Rod Dreher

Rod Dreher

The faces of my family

mikeruthiehospital.jpgThanks to Andrew Sullivan for making my niece Claire his Face of the Day today, and for linking to all my posts about my sister and her cancer.
I wrote to Andrew from the airport yesterday and told him what was happening to my sister, and what an example she’s been to me, and asked him to forgive me for my hard-heartedness toward him. He responded in kind. We are destined to disagree, but we are not destined to be nasty to each other. I thank him for his generosity of spirit.
I just got off the phone with my mom, who told me that Ruthie had been involved for some time in the planning of her close friend and schoolteacher colleague Abby’s birthday party, which was set for last night. Obviously, cancer intervened, and Ruthie couldn’t go. Last night, a caravan of seven cars pulled into my sister’s driveway, and all the teachers came inside to share some of Abby’s birthday with Ruthie before they went to dinner. A marvelous, marvelous thing.
Above, a photograph of Ruthie and her magnificent husband Mike, taken at the hospital. Aren’t they radiantly beautiful, in their bright sadness? Those are the people so many of you are praying for. Several people at church today in Pennsylvania came up to me to tell me they are praying for the Lemings. Please don’t stop.

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posted February 21, 2010 at 1:48 pm

Your posts of the last week have warmed my heart, and I was touched this morning to see that Andrew Sullivan had made your niece his “Face of the Day.” It’s even more wonderful that you and Andrew have put aside personal animosity. God bless you!

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Amy (Hall) Daigle

posted February 21, 2010 at 2:09 pm

One of our old friends sent me the news and link. Know that you, Ruthie, Mike and the whole family will be in our prayers. Our family will be celebrating mass at St. Louis in NO today and we plan to light a special candle for your family. Ruthie and your family are so fortunate to have each other. Be strong together and if ever you or Ruthie need something I am close enough to help. Just contact me. God bless.

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posted February 21, 2010 at 2:24 pm

These posts are probably the most beautiful and moving things I have ever seen here. Thank you and your sister for sharing yourselves with us.

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posted February 21, 2010 at 2:34 pm

I am not a religious man. And therefore I cannot say with any force of conviction what it would truly mean to “witness for Christ” as a believer. But if what you have done here this past week does not meet that standard, I don’t know what possibly could.
All my love and hope, such as it is, to Ruthie and your family…
– Josh Dailey (GingerMan)

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posted February 21, 2010 at 3:43 pm

Rod, I was so glad to see Andrew’s post of your sister and niece at his site this morning. Just seeing that meant more than the picture by itself, though the picture is very powerful in its own right. But knowing the history between you and Andrew gave the picture an even greater poignancy and power. Just seeing the picture spoke of healing. It’s been amazing to see the impact your sister’s cancer has had on you and how it has softened your heart. Thank you for being so raw and open in all of this, and thank your sister for her beautiful example of grace and faithfulness through very difficult time. My prayers continue to be with you and your sister and her family.

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Caroline W

posted February 21, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Lately I’ve noticed how long is the list of those who need my prayers. When you first posted about Ruthie’s situation, you seemed grasping for a way to respond in faith.
At mass this morning i was thinking about suffering, how to speak to those who long for comfort, and also how to find meaning in Lenten “suffering” or sacrifice. What came to me was that God doesn’t want the suffering per se but rather the strength and wisdom that comes out of it.

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posted February 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm

This reminder was in our church bulletin today:
“In all you do,remember the end of your life, and then you will never sin.” (Sirach 7:36)
Continued prayers for your beloved sister Ruth and all your family.
The Franciscan Friars will start a Novena to Saint Peregrine on March 11th, I’ll send them your sister’s name so she can be included in their Masses and prayers.

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Sidney B.

posted February 21, 2010 at 4:39 pm

My mom was one of those teachers that went last night, and she came home from the get-together and the hit of her night was seeing Mrs. Ruthie. She loves Mrs. Ruthie, as do we all, and we have all been praying nonstop. I have known her since I was 3 and when I found out I couldn’t believe it. I just couldn’t imagine someone so great would be put through this. It was one of those things where you know what you heard but it just feels like a bad dream, and after reading your blogs it truly hit me. I want Bekah and Claire to know I love them and they are my babies, and always will be. And Hannah ever since years ago when you told either my mom or yours that every time you see me I have a smile on my face I try to smile all the time no matter what I’m going through. That really made my life that someone noticed that and I love you Hannah. Your like a big sister to be considering I have practically known you my whole life. I know that had no point to it but I just wanted you to know that. And Mrs. Ruthie has been like a mom to me and a true inspiration. I love y’all and I want y’all to know I am praying for you every second I can.

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posted February 21, 2010 at 5:26 pm

O great St. Peregrine, thou who hast been called “The Mighty,” “The Wonder-Worker”
because of the numerous miracles which thou hast obtained from God
for those who have had recourse to thee, thou who for so many years
didst bear in thine own flesh this cancerous disease that destroys
the very fiber of our being, and who had recourse to the source of all grace
when the power of man could do no more;
thou who wast favored with the vision of Jesus coming down from His Cross
to heal thy affliction, ask of God and Our Lady, the cure of these sick persons
whom we entrust to thee.
(Pause here and silently recall the names of the sick persons for whom you are praying.)
Aided in this way by thy powerful intercession, we shall sing to God,
now and for all eternity, a song of gratitude for His great goodness and mercy. Amen.
O my dearest Mother Mary, Mother of
Sorrows, behold me, thy child, in prayer.
I have come to plead for this special favor
through the intercession of thy faithful servant,
Saint Peregrine. (Mention your request.)
O Sorrowful Mother, I beg thee to present my petition to thy Divine Son.
If thou wilt pray for me, I cannot be refused.
I know, dearest Mother, that thou doth want me to seek
God’s will in all things.
Therefore, with childlike trust I abandon myself to God’s Holy Will
concerning my request. If what I ask for should not be granted,
pray that I may receive that which will be of greater benefit to my soul.
Mother of Sorrows, I love thee!
I put all my confidence in thee, because thy prayers before God are most powerful.
For the greater glory of God and through the intercession of St. Peregrine,
whom thou hast led to Sainthood, hear and grant my prayer. Amen.

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Mark in Houston

posted February 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Please know that my thoughts and prayers are with you and these posts together with your posts about your friend Gerard have been very touching and inspirational.

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Cathy McLaurin

posted February 21, 2010 at 7:03 pm

The joy you see in your sister’s eyes, the peace you feel in her presence is because she has probably lived with the key to life for much longer than many realized.
This cancer could be her vehicle to complete the plan God has for her life.
Our lives are not about careers, financial security, outer beauty, etc. We were created in God’s image and He sent His only son to give us an example so that we might become more Chtist-like. And that’s the key! Once we figure out that our journey here is not about an accumulation of things and pleasure, but about what He would have us do to become more “Christ-like” and to serve Him, then we are fulfilling the plan He has for our lives (Jeremiah 29:11). Ruthie obviously has this wisdom and knowledge. The horrible cancer that has been brought into her life?; because she has a true spirit of God’s love and has lived that life, this horrible cancer will be used to touch thousands of other lives. People will stop and re-think who they are in the larger scheme of things, they will be more careful and loving in the smaller things. God’s plan for His own son was horrific and the cup he has given Ruthie horrific for those close to her. God will use this for His glory and Ruthie is assured a place in His home.
All things are possible with God (Phil 4:19)and should God choose to heal her physical body; what a miracle that would be and again Ruthie would be His vehicle!
In closing, I pray God’s will for Ruthie, comfort and peace for her family and loved ones. “We are not human beings with a spirit, we are spiritual beings temporarily occupying a body of flesh and bones” (author unknown) and in passing through this life on our way to our next, it is our job to love one another, be kind and show great mercy towards each other and to walk humbly with our Lord (Micah 6:8). I think your Ruthie will wear her crown of thorns with grace, dignity and much love.
Unceasing prayer for you and yours as this grief seems to take over your life. God is with you (Isaiah 43) and Isaiah 57.
Blessings to all of you.

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posted February 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

We are praying for you and your family.
It was heartening to see my two favorite bloggers reconciled to one another.

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Your Name

posted February 21, 2010 at 9:57 pm

Rod, between your daily post and my parents we have been keeping up with Ruthie’s progress. You have a true gift with your words. I strive to have the relationship with the good Lord that you do. Please pass on to Ruthie, Mike and their girls that they are in our prayers and that we love them and your family deeply. Your family has always held a special place in my heart. Your parents were so awesome and supportive when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, we hope we can return the favor. We love you and your family. Luke

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posted February 22, 2010 at 8:18 am

I’ve been following your beautifully written postings about your sister with interest and am keeping her and you all in my prayers. As a centrist and a moderate, I tend to see gray areas in many issues of public policy and sometimes vote for one party and sometimes the other. Naturally, I’m drawn to a “you go your way, I’ll go mine” and “let’s agree to disagree” approach rather than a “zero sum” approach. Given that tendency, I found heartening your very courageous outreach to Andrew Sullivan. And Sullivan’s choice of the photo of your sister and her daughter as “Face of the Day” along with a touching caption. Well done on both of your parts, God Bless You All.

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posted February 22, 2010 at 6:44 pm

Thank you for your beautifully written blog. The written word has always been my escape as well, and I have countless writings from when my cousin (who oddly enough lived in Star Hill growing up) was battling leukemia. Unlike you, I kept mine private…and now regret that decision as I see what powerful messages such writing can send.
Ms. Ruthie was my 6th grade teacher and sadly upon graduating high school I lost touch. I had the pleasure of catching up with her last summer at a wedding, and she was just as I remembered: full of joy and optimism.
Like you, I chose to leave the comfort of St. Francisville to pursue a life away. I’m actually in Pennsylvania too (only about an hour from Philadelphia) attending law school. All I can offer to Ms. Ruthie and her family are my thoughts and prayers due to my distance; however, if you need anything, even if it’s just to exchange words with someone from home, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for allowing all of us to gaze into your private thoughts.
God bless.

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posted February 23, 2010 at 1:39 am

Following this news has been tough. Tough, but of great value to this reader.

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Wanda Frye

posted April 6, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I don’t know if you remember me (Kathy and Michelle Frye’s mom). My heart is so saddened to hear about Ruthie! Please tell her I am praying for her and all of you as you go through this difficult time. Ruthie has always been such an angel among her friends, I know I speak for my daughters as well. Love your post.

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