December 2023

Finding my voice

As the clouds slowly part and the sun tries to shine, I am reminded of the parallel with life. As we move through life, we face many clouds, storms and sunshine, writes Diane Cowie.

I love sitting on my couch looking at the window and watching a little raindrop making its way down the windowpane. I ask myself, is this baby raindrop learning to crawl or is it the beginning of something more? It is natural for us to experience clouds, storms and sunshine in any order. It is part of life.

On reflection, Jesus experienced each of these emotions and calls us to follow him. Let us find our true voice and be heard through following the actions of Jesus Christ. We are not all born to be great speakers but there are many different ways for our voice to be heard.

Isaiah 58: 7-8 says:

Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter; when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear.

Isaiah has found his voice and has spoken to the above actions with love, and the reward is the sunshine.

Finding our voice is about communicating through the spoken word on a particular topic, idea or action, whether we agree or disagree. It can also happen silently through a touch, a smile or even a glint in the eye. This is called our inner voice.

Our inner voice can be positive, critical, kind, caring and unsure. Isaiah knew how easy it would be for us to look the other way. He calls us to listen, to find our voice and to use it to influence and call others to action out of love. Another way is to always stand up for what we believe, regardless of what others may think.

We must remember that amidst all the angst, struggles, pain, danger, wars, violence, climate change and much more, we do have a voice and we must find that voice, no matter how hard it may be. It can be heard out loud over a cuppa in a café, in a group, in a meeting or in normal family conversation. It can be heard through public outcry, particularly if we stand up for what we truly believe.

As I write this, tears fall. I awake every morning alone in my bed and I thank God for all he is doing for me. I pray in gratitude for the 54 years I have spent with my husband before God invited him home.

Some of my family said, as we grew old together, they hoped he would go first as he would find it so hard to live without me because he loved me so much. God heard them.

As for me, I write this from my heart and know without a shadow of a doubt that I am not alone on this journey. I cry in the silence of our home, the stillness and the quiet acceptance of me there gives me courage. I hear a door creak, or a door shut, and I think it is him, but it is not to be. His voice never comes except in the silence of my heart. What I do know is that he is with me in every step that I take, and I know that he wants me to go on. So, it is with a heavy heart and a light step that I laugh, I joke, and I walk on with him in the shadow of God.

On reflection, I wonder what he saw in me as he wasn’t one to give compliments, but his actions spoke louder than words. So many have walked this journey before me and so many will walk this journey after me. We all face the death of a loved one differently. Therefore, I can only offer my story, which to me is my reality and mine alone.

The big question is, how could he, out of the blue, have cancer and be dead within six months? How could I be happily married for 54 years and then be a widow? It wasn’t anything we ever talked about. We married thinking we would be together forever; how wrong we were, although it was longer than many. We were young, we were naïve, and we were in love.

Years flowed by quickly as they tend to do and before we knew it, he was facing death in the fast lane. Still, life went on and as word moved around, comfort came from far and wide. His mates called in; they talked football and cricket and shared a joke or two. He loved hearing their voices and finding his own on topics he loved. He was in his element.

We still didn’t talk about his illness but we both knew. We just couldn’t find our voice on something so sensitive and sad. We made arrangements for the funeral, and he cried when he was told he could be buried in the Catholic Church where I practised, and I cried when told he could have a requiem Mass. You see, he was of a different faith than me, but still a loving caring voice told us that this was OK.

When the time came, and he couldn’t stay at home any longer, we called an ambulance to take him to the hospital. At this time, I asked him if he believed in God. He answered, ‘I don’t know.’ I replied, ‘Well he believes in you.’

At the hospital he lost his ability to speak, but we spoke to him knowing that he could hear. On the fifth day, while holding my hand, he went home to the God who loved him.

On reflection, we communicated with each other through love with my voice and his inner voice.

I often wished we each had found our voice when he was first diagnosed; perhaps we did and I missed it. When I asked him if he believed in God, and when he said he wasn’t sure, we moved to a different level of communication. We found our voice when it truly mattered even if it was my spoken voice and his inner voice.

This is my reflection and my story, but I wasn’t alone and neither was he. We had a lovely loving family who walked this journey with us, and then there was God.



Diane Cowie

Diane Cowie was born in Tasmania in 1946 where she attended St Finn Barr's Catholic Primary School and Sacred Heart College. Diane moved to Victoria in 1976. She has five children, 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. She attends Mass at St Columba's Catholic Church, Ballarat.

If you would like to republish this article, please contact the editor.