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I will be forever thankful for Brian Doyle’s writing. Although I identify as a non-practicing Catholic, I, too, know the Mother and yet I, too, know nothing of Whom I speak. And I, too, know that I am one of the billions of the clan of the consoled.
Twenty-two years ago I had an experience similar to the one Brian Doyle describes in his essay “Let It Go” [Dog-Eared Page, January 2019]. I was a single mother working ten-hour days who had just given birth to a son. The baby was not sleeping well, and I was “at the very end of my rope,” as Doyle describes.
I was trying to rest one day when I heard a voice say, “Helen, this is Mary.” At first I was startled. But the voice continued to talk to me in soothing words, the gist of which was that everything was going to be all right.
I am not Catholic or even religious. And I have not told many people of my experience for fear of being judged. But it did happen. I wish Doyle were alive so I could talk to him.