The milestone of 100 years is a signal honour of one’s longevity in life. It speaks of that person’s dedication to a healthy diet and meticulous care of his/her body. It also says a lot about those who take care of them; making a personal and conscientious sacrifice that God would spare the life of a loved one to reach that goal. That Ephena Haywood, the widow of George Haywood and mother of six – five girls and a boy – lived to celebrate that distinction on May 10, Mother’s Day, says it all. `
2015 when George departed. She is an ardent Christian and attends the Swetes Wesleyan Holiness church. Her favorite scripture is Psalm 23. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…” How apt that her life was centered around being content with whatever little she could afford for her family.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.” Her ‘green pastures’ is her humble home, providing for her family. “He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.” Daily she would look to God for his guidance and protection. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Whatever the challenges in life she turned to the Lord for solace.
“Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Amid those who seek to be negative she was confident God would provide plenty. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lordforever.” Her steadfast commitment to her Christianity kept her going for 100 years. Her choice song: ‘When We All Get To Heaven’, “what a day of rejoicing that will be” and surely she will be. Her motto is ‘In The Name Of The Lord’. “Mom is always a satisfying woman who does not try to exceed her bounds.” remembers Orden Haywood, her only surviving son and live-in caretaker. “This is something she impacted on her children which we hold onto this very day.”
Last Sunday, Orden opened on how his mother’s love led him to devote his life to her longevity. He recalls how she secured funding from Dr Locker to allow him to sit his final year school exams. “And I said to him, not being disrespectful, that my mom will not work for anyone else because I’ll take care of her for the rest of the life,” he said as the tears flowed. Her favorite food is fungi with any relish. How that Antiguan staple would have nourished and fortified her. The family and friends led by Pastor Olson Daniel prayed and thanked God for sustaining her life, graced the modest but highly-significant short ceremony at her home to mark her centenary. A light drizzle brought showers of blessings on the proceedings. A Mother’s Day that will be long remembered for its historic milestone. I was honoured to have attended.