Posted by Ronan Scully in Features.

I recently attended my mother-in-law’s funeral. I witnessed my wife’s great loss but also the great love she had for her beautiful mother. Kay wasn’t just my wife’s mother; she was her best friend.

It made me realise the love I have for my own mother and the love my mother has for me. Mothers hold a sacred place in all our hearts; they are our real heroes. They silently give and encourage, enabling others to grow and blossom.

An Ethiopian mother’s love

I witnessed real motherly love in Ethiopia recently, which demonstrated why a mother’s love is a true blessing.

Yeabsira had been battling for her life at an emergency nutrition camp in drought-affected Ethiopia operated by Irish missionaries. I was so grateful for the staff of her camp that made this programme possible. She would not have had a chance otherwise. As I sat by her mother, Etsub, my only thought was to comfort her and her daughter as she told me of their hardship and suffering due to the drought in that part of Ethiopia.

The small puppet I played with put a faint smile on Yeabsira’s sunken face. Like far too many families in Yeabsira’s village, her family lost much of their herd when the rains failed for two years. It meant the animals produced a fraction of the milk they once supplied.

“We were doing everything we could to support our family.” Etsub explained. “We were just scraping by when Yeabsira got sick,”

Malnutrition weakened the little girl and a cold escalated to pneumonia. Yeabsira became a shadow of her former self, dropping to 12 pounds, about half of her ideal healthy weight. Etsub faithfully fought for her daughter’s life feeding her fortified milk and porride day and night. She was constantly by her side, staying with her and sleeping on a small gurney in the camp.

Etsub already knew the pain of losing a daughter; Yeabsira’s three-year old sister died from hunger. Her sorrow washed over me, as I saw her lips quiver and tears stream down her cheeks. She wept silently, not wanting to upset Yeabsira. “I will not lose her,” she said fiercely.

I told Etsub the camps health workers brought me to see Yeabsira’s progress. In just a few short days, she gained more than two pounds and was on the road to recovery. “I’ve no words to describe how grateful I am to the Irish missionaries in the emergency camp,” she said, pressing her hand to her heart.

Thought for the week

As your thought for the week, make your mother and the mother of your children feel like the most special woman in the world by showing your care, love and affection. Most of all, let your mother know how much you love her, for life is short and time is running out.