Written by A.A. Adourian
NeighbourLink North York paired up with Love Is Moving to feature the value of human connection with the seniors in our community. There are stories to be told if we take the time to listen. Behind every wrinkled smile and stooped stride, there is a story full of joy and trial — we want to hear them and celebrate a life that has seen and experienced things that we can only imagine. Below, we are excited to feature the winning submission.
She loves music, but that’s not why I love her.
I once introduced her as Margaret. “My name is Maureen,” she corrected. We laughed about my junior-senior moment. We were both attendees of a writers’ conference (Write! Canada) in 2012. Maureen was 76; five years later we are better friends. We bonded at that conference because I felt I had finally met someone who understood my pain. Maureen’s mom died when she was 15, and mine when I was 37.
Maureen grew up in Guyana. She has moved over 50 times during her 80 years (she turns 81 in August; we share the same birth month!). She came to Canada in 1987, and became a citizen in 1995—at age 59.
In 2016, she self-published a book of short stories called Not Forsaken: My Life’s Journey. I could tell you about her professional life—which included being chosen to work in communications for President Burnham of Guyana—or her tumultuous married life and subsequent divorce after eleven years and three children, but I believe when God looks at her He simply sees His child. She became a Christian at age 25, and in her words from the book, “God has not promised that all will be well all the time, but He has simply asked me to trust Him. He has never forsaken me.”
Maureen has not always gotten to see the right doctor or had the correct diagnosis, but she thinks for herself, questions what she is told, does her homework, and fights back.
Maureen relies on what Joseph, Job and Jesus went through to encourage her. She has the humility to listen and to be teachable. When we talk and share about our lives, I feel that even though we have not experienced the same things, we have the same God because we understand how challenging it is to trust instead of worry, to hope instead of doubt, and sometimes, to just keep going.
Despite her health issues and struggles, she defines herself as a prayer warrior. I love her openness. I admire her desire to keep writing—especially the way she strings words and sentences together. She may not always feel strong, but to me she is! I don’t, for example, know many 80-year-olds that take the bus to the doctor’s office—despite the two-hour trip each way.
Each time we talk, I am reminded that where God is, He makes a way. Maureen has not always gotten to see the right doctor or had the correct diagnosis, but she thinks for herself, questions what she is told, does her homework, and fights back. Oh Lord, I say to myself, please help me to never give up if You grant me 80 years of life.
During our conversations, she comforts me by saying, “You know, I pray for you every morning.” I am grateful that I can share my pain and my joy with her, and that she prays for me each day. That day, years ago—when we both shed tears over our mothers—turned out to be a good day for us both—thank God!