Mine Ever

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Michael Patrick Mulhall P.O. Box 479,64 Inwood Avenue Point Lookout, New York 11569 Home (516) 431-6370 Work (516) 983-7655 Villanova Class of 1986

February 15,2005

Letters to the Editor of The Villanovan, As a 40 year old divorced Catholic and father of a 5 year old son who is a proud graduate of Villanova’s well respected Business School with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1986, I would consider myself the last one to write to the Villanovan. However, I have discovered the simple analysis regarding Mine Ever’s life, too cold and too indifferent to the plight that thousands of families like her’s throughout America might face. That plight is taking complete care of a sick child who has serious medical needs. What happened to ‘but for the grace of God go I.”

The challenge for all of society but especially the graduates of Villanova University must be can we discover compassion in situations that are exceptionally difficult to imagine. Will our compassion to assist others be limited to the obvious situations such as Tsunami or Hurricane relief? Can we expand our compassion to include those who become overwhelmed in life like I believe Mine Ever may have been subjected to?

I like many others who graduated Villanova University do not support the murder of Mine Ever’s child. It is my belief this terrible situation is more complex. I know several families that struggle to take care of children with special medical needs. First, the costs are prohibitive and weigh heavily on many families. Second, the emotional exhaustion is probably even greater than the economic concerns they worry about. Added to Mine Ener’s burden of raising a child with special medical needs, Mine Ener was most likely suffering from Post Partum Psychosis.

According to http://www.4woman.gov, postpartum/ psychosis is a very extreme but rare serious mental illness that can affect new mothers. This illness can happen quickly, often within the first 3 months after childbirth. Women can lose touch with reality, often having auditory hallucinations (hearing things that aren’t actually happening, like a person talking) and delusions (seeing things differently from what they are). Visual hallucinations (seeing things that aren’t there) are less common. Other symptoms include insomnia (not being able to sleep), feeling agitated (unsettled) and angry, and strange feelings and behaviors. Women who have postpartum psychosis need treatment right away and almost always need medication. Sometimes women are put into the hospital because they are at risk for hurting themselves or someone else.

If we add up the pieces of this tragic puzzle, a child with demanding medical needs coupled with Mine Ener possibly suffering from Post Partum Psychosis, can we begin to develop a sense of compassion for what this proud, accomplished and educated woman could have been dealing with? Day in,day out either both parents work to provide care for their child on top of putting in a full day at work where their employers are not always understanding.

I noticed the story did not mention the Father’s reaction at all. Where was he? Was he helping? Mine Ener was living with her mother in an attempt to provide for her child. She was unable to cope coupled with suffering from Post partum depression. She resorted to a choice that everyone understands now was most tragic. Mine Ener was sentenced to jail. Mine Ener committed suicide. I wonder if the popular TV talk show host Bill O’Reilly would want to swap places with Ms. Ener? I know I wouldn’t. What about her family who must be devastated? How does our dialogue begin to reassure them that their daughter’s life was greater than two awful choices made under an undetected possible medical condition?

Now, who was Mine Ener? She was a 38 year old woman who had become a successful history teacher at a well respected Catholic University. Mine Ener wasn’t just a successful, dedicated and popular history teacher, Mine Ener was the well respected Director of the Center for Arab American Studies at Villanova. As a graduate of Villanova, I am all too aware of the unfortunate situation regarding the original name of the new Villanova athletic center. However, I believe this is different. Just listen to 2001 Villanova graduate, Ryan Shafik who considered her ” the best (teacher) I had ” at Villanova.

What surprised me most was knowing that Bill O’Reilly is a former school teacher whom I thought would have had some empathy for this accomplished yet tragic figure. I believe that if we examine this issue further, Villanova University could very well be commended for their initial choice. I am dissappointed that Villanova decided to remove the plaque dedicated to Mine Ever. I am quite confident that the initial idea of commemorating the good in her life was very re-assuring and compassionate to her grieving mother and devastated family in a very cynical world.

Respectfully yours,

Michael Patrick MulhallVillanova Class of 86′

University Honors Popular Teacher Who Killed Her Baby — 01/20/2005