WE HAD FIVE CHILDREN who brought us a lot of happiness, even if our second, Clémence, who was severely disabled, sometimes complicated daily life. She was always associated with family events: there was no question of setting her aside. We had many laughs with her and thanks to her. For example when strangers spoke to her and she didn’t respond, our daughter communicating through smiles and tears rather than words.
A half-boarder in a center for disabled people, Clémence has always needed me for everyday activities, being unable to walk or eat on her own. This dependence represented a sometimes heavy load to bear, but also moments of great complicity which filled me with joy. Not to mention, my daughter made me grow in faith and in unwavering trust in God’s love. We often prayed together, and every evening, when I put her in her pajamas, I used to sing her a I salute you marie, to put us under the protection of the Blessed Virgin.
When the other children left the family nest, I got into the habit of going to early mass on Sundays, without my husband but with Clémence. Every time I arrived a little late, pushing my daughter in her wheelchair, caring parishioners reserved seats so that we could be comfortably seated. I felt great sweetness during these masses where Clémence was so well received.
When she turned 40, my husband and I decided that it was time for her to become an intern in the center she already attended and in which we knew she felt happy.
A few weeks after Clémence left, one Sunday, on the way to mass, I found myself overwhelmed by great sadness. I miss my daughter terribly. With a sinking heart, I enter the church and find myself facing the priest who has not yet started the celebration. Attentive to my grief, he takes the time to speak to me, before heading to the sacristy. For me, it’s as if Jesus had been waiting for me at the church door to support me and accompany me to my place, without “my chicken on wheels”.