Thursday, 15 April 2010 13:30
By Christopher M. Riggs
Maryanne Goddard is waiting for a door to open.
She’s waiting because doors have been closing on her for many years. One involved her health. She has been fighting cancer since 2002 and on Good Friday surgeons removed a tumor from her brain. She said they think they got all of it.
Another closed door related to her husband losing his job in November of 2008. He found another job in about a month – at a lesser salary.
The third door was finding out their home was being foreclosed upon.
And the most recent door to slam involved the death of her husband on March 20.
“I watched my mom and my two sisters battle cancer,” she said in a telephone interview less than a week after her brain surgery. “I got a lot of strength from watching my mom. She was a very faith-filled woman too. I always figured, you know, if she could go through this, so could I.
I’ve never blamed God or asked why me, she said.
“I just always knew that if I wanted to be a part of the Resurrection, I would have to have some kind of suffering in my life – some kind of cross that I would have to bear,” she said, adding that she was inspired by how her mother lived through similar situations.
“She lost her husband due to a massive heart attack before cancer took her. I told my (seven) children that I’m living my mother’s life – which is a good thing, because I’m only 49. She lived until she was 66.”
Maryanne said she initially considered it a blessing when her husband lost his job because he left the stress of the job behind, too.
“Neither one of us knew how sick he really was at that point,” she said. “The diabetes hadn’t raised its head to the fullest extent that it did in those last few months. With six kids to feed and still in school, I could see the stress coming back on him.”
She said the family had to place more and more trust in God, something she said was difficult because of the questions it raised.
“Where are you going? Where are you leading us?,” she asks God.
Maryanne hasn’t heard the answers. “I’m not sure where we’re going. I know this house isn’t going to be ours. I don’t know where he wants us. That door hasn’t been opened yet.”
The unknown has made her relationship with God stronger, she said.
“I have to rely on him now with my husband gone – not having that male figure to lean on. I feel my faith is being tested to a certain extent, but at the same time, I know in the last three years what he’s done for us – especially this last year with the finances. We haven’t starved, my kids still have clothes on their backs. Things always seem to be provided for us one way or another. Something always comes up.”
God is giving them what they need, she said, not necessarily what they want. Recalling Matthew 6:26, about how God takes care of the “birds of the air,” she said, “I can see that being fulfilled in my life with what we’re going through.”
Not knowing what tomorrow is going to bring is difficult, she said. “But I know in the end – I don’t know how long it will be – a door will open.”
Father Michael Peltzer, pastor of St. Joan of Arc Parish, said the Goddards have been members of the parish for about five years.
“They are a wonderful, prayerful and hardworking family who endeared themselves to the St. Joan of Arc Parish Community in many ways,” he said. “Not long before Roger died, I was invited to their home for a wonderful birthday celebration honoring two of their children and we had a great and marvelous time. This family knew how to do things and celebrate occasions together.”
Father Peltzer added that he knew Roger’s and Maryanne’s families before they were married. “Maryanne comes from a large religious family herself, with priests and religious among her relatives. Since I knew them from my early days as a priest, I was delighted when they and their children joined our parish family.”
He added that he is warmed by the support the community is giving the family.
“St. Joan of Arc is a unique parish community with three beautiful churches serving the parish. Parishioners from Harper, Anthony, Argonia, Attica, Bluff City, and Danville really have a way of forming a “family” atmosphere where they care about one another. And we have had help from many of our friends from other faith traditions here in the community!”
“May God bless the Goddard family!” Fr. Peltzer said.
Pancake and sausage feed to help family
A pancake and sausage feed will be held from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 17, in the Clonmel Community Hall at K-42 and 71st St. S. A bake sale, a raffle, and a silent auction will also be held to assist the Roger Goddard family, members of St. Joan of Arc, Harper.
Roger Goddard died of a heart attack on March 20. Surviving are his wife, Maryanne, and seven children. Maryanne is fighting cancer and recently had brain surgery. The family has also been told that their home is being repossessed.
If you want to help, you may send a check to The Goddard Family Fund, Farmers & Merchants State Bank, 101 S. Main, Argonia 67004.