"Where are we moving to?" I looked at my older brother with a worried look on my face. "We're going to stay in a better neighborhood, don't worry." You even get to go to a new school, so you don't have to take the bus anymore. Plus, you failed your grade this year, so at least you're going to another school. "You won't have to worry about your class moving up while you stay in the same grade." My brother always knew what to say to calm my nine-year-old brain.
The move wasn't so bad after all. I quickly made a few friends and even started adapting to the new school quicker than I thought, but my mother wasn’t looking like her normal self. Things quickly started changing at home, and my mother started looking more and more ill by the day. I noticed a particular doctor who carried a black leather doctor's medicine bag. He was always dressed in shorts and a shirt covered with a short sleeve, waist-length white doctor's coat, long knee-high socks, and a pair of formal shoes. He came in every day, so I would watch him from my mother's bedroom door as he would sit with his briefcase next to her bed and softly speak to her to check if she was doing okay as he changed her drips and medicated her.
My grandmother often came for hours, just sitting at my mother's bedside and silently praying with a rosary in her hands. Sometimes, when I leaned in closer, I could hear her recite psalms into my mother's ear. There were times my mother would notice me standing at the bedroom door, staring at her tiny body as it would sometimes lay motionless. She would call me closer just to chat.
"What did you do in school today?" She would always start the conversation, just to break the ice in an attempt to relax me, pretending she was fine and assuring me that this too shall pass. She didn't look fine, and I was scared; she was going to die. There was an orange tree just outside our kitchen door. I would climb to the top, where no one could see me, and softly cry, asking God not to take her away from me. After some months, I started to notice changes. She began to get out of bed more often and started being more active again. She even gave my father a hard slap that threw him back onto the couch for being drunk and stupid one night, even though she had to run after that.
My mother was back to her loud, cheerful self. The sound of her laugh echoed through the house again. The aroma of a home-cooked meal could be identified from a mile away as the order in our home was restored to its original form, and I didn't have to grow up without a mother.
It wasn't until I was older that I learned my mother had been diagnosed with cancer in the stomach. Operations were performed, but the cancer was spreading rapidly. Doctors lost hope, and she was sent home to die. She once told me, when I was old enough to understand, that she was healed. She never gave up hope, and even though there seemed to be no way, she believed that God would make a way. She told me that she begged God to spare her life until her kids were old enough, and the Lord told her that if she puts all her faith and trust in him, he will heal her body completely, so she decided to stop all medication and put her faith into action. When the doctors did a scan to make sense of the recovery, it was a mystery as to how every bit of cancer was cleared.
"Greater is he that is in me than he that is in this world" is the scripture she always recited as she rejoiced in victory. She never stopped serving the Lord. She lived for another 26 years, saw all her kids grow up, get married, and get to meet seven of her grandchildren before peacefully leaving this earth. This is a miracle and an act of faith that I can bear witness to and give God all the praise and glory for, for he truly is merciful.
© 2022 Charlene Grendon