Into My Arms

When my son, Michael, was born, I was four hundred miles away in the south of England. Four days later I drove those miles and arrived at the hospital for visiting time in the evening. When I entered the room, Margaret got out of bed and greeted me and told me to sit down on the chair in the corner. Then she went to the cot and lifted the tiny baby into her arms. She brought him over to where I was sitting and gently placed him in my arms. It felt like his second birth. Now he was born for me.


It is ten years this year since Margaret died. For the first seven years of his life Michael had just his mum by his side, until I found my way into the freedom to join them. Now in these past years, Michael has just his old dad by his side. He lost his mum too soon.


But life goes on and Michael now has his own wife and children around him, and I have the riches of grandchildren. These two young boys have brought a new reality into my life. A life that at one point seemed to be fading away suddenly comes to life again, as grandchildren make their presence felt.


For some reason these memories stir in me today as I listen to Pope Francis recall his recent visit to Malta. He speaks about how the drama of a shipwreck, endured by Saint Paul, was followed by the welcome that the survivors received from the people of this strange island. ‘They received us with unusual kindness,’ it is recorded.


The good news of human kindness and welcome stands in stark contrast to the cruelty and barbarism being unleashed in Ukraine at this time. But the goodness and kindness of people all around is being stimulated as they give succour and safety to people suddenly displaced by war.


Margaret and I spent a happy holiday on the island of Malta in September 2011, exactly a year before Margaret died. Looking back now the memory of it provides a joyful ending to our life together in this world. I sat on the rocks in Comino and watched as Margaret swam in the clear waters of the Blue Lagoon.


Love is the gift that keeps on giving, and though Margaret has died, the gift she placed into my arms that night in the hospital here in Stirling, is still alive and fresh and still bringing joy to my heart.


Brian Fahy

6 April 2022


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