Grief And Loss

Bequeathed

Sometimes when I open my mouth my mother comes out.

Lawd! That lady knew she had the tongue of fire. She was never one to physically discipline. But them words. Them words. Never profanity, near put downs, never insults. Just a metaphor and some imagery mixed in and she got her point across.

I remember wearing anklets in college. She caught me one day when I forgot to take it off. Her snarky remark was something about not knowing she raised a slave for a child. That was it. And she kept it moving.

In their youth, my aunt, her younger sister, told her something that obviously didn’t make sense. Mamman’s response, “Ki es ce manman istwa sa?” Who is the mother of that story?

My dad, the macho and stern one in the bunch, the resident cusser, would lay low and grumble when she got him. He had no snappy come back when she was done with him. I used to feel bad for him. He wore himself out disciplining us. And all Mamman had to do was say a word and we was right back in line.

I miss that lady. I miss our talks, our arguments, our silence. She didn’t mince words and with such an extensive vocabulary in three languages she didn’t waste her time on foolery.

I get her “frekaness” her freshness, her sarcasm, wisdom, and wit. I get her impatience for ignorance, her low tolerance for foolery. I own it like a favorite blanket cause it’s what she left me. What she bequeathed me.

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Random Thoughts

Eating Alone

“I know what I bring to the table so trust me when I say I’m not afraid to eat alone.”

Digging through Pinterest and this quote screamed at me! It said this is what six months shy of 40 means! This is what being married and still in love with the same man for 16 years is all about! This is what losing your mom at the prime of your life boils down to!

I remember dreading the trips to the cafeteria in middle school. I didn’t have a table full of friends. Lunch time meant me running there and getting a seat just so I wouldn’t have to try and figure out which table would accept me today. Breathing a sigh of relief when a group would casually sit nearby and talk to me was enough.

These days the tables literally turned (pun intended) and it’s less about walking in and having the pick of my table and more about me still finding my own table and choosing to sit alone for all the right reasons.

No more seeking out friends to increase the tally sheet. No more tolerating foolishness in the name of salvaging relationships. No more one-sided efforts on my part. And no more carrying burdens no one even asked me to bear.

This sitting at the table by myself is perfectly fine with me. When those issues and hang ups pass me by to another “table” I’m the one breathing the sigh of relief.

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Uncategorized

Fear Of Forgetting

It’s one of those weeks where everything that could go right actually did. Workshops I was stressing over. Nailed them. New relationships I am trying to foster. They are coming along just fine. Boundaries I am trying to clarify and keep clarified. Work in progress. An overall good week.

Then the guilt of living in the moment washes over me like ice water. A rude awakening; my mother is gone two months and it seems like life has miraculously gone back to “normal.” Fall and another new school year is nigh.

I’m scared that I will one day wake up without her being the first thing I think of. I’m scared that the pain I harbor in my heart will one day be a distant thought. I’m scared her presence in my life will one day be dimmed by time’s movement. I never want to wake up or go to sleep and forget her absence. That my random tears will no longer flow at the mere thought of her name.

It is a fear we who have lost carry with us each day. That their life will be a mere ripple in our existence. This fear of forgetting, it grips and refuses to let go.

Current Events

Head In The Sand

I drove home from work today thinking how buried my head is in the sand; not to be keeping tabs on the Michael Brown riots. I couldn’t even get the city and state right where it happened in right! I blamed it on this hot weather, blamed it on opening of schools stress, hell I even blamed it on the price of gas! And then I knew–I was really blaming it on my fear.

Fear of allowing my heart and mind to go to recesses of my psyche and have yet again have this one-sided conversation about race, police, violence, culture, education, our black boys. I’m just tired!

Tired of having the old discussion with my BLACK husband about raising our future BLACK sons with the knowledge that this world does not have a BLACK boy’s best interest in mind. Tired of feeling fearful for my friends who birthed and are raising beautiful BLACK boys. Tired of yet again having to confront our society’s flaws. Tired of acknowledging an educational system that sets our beautiful BLACK boys up for failure, of broken homes that eventually break them, of a penal system that harkens back to days slavery.

Once my heart rate returns back to normal, I’m back to my reality. I can’t be anywhere else trying to protest or get arrested! I got sixty children that along with me and my colleagues, we are welcoming this coming week. Sixty middle school boys and girls we are planning to nurture, teach, and help grow holistically. Sixty children whose parents are entrusting us with their care.

My heart bleeds for the Trayvons, Michaels, Abners, Amadous, of our society. For the weddings and graduations that will never take place. For a mother’s loss of her child. It’s incomprehensible.

Come Monday, my head won’t be in no sand. It will be up and out ready to face another school year. Praying, interceding on behalf of our children. Trusting God to impart in me what I need to impart in them. Believing that at age 17 and 18, their names will NOT be on an obituary but on a graduation program.

Current Events, Grief And Loss

Rich In Faith

Apparently we still think that money and fame can buy happiness and peace of mind. If we didn’t, the residual shock our nation is feeling this week wouldn’t be so palpable. Shocked to see a well loved, wealthy bastion of celebrity life has taken his life.

I think of my recent loss, and how there are days I would rather stew in the depression that allows free entry. It’s soft, it’s comfortable. It is that warm blanket that envelops you into a deep dark place. A place where voices become dim. Where silence reigns.

And then I know that Jesus is truly the answer to those dark days. When common sense, alcohol, drugs, even education and rationale can’t fill that void–Jesus certainly can. He didn’t promise there would be no bad days. But he did promise we would have His grace to see them through.

I think of David and his struggle to overcome enemies that wanted his body and soul. Of Paul who wanted to rid himself of this bane that followed him. Of the Christians now in the Middle East fleeing persecution. I think of my mother, with cancer ravaging her body. She continued to stand on God’s Word. With no money in the bank, no huge home, no lavish life styles–she was rich in faith.

Psalm 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the LORD.

Faith, Uncategorized

Bar Talk

What would happen if your Past, Present, and Future all walked into the SAME bar one night?

Would Past recognize Present and would those two know recognize Future?

Would Past take the time to sit with Present and have a heart to heart?Would he sit back in his chair, shake his head and marvel at Present?

Or would he keep it moving?

Past doesn’t want to have any regrets about Present. He expects the passage of time to be kind, to be fruitful, to have purpose. He expects to look in Present’s eyes and see a being who is at peace with where he is; with heart and mind set on greater things in Future.

If Past steps up to Present and sees a “white washed grave” staring back, oh boy, that’s not good.

I would like to think the tete-a-tete would go like this:

Past: Present! Man, you have really CHANGED!! And I mean a good change!! Who would have thought? Not in a million years! I can’t believe you did what! Went where?! Oh these pictures are beautiful. I’m sorry to hear that…
Glad you pulled through. Heard all good things about you. I’m so happy for you, Present. You done my heart good. I had my doubts there for a minute. You know people talk. Word on the street was you were left for dead. Your mind and soul was up for grabs by the highest bidder. Folks said… (Present sits there humbled, near tears, at a loss for words).

Meanwhile Future sits at the bar with his back turned to Past and Present. Bartender keeps the ginger ale on the rocks coming. Future is sober. No drinking here. He’s heard the whole convo. He shakes his head and chuckles to himself–cause if PRESENT ONLY KNEW WHAT HE KNEW.

Past wouldn’t be able to identify Future in a line up. Cause if he could, then life would have been a colossal waste of time. It’s best that Past can’t. Future likes it that way. Present would come close, but not close enough. “Keep ’em guessing” is his motto. Music loud, people talking, he knows he is being watched by those two who are eager to walk over and say hello. There will be time enough for that. Not today. Not now.

You see Past doesn’t have a place at the bar with Future. Those two have nothing in common. Truth be told Present really doesn’t either. Not unless Present makes amends with Past. Then and only then can Present move on to Future.

It was nice to sit and exchange some words with Past. Past is a reminder of what you have gained, lost, or left behind. A reminder of lessons learned, of triumphs, of losses. Past is not a place to dwell and make your bed. Past is not where you set up camp and never leave. Rather, Past is a mile marker on your way to the Future.

Present: Hey Past, it was really good talking to you. I got some things off my chest. That was good.
Past: Alright man, (sad, yearning face). Check ya later?
Present: Nah, more like goodbye.

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Grief And Loss

Too Many Tabs

My work laptop has like 20 website tabs open these days. For every project I’m working on, I start something and I am too afraid I will forget the website (even after I save it) and refuse to close it out. Poor laptop is moving slower than molasses these days.

Reminds me of my brain. I promised myself after Mamman’s death that I would close out some tabs for the time being and focus on what matters. Fighting to keep that promise to her of “not working too hard”, making time for loved ones, stopping to smell the roses…Yet with life and obligations nipping at my heels, I’m fighting that much harder not to fall in that same rut of committing to too much and not truly living my life.

Grief and loss is a natural emotion with natural responses and natural consequences. The hard part is owning it all and working through it with dignity and honesty to self. Taking time for self is an uphill battle that should not be sacrificed at the altar of busyness.

Closing out some tabs (and keeping them closed) is what makes sense for me these days. One’s sudden reappearance on the scene of life isn’t carte blanche to expect that person to pick up where they left off. They may not want to pick that up again and those who know well enough should leave well enough alone.

Not attending an event, canceling another one, saying no to this person–all part of my way of closing out tabs and keeping them closed. Whatever one’s loss may be, don’t hesitate to reflect and deflect from taking on more than you can handle.