The Woman at the Tomb is a powerful and moving story of motherhood, mental illness and redemption.
As young mother far from her home country, Jessica Lockhart found herself facing a third pregnancy, not knowing she was suffering from a mental illness that threw her into confusion and depression. It seemed the only way to cope was to resort to an abortion. This added guilt to the depression and she managed even less. Suicide seemed the only solution.
She survived and, with the support of family and friends, re-found a lost commitment to her religious faith, and inspiration and strength in the Scriptures.
Jessica had chosen St Mary Magdalene as her patron for Confirmation, and the saint became a new support and inspiration. She revisited the stories from the gospels and dwelt on the message of hope they carried. She sat with Magdalene at the tomb of Jesus, and found healing in the resurrected Christ.
‘After the abortion, and in recovering from my illness, I wrote my story in order to gain insight into the event. As the story developed, I began to wonder if the experiences I had and the spiritual gifts that were given to me had a wider significance than just my own healing ... There is so much shame and despair around this issue. But there is also the possibility of grace. And there is a way back to life for those of us who find ourselves weeping into the tomb.’
The Woman at the Tomb
‘I have battled with mental illness for most of my life’, says Jessica Lockhart, ‘and it is only in the last five years that I have felt any sense of true hope. My children and my faith have been the main drivers of that.
‘The first stories I ever heard were the gospels. My father would read the daily gospel to his family before dinner as a way of saying grace ... That big, blue Bible held a world beyond my own filled with miracles and grand events and spoke of this extraordinary man who could heal people with the touch of his hands.’
Jessica has written poetry and plays and cabaret scripts, and is presently co-writing a screenplay and her first novel. Apart from reading and writing, her main interests are her children, her friendships, and her faith.