Why do we fight to live and not fight for death? When someone we care about dies, we cry. Someone we care about lives we celebrate. Why is this?
Often we desperately want to live and love, but who or what decides this? These questions have been bugging me since my mum’s health drastically deteriorated.
Life is a beautiful creation. Look at everyone so unique and divinely created. Yet, we fight and hate each other for what? We sin against the Divine made in each other rather than love and cherish the Divine of each other, as God asks of us.
For the second time in my life, I watched a human, the body, the flesh dwindle to nothing but bones. I found myself once again reminded that mere flesh will eventually die, leaving nothing but a mark of love upon so many.
I witnessed the Spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical elements of a human being transform, breaking down just before death. My mum became a woman vanishing slowly with time, with each blink. I saw this happen to someone I love beyond words can measure.
I saw my mum, the most amazing woman that anyone knows, suffer through till death. Yet, I couldn’t bear to understand how anyone could hate or envy a woman so amazingly beautiful with a Spirit that mirrored God.
Why do we hate on each other when life is so precious? I just can’t help but keep asking these questions over and over.
Let’s travel back in time to my mum, Marion Armour’s life and up until now as I slowly hold on to God’s word over her life, whether she lives, survives, or she dies.
Again, I must repeat. No words or emotions can describe my anguish, hurt, regrets, pain, fear, love, admiration, adoration, praiseworthiness of such a remarkable person. And what I’ve been feeling these past months for my mum.
Sunrise: 13th August 1966. Sunset: 02nd November 2021
My mum lived till she was 55 years old. She was born on Saturday, 13th August 1966, in the same month when the Beatles released their famous single, “Yellow Submarine.” She died on Tuesday, 2nd November 2021.
I’d like to share some of my mum’s life journey with you.
Mum often spoke of her painful childhood memories. She frequently told us her childhood stories of growing up in the North, walking home daily, with no proper education and little food to eat.
I often sat with my thoughts to establish or put myself in her shoes to feel her childhood experiences. She told stories of scary folktales that plagued her upbringing and made her fearful of even the little things.
For example, mum often reminded us to turn our backs at night when entering the house or sleep with our heads North to the sunrise, or don’t say goodbyes when we were leaving. She always encouraged us to say, “see you later.” Ah…the thought of how fearful these folk stories made her feel.
Mum had experienced some complex challenges in her life. She often found herself sharing beautiful memories of her days by the rivers, soaking up the cool spring water or living on trees and eating fruits to her delight.
Almost instantly, she found herself overwhelmed by the painful memories of her stepdad sexually molesting her. Her mind was harassed by the constant reminder of her biological mother’s lack of belief in her.
Grandma reprimanded and slapped her across the face with her perpetrator’s dirty boot and frequently called her a liar for bringing her attention to incidents.
She was equally painfully rejected by her biological father because she was too “red-skinned.” However, she found warmth and comfort in the disguised blessing when she was sent away to live with strangers in the country’s south.
She found warmth, love, and acceptance and found a new home and new family. Her new life abruptly ended when my grandmother took her away from her guardians without their knowledge. Her Mom removed her from a complete and stable home, back into a broken and rejected one.
She didn’t finish school and found herself hustling between jobs to make ends meet for herself. Mom lived in constant abuse and poverty for at least thirteen years, desperately seeking a way out through those years, with a lifetime of scars to show for it.
There were numerous times that we didn’t know when or where our next meal would come from. Life turned for the better for my mum when he met my superhero stepdadmy superhero stepdad, Wayne Edwards, I witnessed firsthand the meaning of true love.
Their relationship was like a movie, mum glowed and radiated with joy. Like a fairytale movie, he whisked her off her feet. Their relationship felt like heaven on earth until he died about twenty years ago. She loved so hard. She never stopped loving my Superhero stepdad. I admired her for her courage to love on.
Mum had what everyone called “a sweet hand.”
She was our very own local chef. She loved cooking a variety of dishes that serenaded your sense of smell, attracted you to the kitchen, and made you come back for more. Sharing this with or thinking about it makes our mouths water.
We were addicted to her cooking. Every stranger who tasted her meal would remember how she excited their taste buds and kept you drooling for more. You can never go hungry as long as she is around.
Mom made sure you ate, and she packed you a bowl to take away. Oh, the sweetness of Mom’s hand and the infectiousness of her smile.
With her infectious heart that touched the lives of so many, mum made you her family even if you were not; she offered shelter to the homeless if she could. She clothed you, brought you close into her arms, and loved you.
Mum loved everyone. She treated the very stranger, the next-door neighbour, like her very own self. As though she was born and nurtured you. You could never be sad because her prayers uplifted you.
Mum touched their hearts or taste buds. She left your heart tingling as though she was your high school crush. Mom was Christ-like; she lived a life like Christ and suffered through a death like Christ. I feel proud to know that she was so Divine. She was so beautiful, so impressive.
Even in her weak state, she brought life to the hospital and other patients around her. Mum happily introduced us to her new friends each time we visited.
This reminds me of a hymn, “Oh! What a friend we have in Jesus.” Somehow, mum reminded us through her actions that her grandchildren and children had a friend in her. Mom was my best friend. My cushion, she could be incapacitated and will still cushion you in her brokenness.
On the morning of 2nd November 2021, we received the phone call that mum had died. We were lost for words, heartbroken because we weren’t ready to cut our chords from her. The shock of mum’s death made us all silent.
I questioned myself. I asked God so many questions: Who can replace our Mom? Why couldn’t such an amazing woman live till her old age, after suffering so much? People told me time would heal us, that my siblings and I have to live our life now, but, How will I live on? How can we?
Mum had been ill for a while, yet her death shocked everyone. The news of her death echoed through the ears of millions, causing a Tsunami or an Earthquake. At that moment, it just felt like that.
Her death rocked and shattered my world to pieces. I worked through the day in disbelief, scared, pondering how to break the news to my eleven-year-old son that his favourite grandmother had died. I wanted to crawl into a cocoon and scream out in pain, where no one would hear my cries or see my tears.
We are hurting. We are struggling. We just can’t breathe.
Our heads ached, and our hearts raced. I felt bullets were riddling my body, and someone was trying to take the life force out of us. My siblings fought to hold up. No one could hold each other as we felt too weak, too devastated at that moment.
I wished we could turn back the hands of time just to be held by her. I wished she had just walked through the front door, alive and well. I wished when I was born, and Mum had told us the day she would die so we could’ve prepared ourselves to cut the cord.
Our tears won’t stop flowing for Mom. I cry out “Mommy” in my quiet space, as though I was in solitary confinement. Only God can help us through this. I cry out, “God”, I need you now more than ever.
Mum loved the soca song “Champion” by our local soca artist Turner.
It’s the Song that made her dance, fighting through her last moments this year. So I ask everyone whose heart she touched to play “Champion” whenever you think of her, whenever you miss her. Let it remind you to dance and love on for a true Champion, and don’t you forget her. Just dance on.
I found it comforting that my mum died on the day when my fellow catholic brothers and sisters were lighting their candles for the past departed loved ones. I felt they were burning their candles for my mum, a queen, an Honourable woman with an infectious heart. So I ask you to light up and love on mum.
Mum died on All Souls Day. It reminded me of a glorious moment. What is All Souls Day or All Saints Day, as some call it? All Souls’ Day, in Roman Catholicism, is a day for the commemoration of all the faithful departed, those baptised Christians who are believed to be in purgatory because they died with the guilt of lesser sins on their souls. It is usually observed every 2nd November.
Roman Catholic doctrine holds that the prayers of the faithful on earth will help cleanse these souls to fit them for the vision of God in heaven, and the day is dedicated to prayer and remembrance.
I had to remind myself and affirm that a friend once told me that “We must salute the divinity in each person, see their divine self only, see that person, as God sees them. Perfect, made in His image and likeness.”
I am sincerely grateful to friends and family who stood by us in prayers and deeds as mum journeyed through the most challenging period of her life.
I would like to give special thanks to her sister Michelle Armour and Hazel Ann Craig, Mr. David Simon and your sister Simone, Mr. Patrick, Ms. Dina and Linda, our neighbours.
Dad Michael Calliste, Simone Edwards, Daron Cox, and Hasani Alibey and our colleagues, Anthony, my brother’s best friend, Namdev, and Mellisa at the hospital lab. Allison, her Dialysis friend, and to those whose name I may have forgotten.
God bless you all abundantly because you all saw our journey, our fight, and most importantly, saw our love from her and received it too.
Today, I asked the world to “Salute the divinity in my mum. Marion Mary Armour, see her Divine self only. See Marion Armour as who God made her be. Marion Armour was indeed perfect, made in God’s perfect image and likeness.”
A champion to the cause of divine love, true selflessness, and worthy of being praised for loving others unconditionally, even when they didn’t love her in return.
You never left our side. You stood the test of times through thick and thin for us and for everyone. You touched our hearts, our spirits and made us into the incredible beings we are.
We are those divine beings of you. You provided the BluePrint on Love and living life. You are our Superhero Mom, who is now reunited with Our Superhero Dad, and we are proud of you.
And it’s an honour to have you as our Mom and our best friend. You were a unique being, and we will cherish your love for life. Our Champion forever.
Your grandchildren Shaquille Williams, Teshaun Franklyn, Tristan Franklyn, Christian Pascall, and your children Crystal, Marvin, Afia, and I will forever cherish and remember the memories of your love and how you fought for us.
I love you, mum.