There are many types of anniversaries we acknowledge in life. Some are joyous and some are not. But as I continue to age and understand living, I realize, the slant you put on approaching anniversaries determines the outcome, or, simply put, they are what you make of them. Specifically, while you can have anniversaries acknowledging a loss, they do not have to be surrounded by sorrow, pain, and dread.
For you see, this week I am approaching the first anniversary of my mom’s passing on to her eternal reward. I remember the day we said goodbye like it was yesterday. And as the date draws nearer, it. creeps up in my mind a lot as I go throughout my days and my heart is saddened because I continue to be tempted to pick up the phone to call her and then realize she is not there. I sometimes wonder what she is doing and then remember she is not with us anymore. Those are the pieces that linger; that catch me off guard; that hurt the most. They leave a hole in me that is hard to fill.
That is my sorrow. But I don’t want to hold on to sorrow. When I think about mama, I want to approach my remembrances with joy. Being raised and loved by Fannie Lee Barbee was indeed a blessing. She was the best of the best. Now, don’t get me wrong, she was not always a walk in the park when I was little. She was the disciplinarian. Whenever we did wrong, she was quick to get the belt or the switch and should I say….”redirect us”? All the while, daddy would coach her saying….”They don’t feel that Fannie”. She did not play. But, on the other hand, laying my head in her lap was what I loved. Climbing up in her lap and being held was the best! Up until the year she died, I still went to her and would put my head in her lap for comfort. She did not have to say anything. Just being still with her was my peace.
When we siblings talk about mama now, it is always with smiles on our faces and tears in the corner of our eyes. Our memories are our solace. They keep us connected until we will all meet again. And as a believer in Jesus Christ, I know will happen one day.
So as I approach this anniversary, I approach it with an attitude of celebration. I celebrate a strong woman who loved her family deeply and fiercely. But more than that, she loved the Lord and she took us to church. She led by example. She put family first. She matched her life with kingdom principles. She wanted the best for all of us and she sacrificed to make sure we would do better and have better opportunities.
How can you mourn that? How can you not celebrate a life lived as such? But as I celebrate her life, there are things that I wish.
I wish I could hug her one more time. I wish I could hear her voice, her laugh…
I wish I could take her on one more trip to show her a new part of the world.
I wish I could tell her that I am doing fine.
I wish I could tell her that she is going to be a great-grandmother and I am getting a granddaughter.
I wish I could tell her that I made it through 2 surgeries this year and that I am getting better and stronger.
I wish I could hear her tell me “I love you” just…. One. More. Time……
So what is the focus of this blog? I would say, it is to “celebrate life”. Even the darkest parts have silver linings. Don’t stay in sorrow. Don’t choose to be sad. How we face inevitable futures is a choice. Choose joy! Choose to remember good times. Right now some of you still have your loved ones so you are blessed to continue to create memories, and experience their presence. I would encourage you to take every opportunity to connect, for one day one of you is going to be gone first. For those who remain, the memories will be the only part that will linger. Make those memories great by living life to the fullest today.