During the time that we were not involved in any organised fellowship and were very much on our own, some difficult family events took place. My Mother who had suffered serious bouts of depression involving hospitalisation over the years became very ill again. She had all kinds of treatment including Electroconvulsive Therapy but she did not improve. I think she had finally given up, life had become too much for her and she was hospitalised again and became an in-patient. During this time my Father again could not manage without my Mother and this time instead of losing his memory, he tried unsuccessfully to take his own life, so on every level life was difficult. I lived 250 miles away and it was not an option taking my children to stay in view of past traumatic events.When I visited the hospital my Father would walk out of the ward.
After two years in hospital with only the occasional weekend at home my Mother decided one day to leave, in the middle of winter dressed only in flimsy clothes, and made her way home 15 miles away. My Father was out so my Mother sat on the doorstep until he came home. By this time she was suffering from Hypothermia and much against her wishes had to be readmitted to hospital. In view of what she had done, she was placed in a locked room.
This so traumatised her that after a few days she pleaded to go home, and with the agreement of the medical staff, my Father took her home. Two days later I got a phone call in the middle of the night to say she had passed away. My Father was traumatised and in his grief and guilt blamed me for her death, accusing me of not being there when she died and berated me for moving from the north of England to the south when I married. This continued throughout the funeral and from then on whenever I phoned it was to listen to constant accusation. In some way he was trying to assuage his own guilt. He was a very unhappy man and who knows what disappointments and issues in his past had turned him into the man he became. All I could do was pray for him knowing that God was his only answer. Emotionally I felt distraught, bursting into tears when least expected, but I knew that nothing had changed in my spirit and I still knew that God was in control of my life.
Soon after this in 1985 a missionary friend of ours asked if we could have an American lady who was visiting this country stay with us. We were due to go and stay with friends in the West Country, so instead of hosting her in our home we organised bed and breakfast for her near to where we were staying. This lady who we will call Pamela for privacy reasons was in the country linking up with contacts of an ex-missionary friend. He was an Englishman, the son-in-law of C.T.Studd, who had spent his life on the mission field and was now living in America. He had spent his ‘retirement’ years as an itinerant preacher but due to great age and ill health was no longer able to fly.
When Pamela arrived in the West Country she and I drove out into the countryside and ended up sitting in the pews of an ancient country church. We sat there for most of the afternoon chatting and found we had much in common in our spiritual journey, including our desires for the future. However when we said our goodbyes a couple of days later I had no idea the effect this meeting would have on my future life, nor the domino effect it would have for years to come. God arranges these divine appointments and my journey was about to take many more twists and turns in a way that would have been beyond my wildest dreams in the past. I was about to launch on a faith journey like never before.