Remembering Martina Foley
When we’re children, we are selfish beings. Through years of patience, perseverance, and love by our parents and grandparents we are shown that the greatest rewards in life come not from self gratification but in the gratification of others.
In my youth I was bullied. Looking back, it could have been partly because of my choice in sports teams, the Cincinnati Bengals, which in hindsight might not have been the best choice for someone living in between Niner Nation and Raider Territory.
Starting out in 7th grade I was the smallest kid in the class, even though I had repeated the 4th grade. I weighed a whopping 65 lbs on my first day. The kids were brutal to me, and my school days were a constant battle of survival from being dunked in toilets, locked in lockers, tossed in trash cans, endless beatings, and even doused in gasoline once. As you can imagine, anger, hate, and rage started to consume me.
But this story is not about my darkness, it’s about the light of one angel that God was kind enough to send my way. This was my grandmother, Martina Foley. Who, no matter how deep my despair or my self loathing, even when the world was against me, always encouraged me, always dusted me off and sent me out with my best foot forward to try again. There were even times when I just wished I could die, but she managed to talk me away from the ledge. She was a true miracle worker and always had the right words at the right time for me.
My grandmother was able to channel my anger into art, literature, and even sports. Thankfully I found football as a sport, and with the football came body mass, height, speed and most of all a growth spurt. These thing helped put an end to the days of torment in school and brought me into the socially acceptable world of my peers. My Grandmother and my Mother (GmaFog) were my biggest fans. They encouraged me to pursue my dreams and cheered me on every step of the way.
My life completely turned around and Hate was replaced with Love, Fear replaced with Courage, Vengeance replaced with Forgiveness. My Grandmother taught me how love, not just as man should love his wife, but the kind of love God intended us to feel. Agape as the Bible mentions is the greatest form of love. For anyone that has been a parent, you should know this love. It is unconditional, undying, and eternal love. My grandmother loved me to such extent that no matter how bad or malicious or evil I behaved, I was her priority, and she always brought me back with her love.
The lessons she taught me not only made me a better man, they prepared me to be a better father, better lover, and better leader. She taught me that greatness only comes from moments of strife, and legends are written about people who overcome the very darkness I had faced. She was my role model and mentor.
She was also my inspiration and encouragement behind the decision to create and lead the Gaiscioch family. It was my way of passing on the torch to others and providing a light to them in their darkest times. I targeted the “un-elite” and the “outcasts” from within the gaming world, because I too knew what it was like to be discarded. I united these people to become something powerful and meaningful. Proving that no matter your skill or ability or level you can make a difference.
Unfortunately, just after I started the Gaiscioch, my grandmother had her first stroke, and soon after the second stroke that would slowly take away my grandmother’s ability to speak and move. Over the next 6 years she lost the ability to use 70% of her body. But in her final days she cried tears of joy upon seeing her great grandchildren and the rest of the family. Even though she couldn’t speak, you could tell she had so much more to say. In the end, she was tormented by her life and the only escape was in her passing.
On August 17th, 2014 my grandmother and my hero left our world to join God in heaven, finally escaping from the prison of her helpless body. She left behind her husband of 65 years, 3 sons, and an army of grandchildren and great grandchildren. We now rejoice her life, her achievements, her dedication to God and her family. She was the rock of the Foley family and she inspired us all to be better people.
Without her in my life, I am certain things would have turned out very differently for me and most likely my story would have been cut short and forgotten. I am thankful for her belief in me when I couldn’t believe in myself, for giving me courage to face my fears and for the motivation to chase my dreams.
Thank you, Martina Foley. For your body may not be among us but your spirit and love will live on through us all.
About the Author
Benjamin "Foghladha" Foley
Benjamin founded the Gaiscioch Social Gaming Community in 2001 and has since been the founder & activities director for this well known community. His role has gone beyond just running the Gaming Community and now includes running the Athletics Program in Portland, Oregon, as well as acting as the Managing Editor of the Gaiscioch Magazine, and is the Lead Producer on the Gaiscioch Livestream Productions. Additionally he networks with game developers to form relationships between Gaiscioch and development studios.
His experience in publishing dates back to helping his Grandparents who operated a printing press for over 40 years. In high school and college Benjamin excelled in journalism and played an active part in the school newspaper. Benjamin currently works full time as the director of technology for a franchise trade publication & education company.