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Timothy Schenke

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Without Tim - book cover

Without Tim:
A Son's Fall to Suicide,
A Mother's Rise from Grief

One of the places that I unexpectedly found comfort was in the Rosary Beads. When Father Brian gave the four of us, Andy, Pete, David, and me, each a set of Rosary Beads, I told him that I had never learned how to pray with them. He gave me a thick book, but the basic directions could be found on the first few pages. I turned to those Rosary Beads at times when I just did not know what else to do with myself, when nothing felt right. This was new and strange for me. I often felt that because I am not a regular church-goer and I do not pray regularly, I shouldn’t pray when I need something. Regardless of whether I was praying the Rosary, or just saying the three prayers I knew from childhood, the repetition would somehow calm me. I regret that my children don’t know my three prayers; most likely they can recall only the one that we had practiced, the “Our Father.”

I was raised Catholic, and my husband was raised Protestant Presbyterian. We had agreed to raise our kids in some type of Christian church, but in the long run, it seemed that neither of us really took ownership or leadership in attending services regularly or enforcing Sunday school after the first few years. We attended church services occasionally rather than regularly. Now, in a time of crisis when I would have liked my kids to turn to religion, I could suggest it--and I did--but I did not feel that I had the right to demand it or to shove it down their throats. I have often worried about Tim lacking a strong religious upbringing too. What is even more concerning to me is whether or not he had faith. In retrospect, I would have raised the boys Catholic even though Andy had said he would not convert; not because I feel they must become Catholic in their adult lives, but because they would have had a solid foundation in Christianity. In addition, the families in the two towns we had lived in were largely Catholic, so it would have been easy to send them to religion classes where many of their friends were going.

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