Footprints: Esmeda Giddens - Beloved church founder left huge void
Come February 17, if Esmeda Therese Gidden were alive, she would have celebrated her 99th birthday. She, who gave birth to 13 children - 10 girls and three boys - and fostered many more, died on January 8, last year and was buried in the Commodore Cemetery in Linstead, St Catherine.
She was born in 1917 to Alexander and Adelaide Lawrence in Bonnett district, St Catherine. She married Clifford James Gidden, and lived in Treadways, St Catherine, where she founded the Treadways Gospel Lighthouse Church.
The devout Christian, affectionately called 'Mother Gidden', 'Grandma', 'Pastor', has left a huge void, it seems, as those who love her are still struggling to get over her passing, and are still heaping praises upon a woman who, they say, had a great impact on them.
"An overcomer, a victor, a conqueror in the Lord," was how Dorette Douglas, a 'spiritual' daughter, described her.
"The people of the community, the church family hail you today, a matriarch who has left footprints on the sands of time. You have been in my life for 35 valuable years. You were not just my mother-in-law, you were a mother, my friend, my counsellor, my mentor, my celebrity. I held you true to my wedding vows," Rema Gidden said.
Onenette LaBeach-Newman, who lives in the United States, had to make a contribution as she said, "Sis Gidden embodied what a mother in the Church should be", and "her loving spirit was a blessing to all".
In her tribute, Pettol Dias, a former church sister, said, "Remembering you brings a smile to my face and a twinkle to my eyes. A woman of virtue, a woman of strength, but most of all to me, wise. Deep in my heart your memory is kept of one I love and will never forget."
Aldwin Gidden, speaking on behalf of her 13 children, told Footprints: "Today, we reflect on her life and continue to applaud her efforts towards our orientation and the values she modelled for us to emulate. We sincerely cherish the memories of our childhood with Mom and our late Dad. She was more than a virtuous woman. She was a mother indeed, a true mother."
- Paul H. Williams