October 20, 2017
MY MOTHER, Katharine Ann Curtin Quinn, who was born on August 8, 1930, died yesterday at 2:50 p.m. at Paoli Hospital in Paoli, Pennsylvania. She is survived by her loving husband of 64 years, William Paul; seven children, thirteen grandchildren, two sisters and two brothers. She died of heart failure after two weeks in the hospital, during which time her children, grandchildren and husband, who is 91, spent much time with her. We took turns staying by her bedside each night.
There is much to say about my beautiful mother, who was one of the first female computer programmers, a woman who left career early on to devote herself to family, but my heart is too filled with sadness, gratitude for my mother’s existence and prayers for her to elaborate now.
I would just like to say that if God had given women the capacity to be good mothers and the capacity to be achievers in the world equal on the whole to that of men, it would have been patently unfair to men. No one is more powerful than a mother. I could not possibly believe anything else, given the pervasive influence of my own mother during my childhood. No one is more powerful than a mother because of the simple fact that the human soul is immortal while things of this world — works of art, scientific advances, buildings and politics — are not lasting, and no one more intimately influences the soul’s development than a mother.
My mother left each one of us with words of tender affection during her last weeks when she was often calm, lucid, and accepting of death despite the pain (from four broken ribs and a broken pelvis) and difficulty breathing that were so upsetting to all of us. The love of a good parent is a reflection of the love of God. There is enough for everyone. There is no such thing as too many children. The heart expands to include each one as if it were the only one.
Please pray for the eternal repose of my dear mother’s soul.
Just before my mother went into the hospital, on her last two nights at home, I helped both of my parents to bed and stayed with them through the night. She had an undiagnosed broken pelvis. After I tucked in their blanket, she said to me, “You shouldn’t have to put your parents to bed.”
But we do. We have to put them to bed, as they once did us.
“May the angels lead thee into Paradise; may the martyrs receive thee at thy coming, and bring thee into the holy city, Jerusalem. May the choir of angels receive thee, and with Lazarus, who once was poor, mayest thou have eternal rest.”