This week’s Woman of the week like my last subject, does not know that she is being featured…technically but she will take you on a rollercoaster ride that will leave you with tears in your eyes but joy in your heart and a smile on your face at the same time because out of the sadness, there is a positive spin that is inspiring and heartwarming.
Clotilda Abelard is a 69 year old mother of five, grandmother of ten and great grandmother of eight. You know whilst every family, it is said, has a “black sheep” , there is always another who is the complete opposite and is a true Godsend? Well in Abelard’s case, she is the cheeky and witty latter.
Abelard spent decades of her life working at the Victoria Hospital, and even though she was no doctor, this lady found herself on almost every ward on a daily basis bringing warm light into the cold hospital walls wherever she passed. She went above and beyond the call of duty, bringing smiles, love and hope to patients, especially those with no support system to give them the comfort that they needed at the time of illness or even with death knocking at their doors.
But speaking about death, this is where this story gets good. Abelard stared death straight in the face and told it to go straight back to where it came from because she was not ready to go just yet.
You see, in January 2009, this woman was struck down, not once but thrice consecutively by two head strokes and a massive heart attack…all within the space of a week whilst she lay on a bed at the hospital that she served at for so long.
Yes, the tables had turned. I guess death was angry at her for making its job that bit harder in the past, so it pulled out all its top moves and slammed her with them one after the next.
But she just laughed in its face and told it: “You hit like a kitten!” because in less than a year, Abelard had recovered so well, though not fully, but well enough to walk around and be back to her cheerful and loving self.
The strokes and heart attack had not affected her speech, mobility, brain function…nada, and in no time, she was back on her feet, going about her daily business like nothing had happened.
Even with her loved ones rallying around her and cautioning her to take it easy, she would shoo them away lovingly and carry on like the fighter she is known to be.
Oh and remember that hospital that she practically lived in and almost died in? Well, nothing could keep her away, because she would go right back there and do her angel work.
Now people, when I say angel work, I mean, this lady would go out on a limb and use her pension cheques to buy food, clothing and supplies for patients at the hospital…complete strangers, and no, she was not rich! She would regularly gather baby clothes and supplies from her children and grandchildren to take over to new mothers who had nothing for their babies…not even a single diaper or blanket. And I won’t even begin to mention the care she would give if a patient happened to be a relative or friend of hers…let’s just say, she would make your stay at Chez VH a lot more bearable.
One of her daughters spoke about her and said: “Mommy is such a loving lady…words can’t begin to explain her heart. She is definitely an angel, I am 100 percent sure of that because she was sent by God. I swear. There is no other like her.”
It would be easy to shrug off these words and say they’re just the words of a loving daughter, but the fact that all who know her echo the same sentiment, well you know what they say about if it walks like a duck…
Even with the weight of the world on her shoulders, Abelard lived for her family and loved ones. She played the role of the glue that held everyone together, and she would oftentimes use herself as an example to advocate for unity amongst her family members, as well as charity and being your brother’s keeper by bending over backwards to help family members who could not/or would not help themselves.
Now here is where the rollercoaster takes its dip and I hit you with the surprise left hook…
I really should have said all that I did about Abelard in the past tense, you see, on Friday December 23…yep the one that just went past, Abelard saw that her hard work to unite her family had finally bore fruit (after the family had gotten together to do a secret good deed for one of their own) and so she decided, she was finally ready to be at peace…and with that, she passed away.
But remember, rollercoaster rides almost always end in smiles and cheers and this one does as well, because even though there is pain and sadness, this lady was the epitome of happiness and gratitude.
She would constantly remind her family that life was way too short to sweat the small stuff, and even when the problems were not as small, she would remind them that they should always be grateful for the good in their lives that outweigh the bad on any given day.
She preached being slow to anger, quick to forgive and even quicker to smile and laugh genuinely. And perhaps most importantly, she always drilled in the importance of family and that they should always work towards unity.