Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle
I was regaining my strength. Matthew was still busy investigating places for potential robberies to fund his drug addictions. One such place was a parish church. He wanted to steal the Oriental carpet under the altar. He continued to have drug and alcohol parties at the apartment, which made me feel sick on many levels. I was getting fed up with everything going on. I deeply yearned for spring and the hope that it could somehow bring to my heart…
The presence of Mother Mary in my life again was a welcome and heartening companionship indeed. I no longer had possession of the rosary but I clung to the memory of holding it that night. Even so, my mind was cluttered with all that went on at the apartment—I was constantly distracted. Fear had me bound tightly in chains. In the deepest recesses of my heart lay the ever-present worry that if I slipped up Matthew would kill my family as he had threatened.
One day when I was sitting near the bay window in the living room, Matthew came rushing in from the kitchen. With a crazed look spread across his face, he ran over to me, shoved a pistol into my hands, and thrust his head onto my lap. He squeezed my hands around the gun and forced my finger into the opening for the trigger.
“Shoot me, Donna! You’re killing me! Just do it—get it over with! Kill me!”
I struggled with all my might to resist him as he pushed my finger toward the trigger.
“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, help me please, Jesus!” I cried. Actually, I felt like I was screaming but the words came out quietly as tears poured down my face. In all my life, I had never experienced such terror. Nor had I ever called out to Jesus as desperately. Death was there, right in my lap, and yet it never entered my mind that if Matthew were dead, if I were forced to kill him, my present troubles would be over. I would be free of him.
But, I couldn’t kill anyone—I wouldn’t.
Jesus did help me. He immediately came to my rescue, answering the frantic desperate prayer I cried out to Him. Matthew suddenly got off my lap and hurled the gun to where it hit the wall and fell to the floor. He screamed some obscenities as he rushed out of the room like a maniac. I remained seated in the chair, paralyzed. I don’t know how long I sat there, scared out of my mind. I was praying, trembling, and crying silently. I knew I had to be very careful of my every move, sound, and even breath so as not to agitate Matthew in any way.
As much as I wanted to run like mad out of there, I knew that fleeing then was not an option. He would overtake me in no time. Matthew had expressed something he had never said to me before: I was “killing” him. I couldn’t possibly guess what he meant by that or what was going on inside of him. I thought he might have realized that I did not want to be with him.
Matthew came back to the room, picked up the gun, and stuck it in his pocket. Even though his behavior had been traumatic for me, I knew I had to act as if I cared about Matthew so that I could regain his trust and eventually plan my escape. It would have been very easy for me to give in to fear and give up on hope, but I had to hope that one day I would get out of there safely and that my family would remain safe too.
Dear Lord Jesus, You are the Lord of all. I know that You hear my prayer—even when everything seems utterly hopeless and impossible. Please help me in my time of need. Jesus, I trust in YOU!
Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle is a Catholic wife, mother and grandmother. Passionate about sharing the Faith, she has served as a catechist for thirty years, is a retreat leader, a pilgrimage leader, and an award-winning and best-selling author of more than thirty books. She’s an award-winning journalist, international speaker, and the EWTN Host and creator of three EWTN television series. Donna-Marie knew St. Teresa of Calcutta for a decade, received a special blessing on her writing from St. John Paul II, has participated at a Vatican Congress. She has appeared on Fox News, Zenit News, Vatican Insider, and Rome Reports, Vatican Radio. She is a frequent guest on EWTN's Bookmark, Women of Grace, and Sunday Night Prime, as well as on national radio and television. Her memoir is entitled The Kiss of Jesus. Learn more at her websites: www.donnacooperoboyle.com and www.feedingyourfamilyssoul.com