My mom and me certainly needed hope that night in St Michael’s Hospital when we finally were told she has lung disease, brought on by a lifetime of smoking. Hearing that diagnosis Mom promised she’d “give up cigarettes” — something I’ve wanted for years, smokers take note of our pain — and did. Then she was admitted to hospital and I went home and wept.

The next morning, however, feeling truly inspired by the prayers, good wishes and “positive healing energy” so many Facebook friends sent us — and which helped save our souls — I posted on Facebook Mom’s photograph, and the message, ‘This is the woman I need those prayers for. Also, yesterday I spent five hours alone in hospital with only my iPhone and thanked everyone who sent messages. I often feel Facebook debased the word ‘friends’, turned it into a cheap, meaningless, cyber tag. I didn’t feel that yesterday. I even told Mom about all the kind souls praying for her and wishing her well.’

Very soon afterwards Mom developed what I later learned is called “steroid psychosis” and one morning at 6.20am she phoned me and said, “Doctors were coming during the night, with knives to get me” then, in the nearest thing to a primal scream I ever heard, cried out, “Joseph, I want to go home.” Never have I felt such despair. (Irish Independent >)

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