Some people may have followed the story in the past of ‘Serena’, the woman who was trafficked to this country and whom we met in our previous church in Birmingham, and ‘Tila’, her daughter, now 10 years old.
I launched a Justgiving site last year which wonderfully raised £1,000 for them, and this is an update if you were one of those generous contributors. In it I said that Serena, or Tina as she is really known, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer last September at the age of 41. She has no family in this country, apart from the members of our previous church, who have continued to be her family both while we were there and since we retired to Devon.
Tina went back into the hospice over last weekend and is receiving end of life care. One of the women from the church has moved in with her, in a family room, so that Tina is not alone when she dies. Tila, or Anna really, was taken to say goodbye to her mother briefly the day before yesterday. She is now living with my eldest daughter and her husband, who are in the process of becoming her foster parents.
In all this heartbreaking news, the prayer of St Augustine keeps coming to mind.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those who wake, or watch or weep this night,
and give your angels charge over those who sleep.
Tend the sick,
give rest to the weary,
sustain the dying,
calm the suffering,
and pity the distressed,
all for your love’s sake,
O Christ our Redeemer.