Tag Archives: cancer

One Day At A Time…

being-strong

Faith is taking the first step when you don’t see the whole staircase.  -Martin Luther King, Jr

This is a story about faith. It is a story about hope. And more than anything, it is a story about love; the deeply profound love of a mother for her child. Beverley Jean Blanc was born in Lousiville, Kentucky in 1971 and moved to Moline, IL as a young child. She lived the typical life of most kids, going to school and working as a teenager at the local Hy-Vee grocery store. After high school graduation, she had an exciting opportunity to travel to Europe to perform with her choir. Life was good for the young girl. Beverley attended Blackhawk College in Moline for two years when she married Adam. After the wedding, the newlyweds moved to Macomb, IL when he became a student at Western Illinois University.

During this time, she worked two jobs while he went to school. Upon learning that she was pregnant, what should have been a cause to rejoice, was met with the news that he wanted to leave her. They agreed to counseling in hopes of saving their marriage. And things did seem to look up. Bev continued working and taking care of the new life growing inside her. At twelve weeks, during a routine prenatal visit, she was told that her baby had stopped developing at around seven or eight weeks.  The child had died. Completely devasted with this news, Bev and her husband moved back to Moline where Adam had secured a job with the Rock Island, IL Police Department. Soon after his return from the Police Academy, Bev suffered a second miscarriage. Her third pregnancy would prove the charm, however, and, while frightened at the very real prospect of losing another child, she was also extremely happy that this pregnancy seemed to be a healthy one. After all, Bev deserved some happiness. Her euphoria was short-lived, though, when one morning, Adam simply announced that he didn’t love her anymore. Bev was five months pregnant.She found herself back at her parents’ house, regrouping. But not for long. Adam got the shock of his life, I’m sure, when Bev returned to their home, woke him out of a peaceful slumber and said, “You’re leaving me and your unborn child. Get your shit and get out.” Beverley Jean Blanc was a new person from that day forward.

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A Parting Glass To Mom And Dad

CELTIC TRINITY KNOT

With St. Patrick’s Day upon us, my thoughts naturally turn to my favorite South Side Irishmen. While the day, and in this case, the weekend, is filled with the usual nod to our Irish ancestry, celebrating with parades, rebel songs, beer and plenty of corned beef, a part of me always feels a bit wistful, as memories turn to my parents, no longer here to join in the festivities.  And so, to them I raise a parting glass in salute.

My dad, John Casey Toner, better known as Jack to his friends, died a couple of months shy of my twenty-fifth birthday.  Though I was married with a toddler, I was still a daddy’s girl.  It wasn’t really fair, I know.  My sister is eight years older than me and had been surrounded by boys until my arrival.  In fact, one of her favorite memories was when she and my brothers were sent off to stay with my cousins as they eagerly awaited the newest arrival in the family (me, coming in at number six).  She asked my dad to please let her be the first to know if she had a new sister (for which she had been fervently praying) or another brother (to which she’d resigned herself).  Upon my entrance into the world, my dad telephoned with the news.  When my aunt excitedly answered the phone and asked the obvious question, he told her that he needed to speak with Mary Beth first.  That was the kind of man he was.  The simple, innocent promise made to an eight year old girl took precedence over all else.  When you’re the baby girl in a family, it’s hard not to be spoiled.  So, while my sister was relegated to  the role of second mother to us all, including yet another little brother bringing up the rear, I happily assumed the role of the baby girl.

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