Skip to content

Mother's book is message of hope

By Matt Abbott
Catholic Online

Pamela Yates has been through quite a lot in the last 12 years. The New York native, raised by a Roman Catholic father and a Jewish mother, lost her 27-year-old son, Sean Reynolds, to cancer in 1994.

Reynolds' death was preceded by seizures, which, according to two former hospice nurses, could have been prevented.

"I believe in the higher concept of hospice care, but the hospice industry in this country is broken," said Yates (via e-mail). "The families of hospice patients have no standing under the law. When the patient dies, there is no incentive or pressure to keep the hospice system doing good works."

(Yates is a friend of Ron Panzer, founder and president of Hospice Patients Alliance.)

She has written a book about the experience -- "The Gift of More: Lessons on Faith and Love From a Life Cut Short," whose website is

The book, which comedian Jay Leno has called "[a] truly inspiring story that really helps to put your priorities in order," "chronicles a year in the life of her family and its emotional transformation from fearfulness and uncertainty, to acceptance and faith, and ultimately to the profoundly comforting belief in the transcendence of the human soul."

It "documents how her family negotiated the minefields of the medical system, explored alternative medicines, encountered the paranormal, investigated the medical use of marijuana, dealt with the harsh realities of hospice care, and discovered a wealth of meaning previously hidden to them...."

Yates experienced mystical phenomena while praying to the Virgin Mary: "...she awoke to find mysterious, elaborate markings on her right foot [which] acted as a catalyst for the spiritual growth of both her family and Sean, 'the ultimate agnostic.' And in due course it led her, in the wake of her loss, to find encouragement and hope."

Getting "The Gift of More" published was not an easy task for Yates.

"As a first time author, I could not find an agent who would take a chance on me," she said. "Also, I got the most wonderful rejection letters you can imagine. Agents would read the manuscript and say things like, 'I hope this is the one that got away.'

"'Powerful, honest, inspirational, evocative' are the words they used. I think because of all those good things, they were afraid to tackle it. It was so strange. I also believed that by trying to report the journey without malice, the message would be more readily received.

"The book has many levels and everyone seems to find something in it they can take away and use. It has been a wonderful, inspirational experience for me, too. I tried to write Gift as a reporter, with as little gratuitous emotion as I could. It is not an indictment of anything -- just the honest reporting about what happened to all of us during that final year.

"The interesting thing is that many doctors and nurses have called to tell me to make sure health care professionals read Gift. They say even with all their training, they never get the real-world information contained in my book.

"Honestly, if it were not for the mystical experience I had during that last year, I wouldn't have had the courage and belief that I must write [my book] for others."


(Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic journalist and commentator. He is a columnist for and/or contributor to Catholic Online,,,, and He is also an occasional contributor to "The Wanderer" Catholic newspaper. He can be reached at


Matt Abbott IL, US
Matt Abbott - Author,



Catholic, Abbott

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

The California Network
Inspiring streaming service

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Catholic Online Singles
Safe, secure Catholic dating

The California Studios
World-class post production service

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

School Teachers
Teacher lesson plans & resources

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2018 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.