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14 May


Lately, I have been questioning myself every day during this terrible pandemic above many other things. And I would guess many of us are doing the same thinking during this time of quarantine. One of my strangest experiences of faith is quite different than most, which is feeling protected and safe during this quarantine. That I believe this must be coming from something else that is bigger than me because I am not experiencing the same kind of fear as most others around me. But I am very much concerned and full of empathy for all of us. And here is the reason why:


Most all my life, I have been an overprotective mother that some might even say was to a fault. But I learned about overprotecting from my mother who raised 17 healthy children without any crisis while she lived. That I steadily researched the odds that were against her of seeing all 17 of her children from 16 to 40+ years old safe and healthy until she left this world. So, I guess you can say I had seen the rewards of putting a stay-at-home/shelter in place for those sick in my family.


Earlier in my first marriage, my family did not have health care coverage because my husband’s company did not offer it. But through his hard work, and our priorities, we were able to afford some of the best doctors and pediatricians that looked over all of us. But alongside this, there was much more health protection and early quarantining that took place that I have learned from my mother. I easily followed and practiced stay-at-home orders early on in my own family for over 40 years. That looked something like this:


Anytime my child was sick with a fever and virus, I never left their side until the fever broke. They did not return to school to protect them and the other classmates from catching it. They were not allowed to have playmates over the house until the fever was completely gone for 3 days. How did I know this besides what my mother taught me?  When I was a child, I would recall how my mother would be close by but distanced me from my other siblings during my viruses and fevers. She practiced this strict quarantine with all us 17 children! I clearly remember when each of my siblings was separated, quarantined, in a room alone, or sleeping on the sofa. Even when any of us had a bad cough and cold, we stayed home from school.  And again we were away from classmates and our siblings not to spread the cough and cold, while we recovered with soup, juice, tea, and toast. Once again, we were quarantined.


I always tried to follow my mother’s footsteps because in later years I saw the positive results that had followed our family. That, when my 15-year-old daughter was sick with Mononucleosis. Besides me looking after her and reporting daily to her doctor, she was put on antibiotics and the doctor told her to stay in bed for 4 to 6 weeks. I took a leave of absence from work, not to leave her alone. Thank God I had a remarkable and understanding boss and doctor that she recovered her health.


I remained comfortable under my skin owning the unpleasant reputation of being overprotective that followed me.  That grew even more 24 years later when I had another child. I was often reminded by others that I was too soft, meek, and sensitive to the everyday natural illnesses of life that all children do go through. And of the everyday crises that we all go through…that is the fact of life, I’ve learned a long time ago.


But how does all this relate to the health pandemic and quarantine of today? And with what reasoning measures add up to why I’m not as fearful? You might think by my past experiences and reputation of overprotecting others that I would likely become more obnoxious during this pandemic! But the truth is I’m not. I do not know what is keeping me feeling safe and protected when sadly I hear so many others are in fear. I only wish I had the right answer to help comfort others, especially to those who had lost a loved one. Sadly, there are no words that anyone can answer.


For me, perhaps, it is my mothers’ whispers all around that remind me. “That it is an inside job for all of us to nurture those under our roof!”


That I choose to believe our first quarantines might be showing hope where we have prevailed. But not the last place we need to put them into practice.



About the Author

Written by Catherine Nagle

Catherine grew up in Philadelphia with 16 brothers and sisters, reared by loving, old-school Italian parents. Catherine's artist father's works graced churches and public buildings; her mother was a full-time homemaker. A professional hairdresser, Catherine worked in various salons while studying the Bible and pursuing spiritual growth through courses, seminars, lectures, works of Marianne Williamson, and conferences, including the National Theology of the Body Congress. She is also an Ambassador of the Society of Emotional Intelligence. The mother of two children and now a grandmother, Catherine lives in Pennsylvania with her husband. She is the Author of Imprinted Wisdom, Absence and Presence, Amelia, and a contributor to Anne Born’s These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project Anthology.

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