Finding Love through Loving Mercy

(The following story by Marian Helper Patti Delsoldato first appeared in the Marians' Friends of Mercy newsletter in December.)

by Patti Delsoldato

This is a tribute to my father, Patsy Gangemi. He died on Saturday, Aug. 4, 2007.

We had a real "ride" together. As a child, Dad told me I wasn't good enough, didn't try hard enough. I could never please him. As I grew up, we had a strained relationship, and it got worse when I became an adult.

I remember once I bought him his favorite chocolate cherries. He threw them in the garbage, right in front of me. Another time, I bought him a shirt, and he did the same thing. I tried to get him to love me, but it was useless. My father was tough-skinned, and for some reason, he didn't show his love for me.

But about a year ago, things began to change. It happened after he became seriously ill. I went over to the house and visited him and my mom faithfully. At first, Dad hardly said a word, but then, as his condition worsened, he softened. For example, he let me take him to the doctor's office. I was so happy he allowed me to do that for him.

Early this year, his failing kidneys landed him in the hospital, and his memory started to go. Eventually, though, he recovered enough to come home.

This time during my visits, he started talking to me like a caring father! As the months went on, I continued to visit him and my mom. We would laugh, share stories, and tell jokes - just the three of us. It started to feel like a "normal" father-daughter relationship. When I would get up to leave after visiting, Dad would allow me to kiss him good-bye. He also enjoyed it when I hugged him and told him, "I love you."

Over the years, I have often called the Marians' Divine Mercy Intercessory PrayerLine on Eden Hill to present my petitions to God. One of them was for an improvement in my relationship with my dad. I felt joy when my prayers were answered.

Dad suffered a great deal in his last months, going through dialysis and dealing with soreness and weakness. But I've taken the few short months I had with my father and put them deep in my heart, to remember how much he allowed me to show him the love I had for him all my life.

I gave that love freely. It was a love I held on to for so many years, just for those precious days together when he accepted it as strongly as I could give it. Those days mean everything to me.

God in His mercy enabled us to make amends, forgave him, and mended my broken heart by allowing me to show him how much I loved him all those years. Please keep my dad in your prayers, all my Friends of Mercy. I hold Divine Mercy close to my heart, for it has given me strength to get through life's tough and stressful times.

Patti Delsoldato lives in West Harrison, N.Y.

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