One of the greatest satisfactions of motherhood is providing love and care to children. Whether it is working a full-time job or being a stay at home mom to provide that care, mothers do what is necessary to meet the needs of their children.
For Bertha Parnell, a mother of five, working for nearly 40 years at Marlboro Academy has been her means of provision for her family. “Mothers love their children, no matter how old they get”, said Bertha. “And when they are sick, we just want to wrap our arms around them and make it all better,” she continued. When her youngest child, Michael, who is 46, began to experience health issues, she knew her motherly love, along with her faith, would be put to the test.
Always an active person, Michael had worked at Winn Dixie and Carl’s Food Center for nearly 20 years as an assistant meat manager when just over two years ago, Michael’s health began to decline. Developing hip and back problems eventually led to hip surgery. Following his surgery, Michael developed Paget’s Disease, a chronic bone disorder that interferes with the process of new bone tissue gradually replacing old bone tissue, confining him to a wheelchair.
It soon became evident that home repairs were needed to accommodate Michael’s situation. Upon realizing the extent of Michael’s illness, Bertha’s daughter expressed her concern about the need for a walk-in shower. Bertha knew her daughter was right–a walk-in shower would not only provide peace of mind, but also give Michael his independence. However, the only issue that stood in the way of this family’s necessity was the lack of funding for the project.
Coincidentally, MEC’s Annual Meeting was right around the corner. Like all members, Bertha’s hope was to win a grand prize, but not for her own gain, because she knew the grand prize had an alternate cash option. Grasping her ticket in her hand, Bertha spoke a mother’s prayer of selflessness, in hopes of winning the cash to benefit her son. To Bertha’s dismay, her ticket was not the winning ticket. As she exited the meeting, Bertha whispered a prayer, “Okay Lord, it wasn’t meant for me, but I know You make no mistakes.” An MEC trustee noticed the heavy expression on her face and asked what was wrong. She explained her disappointment and concern for still not being able to provide for her son. The trustee was compelled by her situation and encouraged her to be patient in hopes that he could find a solution to her problem.
Not long after, that same trustee paid Bertha and unexpected visit, where he presented her with a check from MEC and MEC Trust in the amount that was needed to renovate the shower to assist Michael. “I thought I was going to faint,” Bertha exclaimed as her heart was filled with joy thinking about what this meant for her son. She thanked God for putting MEC in her path and for using them to meet her need at just the right time.
Often, providing care for her son has taken a toll on Bertha, but she has been able to find relief with MEC’s help. Since the renovations, Bertha has continued to praise God for the impact the new shower had for her, but most of all for Michael.