© Ophelia S. Lewis 2021
My sister, Veronica’s words landed in my heart with a thump, “They just took Mom to the hospital.” Then, the screech of outburst followed by, “Mom is gone!”
In shock, I watched her shoulders make sudden spasmodic motions while she sobbed bitterly. This was only three hours after we had ended our Tuesday night family Bible study via conference call. Mom had gone over by an hour and a half, and we smirked about it. I was anxious to get back to my computer to continue work.
The fear of one day losing my mother has always terrified me; not just me, but my two brothers, four sisters, and our children. My brother, Jenkins, who had predeceased Mom, one day, told me that he would never be able to deal with it. “Moc, they would see a grown man cry worse than a baby,” he said, “And I won’t even care.” Spared of this ordeal, on January 14, 2009, Mom and my sister, Marie, sang and prayed over Jenkins while he took his last breath. He had been terminally ill for six months.
No one has an endless life here on earth, and this is beyond our control. Like most people, that never crossed my mind. Mom had told us early on, “God will be with you in everything you face, as long as you place your confidence in Him. Trust God to be your strength.”
Well, it happened; my Dad, in a car accident, and Mom, an apparent heart attack. Both unexpected, and boy, does it hurt. There’s nothing worse than that. You would not expect anything worse than that. When that time came, little did we know Gog and his Magogs would attack us at their right moment. My father died during a time of unrest in Liberia, and my family was attacked by soldiers who did not know us personally. We were very young and only Mom would be our guard. Thirty-six years later when my mother died, the man she had been married to for merely twenty-seven years, with his three daughters and their followers, attacked us though they knew us personally. Beyond the loss came the attacks. Again, our process of grieving was arrested.
Hours after my mother had taken her last breath; still on the hospital bed; my sisters Marie, Joann, Akitee and niece, Lem, crying with heavy hearts and in shock; my brother, Aaron, lost in grief; M.I. started his attack after he’d made about twenty or more calls announcing, “I’m standing near my dead wife.” He ended his last call, turned to my brother and said, “I’m taking her to Wages & Sons funeral home.” To which Aaron replied, “Now is not the time to discuss that.”
Consulted by his daughter, his comeback was, “I’m next of kin, so I’ve decided. That’s where I’m taking her.”
And the drama began…. Like wildfire, the verbal headline appeared: THE OLD MAN HAD JUST LOST HIS WIFE, NOW HE WAS BEING ATTACKED BY HER CHILDREN.
This was his story, his outcry, his plead to the community; anyone who would listen and pay attention. However, no one knew he had called his daughters before dialing 911; and he had made the first call to any of her children (Akitee) at 12:19 A.M. and (Joann) at 12:22 A.M. By the time Akitee arrived at their apartment—from Lawrenceville to Norcross—the ambulance was just leaving to take Mom to the hospital. Mind you, these calls are important because he claimed that my beloved Jeanette passed out around 10:45 P.M. He would later explain to their former church member, that he’d prayed over her when she passed out. The man’s response, “You call the ambulance when someone passes out before you pray over them.”
Only the Devil would do that. So I call this godless pastor, M.I., Gog, a person who shares similar characteristics of Satan; referred to as the devil. His true characteristics reveal a rascal and a liar, who uses his age, 94 years old, and the State of Georgia next-of-Kin law to punish my family when we had lost our matriarch, my beloved Jeanette. I’ve known my mother for fifty-six years, while he bragged about being married to her for 27 years. At his age (94 years) most people brag about seventy-plus years of marriage. I’ve owned things longer than his marriage to my mother.
Is it not bad enough that he did not dial 911 when my mother passed out between 10:30 P.M. to 11:00 P.M. (his timeline to the police) but rather after midnight; it isn’t bad enough that he denied her children any participation in their mother’s final arrangements or funeral; he even said ‘No’ to the funeral director’s request when we needed her ‘death statement’ to send to individual’s employees for reason of absence from work. He said ‘no’ to everything, unless—and we were encouraged by his followers, especially church members—that we beg and ‘hold’ his foot. HOLD HIS FOOT! I would have gladly chewed on broken glass before doing that. I would have never begged a man who pretends to have loved his ‘wife’ who he never took with him on invited trips; like Konola reunions. The godless pastor never took her with him, but she was happy to take him along; including a trip to Barbados, an 80th birthday present from her grandchildren just last year. He was there, on the beach, in the water, happily splashing around. He was always ready and willing to share her spotlight but NEVER included her in his.
Even beyond our loss, M.I. became addicted to his spiteful hyper-stimulation of poisonous lies, and forgot about the title, “Pastor” he cherishes, and what was expected of him. His constant barrage of propaganda dominated people’s empathy for us, suddenly losing our mother; even those who knew us well, including relatives and long-time friends. That created an environment of judgment that became increasingly difficult to grieve our mother’s passing. We prayed, as my beloved Jeanette had taught us since we were very young; and we were to always look out for each other. We remembered, God is an ever-present help in time of trouble, especially at a time when the world had turned on us, and many family and friends had turned their backs. A handful of family members traveled far distances to come and be with us; small in number, but giants in size. We were able to shift our focus from M.I.’s turmoil to God’s peace through these giants. We will forever be grateful to relatives and friends who comforted us by many phone calls. M.I.’s chaotic world did not shake us; we continue to find quietness and strength in love; God’s and those few relatives and friends.
Gog continues, yet, beyond our loss. My beloved Jeanette was called home on June 14, 2017, and now it’s September 6th, and M.I. has yet to ‘allow’ us access to my mother’s personal items. Other than his three daughters looting my mother’s personal things merely hours after her passing, what would a 94-year-old man do with female clothing: church hats, dresses, handbags, etc? Jeanette left to mourn her five daughters, eight granddaughters, and three great-granddaughters. Gog would not let us touch them, and for what? His ungodly spirit is what prevents this godless pastor from doing the least humane thing.
Love ones and friends continue to encourage us by saying, “Y’all leave it to God.” But grieving in disbelief, how do I forgive M.I. his wickedness; when the ungodly 94-yr-old pastor who had preached God’s love yet does not open his heart with love to others, my siblings and I, and our children. Like the Devil, Gog is not capable of showing love. But here’s the thing; God’s joy will always replace Gog’s anguish.
By the way, whoever chose that dress my mother was laid to rest in, ought to be beaten with it—beaded, lacelike garnished dress only they would wear. My beloved Jeanette was definitely a diva, and wouldn’t have looked at that dress, nor touched it. This explains why his three daughters looted my mother’s things; a charitable case perhaps… they need shoes, dresses, hats, handbags, perfume, etc.
#OpheliaLewisWrites, #iAmTheQuietStorm, #ThePenIsMightierThanTheSword #MIisGog, #MyBelovedJeanette #ILoveMyMother