When an unexpected stroke mercilessly struck my darling mother, who lived overseas at the time, our family changed forever. Every one that knew my (God loving, energetic, pleasant and exuberant) mother had a hard time accepting the cruel invasion and occupation of paralysis on the right side of her body. For me it was too heart wrenching for comfort! She had visited me just a few months prior and little did I know what was lurking in the shadow of the future.
Preceding the advent of stroke, my mother lived in the world of happiness she created for herself. Her love for God was immeasurable. I remember her gathering children in the neighborhood and wetting their fleeting appetites with cookies so that by the time the real food (the Word of God) came they had no choice but to participate. She also dedicated a room in our house to prayer. When we were young, my siblings and I used to dread being summoned into that room. We were known to spend at least one full hour in prayer with hunger pangs struggling to strip us of the little concentration we battled to maintain.
Entertaining people was something my mother did with a raw passion. Even if we had a visitor at midnight, she had a unique way of coming up with a dish with or without ingredients in the house. Her love for music went side by side with entertaining people. Back in the early seventies my mother connected loudspeakers from her bedroom all the way to the kitchen. How can I forget how the whole house woke up to classical music or hymns most mornings? As music had a permanent place in our house so did my mother’s love for art. From sculptures to paintings, she bought them like they were going out of fashion. Assorted flowers in her well kept garden was priceless for her. She talked to her plants every day and mourned even when the ugliest flower in the garden died.
The day I saw my mother a few weeks after the stroke, I was frozen with fear. My brother had travelled abroad and brought her back with him to the United States. Her size and exuberance had shrunk so much that I remained in a cocoon of shock the whole day. I just could not look at her in the face because a dam of tears that was poised to explode from my eye sockets.
That night I got into bed with her. She was lying on her back and staring at the ceiling as if she was looking for answers to the many questions on her mind. She seemed to be glad to be around her daughters and grand children but I knew my mother was wrestling with the trap her body was caught in. No sooner she shut her eyes like she was sleeping.
I laid besides her in total silence. Sleep was far from me because of how much I ached emotionally. My mom must have thought I was sleeping when she began to sing in a bare whisper:
“Comforter, Jesus is my Comforter, Alleluia
Comforter, Jesus is my Comforter, Alleluia
Comforter, Jesus is my Comforter,
Jesus is my Comforter, I am not afraid.”
I looked at her in the dark and noticed tears rolling down into her pillow. I was also weeping in silence until I summoned up strength and asked in a voice like I just woke up “are you okay mommy?” With a firm sweet voice, she replied “I am fine my dear; go back to sleep.” At this junction, I let her know that indeed Jesus is our Comforter. We declared and sang that song in the midst of tears till the peace of God that surpasses all understanding gently fanned us to sleep.
That song became an anthem for my family and at about 9:30pm on August 16, 2007, after my beloved mother went to meet her maker, I found myself standing in a place of confusion and denial. In the midst of wondering how I was going to cope, I remembered our anthem and received unimaginable courage from it. That is what saw me through those difficult times.
For all of you reading this that have lost a loved one, be rest assured that the same Jesus is your Comforter. From the bottom of my heart I appreciate you taking time to read my message. I pray that Jehovah will give you an outstanding breakthrough this month, in Jesus name.