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Mt. Constitution

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Remembering Katie McCarthy

My daughter-in-law's mother, Katie McCarthy, died peacefully in her sleep at a Hospice House in Toledo, Ohio today.  I was first introduced to Katie when my son, Duane, travelled to Ohio to "meet the parents" in 2002.  Duane sent lots of pictures of his visit to Perth Street, Mud Hens T-Shirts, Anne's friends, the family, and Maggie, a beloved dog.  Katie had a twinkle in her eye and I was so eager to meet her, but knew a wedding would have to happen before we could visit face to face.   We soon exchanged Email addresses and got to know each other via the Internet.  I discovered a quick wit in this remarkable woman who raised eight children, sent most of them to Catholic School, and encouraged her Irish husband, Daniel McCarthy.  It seemed to me that Dad got most of the recognition in the family because of his high-profile job as editor of the Catholic Chronicle, a bi-monthly newspaper serving the Catholics of the Toledo diocese.  Here's an excerpt from an essay Dan wrote  in 1986 titled, "Where Does the Time Go?"
     "I look at my wife's face on the pillow beside me and struggle to register the fact that we have six grown sons and two grown daughters.  Only our love for one another could have gotten me and my wife -- Katie's her name, she wants you to know - to this stage in our marriage.  Many of the 33 years since our first son was born went by in a blur of diapers, colicky babies, Chronicle deadlines, financial struggles, and hassles with teenagers.  We didn't seem to have much time to enjoy our children until they were grown.  I respect the Church's teaching on artificial birth control--and Lord knows we followed it--but it's clear to me now that we had too many children too close together.  Katie has told me that she simply has no memory of some of those early years of our marriage.  I know just what she means.  But somehow we muddled through."

     Dan died in December, 1993, so Katie spent almost 20 years muddling through life without him at her side.  She loved to read, loved animals, and loved her family.  She was a good sport, admitting before Anne and Duane's wedding, that she knew nothing of crafting a swag to hang on the fireplace.

But she joined Mary Pat, Marilyn, and me in our creative endeavors, making a huge mess in our hotel room in Boulder.  We all  giggled so much that day trying to make beauty out of dried flowers, grapevine, eucalyptus branches.  I think the experience mimics Katie's life - she made do with what she had.  The kids began to worry about her safety in the old home on Perth St, but she firmly planted herself there and just a week before she died, climbed those stairs to her bedroom! 

I like to remember Katie with  her no nonsense approach to life!  Anne is her youngest child and she didn't fuss at all about this wedding.  Look at her great smile!  Most of the pictures I've seen of Katie show that lovely smile!  She enjoyed the wisdom of a Mom who successfully raised eight children!  When I opened Dan McCarthy's little book, "Letters from the Editor,"  ironically, a poem called "The Ideal Woman" marked one of the essays.  Words from this poem fit Katie perfectly, "There would be no deception or insincerity in her.  In every relation of life she would be found faithful."

Anne flew to Ohio to help her Mom celebrate her 80th birthday on April 1st.  Anne sent an Email to her siblings about her own anxiety watching her mother climb the stairs and say to Anne's friend, Liz,"my kids better not talk about making me leave this house..."   Katie enjoyed the birthday celebration with three of her children present and lots of friends and neighbors stopping by.  Anne presented the prayer shawl blessed by my 4th Day Prayer Group to her that day as well.  Her disease progressed so quickly that she moved to the Hospice House on Wednesday and God called her home on Saturday.  My belief is that Katie trusted God so much, even in those final days,  that He blessed her with her crown just as many Catholics celebrated the Resurrection!  What a glorious day to be welcomed to her heavenly home!  Anne told me that Katie's dear friend, Father Bacik, gave her the last rites and will preside at her Funeral Mass next Saturday.  Father Bacik, a well-know theologian, is the pastor of Corpus Christi University Parish and Katie volunteered for years to type his papers and probably some of his books that were eventually published.  I envision her funeral being a great celebration with people remembering her sincerity and faithfulness, her faith, her volunteer work, her concern for the poor, and her love of her family!

"I have competed well;
I have finished the race;
I have kept the faith.
From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day."     
            2Timothy 4:7-8

     Rest in Peace, faithful friend!

1 comment:

  1. fantastic, beautiful, wonderful, thank you, I have such incredible Moms in my world...
    I love you MIL Theresa!