Over the past few months a lot of information has come to light which has been confusing about Tina and her history. It seems that she kept part of her life in compartments which were separate from each other. The discovery of what has been going on in some of the other compartments has been sometimes bewildering and sometimes distressing.
But in the end, what mattered was that this young woman had been through a great many problems and her strength, courage, determination and faith kept her going. She managed in the only way she knew how, and she was completely devoted to her daughter Anna.
Tina died last Thursday peacefully in the hospice. Anna, who is living with our daughter, was told the news when she got home from school. This weekend they have been on a long-scheduled weekend with my sister in the north, who will know just how to deal with a bereaved child. I hope it will give them a break from the long valley of the shadow of death in which we have all been walking.
The past will no doubt continue to throw up the unexpected and unknown. But now our family will concentrate on helping Anna to deal with this massive loss in her life. It will be a long, slow and often painful process, but we all want Anna to know that she is loved and wanted, and that her mother’s life is valued by us and by God.
Tina was not her real name. It was her trafficked name, the one in the false passport she was given. As she became sicker, she told me that her real name was Kalo, the name her mother gave her. At the end of her life, her true identity emerged.
Kalo spent many years in Ghana and spoke Ashanti. She had an Ashanti Bible which she read frequently and which was falling to bits. We gave her Communion in the hospice when we were last there, and she read this from the New Testament in Ashanti:
20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
With Anna there too, we talked about how her Mum’s body was very sick, but one day Jesus would give her a new body, that would never get old and that would never know pain or tears again. When I looked at her, there was a small, slow smile crossing her little face.
We’ll take good care of her for you, Kalo. Nanteyie. Goodbye.