Emma Penfold: Life After Loss
I guess my story starts with the death of my father. Dad had been ill for a long time, and I was eleven at that stage and I’d kind of got used to him being ill; he was always in and out of hospital. So I wasn’t really expecting to hear the news and I was at school, my best friend’s mum came and got me to come home. Mum wanted to see me and that’s the time when she sat me down and told me that dad had gone.
And that’s the time I really started to question, actually, you know, is there a God? You know, I’ve been brought up a Christian, going to Sunday school each morning. Surely if there was a God, then my dad would still be here.
We were living with my grandmother at the time, and dad died at home in mum and dad’s bedroom. Mum wanted to move, my grandmother took that the wrong way and kicked us out. It was kind of a rather drastic change we moved up to Norfolk, that’s where family were until mum pulled us together.
Time moved on, got married, had a couple of wonderful children, but there was something missing in my life. I would see a particularly beautiful scene or just the sunlight hitting the trees and there would be joy, there would be pleasure, but there would be a hole. God was definitely there, I felt Him regularly knocking on the door He was kind of saying “can I come in?” And that’s just not happening.
Mum was a wonderful woman, she’d brought us up single-handedly for all those years and her death knocked me sideways. I don’t know what triggered it but suddenly the emotions came right to the surface, and I was crying my eyes out and it’s just like “enough, I can’t go on like this” and without any thought I just cried out to God to help me and within those seconds He answered, He heard me. I felt the most reassuring calmness, it was almost like somebody had come down and they’d wrapped themselves around me, given me a massive hug and I knew that was God responding, that was God saying “I’m here and I’ll help you through this.” And that was the moment that I knew; God exists.