The funeral of my mother at the age of five altered my life forever. We had been a happy family. I was not only provided for, but I had been invested in. I had been the child of my parents’ happy marriage which had spilled over into a happy home. My father, a manly man, had been so pleased to work hard to provide for his wife and children. He felt he was good and he felt God was repaying him with this happy life. With the death of my mother, I also lost my father. He could not be father and mother, so he decided to be neither. I lost my childhood. I lost my innocent happiness. I stood at her funeral, holding the hand of an aunt that I did not know, and so unsure of the new emotion that I felt: fear. I was a motherless child.
After the ceremony, the few people my family knew in our little town gathered at our house. It was a small simple farmhouse but my mother had made it a home. With her death, even our home died. Now it was just a house. It suddenly lacked the charm that comes when there is happiness in the air. I stood in the corner near the staircase. I was blocked by a wall, but around the opening I could hear relatives whispering, “What will Matthew do with these children now? What a burden for him.”
No, I was not the only child of Matthew and Grace Parker. I was one of three children. I had a brother, David, who was four years older and a sister, Fern, who was two years younger.
The whispers continued, “She always spoiled them and now he is going to have to pay the price.”
“Well, I think he deserves it. He should have taken better care of her. It is his fault this happened.”
“All I know is that children are expensive. He doesn’t have any money.”
“Well, I happen to know where he can find a new wife. That is the only solution I know of.”
“You are exactly right. I mean it. I agree with you. And he’d better come to terms with that sooner than later.”
This was followed by small snickers. They were not possessed by demons. These people had been saved by God. But they had been stopped in their footsteps. They refused to fight. They stood in their comforts of life and did not want to be burdened by the troubles of this world. When they were tempted, they quietly gave in and kept it hidden. When demons told them to judge, they gladly obliged. They were modern day Pharisees. The demons could not enter their bodies, but they could sit on their shoulders and whisper into their ears and influence their thoughts and actions. The demons promised comfort in this world in exchange for their cooperation.
This is how the community felt about their responsibility to fill in the motherly gap that we now inherited. There was never a solution or an attempt at one. Our happy home was never happy again. We had lost Eden.
To be continued…