My guest today is author Kathleen Pooler who wrote a fascinating memoir on healing from emotional abuse from two abusive marriages.
As a” cradle Catholic”, I was born into and brought up with all the traditions and ceremonies of the Roman Catholic faith. I have, by conscious choice and deepening desire, remained true to these beliefs and teachings, except for a period in my twenties when I questioned and even rejected them.
As is often the case, my faith did not deepen until I had to face several life-altering as well as life-threatening events. It was then that my religion became my faith and my spirituality, the source of comfort and meaning in my life.
Therein lies my story.
My great-grandma Rose planted the seeds of faith in me. Widowed at the age of thirty-three with seven children to support, she lived in poverty. Somehow, she made do with her strong belief that God would provide. She was always praying and asking me, “Katarina (my name in Italian) you wanna’ be a nun or you wanna’ get-a married.” It made me nervous as I figured she had some pull but my mom reassured me that if God wanted me to be a nun, I would feel the call. I was relieved to I know I could serve God in other ways.
But as I faced my own challenges and heartaches. She is still with me when I say my daily prayers.
given to me and nurtured in my childhood by Grandma Rose.
I felt called by God to go into nursing when I was thirteen years old. I was sitting in my eighth grade classroom study hall, reading a book, My heart started pounding, and I had a feeling of excitement as I read about Anne Snow riding on horseback in the hills of Virginia to care for poor families as a Community Health Nurse. From that moment, I knew what I wanted to do. Of course,
My faith in God has guided me throughout my entire career as a nurse and nurse practitioner. Every morning on my way to work, I prayed that I would remain open to being God’s servant in caring for the ill or in carrying out whatever role I happened to be in at the time- clinician, educator, administrator. I often prayed with or over patients with their permission. I said many silent prayers for those who were not comfortable. I also prayed for the strength to deal with whatever I had to face- a dying patient, a difficult family/coworker/physician, a grieving family.
On December 19, 1996, worsening shortness of breath and a dry cough had precipitated an early morning trip to the emergency room. As I was pacing near my stretcher waiting for the results of a CT scan of my chest, realizing something serious was happening, I cried out in desperation, “Dear God, please give me the strength to do whatever it is I need to do for this is the battle of my life and for my life”. A peace beyond understanding flowed over me and stayed with me throughout my eventual diagnosis of Stage 4 Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and my two-year treatment course which included chemotherapy, radiation and a peripheral stem cell transplant. I allowed myself to be open to accepting help from others-meals, gifts, prayers. God had answered my plea to “do whatever I need to do” to fight the battle.
believe He sent me many angels in the form of family, friends and caregivers on my healing journey.
Simultaneous to the cancer journey was my young adult son’s spiral downward into alcoholism. The cancer was easier to deal with than watching my son’s descent. At least I had options for treatment for the cancer and felt some sense of control. I had no control over my son’s choices and behavior. So I prayed and learned to lean on God. I learned to hand my son over to God and to let go of my need to control.
Grandma Rose echoed in my ear, “God will provide” and He did.
Having walked through these challenges has deepened my faith. Having been through a life- threatening illness and the terrors of loving and letting go of an alcoholic son has forced me toBut now that I am on the other side of these challenges, I see God every day in the people I love, nature, all the little things in life that matter. All my challenges have given me the gift of perspective about what really counts in life.
“Be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10.
God wasn’t lounging by a bubbling brook. He was right by side on the battlefield.
ABOUT AUTHOR Kathleen PoolerKathleen Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28, 2014 and work-in-progress sequel, The Edge of Hope (working title) are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
She lives with her husband Wayne in eastern New York.
Kathleen blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com
LinkedIn: Kathleen Pooler: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kathleen-pooler/16/a95/20a
Google+:Kathleen Pooler: https://plus.google.com/109860737182349547026/posts
Kathy Pooler : https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.pooler
Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey: https://www.facebook.com/memoirwritersjourney
One of Kathleen Pooler’s stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the “My Gutsy Story Anthology” by Sonia Marsh, September, 2013.