For a moment, I stopped breathing. Maybe, in solidarity, shock, or stupor. The maternal blanket that had covered me since birth was now ripped to shreds, and I stood in the house room in my parent’s house and wept internally but outwardly stoic so that Dad could release his genuine emotions for the woman he had loved for most of his life.
As I write this, I am grieving. Deeply. I am in a constant state of numbness that has never subsided. But I am also in a place of peace because of my faith journey in that period of darkness.
My mother became ill during the lockdown period with a bleed on her brain. Few hospitals were allowing family visits. Our contact with her with through the ward staff and numerous doctors, who were often brutally honest about her prospects and Facetime, which often didn’t work. So, when I received a call from a doctor asking me to visit two weeks after Mother was admitted, I knew it was severe.
I held her hand at the hospital bedside. It was limp and cold. I told her that I loved her. She stirred. The tears flowed. I stuttered. This was it, and I wasn’t prepared.
Then I prayed. I asked God for three things:
In designated spaces,’ faith spaces’ surrounded by like-minded people, we enjoy the connectedness of shared belief. But you can reel and stumble around when life throws unexpected curveballs, and you don’t even know you are in the game.
Our family had COVID over the 2020 Christmas period, and my husband was hospitalised. Both he and I were in the recovery phase, and both of us were diagnosed as having Long COVID. My mother’s sudden illness came when I was barely coping with my health challenge and my husband’s, which was particularly severe.
I hadn’t slept properly since December 2022 and had become slightly unnerved and jumpy. But it was in the dark hours of the night without the backup of a regular weekly in-person worship service to settle the mind that my faith grew.
The nights I have afforded me time to speak to Father, God. Sometimes, I cried. At other times, I silently ranted. There were even moments when I begged. But most of all, I had time to listen, ask questions and find answers. Not necessarily the ones I needed, but the right ones.
I read scripture, but some days, I could not read, and Father God whispered it to me.
Each of us wants our faith journey to be mapped out with precision. With no diversions. Ever. But our desire isn’t natural; having that knowledge would bore us and encourage passivity. A complex, yet personal faith experience, builds resilience, challenges norms and creates new and meaningful connections with God.
As I reflect on the past two years and write this, there is a lump in my throat. I am thousands of miles from home for work, so I must be ready to smile and engage for my meeting shortly. Regularly, Father God reminds me that ‘the joy of the Lord is my strength’ – Nehemiah 8:10. Since my mother’s death, I have spoken to Father God differently. I witnessed the power of personal faith, which continues in a new and unique way daily.
And, by the way, He answered my prayer for ALL ‘three things’.
Catherine Anthony Boldeau is the Managing Editor of the Communicator and ADRA Development Education Officer