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As mentioned in my story, “Walking My Mother Home,” during the time I was walking through healing in my relationship with my mother I developed a long-distance friendship with Rosa, who lives in Spain. Rosa’s mother, Carmen, passed away a few weeks before my mother. The connection with Rosa led me, a Protestant, to a Catholic Church to pray on bended knee and release my mother to the Lord. It was at this exact time that Carmen’s funeral was proceeding in Spain.

Rosa’s and my relationship was born out of sorrow, nurtured by prayer, and sealed in love. It was perfectly timed to help me heal the void and loss in my heart caused by never really knowing my mother as a person and not being able to have a relationship with her. Her death brought out a lot of feelings and the Lord has been faithful to heal and give me a fresh start.

Rosa, though, was close to her mother. Two years later, Rosa is still grieving the loss of her mother, Carmen, who was a significant part of Rosa’s life. Carmen was the family matriarch, surrounded by a large Catholic family that loved her. The loss was great not only for Rosa, but for Rosa’s father and the rest of the family as well. While my burden is light, Rosa’s is still heavy at times as she alternates live-in care giving with her sister for their aging father. One way or another, life goes on for both of us.

My relationship with Rosa has become a beautiful testimony to the legacy of mother love and of the Lord’s love for us. Our lives intersected in a painful and poignant way. When I first heard of her mother’s terminal illness, I knew God wanted me to come alongside Rosa in her grief. It was not easy to be so vulnerable with her—someone I never met, who lived 5,300 miles away, spoke a different language and belonged to the faith (my mother’s faith) that I had turned my back on many years ago. I feared rejection. Yet God called me out of my comfort zone to extend a heart of compassion to her. And I’m glad I did!

~ Ardis A. Nelson