My Grandma Freda departed this side of life one year ago today. On Monday May 17, 2021 she quietly slipped away from this side of life. In the last year, there has not been one day that I have not thought of her, most times those thoughts are accompanied by tears. It’s difficult for me to write about Grandma Freda, because just thinking about the fact that she is gone still hurts in an indescribable way. I know that she’ll always be with me in spirit but her physical presence meant the world to me and not having that is something I have yet to adjust to. I can always hear her voice saying “Just as sure as you’re born you’re going to die.” I just never prepared myself for living a life that did not include the huge presence of Alfreda V. Regans Delaware in it. I‘m grateful that although Grandma Freda’s death has left a huge hole in all our hearts and an empty chair at the head of our dinner table, we (her family) won’t ever stop speaking her name. She embedded a part of herself in all of us and left us with a multitude of memories. We owe tremendous gratitude to our life’s crossing guard for all that we are and ever will be.💜
It has been two months and six days (67 days) since my Grandma Freda silently slipped away from this life, the pain of her physical absence has been much worse to bare than I ever imagined, but I believe where there is great grief, there was great love which is wholeheartedly true in regard to my bond with Grandma Freda. I’m enormously grateful for the huge spot that she occupied in my life for nearly thirty-nine years.
I’m sure it seems crazy to some people, but I’ve been trying to imagine what it was like the moment that Grandma Freda made it to the pearly gates and entered Heaven and what her first few days in her eternal home were like. I like to imagine that after walking through her earthly sojourn for 97 years, when she got to Heaven’s entrance, she heard the words we should all be striving to hear, “well done good and faithful servant.” I hope that after hearing those words Grandma felt unspeakable, indescribable joy and peace of mind. I hope her strength is eternally renewed and that as soon as she crossed Heaven’s threshold, she was immediately freed of congestive heart failure, diabetes, that pesky colostomy bag she so passionately hated & any other health problems that plagued her during her earthly life. I hope that she was instantly relieved of any worries, doubts and fears she experienced in her 97-year earthly sojourn. Now, she can walk around Heaven as long as she wants.
After seeing the faces of God and Jesus & having a little conversation with them, I hope the reunion of loved ones started. Although Grandma was not a hugger in this life, I like to imagine that she got a chance to hug and talk to her daddy who she never really knew because his earthly life ended when Grandma was just a little girl aged 2. I hope she was reunited with her wonderful mother who she learned a multitude of life lessons from and talked about constantly. Oh, what a magical time I imagine she is having with all her siblings as they are now reunited with their baby sister. I like to imagine that she found my Granddaddy, if you really knew them in this life then you know just how that reunion probably went. I like to imagine that Grandma couldn’t wait to tell Granddaddy all about what’s been going on in the family for the last twenty-three years since he left this side of life, as if he hasn’t been watching over us. I know she and Granddaddy were both smiling from cheek to cheek when she started talking about their great grandchildren who Granddaddy never got a chance to know in this life. I imagine that just as in this life, Granddaddy probably said something to her in a teasing way that he knew was going to upset her and Grandaddy was probably tickled pink to know that she still falls for that trick. Grandma Freda probably walked away from Grandaddy singing. Oh, how I miss watching their unique love.
I hope that as Grandma continued to walk around getting acclimated to life in Heaven, she ran into her son-in-law who was my daddy and my paternal grandparents. I hope that they conversed for a little while about how my mom, my brother and I have been doing. I hope that Grandma Freda tells Daddy all about his amazingly awesome grandchildren Tristan and Zola. I’m sure she pronounced Tristan’s name wrong as usual. I envision Grandma Freda meeting up with her niece Mae Mae, and I’m sure that Mae Mae told Grandma how to find every single family member in Heaven. I imagine that Grandma’s captivating singing talent is completely restored and she has been made a member of Heaven’s Angelic Mass Choir, a soloist in fact. At her first choir rehearsal (yes, in my imagination there is still choir rehearsal in Heaven) I hope she saw one of her best friends, Mrs. Virginia Scott. I imagine that whenever Grandma has a solo to sing, Ms. Virginia and her daughter Juanita will be playing Heaven’s organ and piano back-to-back just as they did for numerous years at Grandma Freda’s beloved Beulah Land Church. I see her lifelong friend Mr. H. A. Scott singing in the choir as well, his beautiful voice completely renewed.
I’m sure that one of the first people that Grandma probably looked for when she made it to Heaven was another one of her lifelong best friends, Mr. Rodgers Harmon and his family who she grew up in church with. I wonder how Granddaddy felt about that. I hope she found Mrs. Johnie Bell Anderson; I can’t even imagine what their first conversation was like I’m certain the friendship was rekindled just as if no time had passed at all. I hope that as she continued to walk around Heaven, she found other lifelong friends like Mrs. Annie Mae Vaughn and Mrs. Lille Mae Anderson and their husbands. I hope that she has been reunited with loyal and kind neighbors who became like family such as Mr.& Mrs. W.R. McCoy, Mr. & Mrs. Gerald Woolfolk and Mrs. Billie Rose Jones. Grandma Freda was a talker, a real people person in this life, and I am sure she is the same in Heaven I see her making conversation with everyone that she passes as she walks around Heaven, she’s stopping to talk to people she knew in this life and those she is just meeting. I hope that Grandma has gotten a chance to see anyone who is in Heaven that was a member of Beulah Land since she was baptized in 1936, I hope she’s found Beulah Land Church members like Ms. Azzie Lee Clark, Mrs. Mary Lee Knight, Mrs. Nancy Davis, Mrs. Lillie Coleman & Grandma’s cousin Cicero Story. As she continued her walk familiarizing herself with Heaven, I am very certain that she put in a big effort to find her dear Dr. William Thompson and Mr. David Pattenotte, two souls who meant a great amount to her. There are so many precious souls that I like to imagine that Grandma Freda has come into contact with in Heaven simply because they meant something to her on this side of life.
I’m certain that Grandma Freda’s first two months in Heaven have been incredible. Grandma Freda had a great life during her 97-year earthly sojourn, God allowed her to do all that her heart desired. I hope that her life in Heaven is a million times greater than what her earthly life was. I hope that as Grandma Freda continues to walk around her eternal home, she is filled with nothing, but joy and happiness and she is surrounded by infinite love. I pray that someday many years from now that Grandma Freda and I are reunited, and we can walk around Heaven together.
I’ve been trying to write this blog post for several days, but every moment that I was able to still myself I ended up in a battle with my emotions and was badly defeated by an uncontrollable flow of tears so I just couldn’t write anything until now.
In Celebrating My Family’s Crossing Guard #61 (posted February 5, 2019) I wrote about my maternal grandmother, my Grandma Freda who on that day was celebrating her 95th birthday. I hope everyone who pays attention to my blog has a chance to read that post.
Twenty days ago, on Monday May 17, 2021 my grandma’s tour of duty as our family crossing guard ended as she quietly slipped away from this life and onto the next. The last twenty days just haven’t seemed real to me, it is like I’m walking around in a long somber dream, but sadly I am fully awake and in real life. I saw my grandma alive on this side of life for the last time on Sunday May 16, just one day before her death. It was so very painfully obvious that death was near, Grandma wasn’t at all herself. I’m not sure that she even recognized my mother and I, because her reaction to our presence was not at all the same as usual. It was like she was in a daze. I’d like to think that her mind was completely focused on the transition she was preparing for. I hope that she had her mind set on going to a place where she will no longer be sick & weak, a paradisiacal place where her strength will be renewed eternally.
Even though while sitting in her bedroom on that Sunday afternoon, crying & praying, I figured that Grandma Freda’s time with us, on this side of life was coming to an end; I absolutely never for one second imagined that her final hours in this life would be the very next day. I never thought that the next time I would see her, it would only be her body, the shell that held her awesome soul for 97 years, laying in a casket. God hasn’t given me the talent or vocabulary to put into words just how painful that was for me.
If you knew Grandma Freda then you know that showing affection was in no way her thing, she was never the hugs & kisses type of person, although she didn’t show love in affectionate ways I can only think of one time in my life when I questioned her love for me. I won’t go into any detail but I’ll say, it was a time in my life when I was young and I had to live and learn, but I was soon reminded by God that my Grandma Freda loved me with her whole heart. I can’t remember a time in nearly 39 years when Grandma didn’t have a strong presence in my life. I can remember in elementary school I was in plays reenacting The Wizard of Oz and The Three Bears which must have been before my extreme stage fright developed, but anyway Grandma Freda was sitting in the front row with my parents and my Aunt Zel each time. I got very delicious homemade birthday cakes until the age of 37 and any birthday party or dinner that I ever had Grandma was always right there.
Grandma could be a bit hardcore sometimes, at 805 you lived by her rules and she didn’t play, it was her way and literally no other way. I can remember only one time that she spanked my hands when I was a little girl, but my memory fails when trying to recall the reason for the spanking, whatever it was I never did it again because I never wanted to suffer grandma’s wrath in that way again. Through all the medical procedures I have had in my life I always knew that she was a praying grandmother who has sent numerous prayers from her lips to God’s ears for me, not just through my endurance of medical procedures but on a daily basis. I can always hear her telling me “just trust in God.”
Having a conversation with Grandma Freda has always been like being at school. In her classes (conversations, be it phone or in person) there was always a multitude of lessons and sometimes there would even be homework assignments. Homework assignments would be reading a specific scripture or looking up information on someone like Paul Lawrence Dunbar. She taught useful life lessons that will never be printed in any textbook. Grandma would teach everything from Sex Ed. to Sunday school and any & everything in between in one conversation regardless of if you had time to listen or not, she didn’t care because it was always something she felt like we needed to know. If you’ve known her for a long time I’m sure you’ve gotten a lesson or two about the “sponge” and the egg in only the way that she could teach it.
Grandma Freda could be very tough sometimes but deep underneath her tough exterior lived her very kind and loving side, if she loved you then you know exactly what I mean. As I said on a Facebook post soon after her death, I have several items of clothing that I can’t wear and some broken jewelry that she gave me simply because she wanted me to have them and those are items that I will cherish for the rest of my days in this life.
I’m not sure I know anyone else who possesses the faith in God that Grandma Freda did, I’m not sure if she ever found herself questioning God, she always seemed to trust in God and his plans. She taught all of her offspring to have that same faith in God and that no matter what your occupation in this life is or what material things you are afforded, only what you do for Christ will last. I’ll always remember when I decided to give my life to Christ, be baptized & join her beloved Beulah Land Church, she was so excited and happy, her only criticism was that I was 16 years old and should’ve done it at a younger age. Happy and exciting times in life with Grandma Freda were usually mixed with a little criticism, especially if you weren’t doing things her way.
I could probably write a novel about the special bond that I had with my Grandma Freda since the day of my birth, but I won’t right now because I’m sure this long blog post gives you just an inkling of what her strong presence in my life meant to me. I wholeheartedly believe that Grandma will always have her hand on the lives of me and the rest of her family, she’ll always be making sure we do life her way.
I know that Grandma Freda was 97 years old and God blessed her with a good life. I know that she hasn’t been in the best of health for a little over a year now. I know that the bible which she belived in so wholeheartedly says Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh. (Matthew 25:13 KJV. ) I’ll always remember Grandma Freda saying “just as sure as you’re born you’re going to die. ” I know all of the above-mentioned, but selfishly all of those things are in the back of my mind at this moment. Her death came much to soon for me. I had her in my life for nearly 39 years, I’m grateful for those years but I wanted just a few more days.
It is so extremely excruciatingly painful accepting the fact that Grandma Freda is gone, but I’m trying to do like she taught me and trust in God and accept his plans. I pray that I am living a life worthy of transitioning to that paradisiacal place I believe Grandma Freda and many other loved ones have gone to so that we will be reunited someday.
My tough as nails but loving grandmother Alfreda V. Regans Delaware Feb. 5, 1924 – May 17, 2021 She used her dash well.
“Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.” Genesis 2:7
I’ve been struggling for a while trying to decide if I should share this post or not. I want to have a voice in this world through my writing, so after a lot of thinking I realize that part of having that voice is expressing things that not everyone is going to like or agree with, but that still need to be expressed.
So here goes…
I’m having a really difficult time trying to release Tuesday May 26, 2020 from my mind and I am not so sure if that’s a good or bad thing. On the afternoon of Tuesday May 26, I found myself scrolling through my Instagram timeline, just as I do most days, but on that day I stopped to view a video, a video that I am certain everyone who viewed it will never forget its contents. You see, Tuesday May 26, 2020 was the day that I watched the video of George Floyd’s callous murder. At the time I didn’t have the emotional strength to watch the entire video, but while watching the small portion that I did my one and only thought was “WHY?”.
Later on in that week as I sat watching the whole video of George Floyd’s heartbreaking death, it took my thoughts back to an experience I had as a little girl. In the late 80s or early 90s, I don’t remember the exact year, I was visiting my grandparents and other relatives in my family’s hometown, probably during summer vacation. One day my older cousin and I were in the downtown area with our aunt, the three of us and some other African American people were walking out of whatever store we had been shopping in, when some young Caucasian girls traveling down Main Street in a convertible suddenly started shouting “porch monkeys” “porch monkeys” as they rode down the street. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, I believe that I was elementary school aged, regardless of what my age was at the time I can remember the experience very vividly, as though it happened recently.
I am by no means comparing my experience with the modern day lynching that was George Floyd’s callous murder. My experience was not at all a violent one and I am alive to tell others about it. At the time of this experience I didn’t know what a porch monkey was and I probably didn’t know anything about what racism really is, because I was just a little girl who probably did not have many cares at the time. Later on in life, as I grew and got a little older I learned that the term “porch monkey” was used in reference to a lazy black person, in my opinion it’s just a bit of a “nicer” way of calling a black person the N-word.
I believe that watching the video of George Floyd’s final few minutes on this side of life took me back to my “porch monkey” experience for a reason. I believe that it triggered thoughts of that specific experience to remind me that for centuries there have been people in this world who have always thought of black & brown people as simply porch monkeys and many far more derogatory names, solely based upon the color of our skin. The deep melanin in our skin, the race that we were born into which God chose to make us has caused others to feel that we “colored people “ are in some way inferior to them. As a 38 year old who is paying much more attention to what’s happening in this world than that little girl who was frightened after being called a porch monkey on Main Street, it is very infuriating to be reminded that there are people in this world who don’t know me and my heart, but have hatred in their hearts towards me simply because I am a black person.
I bet those four police officers thought of George Floyd and every other African American victim of police involved murders as just porch monkeys; lazy black people. They didn’t think of George Floyd and the multitude of other black & brown police shooting victims as someone worthy of life, but as someone adding no value to society, to this world. I believe that due to the efforts of numerous protesters & activists since George Floyd’s death, there have been a few positive changes in the racism war that has been going on for centuries in this country, but I’m pessimistically not so sure that the war will ever be won, because racism is deep rooted in the hearts and minds of those who exhibit it.
That’s just my perspective!💜
What do you all think? Is it realistic to think that we will truly overcome and all forms of racism will no longer exist some day in the future leading us all to live equally?
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” Thomas Campbell
My heart is heavy laden with sadness as I write these words today. One of my favorite people was laid to rest in her eternal home earlier today. I couldn’t be with my family to celebrate her life because distance and a global pandemic separates us. My maternal grandmother’s niece, my cousin Mary was very affectionately known as simply Mae Mae. Mae Mae journeyed through this life for a very blessed eighty years before she transitioned to her eternal home on Friday June 19, 2020. I was very heartbroken when I heard that Mae Mae’s time on this side of life had ended and in the days thereafter I began to think about her life and what she meant to me. I decided to celebrate Mae Mae and what she’ll always mean to me by writing a bit about our special relationship.
The first time I have any memory of Mae Mae coming into my life was in the early 1990s when I was 8 or 9 years old. It was 1991, if my memory serves me correctly, when Mae Mae and several other family members came to my family’s hometown to attend a family reunion. I can remember instantly just taking a liking to Mae Mae, I guess it was because even as a child I could tell that there was something extraordinary about Mae Mae. I immediately felt like she loved me. During the weekend of that family reunion I stuck with Mae Mae at all of the reunion events. After that weekend, Mae Mae started calling me “her girl”. I can’t explain to you just how much that always meant to me, even if she had other relatives and friends who she called that, it still meant that I was special to her. Once the family reunion weekend was over, I don’t remember keeping in touch with Mae Mae much, I guess that’s because I was busy growing up, but she would always ask about me whenever she spoke with my grandmother.
Over the years, whenever Mae Mae, her daughters and family came to visit or my family and I traveled to Gary, Indiana to visit Mae Mae and her family, just as I did as a little girl I always stuck right beside Mae Mae. As I came into my adult years I feel like the bond that Mae Mae and I shared grew even closer/stronger. In recent years Mae Mae and I had numerous phone conversations that I will remember and cherish for the rest of my time on this side of life. I don’t know anyone who loved and cherished family quite as much as Mae Mae did, family literally meant the world to Mae Mae. If ever there was something that I wanted to know about our family she always had the answer for me and sometimes the answer went far beyond what I was asking, because family was her favorite topic during all of our conversations. It always seemed as though Mae Mae made an effort to keep in touch with just about everyone in the family. During many of our phone conversations she would update me on what was going on in the lives of several family members, some of the relatives she would tell me about I still have yet to meet. Her family updates always meant a lot to me, because like Mae Mae family is very important to me.
It probably doesn’t make any sense, but sometimes I felt like I could hear the smile in her voice when she would discuss her family. She always spoke as though it brightened her day to speak about her family. Mae Mae and I never had a conversation without her mentioning something about her daughters. She always seemed so proud to be their mother. She spoke in a way that would lead one to believe that her sons in law were more like her sons. On all of our phone conversations Mae Mae was always a doting grandmother, she was always bragging about her awesome grandchildren. She was very proud of the young adults that her grandchildren have become. Family truly meant everything to Mae Mae.
As I sit in my quiet place writing these words about one of my most favorite people, Mae Mae, I can hear her infectious laugh and a twinge of sadness hit me because I realized how long it’s been since I’ve gotten to visit with Mae Mae. In the last year or so I’ll admit I have done an awful job of keeping in touch with Mae Mae and at this moment I’m feeling some regret. I’m feeling some regret because I haven’t picked up the phone to call Mae Mae in a while and now I can’t. It’s dawned on me that distance in miles is no longer what separates Mae Mae and I, honestly that realization stings my heart more than I could fathom. Although I failed at keeping in touch as I should’ve, Mae Mae has never left her very special place in my heart and she never will.
I’ve been grappling with my thoughts & feelings for a while now trying to decide how to express myself about life in the last few weeks since the Covid19/coronavirus pandemic started. I’ve been dumbfounded seeing how a virus can spread globally so rapidly and affect millions of lives. I can’t tell you how many conspiracy theories I have read about what’s caused this virus to come into existence.While some of those theories make a lot of sense I’m not much of a conspiracy theorist. I tend to think of most of life’s occurrences from a spiritual perspective.
I know everyone who reads this is going to think that I’ve lost a few brain cells, because it’s the craziest thing, but every time my thoughts go to “the virus” as I’ve heard so many people call it, I think of a song that was sang in the movie The Color Purple. I’m sure if you’ve seen the movie then you’ll surely remember the scene where the song entitled “Maybe God Is Tryin’ To Tell You Somethin’ was sung. I’m sure you can envision the entire scene in the movie right now just like me.
Once “the virus “ started spreading faster than wildfire it seemed, I began to think maybe God is trying to get our attention, maybe God is trying to tell us something. The way most people live on a daily basis has changed within just a few weeks and life may not easily go back to what we all considered to be normal before the pandemic. I’m typically a homebody so being in quarantine, sheltered in at home has been a breeze for me, but this period of change occurring in the world around me has been an eye opening experience. This period of change in the world has been like nothing I have ever seen in my life. I wonder how many of us who claim to love him are paying attention to God right now. It’s unbelievably tragic how much death has occurred during this period of change and I’m deeply saddened, because people who have been a part of my life’s journey have departed this life due to their bodies being infected with Covid19. While death is rarely a joyous occasion for those left living as I think the bible says it should be I believe that death is never sudden or untimely, the year 2020 was God’s chosen time for all who have departed this life to step into the next. My heart aches for each family member grieving their loved one(s) during this period of change when homegoing/funeral services can’t even be what they once were, but maybe God is trying to show us that we should give one another our “flowers” while we live and not wait to celebrate one’s life at their funeral.
Y’all, we are living in a world where we’re doing everything but what God’s word teaches. I’ll be the first to admit that I definitely am NOT living my life in all the ways that the bible states I should be. I’ll admit that there are scriptures I read in the bible that I simply don’t understand, therefore I cannot abide by them and although it may be blasphemous or sacrilegious to say so, there are things written in the bible that I don’t agree with or feel fit into the world we are living in, in the year 2020. I do feel like those of us (yes, me too )living in this world today have traveled to the extreme opposite side of what God wants and He had to use a global pandemic to get some of us to stop and listen attentively.
It tickles me when I think about how God has even shown some people that placed a high level of necessity on being inside a church every Sunday morning that it’s not the building you’re in that matters when you are sharing time with God. The pandemic has forced some to face awful things about this world, specifically in the United States, things that we’d rather keep buried deeper than a 6 foot grave. All the isms (racism, sexism, ageism & many others) that some would rather just act like haven’t existed for centuries. It’s forced so many who didn’t already realize to see that our healthcare system is in deep need of some intense modifications. It’s revealed that some parts of our political system and the politicians within it are a bad comedic horror show. This period of change has proved to be a reiteration of the fact that money is the root of all evil. God has point blank shown us so many of the things we are doing wrong in this world; using a global pandemic to do so. I believe the awesome part of it all is that after he’s done showing us our errors, he’ll allow us the time to correct them. I wonder if we will take the opportunity.
This period of change (pandemic) has also been a time where God has reminded me personally that even though at times it seems that the bad outweighs the good in the world, there are still some amazing people in this world. I have read numerous stories about the women and men who God has called to serve in medical professions, people who God is performing miracles through each and every day. It’s astonishing to see people who risk their own lives just to fulfill the calling to take care of others. It’s great to be reminded of all the awesome teachers that I had when I see stories of great teachers who are doing all they can to assist their beloved students with the sudden change to 100% online learning at nearly the end of a school year. It makes my heart smile and cry all at once when I see pictures of daughters, sons, grandchildren and other relatives standing outside the windows of elderly loved ones who are quarantined/sheltered in their nursing homes, but those daughters, sons, grandchildren and other relatives are going to visit by any means necessary. I’m reminded that there is still love, kindness and compassion being shared in this world especially during the most difficult times.
God has reminded me that this life and this journey on Earth he has allowed us all to travel is a temporary gift that he has given us all for a specific purpose and a specific time limit with no exceptions. The gift of life comes with unspoken terms and conditions which I feel are that we take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and this world that God allows us to live in. Also for those of us who believe in him, to trust in him and share with him some of the time he’s given us. I’m not so sure we would all be graded an A+ at fulfilling our end of that unspoken agreement. Are you?
If you have ever taken a moment to read anything that I have shared on my blog then you know that God has blessed me to know some truly awesome people throughout my journey along the path God set for me. I think I’ve said many times before that I have come to a place in my life where I try to live by the saying “give me my flowers while I live.” which is why I use my blog to express my feelings for the people I love and care about most in this world.
A few days ago, I was reminiscing about my childhood and growing up going to Beulah Land M. B. Church, being a member of Beulah Land Church I was blessed with the opportunity to grow up around some of the best people in the world, in my opinion. There is one very special person who is within all of my memories of growing up in Beulah Land and that person is Mrs. Virginia Bland Scott.
Throughout my childhood into adulthood Ms. Virginia was the organist at Beulah Land alongside her daughter Juanita who played the piano. It was always an awesome sight watching them sitting back to back accompanying the choir. The organist at my church wasn’t the only role that Ms. Virginia served in my life, she was an immensely special person in my world. She was always like a grandmother to me. As I was reminiscing about Ms. Virginia teaching music every summer during vacation bible school at church I realized that unfortunately she was someone who I didn’t give enough “flowers” while she lived.
Ms. Virginia married into the Scott family and you see, my grandmother’s family and the Scotts have shared a friendship that goes back through several generations of both families, so my relationship with Ms. Virginia extended far outside the walls of our church. Ms. Virginia is someone that I thank God for each and every day because I’m tremendously grateful for the spot she held in my life for 31 years. I’m sure you all can relate to me when I say that sometimes in this life I don’t always believe people when they tell me they’ll pray for me, but I wholeheartedly believe that through all my surgeries and any other troublesome times I’ve endured sincere prayers were spoken from Mrs. Virginia Scott’s mouth to God’s ears on my behalf.
I don’t think in all the years I knew her that I ever saw Ms. Virginia angry, I’m sure she probably had a side of her that she only showed to those who knew her best, but to me she was always one of the most sweet spirited, most loving & caring ladylike women I’ve ever known. Those of you reading this who know me best know that I went through a period of time when I was home alone everyday before my mother retired from being a school teacher and I can still remember numerous times when I would get a surprise call from Ms.Virginia, that always ended with a smile on my face. Her surprise phone calls were always to check on me because she cared so genuinely and our phone conversations always included an encouraging word or two just at the very moment when I needed some motivation and encouragement. Ms. Virginia always seemed to know just when I needed to hear from her. She would often tell me that she enjoyed talking to me because I have such a soothing voice, I honestly never knew how to reply to that compliment, but it always brightened my day. I’m really bothered by the fact that I never took the opportunity to shower Ms. Virginia with praises and express to her how much our phone conversations meant to me and just how much value I placed on her spot in my life.
Today Ms. Virginia would have celebrated her 97th birthday, but unfortunately she completed her journey through this side of life on February 1, 2014. I’ll never forget that morning six years ago, waking up to a text message on my phone from her granddaughter which stated that Ms. Virginia was gone. I hadn’t been that extremely heartbroken since my daddy’s death. Although Ms. Virginia was 90 years old at the time, she was someone who I honestly never thought about leaving my life. I know its a completely immature thought, but Ms. Virginia was one of those people that I always considered to be invincible. Unfortunately God didn’t make any of us invincible, some day we all will finish our journey throughout this side of life just as Ms. Virginia did that morning six years ago.
Six years later and I realize Ms. Virginia hasn’t left my life simply because she’s no longer here in the flesh. I can no longer receive those encouraging surprise phone calls or see her playing the organ at Beulah Land or walk up the street from my grandma’s to visit with Ms. Virginia and her family, honestly those are things I have yet to adjust to, but I know that Ms. Virginia is always with me, she’s in my memories and she never strays too far from my daily thoughts. I’m the luckiest, most blessed girl in the world, because alongside my daddy and other family members who have left this side of life I have the sweetest spirit watching over me.
My God is so amazing, you see, 37 years ago when God placed me in this world, he made me the daughter of two extraordinary people, but being the amazing God that he is, his plans were already set and he knew that my daddy would forever be in my heart but only physically a part of my life for 16 years. For 16 years of my life I was blessed with the best father any daughter could have. I know all of us who have/had great fathers feel that way, but anyone reading this who actually knew my daddy, you know I’m right, my brother and I were blessed with a great father who we always felt loved by and my mother was blessed with a wonderful husband who without any doubts loved her. My amazing God knew that in March of 1999 he was going to need Daddy back with him, so from day one of the lives of my brother and I, alongside our daddy and of course our exceptional mother, God placed our village. My brother and I were extremely blessed with exceptionally great parents, but as the saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child.” We have many great people who have had a role in the village that raised us alongside our parents, especially after our daddy’s death. In this post I want to express my gratitude and love for four of the wise men in our village.
The first of the four wise men is my godfather, Joe H. Smith who I expressed my love and admiration for in My Heaven Sent Second Father #62. One definition of a godfather is a male godparent who acts as an advisor or mentor to someone. If you read perspective #62 then you know that definition fits Joe’s role in my life, but he serves a myriad of roles in my life so I always feel like only calling him my godfather seems so inadequate. Joe is not only my godfather, he’s my trusted confidant, I consider him one of my professors in the classroom of life, because I’m learning something from him all the time, he’s an outstanding role model, he’s my shoulder to lean on whenever I need and there’s nobody else who can make me laugh like my god daddy. He does all of that and more for me, sometimes without reward simply because he loves me without conditions. He is always there for me whenever I need him. He is one of the most selfless people I know, I can’t think of a time that he has ever said “no” or “not right now” when I ask him to do anything for me. One of the most essential life lessons I have learned from Joe is to always keep a sense of humor no matter what circumstances this life puts you in. I can’t imagine my world without Joe Henry Smith in it.
The next of the four wise men is my Uncle Charles, my daddy’s youngest brother.
Uncle Charles is one of the people in my life who when I really get to thinking about what he really means to me the tears just start to roll down my face before I even realize it. Uncle Charles reminds me so much of my daddy it’s amazing, I never realized how similar they are in so many ways until after Daddy was gone. I’m not sure Uncle Charles knows just how much I value his presence in my life. Uncle Charles and I have phone conversations that last for a few hours sometimes, we talk about everything and nothing. Uncle Charles is probably one of the wisest wise men in my life, his intelligence is unparalleled, he seems to know a little something about anything that I ask him about. I call him when missing Daddy gets to be too overwhelming and nearing the end of our two or three hour conversation Uncle Charles will have me laughing at a story about something silly/comical that my daddy did when they were boys. I’m grateful to be able to pick up the phone whenever I want or need to talk to Uncle Charles.
Rev. Willie E. Smith, one of my daddy’s best friends from childhood to manhood, his Tougaloo College roommate, is the third of my four wise men. Rev. Smith has always been a part of my life, as a little girl I knew that he was one of my momma and daddy’s best friends, but honestly it wasn’t until after my daddy’s death that I began to truly appreciate his presence in my life. Rev. Smith and my Goddaddy Joe are two of my parents’ lifelong friends who have been men of their word for as long as I have known them, but most especially since Daddy died, if those two say they are going to be there they are; always. Rev. Smith has been there to officiate over some of the most important moments of my life, he was the officiant at my baby blessing ceremony when I was an infant and he performed my baptism in my teenage years. I don’t get a chance to see Rev. Smith nearly as much as I would like to because he is always busy fulfilling his calling doing the Lord’s work and taking care of his family, his church members and anyone else who needs him, but I know that if I need him all I have to do is make a phone call and his 747 will land wherever I need. I’m grateful to Rev. Smith for being someone who befits the definition of the word friend.
Last but surely not least is my Uncle Jake, my mother’s only brother. I feel like the older I get the more and more my relationship with my Uncle Jake grows. My Uncle Jake is a deep thinker like I am, he always looks like he has something on his mind and when you have a conversation with him you get to see just how wise he really is. Uncle Jake’s demeanor reminds me a lot of my granddaddy, you can’t always tell what he’s thinking by looking at his facial expression. My Uncle Jake was there that awful afternoon/evening nearly twenty one years ago when my daddy left his earthly life. I don’t think I ever got the chance to thank him for being there, but if I did get the opportunity my emotions would probably get in the way of me being able to express myself properly. My Uncle Jake is someone who I am glad to have in my world and I hope and pray that our uncle/niece relationship continues to grow.
Though neither of them could ever fill the void that my daddy’s death placed in my life I am profusely grateful for the place each of these wise men holds in my life and I hold an infinite amount of love in my heart for each of them.
It’s Sunday night going into Monday morning shortly after midnight and I’m sitting on the bed watching my mom and my nephew, two of the people I love most in this world getting a good night’s rest. These two personify love in my life and I wish I could make the world a much better place simply for them. The house is quiet so it’s introspection and conversation with God time for me. There has been yet another mass shooting so the television is on the nonstop news coverage that unfortunately will diminish as the week goes by and I’m sitting here with a multitude of life’s issues running through my mind, praying for something to come into my life that lifts my spirit.
My birthday was earlier this month and aging another year has made me do a lot of thinking about my life and how I’m always trying to figure out where I fit in this world. My thoughts brought me to the conclusion that at 37 years old I still don’t have this life completely figured out and I’m not sure I ever will. I’m almost forty years old (such a scary thought) aren’t I supposed to have it all figured out by now. I wonder if there will come a time when complete understanding of life will come for me. I always feel like God has placed me into a world that I don’t feel like I fit into perfectly, like I’m am an ultra sensitive, introverted girl living in a world that’s the complete opposite and no one understands that it’s not a simple existence. I often feel like I am looking at the rest of the world from my own enclosed space and there’s so much that I see that torments my spirit; it seems much more than the average person. I look around at others who seem to have figured it all out, have their lives together and have solidified their place and purpose(s) in this world and I’m honestly envious although I know wholeheartedly that’s wrong. But now that I really think about it some of those people are probably just as perplexed by life as I am, they’re just good at putting on a front to make others think that their lives are something that they’re really not at all.
I always feel like God has me in a waiting period, I hope and pray that God has bigger & better planned for me but maybe I’m just not comprehending what it is God is trying to teach me during this waiting period that seems it’s been life long, so I can’t move on until my lessons are all learned. I feel like I’m supposed to be doing something that brings happiness to others but I just haven’t figured what that something is and I’m not even sure anymore that I should be expecting God to show me. I want to be the change that I want to see in this world, I just don’t know how to be that change. I’ve said this several times before and I will probably say it a million more, but I want to feel like my life means something, like I’m servicing a purpose and making a difference in the lives of others. Right now I just don’t have that feeling. I’m infinitely grateful that God gave me the amazing gift of life 37 years ago, I just want to figure out how to make it a fulfilling & purpose filled life.
If you have paid any attention to many of the words that I’ve shared on my blog, then you know that thoughts and memories of my daddy are always on my mind. As a teenage girl I never thought that at the age I am now I would be living without my daddy and even after twenty years it’s still extremely difficult for me to wrap my mind around the fact that he’s just gone from my life until I hopefully see him in another world.
Father’s Day was four days ago and I’ve probably said it before but since daddy’s death it’s always a day filled with mixed emotions for me, it’s like on Father’s Day either I’m fine and it’s just a normal day or I’m filled with a deep sadness that I can’t seem to suppress, no matter how hard I try. This year on Father’s Day I thought to myself “I’ll write about my feelings” but I set down to write and I just could not get my thoughts straight so I decided to try again another day.
Today when I set down in my quiet place where I go to collect my thoughts and write I tried to come up with so many other topics to write about besides my daddy, because I never set out for my blog to be “the grieving daughter blog” but it seems that I can’t help myself when it comes to writing about my daddy I cannot control my pen, it feels like my thoughts are writing themselves. I feel like if I can help just one person who reads my words about my daddy or any other topic then my writing and my living is not in vain.
A few days ago on Father’s Day, I began to wonder “what would Daddy think?” What would Daddy think about that condition this country is in? What would Daddy think about the fact that Donald Trump is the president. I’m sure Daddy would have something funny but thought provoking to say about President Trump. I look at my awesome nephew and I think “what would Daddy think about having a grandson that’s like him in so many ways?” One question that came to mind that’s more important to me than the others is “what would Daddy think of me? Would he be proud of the person I am? It’s actually something that I think of quite often and maybe I’m crazy but, even though my daddy is no longer living physically he will always live in my heart so I still worry about making him proud. I want him to look upon me from Heaven with pride in his eyes. Is it crazy that I want my deceased father to be proud of me?
I often wonder if Daddy would be upset with me, because according to societal standards I haven’t made much of myself in the twenty years since his death. I wonder if Daddy would be proud of me because like both my parents I have a good heart (too good at times) and I try to always treat people with kindness. I wonder what Daddy would think about the man and father that brother is growing into each day? Does Daddy feel like his children who suffered the loss of his presence in their lives so suddenly and were forced to grow up/mature without him are good people? Is he proud of the relationship we have with our awesome mother who he loved wholeheartedly? Are we in some way(s) a disappointment to Daddy?
These questions and so many more about how my daddy would feel about certain things if he were still alive are always running through my mind and it’s still so very difficult to fully accept that there’s no way for all my questions to be answered, because Daddy is gone.
The first person who I witnessed slowly making the transition toward leaving this side of life was my maternal grandfather, it’s so hard to believe that today it has been exactly twenty one years since granddaddy’s earthly journey ended. I was 15 years old in 1998 when a short battle with lung cancer started to take its toll on my granddaddy’s body. After about a year or so of chemotherapy and radiation therapy Granddaddy decided that he’d had enough and he put his life all in God’s hands. That summer is one that I think I will always remember, because it was the start of some life changing events that shaped the way that I currently think about life and death.
It’s a time in my life that I’ll always be grateful for, because it taught me about being grateful for people who truly love me and to cherish the time that God gives me with my loved ones. When my Granddaddy’s earthly body started to prepare itself to transition into the next life he had to be placed under hospice care and that was something I never knew anything about until that time. Because of my physical limitations there weren’t a lot of ways that I could help with taking care of my granddaddy while he was on his deathbed, but I could feed him while he was still able to eat and sit and talk with him. I’m infinitely grateful that God allowed me moments when it was just Granddaddy and I in his room together and I could tell him that I loved him beyond measure, so I’m confident that he died knowing my love for him.
I remember that Thursday morning like it was yesterday. A couple days before Granddaddy drifted into what I like to think of as a state of complete calmness, because he knew he was on his way to a much better place and life. I’ve never said it to anyone but I had a sad feeling that death wasn’t very far away. I’m sure the whole family was feeling it, but praying for just a few more days with Granddaddy or even for a miracle. When I think back upon that time, I always find it interesting that several nights before Granddaddy’s death I slept in the bed in his room, while Granddaddy was asleep on his hospital bed and the night hospice nurse was watching over him, but I’ve come to the conclusion that God had a plan that didn’t include me being in the room when Granddaddy made his final transition, because that night I slept in another bedroom. I always wonder how I would have reacted if the nurse had woken me up with the news of Granddaddy’s death. I remember my daddy waking me up early the morning of June 4, 1998, before the sun had arisen telling me that my granddaddy died. It didn’t hit me immediately, I don’t remember crying until later on that afternoon when I went in the room and the sight of the empty hospital bed brought me to tears. Y’all know I still have a really difficult time wrapping my mind around the fact that Daddy died just nine months later. Twenty one years later it’s still difficult to repair my heart after death took two of the men I loved, admired and respected most in the world within nine months of one another.
Growing up as a little girl I absolutely adored my granddaddy for so many reasons, one being that he bought me whatever I wanted, all I had to do was ask. I always felt like I was his favorite grandchild. I often reminisce about admiring the fact that when my granddaddy who was a plumber until his health failed him wasn’t in his work uniform, there was no way he was going to step out not dressed well, looking sharp and smelling good. As I started to get a bit older I began to value my relationship with my granddaddy for much deeper reasons. One trait I wish that I had inherited from my granddaddy is that he was the type of person who never ever gave a damn about how people felt about him and his choices, I definitely aspire to be more like my granddaddy in that way.
When I am at my grandparents’ house now, I often wish that I could go in granddaddy’s bedroom, sit on his bed with him and just listen to whatever he had to say as I did so many times in the 15 years God gave us, because that’s one of the things I miss the most about being his granddaughter. I always learned something from just listening to my granddaddy and I cherish those times. As I am writing these words I can hear my granddaddy referring to me as “the cat that the kittens don’t know about. I think I got to see a side of my granddaddy that he didn’t show everyone, especially those outside of his family and I am tremendously grateful for that. Most people might have thought that Granddaddy was a bit of a Scrooge but to me he was one of the most loving and affectionate people in my world, I miss laying my head on his strong shoulder when nothing seems to be going right in the world and having a grandfather who just wanted to make my world alright.
I am so thankful to God because for 15 years of my life, Silas Delaware was my granddaddy, a man who I know without any doubt loved me and was proud of me. I am grateful that even though my granddaddy was literally on his deathbed each time he saw me he smiled because that’s just how special our bond was. I feel honored to be his granddaughter. I’m sure my granddaddy is watching over his wife of 50 years, his five children, five grandchildren, & the four great grandsons who he never got to meet smiling with pride at his family and bragging about us to everyone in Heaven.
Its Teacher Appreciation Week and I’ve been thinking back upon my days as a student in school and some of the angels disguised as teachers who had a positive impact on my life and taught me life lessons that I will never forget. I thought maybe I would tell you all about a few of them.
My very first angel disguised as a teacher was Mrs. Sharon Maness, my first grade teacher. Mrs. Maness was unforgettable, she was statuesque and towered above all her little students. I’ll always remember how stern she was, she did not play. At the age of six I remember being a bit intimidated by Mrs. Maness, but at the same time thinking she was amazing. One experience with Mrs. Maness that I don’t think I will ever forget is one day when she brought me up to her desk in the front of the classroom while my classmates were doing a fun activity, she helped me learn to tie my shoelaces. I remember being terrified of her and a little embarrassed in that moment, but now in my late thirties it is a memory I cherish. While in the first grade I broke my hip and had to be out of school for six weeks, that’s when Mrs. Maness became like family. She went above and beyond the call of duty to make sure that I got all my daily assignments, even if that meant personally bringing those assignments to my home. Because of Mrs. Maness being such a tirelessly devoted teacher, I was able to finish first grade with decent grades. I will always appreciate her for all that she did for me and all that she taught me. I can’t believe it, but it has been 30 years since I was a student in Mrs. Maness’s classroom, through the years I have often wished that I could get in touch with her just to thank her for being such an awesome first grade teacher. Another angel God sent into my life disguised as a teacher during my elementary school years was my third grade teacher Mrs. Maureen Snyder. Mrs. Snyder aided in making my first school year at a new school an enjoyable and memorable year. Then there was one of the toughest ladies I think I have ever met, my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Monique Brown, who I loved because she was one of those teachers who treated me and all the rest of her students like we were her own. I always felt like I wanted to be like Mrs. Brown when I grew up, because I thought that there was something so fierce about her.
Along with my junior high school years came Mrs. Cleta Ellington. Mrs. Ellington was my 7th & 8th grade literature teacher and I always thought of her as the most eccentric person I had ever met at that point in my life. I mean that in the most complimentary way possible. Mrs. Ellington reminded me of my mother because they had a similar fashion sense, they both shared a love for linen clothes. Mrs. Ellington fueled my love for reading. She made novels like The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman and To Kill A Mockingbird two of my favorites. My knowledge of Greek mythology is due to the fact that Cleta Ellington was my favorite literature teacher and I was interested in anything that she taught, because she made learning interesting and fun.
Finally on to my high school years, going from private Catholic school to public school was a bit of a strange transition for me but I had teachers like Mr. William Hubbard, Mrs. Willie Wortham, Ms. Teveta Smith & Coach Cheyenne Trussell, along with the best, most talented and creative art teacher on this planet, Ms. Candy Cain who all made me feel comfortable and at home at Callaway High School. My junior year in high school after my daddy died God gave me three angels who had already been my teachers, Mrs. Geraldine Bender, Mrs. Regena King and Mr. Dudley Ford. Mrs. Bender was my French II teacher in tenth grade, Mr. Ford taught history and I had been a student in Mrs. King’s classroom for several different subjects. These are three people that will forever hold a very special place in my heart because they helped me in countless ways. After my daddy’s death I felt like the weight of the world was crashing down on me and crushing my heart and when it got to be too overwhelming I could go to one of their classrooms and just let the tears fall. They never turned me away, they just let me cry and use their shoulders to let the tears fall onto. I always felt like Mrs. Bender, Mrs. King & Mr. Ford really understood the grief that I was experiencing because they too had experienced the death of cherished loved ones. The three of them always made me feel like they really genuinely cared about me, how I was doing and what I was feeling. I will never be able to repay Mrs. Bender, Mrs. King & Mr. Ford for being there for me. I am infinitely grateful that God placed those three angels disguised as teachers in my life at a time when I just needed to feel like someone understood me.
This week reflecting upon my years as a student in school I realized how blessed I have been to have had some really amazing angels disguised as teachers in my life that I am so grateful and thankful for.