Posts tagged ‘funeral’

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

Just An Old Fashioned Love Story

It was August 1956, and an Army soldier who had recently fought in Korea now faced deployment to a war in Vietnam. His best friend Charles (more commonly known as “Bully”), a guy he’d known since infancy, had been married for a couple of years to a very pretty girl that he was obviously crazy about.

Bully had told him that his wife Marie had a younger sister who was just as pretty – and single.

In the meantime, Marie had been telling her sister Helen about Bully’s best friend  Columbus (more commonly known as “Nookie”). 

“You need to meet him!” Marie gushed. “He’s nice looking, he’s in the Army, and Bully thinks y’all would really hit it off.”

“What grown man has a nickname like ‘Nookie’?” Helen scoffed. “And I don’t know if I want somebody in the Army. I want whoever I’m with to be here, with me.”

Helen was more than a little skeptical, even put off – yet she was intrigued. She agreed to meet this “Nookie.”

Plans were quickly set. They would all go out for a late dinner that Friday night after attending the wake of one of Bully and Nookie’s classmates.

Later that night, Helen pondered an incident that had taken place a few months before. She’d been on her way to work, and her Mother stopped her.

“I had a dream about you last night, Girl,” her Mother said. “I saw your husband.”

Helen literally had trembled. Her Mother was a God-fearing, church-going woman and very spiritual. Mother Zora was known for having dreams and a keen insight into people’s character and motives. When she had a dream about something, all you had to do was wait for it to happen, because whatever she dreamed was certainly coming true.

“The dream actually wasn’t so much about you as it was about the man you’re going to marry. He’s on the short side . . . dark, and extremely intelligent. He wears very nice clothes, and . . . . . “

Helen listened with rapt attention as her Mother described the man she saw in her dream. Mother Zora described the man’s physical and intellectual characteristics, and then moved to the most important part: His character.

“He’s straight as an arrow, this man. He’ll be a good provider, and you won’t have to worry about him at all. He’s gonna want your children to do well in school; want them to be somebody in life. Family comes first with him. He does right by his Mother, and he’s going to do right by you.”

Helen had met a gentleman since that fateful morning, a tall, extremely handsome guy named Ralph who was being very persistent in his pursuit of her. For some reason, she was never completely at ease in his presence, and Ralph’s pushiness bothered her instead of drawing her. It also didn’t help that he didn’t meet her Mother’s physical description at all, and he wasn’t close to his family.

Helen sighed. Marie had tried to tell her what Nookie looked like based on Bully’s description, but she still couldn’t get a good grasp of him from Marie’s words. She’d just have to go to the wake and see this guy Nookie for herself.

Marie and Bully were already at the wake, seated at the front of the church when Helen arrived. Her heart pounding, Helen made her way over to them. She spoke to Bully, then sat next to Marie on the pew.

“Well, where is he?” Helen asked.

“He’s running a little late; he had to stop by his Mother’s before coming here,” Marie whispered.

HMPF! Helen thought. This Nookie person was already starting off on the wrong foot.

They sat for over an hour, until the end of the viewing period. Still no Nookie. Bully had periodically turned in his seat to scan the room for his friend. Helen refused to turn around;  she was not desperate! Even so, she had to admit to herself that she was a bit disappointed that Nookie hadn’t shown up. Whether she met him or not, the good thing was that she’d made up her mind to tell Ralph that she wasn’t interested. She’d tried to give him a chance, but her uneasiness around him and annoyance with him were two huge red flags she knew she couldn’t ignore. Helen felt a weight lift off her mind. Just the thought of telling Ralph to move on greatly improved her mood. 

Bully, Marie, and Helen stood for the benediction, then turned to leave. Looking toward the rear of the church, Helen’s eyes locked with that of an expensively dressed man – a man who perfectly embodied the description of the man described in her Mother’s dream.

In that moment, it seemed that they were the only two people in the room. In that moment, she felt no reservations about his person or his character. She had no sense of uneasiness; instead, it was as if she had known him all her life. She had never met him, yet knew deep in her heart that her destiny was tied to his. Whoever he was, she loved him on sight. She felt in her heart that he was “The One.”

“There he is!” Bully exclaimed. “Hey Nookie – over here!” 

Nookie barely heard Bully, because his eyes were still locked on Helen, who would find out later that when their eyes locked, Nookie had experienced the same thoughts and emotions about her that she’d had for him – he believed she was “The One.”

Three months later, Helen and Nookie  married in a modest ceremony at Mother Zora’s home. The date: November 15, 1956.

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

Join in the Fray: Do you believe in love at first sight? Why or why not?

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 15, 2012 at 4:54 PM 9 comments

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