“You’ll get through it. That’s what they say. But, what does that mean? You’ll get through it… Grief is like a suitcase at the end of your bed. Everyday you wake up, you have to pick it up and carry it with you… Some days it’s like it’s filled with rocks. It’s so heavy, you don’t think you can hold it up. Other days, it’s like it’s light as a feather… That’s getting through it.” -The Whispers (Television Show)
Yesterday morning, the matriarch of my family went home to the Lord. Being the writer that I am, I’ve been searching hard and long, for the words to describe what’s in my heart. I’m stuck between crying my heart out for hours, and looking for something more useful to do with such a loss. It may sound weird, but I feel like there’s more to losing a spirit in the physical world, than crying. Crying is a natural part of the process. But then what? What do you do after the tears are all dried out? Where do you go next?
So, I’m gonna work out my emotions and feelings in words, since that’s what I do best. I feel immense sadness for the aunt that I lost. For her life being lost, before my daughter could meet her. I feel tinges of regret, for the time it took me to figure out why those who mean the most to you, must always be regarded as a priority, and not an option. I feel resentment toward myself, for not reaching out or taking time to tell her that she was someone who I loved and cared about. I feel all of the selfish stuff that comes with grief, I suppose.
I feel blessed because, I got to spend time and grow with, such an amazingly strong and powerful woman. I feel grateful to know that I come from a lineage of Black Warrior Women, whom at the head, was once this glorious aunt of mine. She’s like the family folktale, a woman’s whose life and legacy will live on, much longer and more honored, than her physical life could. Most of all, I feel those seeds of wisdom, finally sprouting from their roots.
I finally see the big picture, or at least some of it. I see that life is short. Shorter than we can ever dream to measure. I see that people whom you can call family, are finite and worth fighting for. I see that I’ve been arrogant in my youth, assuming I have so many more years of life, than I may truly have. I see that 60 something years, can get behind you, faster than paint dries. And when it’s all over, it’s all over.
So living life, is more than just meeting milestones. It’s more than just dedicating time and energy toward goals, that you may never achieve. It’s more than just excuses, cop outs and reasons why. Living life is about fighting for the things and people who matter. It’s about knowing when something is worth having, and not stopping until you not only have that, but can keep it. Living life is about being knocked down, and most especially about getting back up.
Mourning and grief are apart of life. That’s what it means, to live. It means to lose people and things, but to never let that stop your parade. Allow that to fuel your fire. Fifty said, “sunny days wouldn’t be special, if it wasn’t for rain. Joy wouldn’t feel so good, if it wasn’t for pain.” I get it now! If no other passing of a loved one ever gave me the knowledge of God, yours did Aunt Edith. I get it!
Instead of mourning your loss with sadness and tears, I’ll do you one better, and LIVE. I’ll smile more and give more credit. I’ll work harder to hold onto meaningful relationships, and waste less time with useless ones. I can’t call you now, to ask all those questions about growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s too late. I have so much I should’ve and could’ve done to share my appreciation and honor of you, and all you’ve done for this family. I can’t do it now, and that’s that.
So, I’ll take what I can no longer do with you, and do it with the rest of those I love. I promise aunty!! I love you! And I’m so sorry for not saying it to you more often! I hope you felt it, even if you may have not always heard it. I pray you feel it more than ever, now! God bless your amazing and beautiful soul!! It ain’t no lie, how much the Gardner family will miss you!! That’s a fact! But we gotta do better, to give roses to those who can still smell them. We gon’ do better! We’ll honor you, by doing better!
Tell Grandma, Aunt Tyra, Aunt Nea, Aunt Ella Mae, Uncle Anthony, Uncle Charles and Nicole, we said hi! We’re gonna do better! We gonna make ya proud! I solemnly promise! In Jesus name, Amen!! And Amen!