Through every trial and triumph in her life, Linda Morris says her mother, Shirley Feeney, poured out pure, unconditional love to her. Which is why she yearned to do the same for her in her dying, and why it grieved her so deeply to see her mom suffering so unnecessarily from the effects of ovarian cancer. “It was a living hell to see her suffer, not from the cancer but because no one could properly manage her symptoms,” Morris says. “I wanted to give back to this beautiful woman who had cared for others her whole life, and I couldn’t.”"Suffering unleashes love." Shirley suffered greatly through her dying process, something that was beyond heart-wrenching for her family to experience. Though I didn't include it in the article, her daughter Linda told me that she's not someone who cries easily, but as her mother was going through this, she would spend her nights weeping non-stop; the pain of not being able to relieve her mother's suffering was simply unbearable. Linda Morris and her mother, Shirley Feeney. Copyright 2019 Roxane Salonen. All rights reserved.[/caption] Instead of curling up in a corner, however, Linda was able to take her grief and bring something meaningful to it. Suffering had unleashed a hurricane-sized swirl of love, which will now translate into the compassionate response toward many others in a similar situation, so that they won't have to endure what Shirley did. "Suffering unleashes love." St. John Paul II was right. We don't need to ask for suffering; suffering will come to us. It's part of the human condition. It's part of free will, which God had to allow his children in order for love to be true and free. It's the sharp side of the two-edged sword -- we will not escape this life without suffering. That's why Jesus died on the cross; to show us that and show us how. And then he was resurrected, to exemplify to us that suffering -- evil, hardship, destruction, death -- would not be the end. Shirley Feeney, left, and family, including her first great-grandchild, Michael Morris (bib), along with daughter Linda, her husband, Jon, and Shirley's husband, Charles, right. Copyright 2019 Roxane Salonen. All rights reserved.[/caption] The hospice house project, which Linda considers "Shirley's Project," is the resurrection following a period of intense suffering. I'm sure the family still would wish that their dear mother, wife and grandmother would have been spared. But there's no going back now. Only forward in love. Q4U: When has suffering unleashed love in your life, or the life of a loved one?
Copyright 2019 Roxane Salonen
About the Author
Roxane B. Salonen, a wife and mother of five from Fargo, N.D., is an award-winning children’s author and freelance writer who also enjoys Catholic radio hosting and speaking. Roxane co-authored former Planned Parenthood manager Ramona Trevino’s memoir, Redeemed by Grace. Her work is featured on "Peace Garden Passage" at her website, roxanesalonen.com