This is a story about one family’s unshakable faith in the Lord, and how it lead to a woman and her children living with a dead body for six months.
The Wald family was a law-abiding, God-fearing, religion-preaching family in Hamilton, Canada.
Peter Wald and his wife Kaling had six children, and they lived in a modest home in the appropriately named Saint Matthews Avenue.
The family drove around town in a van covered in religious messages – as was their home – and they even scratched crosses on the van’s headlights so it would beam the glorious symbol on the road in front of them.
They handed out food to the homeless and would perform little plays and skits – religiously themed, of course – in the backyard of their home for homeless folk in the neighbourhood.
But the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, decided to afflict 52-year-old Peter with diabetes. Thinking that perhaps it was one of God’s tests, Peter refused to get medical treatment – believing instead that the Yahwey would cure him.
Eventually Peter fell into a coma and died in the family home around March 20 last year. Instead of calling the authorities and beginning funeral arrangements, Kaling and five of the six children living in the house decided that they would pray for Peter’s resurrection.
And prayed they did – hard!
Kaling covered Peter’s body with two blankets, shut the bedroom door and padlocked it. She sealed with window, door, and all vents with duct tape – and then went downstairs to await his inevitable rise from the dead.
Neighbours had asked Kaling about Peter’s whereabouts but she simply replied that he was ‘in God’s hands’.
On September 17, almost six months later, the local sheriff visited the house to serve an eviction notice – they had defaulted on mortgage payments.
The Walds knew they were going to be evicted, and had already packed their belongings – including Peter’s – when the sheriff arrived.
Court reports do not record the sheriff’s reaction when Kaling unlocked the padlock and cracked open the upstairs bedroom door to reveal the still-unresurrected Peter – but it was undoubtedly one of the all-time most horrified facial expressions.
Peter was badly decomposed – and the neighbourhood’s rats had not been dissuaded by a bit of duct tape and a couple of blankets. If Peter was coming back now, he would be coming back in a bad way.
On Monday, 50-year-old Kaling pleaded guilty to failing to notify police or the coroner that her husband had died due to an illness that was not being treated by a doctor. It’s the first known conviction of its kind in Canada.
She was given 18 months of probation and ordered to seek counselling over the ‘public health’ implications of the incident
Kaling, who has moved her family to Fort Erie, Canada, reassuringly told a reporter for the Hamilton Spectator after her court case: ‘It was unusual, yes. It was certainly not normal. And we won’t do that again… laws exist and we know that now.’