Weâ€™ve all heard the stories of the mothers who boarded the Titanic with their childrenâ€¦ Margaret Rice and her five sons in steerage; Mrs. Allison with her daughter Loraine and little Trevor in first class; Mrs. Becker with her two children as well as her daughter, twelve-year-old Ruth, in second class.
Some survived, some didnâ€™t.
They all loved their children and would sacrifice anything for them.
But what about the mothers left behind?
Or waiting in New York?
I can only imagine the anxiety and fear gripping their souls, their hearts breaking.
The heroine in my romance, Titanic Rhapsody, calls upon the strength of her own departed mother when she questions whether or not what sheâ€™s doing the right thing when she decides to flee Ireland:
â€œThe saints be warned,â€ Katie said now, banging her fist into her hand. â€œIâ€™ll not be done in by that girlâ€™s lies. Iâ€™ve seen how the world works and how you have to fight for what you want. Aye, fight. And that I will doâ€¦or me name isnâ€™t Katie Oâ€™Reilly.â€
She let out a deep sigh. It was no use. She couldnâ€™t sleep. If only morning would come so she could be on her way to the dock. Hours yet until the sun came up.
Sitting on the edge of the open window sill, her mind wandered back to other times.
Happy times, then sad.
When her da was alive, she oft came to Queenstown with its narrow streets winding up steep hills, seeing him off on his fishing boat until the day he never returned. The sea had claimed him as it had so many others, his body washing up on shore while his soul roamed free.
It broke her dear motherâ€™s heart, kind lady she was, her fingers always entwined around the holy black beads her sister in the convent had fastened for her. Sheâ€™d buried three sons before they reached the age of five. Children lost to the ills of being poor, then her husband to the ravages of the sea.
That was six months ago. Before her mum died, she made Katie promise to join her sister in service. Now Katie had broken that promise and she was running off toAmerica.
With a price on her head.
Leave Ireland? Her home?
Was she daft?
Her parents were buried here. Not even a handful of dirt from their final resting place did she have to take with her.
Only her motherâ€™s black rosary beads.
Katie gripped her hands together and beat upon her breast, calling upon the angels to help her. Oh, God, please, she prayed, tell my dear mum Iâ€™m sorry, but I have to do this. And please, oh please, make her forgive me.
She would, wouldnâ€™t she?
Had Katie not made every effort to be a good housemaid?
Was it her fault she got sacked because a man looked at her? She never expected the girl would accuse her of being a thief. She ran away from the grand house before the constable showed up.
There was a steep price to pay if she were caught.
Years spent in a cold, damp cell, but the wild intoxication of being free was a heady stimulant that surpassed any grim thoughts she might have.
For Katie had a plan.
That ticket was her passage to freedom.
She was going to America on the next steamship leaving Queenstown.
As Motherâ€™s Day approaches, Iâ€™d like to pay tribute to all these mothers who never gave up hoping and praying their loved ones would be saved.
And especially the mothers who sacrificed their own lives to save their children:
Margaret Rice died trying to save her five boys. A photo of her and her sons taken before she left Queenstown still exists and is a poignant reminder of the widowâ€™s dedication to her sons.
Mrs. Allison refused to leave the ship without little Trevor, never knowing his governess had already put him safely in a lifeboat.
And Mrs. Becker never gave up hope of finding young Ruth after they were separated as the ship was sinking. They were reunited aboard the Carpathia, the rescue ship.
Happy Motherâ€™s Day!
Would you like to win a copy of Titanic Rhapsody for your mother? Or yourself?
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