He stores up riches who reveres his mother. Sirach 3:4
On April 28, 1944, sometime after lunch, a woman gave birth in the back bedroom of her small-town home to her second child, a little boy.
Both mother and child almost died in the process. She was assisted by her mother-in-law, Lillian Mills Knott, who lived conveniently across the road.
With mother and son in a life and death situation, that country midwife mother-in-law was prompted to grab a cup of water and pour it over the head of that new baby and say these words, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
After the country doctor finally arrived from Brandenburg, Ky., in his Model T Ford and administered a new medical miracle called “glucose,” that mother recovered and her baby boy began to nurse. Several days later, that mother’s sister took that baby boy to St.
Theresa Church in Rhodelia, Ky., to have the priest “supply the ceremonies” and enter his name into the church record book — James Ronald Knott.
Every year I reflect on what I think about marking another milestone in the aging process, but not this year. This year I want to reflect on the bond I have with my mother who left this world thirty-nine years ago next month after a three year struggle with breast cancer.
I loved her — we all loved her — very much. However, the fact that we both almost died and yet survived together many years ago, I like to think, gave us some kind of special bond.
My first memory was when I was, maybe four, being rocked to sleep in an old rocking chair by my mother one spring afternoon. I can even remember those old fashioned sheer curtains blowing in the breeze of the open window in front of us.
I still remember feeling so special, so loved, so filled with peace at that moment, nestled in my mother’s arms.
I have four sisters and two brothers and all of us have our favorite stories, but there is one thing we all agree on and that is the fact that she was selfless.
There was never any doubt that love flowed in both directions. I don’t think any of us had to carry any regrets after she was gone, except maybe that we didn’t have more time to spoil her in her old age.
My last memories of her were the day I anointed her in the living room of our house before taking her to the hospital where she died peacefully, without any pain or need for mind-numbing drugs, and removing the oxygen mask so we could admire her face after she drew her last breath.
British playwright, W. Somerset Maugham, noted that “Few misfortunes can befall a boy which bring worse consequence than to have a really affectionate mother.” I could not disagree more.
Thanks, mom, for a seventy-second birthday!
Fr. J. Ronald Knott
To read more from Father Knott, visit his blog: FatherKnott.com.