Posts tagged ‘death’

We Live We Love

Mrs. Gloria Dean Garner Jones

We live, we love, we forgive and never give up
Cuz the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

                                     ~From We Live by SuperChick

Approximately six or seven weeks ago I cruised down the freeway to an early morning meeting. For once, traffic flowed smoothly and the ride was stress free. Suddenly, from seemingly nowhere, a scene flashed through my mind, that of the funeral of a classmate’s Father, a popular coach and activist in our community. In that split second, I was transposed back in time. We were standing for the recessional. I could see my friend Judith, affectionately known as Cookie, and her family sobbing on the front row. That day, tears fell freely from my eyes, those of our other classmates, and of the countless adults in attendance.

Coach Jones’ funeral is stamped indelibly in my mind because it marks the first time I recall gaining an understanding of death: Its finality and the sense of utter separation it inflicts. My own family was (and for the most part, still is) blessed with longevity on both sides. Sure, we’d experienced the deaths of a couple of loved ones, but up until that point the losses had occurred via unexpected accidents, when we were away living in some foreign country or in another state. In hindsight, I know those deaths touched and hurt my parents, yet I realize they failed to affect my brothers and me in the same way.

We live, we love, we forgive and never give up
Cuz the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

 

On this day, the visual of my friend and her grieving family suddenly seared into my consciousness. I was startled, and taken aback. I felt the grief as fresh as I did the day of the funeral, and my eyes clouded with tears. I immediately began to pray for Cookie, her Mother, and her brothers and sisters. Thoughts of my friend and her family came periodically throughout the rest of the day, and I paused to pray for them each time.

Later that evening, my cousin Janelle called to tell me that Mrs. Jones had suffered a massive stroke, and her status was grave. Would I pass the news on to my Mother and other family members to join in prayer?  I managed to finish the call, and this time I could no longer hold back the tears. I thought of my own Mother and Father, still alive and doing well. I remembered the fear and despair I’d experienced just last year when both of them were hospitalized – my Dad on two separate occasions. I tried to put myself in Cookie’s place and imagine my Mother laying in a hospital bed fighting for her life – and I just couldn’t. The thought was much too painful; I couldn’t breathe.

But with life we never know when we’re coming up to the end of the road
So what do we do then
With tragedy around the bend?

I prayed for Mrs. Jones that night; we all did. We prayed, and continued to pray for Mrs. Jones and her six children; our friends and classmates. It seemed for a few hopeful days that Mrs. Jones was going to cheat death, yet eventually her body was unable to resist the onslaught that had come against her.

Mrs. Jones’ home-going celebration was held today at 1:00 p.m.

We live, we love, we forgive and never give up
Cuz the days we are given are gifts from above
And today we remember to live and to love

 The service was beautiful; filled with dignity and quiet joy. Heads nodded in assent at recounting of Mrs. Jones’ religious, professional, and civic service. She was a woman who was filled with grace and marked by a quiet, yet loving demeanor. To know her was to indeed love and respect her.

Laughter ensued as her grandchildren shared some of their memories and lessons learned. We prayed quietly for their strength, and then sat in awe as two of Mrs. Jones’ granddaughters sang “His Eye is on the Sparrow,” her favorite hymn, and as her firstborn son, Rev. C. Terrell Jones, brought a stirring oration and gospel message.

In Psalm 90:10, the patriarch Moses declared, The length of our days is seventy years–or eighty, if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away. We celebrated my Dad’s birthday on the 21st; he has achieved the “fore-score” years that Moses spoke of. With each passing day, I reflect on the fact that so many of my friends no longer have their parents with them. I feel like I am cheating, somehow. Yet, I understand more, and more, and more, just how very blessed I am.

In that same Psalm 90, verse 12, Moses prays, Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. I pray this ancient prayer, and thank God for His divine providence, and His gift of life. I’m doing my best to make the most of it – how about you?

But what would it take for the clouds to break
For us to realize each day
Is a gift somehow, someway
And get our heads up out of this darkness
And spark this new mindset and start on with life cuz it ain’t gone yet

 

Join in the Fray: What are you doing to “number your days aright?”

Copyright © 2012 Michelle Matthews Calloway, ASwirlGirl™, All rights reserved.

I’m blogging every day in the month of November as a participant in NaBloPoMo. Thanks for reading and feel free to comment!

 

November 24, 2012 at 9:31 PM Leave a comment

Memorial Day

Who can say for certain?
Maybe you’re still here . . .
I feel you all around me
Your memories so clear . . . .

May 28 commemorates an important date in my life; it is the day my husband Edward died. He was a veteran, one who proudly served his country in the armed forces. He passed away on May 28, 2000; to think that 12 whole years have passed is simply incredible to me.

 Ours was a “May/December” romance and he was considerably older than me. His “December” to my “May” gave him quite an edge over me in both wisdom and experience.  He was a very pragmatic man and from time to time talked very candidly with me about the fact that he was sure he would proceed me in death. I never wanted to hear that, of course, yet as with many things we discussed, he was right.

 I especially recall on one occasion him telling me that he was sure I’d be remarried in a year or two; he honestly believed someone would snap me up. Ha! That’s one instance where his assessment was incorrect. I guess I can’t say he was totally wrong, though: I didn’t remarry in that time frame because I couldn’t; I just didn’t.  

Even so, as I take time to reflect on what these 12 years have dished out, in my head I imagine giving him an update on my life, and what I’d like him to know:

 I’d like Edward to know that not every year has been good to me. I’d want him to know that I have suffered crushing betrayals, and experienced pain that was so deep it was palpable. I endured days when it was hard to get out of bed, much less put one foot in front of the other. I’d want him to know that I faced two major surgeries and two biopsies, and thankfully both tests returned negative. I would want him to know that through those times I longed for and missed the days when his strong, stalwart presence was there for me to lean and rely on.  

 I’d want him to know that through it all, in the face of heartache and heartbreak and broken promises, God gifted me with a sense of resilience, and enabled me to cling to a mindset that utterly refused to give in to defeat. I’d want him to know that through it all, I’ve managed to hold my head high and face every challenge life threw my way. I’d want him to know that even though there were times that my knees buckled, by the grace of God I never bowed. 

  I’d also like him to know that in spite of it all, God remained faithful to me and saw me through every test and trial. I’d want him to know that every day wasn’t cloudy and stormy; much of these 12 years has been sunny and bright. I’d like him to know that I embarked on one career and I’m about to start another. I’ve earned a Master’s degree and now I am “All But Dissertation” on my PhD. I’d want him to know that the gift of teaching that HE was the first to see in me is opening new and exciting doors for me, and I’m using it in even greater measure to make a difference in people’s lives.

 I’d also want Edward to know that I’ve opened my mind and my life to dating interracially. I’ve embraced that fact that love can come in more than one “color.” I’d like to think that hearing me talk this way would make him chuckle; my boldness, open-mindedness, and willingness to try new things were all characteristics he loved about me and did his best to cultivate.

 I’d like to tell Edward that I’m pursuing my writing career with a vengeance, and that I haven’t laid aside the goals and dreams I once shared with him. I’d want him to know that a good part of who I now am is attributable to him; the lessons he taught me; the example he lived before me. I’d want him to know that I appreciate him for being the man that he was, and for being such an important part of my life. 

 Sweetheart, I honor you today. Thanks for being you!

 

 

May 28, 2012 at 8:58 PM 7 comments


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