As I counted down into the new year and shared a kiss with my husband at a beautiful Venetian celebration, for a moment, everything was perfect. Then, just days after the new year, both of my grandmothers passed away within days of each other. I'm not sure about your family, but my grandmothers were true matriarchs and the glue that held us together. I have countless memories of both of them embodying love, grace, humor, hard work and a genuine concern for others.
My Grandma Janie, 93, would always remind me to smile and speak to everyone. She understood the true treasure of kindness. Every time I told my Grandma Reanell, 90, I loved her, she would reply, "I don't know if I love you with yo ole ugly self!" Her love was synonymous with beauty.
I thank God that they both lived long lives. Ninety plus years on this earth is a very long time. They lived in a time of segregation AND a time where a black man was elected president of the United States; a time when they HAD to grow their own crops AND a time they could purchase any food through a self-checkout line.
The heartache of losing them both is overwhelming sometimes, because they both played a major role in my development and growth as woman and who I am today. God's Word says
"Record my misery; list my tears on your scroll- are they not in your record?"- Psalm 56:8
The tears that soak my pillow at night, the tears I cry silently, and all the tears I blink back: God knows about every one of them. He blesses and comforts all those who mourn. I also know that death is not the end of life. I believe that Christ died and rose again so that we may live-- "To be absent from the body and present with the Lord." Therefore, I have peace in knowing that in whatever ways they may have been suffering here on earth, both of my queens are free from any pain and present with the Lord.
In the past I didn't deal with grief so well. I felt like my life was at a complete stand still while everyone else in the world was still going. A whole year passed by before I realized that dwelling on the past or even worrying about the future only took away from all of the possibilities of the present. I know it's cliche, but the present is a gift. And everyday we worry about the things we can't control, we take that gift for granted.
I think about my grandmothers everyday, and everyday I miss them. It hurts knowing that when I visit home, or call their number, I won't get the chance to talk to them. I miss the simple joys of laughing and reminiscing on all the old days. I miss the new memories we won't get a chance to make together. Moreover, I think about the legacy they left behind. Their attitude and strength were gateways for generations like mine and generations to come. So for me, grieving is okay. Whether it's in a tear or one of those snotty-nose, boo-hoo cries. I can let it out and still live for today.
If you are grieving or going through a tough time, I encourage you to pray and seek God's peace. I encourage you to surround yourself with people who love you and will lift you up. I'm so grateful for my family, my friends, and my line sisters that have prayed for me or just made me laugh. It all means so much to me. Although my New Year took me down a path I wasn't prepared, I know God is walking with me every step of the way. So I'll confidently keep walking.