears (looking at all you have lost), but in truth, careful opening up the growth lets the light in to stimulate life and the person is happier.” Live in the light!

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My God has led me on an 80 year jaunt to ever more wondrous beauty. I am led to share this journey and gifts of God that have been showered upon me, not just for me but for whoever God brings into my path.

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