It is difficult to understand the present or predict the future unless you know a little of the history behind the chain of events. It would be like watching the last five minutes of a movie and then trying to explain the plot! It just doesn’t work. Therefore, if one wants to understand the new Millennium, one must first look at the old one. And if one wants to understand The Mad Stitcher one must first get a peak at what transpired before. For each link in this chain has been either weakened or strengthened by the events that forged it.
At times The Mad Stitcher feels that she has made little contribution to the overall scheme of things. When she was practicing her nursing, she made a valuable contribution to her job, but nothing that someone else couldn’t do. In her opinion she simply did her job. It didn’t matter that she spent that extra minute comforting that frightened child or that she spent her lunchtime with the elderly gentleman who had just lost his wife in surgery. It didn’t matter that she took that extra shift of call because a co-worker needed time off to go to a wedding, or a funeral, or a meeting, or any of the other reasons she witnessed during the thirty years she worked in the Operating/Post Anesthesia Recovery Rooms. It didn’t matter that she had won several Symbol of Excellence awards for her dedicated service. Or that she was always the first to volunteer to work in her community.
When choosing a career, the Mad Stitcher felt she had had to compromise. She had dreamed of becoming a surgeon. But in those days, the early sixties, it wasn’t easy for a woman to get into medical school and it was very expensive. She didn’t think she would qualify for an academic scholarship and she knew her parents couldn’t afford it. So, instead, she compromised. She became a nurse.
When she was younger she had wanted to get away from the small town she called home. She wanted to travel and see more of the world and she felt that her family was holding her back. Again she compromised. She began to resent it. And even now she wonders if that contributed to her decision to marry so young.
The marriage was a mistake from the beginning, but MS had been raised in the belief that marriage was a lifetime commitment. So she stuck it out for five years-five very long years of hell. She worked two jobs to support herself and her baby while her husband did nothing but complain and sit on his…well, you get the idea. It wasn’t until she began to fear for her son that she made the decision to leave.
The Mad Stitcher had been a single parent for most of her son’s childhood. She was Mother, Father, Teacher, Confidant, and everything else her son needed her to be. She wore so many different hats that at times she forgot to be herself. She tried to give him everything he needed and at least a portion of what he wanted. Maybe she loved him too much. She tried to compensate for the absence of a father and tried not to negatively influence her son’s opinions of his father. Maybe she overcompensated.
During these difficult years, the Mad Stitcher had to rely upon her parents more than she would have liked. She never asked for any monetary or financial help, but when she decided to go back to school for her BS degree, she depended on her parents to help with childcare. She knew in the long run she would be better able to provide for her son’s needs but it meant a great deal of sacrifice from everyone. But at her graduation, there was no one present more proud than her son.
As the years went by there were financial difficulties. There were legal difficulties. There were professional problems. There were personal losses. The most devastating was the sudden and totally unexpected death of her wonderful father-followed only months later by the death of her closest friend.
At one of the very lowest points of her life, MS began to wonder just how much more she was expected to bear. She had tolerated so much in her life and didn’t know if she could take any more. She knelt to pray and turned her problems over to the Lord. She left them in his hands and went to work. She knew that He would take care of her. She just didn’t know how. Then one day she met the most remarkable man in the world. She knew immediately that he was the answer to that prayer. He was kind and interesting and loyal. He loved children and was very attentive. Their love was almost instantaneous. MS couldn’t believe it. She wasn’t looking for a man-any man-not as a companion, and especially not as a husband! But here he was and she knew it was meant to be. God certainly does work in mysterious ways!
She was a good wife and mother and tried to make life as comfortable and happy as was possible. She continued to work and enjoy her new contentment. And she thanked God everyday for answering her prayer in such a unique and wonderful way.
Her life became more secure and stable. She had never felt so safe. For the first time, she felt she could begin to repay the people who had been giving her so much through the years. She was able to spend more time with her Mom and help her get back to enjoying life. She spent more time volunteering in her church. And she and her darling husband began to travel and see more of the world.
Her regrets of her past began to fade and the Mad Stitcher realized that the present was all that mattered. She couldn’t change what was but she could make what is the best that it can be.Life never stays the same. It will lift you up to the mountaintops and then drop you into a valley of despair within a heartbeat. The “ups” and “downs” and “curves” are what make it interesting. Of course, there are times when we wish there were more “ups” and fewer “downs” but we can’t have everything! The Mad Stitcher always tried to accept Life’s little surprises with calm and grace-but seldom succeeded. She did, however, learn the hard way to laugh to keep from crying!
by: Kathy Geddes Bonham
Once in a while I have stopped to reflect
On the various things I have been.
And I always believe that if I should blink
The future may never be seen.
I have been first a Daughter and then been a Mom
A Sister, a Lover, and Friend.
A Student, a Teacher, a Stitcher, and Writer
Oh! It’s too much to comprehend.
I have cuddled my child in the dark of the night
When monsters and gremlins abound.
I have kissed bloody elbows to make them feel better
And many lost items I’ve found.
I have cared for the sick and the injured and weak
And comforted those who were lost.
I have driven myself to the point of collapse
And seldom thought of the cost.
I have crossed picket lines when others refused
An attempt to eliminate strife.
I have been a promoter for goodness and love
And a fighter for justice in life.
I have set out to save the world from itself
Though hopeless and bleak from the start.
And dreamed of a better tomorrow for all
One Future, One Nation, One Heart.
Only Fate can decide if I’ve failed or succeeded
If my efforts were justly expressed.
I can only proclaim that whatever may come
I have always given my Best.
Let me always be grateful for all that I have
And feel Blessed in all that I do.
May I always remember that Life is a gift
And treasure it always as new.