Once again I want to thank you, my heartbeats, for all the love shown this week. My 54th year started off a wee bit strange with major changes professionally and personally. Made my knees shake but my faith ain’t fake. No worries babies. God is in the details.
I have come to realize that I am a full year older than my mother was when she died and God has brought me back from more near misses than I can recount here. I owe it to her, to God and to myself to make this year count!!
Pulling back a wee bit so I can move forward. Choosing the fast God chose for me and using this time to straightened my crown.
My husband’s latest scans came back clean. Whew just in time to put a little Christmas cheer back.
My “partner in crime” cousin’s suspected breast cancer turned out to be nothing. I think she is happy I bug folks about smash-a-grams.
The Lord put me in the path of a young man who needed a Christian stranger to look past color, gender and class to “read his mail”. He thought he had hit a psychic reading which gave an inroad to talk about WHO a word of knowledge really comes from.
Then an unexpected last minute dessert order that I really didn’t know how to charge for, helped pay for 6 new sets of thermals for donation to Blessing Warriors RVA Inc. .
All I need now is for no one to offer me fruit cake and this will be the best Christmas ever.
YOUR LESSON FOR TODAY. A few days ago I was going to toss it because the other early blooms had died and it was looking rough. But I choose to cut away the dead parts and sure up the soil for what looked like one last shoot. I tied her to a bamboo stick for support. And within days this happens!!!
So take note, no matter what life looks like you will bloom again. Just remember: 1. Let Go of the dead habits and toxic folks along for the ride. 2. Check your roots and use some self care to fertilize your path 3. Tie yourself to a good support system Faith – Family – Good Friends and pro counseling!
-In Loving Memory of Edelmira Brown. November 1969 – October 2022
Today I practice what I preach. Checking in at 7:15 a.m. for my repeat 3D Smash-a-gram. Its 3 a.m. now and while I should be sleeping, I am up thinking about the ridiculously pink outfit I will wear today. My attempt to warn every woman I walk past today to not to let this happen to them.
It hits different once you have had BC knock on your door. You don’t complain about the discomfort as much. You are not as shy about being half naked in front of strangers. You accept the fact that yours takes longer and costs more than a regular test. You understand that you will not be allowed to leave until several people “read” you. You hold your breath and try to be tough while you wait for the nurse to come back with a “thumbs up.”
Yes, I’m still at it. Being rude and talking about boobs! LOL. But I forfeit my right to be private in order to save lives. I lost 4 years of my “normal life”. I know others that lost all of theirs . An hour once a year…every year just may give you yours back!!!!!!
All this week I found it tough to find my quiet time and focus.
Being a wife, mom of 5, grandma of 10. a full time employee of a job that runs more like 12 hour a day and resource minister, what is alone time again? I had pushed my time with God to quick moments…out of focus and not very devoted.
Guilt tried to creep in several times as I had been carving some time this week to do some decluttering and downsizing as I am making decisions whether to renovate my cute little house built in 1955 or move on to something bigger. Like I found time for junk but not Him.
Amongst the piles of what to trash, what to give away, and what to keep for repurposing, I found treasures and tears. Joys and lows. Memories kept and some that needed to be let go. I laughed as much as I cried. I held on to as much as I said “why do I still have this?”
This morning, I go to get up determined that God and I would have coffee no matter what! Yet before I could fully get out of bed, my foot would rest on one of the many piles of sorted clothes. My mind immediately thought to tidy up a little first.
“Find Me In The Clutter”
“Find Me In The Clutter”
Clear as day. In my spirit was an utterance to see God’s Glory in all my mess. As I refocused, I see Him.
He is there with me amongst the colorful stick figure drawings and piles of mother’s day cards from the joy of being a mom and Nama.
He is there with me in the butterflies I collect in memory of the beloved twin daughters and a grandson lost at birth.
He is there with me in the college diploma I received though I was told as a teenage mother I wouldn’t graduate high school. He is there with me in all 5 of their diplomas as well.
He is there with me in the mesh and metal cage bra I wore during 25 radiation treatments after 3 months of chemo and a lumpectomy.
He is there with me in angel figurine of a woman whom I never met who died herself but left the encouragement to celebrate my 3rd year as a survivor.
He is there with me in every photo of every loved one, every saved wedding announcement, every saved funeral program. In old records, old books, tickets stubs, vacation shirts and on and on.
I am writing to you now atop a pile of clutter in a hot mess of joyful tears mixed with “God, I’m sorry.”
I can’t quite find the words to express this feeling of knowing that He is always with me and speaking, even when I am a mess in a mess. What I had classified as a distraction turned into revelation and gratitude. A different kind of devotion…. initiated by Him.
I still have work to do…… both on working on “our time” and my cluttered environment. But He urged me to be mindful to let go of the guilt and allow this to be a “rested work”. A work that has purpose and meaning that will feel less like work as we clean it together.
So if any of you earth dwellers go looking for me today, listen out for the Hallelujahs in the hallway under the piles of kids clothes!!!!
Because of our crazy blended family, I don’t get to see all my 10 grandkids during Christmas. So I gave my oldest son’s kids their gifts early so they could have Christmas together before the eldest boy leaves to spend Christmas in NJ with his mom.
The youngest in this bunch, Jonah, had a gift from me that hinted at a much wanted gift that his parents are giving him on Christmas day. He was totally confused as to why I gave him a video game for a console he does not have. I told him to go have faith. We then begin to sing his fav new phrase “Holy Spirit Activate”.
How amazing it would be it we would grab onto the promises of God this way? He has already dropped the hint. Now go have faith!!!!
The day my mother died is the day I really knew she loved me. A strange thing to say, I know, but my truth nevertheless. The understanding of all things from the beginning came with the ending.
I had crawled in bed with her waiting for her last organic breath in a sterile room. My nose irritated by the scents of alcohol and i.v. Her nose bloody from forcing oxygen. I tried to clean her face. Lotion even but tears would fall from her left eye. My strong mother didn’t cry. She “leaked” as we would call it. I didn’t want to take it away from her. Truth is, I didn’t want to lose them myself. If I wiped them, I would never again see the strength of her womanhood again.
She hadn’t spoken for 3 days. Not since she had given me some rather poetic instructions. Even now I laugh that she and I could never have a straight conversation. Always a movie script of some kind. Meaningful now, drama back then.
When the silence came, her heart monitor spoke for her. The number of beats would rise and fall as different voices entered the room and addressed her all with the same tone. “Sister?” “Ma’cia?” “Mama? Mama? MAMA!!”
I knew her 3 day rule. If she didn’t rise in the three days like Jesus did, then she didn’t want to be hooked to nothing that would change that. She was adamant about not being trapped in weakness.
But I punked out. I sang “He’s sweet I know” as if that were going to change her mind. She waved a few times. I never knew if she was raising her hands in worship or telling me to shut up.
I have always felt I failed my younger sister by allowing her to sign those dreaded papers. I remember the mix of sadness and anger in her eyes as she penned her name and then literally ran from the room. It would be days before I saw her again
I’m was not quite cognitive of where my older sister was in that moment. I knew she was there. I suspect she was no longer the Big Sister at that moment but too was again the child with the single pocahontas ponytail praying for Mama not to go. She, like Mama, would try hard to not show it, but vulnerability reveals itself even in stone.
I only found out today that they had their private moment at some point that I must have slipped away. There was a forgiveness time involved and a phone conversation with her best friend. I pray she will tell you all about that someday.
The youngest was barely a preteen. Sheltered in the room with the grandchildren. The “adults ” always feeling the need to protect them from the inevitable.
I too made that mistake. I had sent my two youngest kids to school that Monday. Not sure if I was shielding them from death or from seeing me in a child like desperation. Children need to know that their parents are human too.
The treatment of my eldest, I regret the most. I had him when I was 15. He was her baby. Her son that I birthed. She would laugh and say that I was just the “egg bearer.”
Through well meaning “it’s going to be okay” I neglected to talk to him about God’s Will and how a person’s will outweighs our tears. At the moment of her death, he comes flying in with a bouquet of get well balloons, not realizing that her version of getting well meant leaving us behind.
Let me correct that. She didn’t leave us behind. She left this world behind and we just happened to be still in it.
The room was full though. Sister’s sisters and Sister’s brothers (one on the phone was in New York). There were so many, 10 of them total. Being on the oldest end, she was a second caregiver to most of them. Missing completely was the youngest brother. He was her original baby boy and had been murdered by a robber a few short years before. Honestly, I believe that was the day she really died. Her broken heart never quite recovered and affected her body from that point forward.
Her mother, the rock of our family, had been in and out, wheeled in a chair. But I still can’t picture her in the room at that moment. I was told later how she drew close to her daughter and gently rubbed her forehead. A silent expression of love that is the hallmark for much of my family. This was the second child she had lost at too young of an age. The baby boy, Ronnie at 33 and my mom not quite 54. Her soul was hurting in ways I cannot and will not try to imagine.
Slowing beeps and tubes being removed, counting each deep draw and release. Five. The number of grace. A number I now have a love / hate relationship with. On Valentine’s Day no less. A day she has previously disliked and one I still avoid 21 years later.
I remember my pastor/godmother trying to pull me away and I screamed at her “she brought me in this world, I can go with her out.” I don’t think I ever apologized to Cat for that. Not sure I should, that pull almost took my mother’s love from me.
In that moment, holding fiercely to my mother’s arm, I felt her. Not just a shockingly strange amount of energy that only those who have held on to a transitioning person know.
But I felt her.
It should have been a peaceful moment. But I was 31 years old and wasn’t ready for her to go yet. I had questions only she could answer. I screamed. I cried. I prayed in tongues so strong and loud that Cat asked the nurse to give me a sedative.. Even now I believe my comical mother got a chuckle out of that.
But I felt her.
She was free. She was seeing her Savior. She saw that Ronnie was okay.. Everything that ever burdened her was being released.
But I felt her.
Though it was only mere minutes it felt like hours. Holding on to her arm, that ironically had no more strength or warmth, I believe I was selfishly trying to hold on to her. Hold on to her because I still needed her. I still wanted her.
But I felt her. And she was finally fierce.
Her love was intense. It was given. It was written. It was unspoken. It was taken for granted. It was appreciated. It was too much and not enough all at once. It hurt her. It hurt others. It healed her and she healed others.
And in that moment, I felt her. I felt her love and I didn’t cry for her again for one full year. My mother showed me she loved me when she let me feel her.
November 8, 2021. An excerpt from “My Mama’s Love Is Like …”
On this last day of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I just want to remind you that it is not just about one month but about one life, one family, one community, and one world at a time.
I still believe there is a cure out there but in the meantime there are things you can do to help yourself and your loved ones fight against a disease that robs so many families of the caregivers. Early detection is key. Get them Smash-A-Grams, do your monthly feels, and have honest conversations with your doctor.
I was out in the Carytown area yesterday. One of the worst places to be when you know that you can’t have solid food for 36 hours before a medical test. But I was looking to pick up my last meal for a few days and wanted something special.
However my husband and I ran across homeless people near the trash cans of so many of these trendy restaurants . I began to weep when I saw them because this is America….the land of excess…and yet so many are living like this. Carytown flows with cash. Most times I can afford nothing there. It was heartbreaking seeing people of all ages and colors hoping for some wasteful person’s scraps.
This situation is only exasperated by Covid closing so many churches and shelter resources. It is also created by a ” I got mine. You get yours” attitude so many financially secure people have.
We don’t have a lot in our house but we are blessed. My husband and pooled what we had and bought as many sandwiches and fries we could handle. Thank you to the Carytown McDonald’s for asking what we were doing and donating a matching amount of bottled water.
I was shook so much by one married couple out on the corner with what seemed to be all of their possessions huddled against the cold. I freaked when I noticed a baby stroller but was relieved to find it was a very old dog wrapped in a blanket. I’m not a pet lover but I had to feed it. The poor thing was so tired looking he barely lifted his head at the smell of food. The young husband was so grateful he started to cry.
In the age of Covid you can’t touch, get too close or even see smiles anymore. But I was struck by all the emotions in his eyes and they spoke the volume of the problems in the human experience. His eyes were a golden brown color that I have never seen before and pierced right through me as a reminder to be grateful in all things. Even under the dirt and behind a make shift mask his face glowed.
I also noticed that they still wore their wedding bands. Tells me that they have not been out there too long. Most folks would have pawned for a room. Also tells me that they are determined to stay a family.
My husband and I made one last pass thru the street to make sure we hadn’t missed anybody we saw. Thought I had gone crazy because the couple and that old dog were suddenly gone. No way they could have moved that fast. We had just circled the block.
All I can do is wonder if we had been visited and tested. I pray we passed. My own food is still in the fridge. No need for it. My heart filled me.