Joy in the Midst of It All (TM)

Give Us Strength, Lord: Bearer of Sad News

December 09, 2021 Aminah Amarachi Season 1 Episode 4
Joy in the Midst of It All (TM)
Give Us Strength, Lord: Bearer of Sad News
Show Notes Transcript

In today's episode, we walk along side family caregivers as they must be the bearer of sad news to those you are caring for.

Learn how we navigated this journey, while caring for our Dad, when one of his younger sisters transitioned, while he was on his journey through Alzheimer's.

Now, remember,  to be compassionate with yourself, FIRST, then allow the overflow to bless someone else.

Be blessed.  Not stressed.  Why?

Because yours and their lives depend on it.

Aminah - Your host

The link to the lyrics for the song "I Don't Know Why, Lord" is the sole trademark and copyright of all respected parties - The Williams Brothers  and the owner of the lyrics website.  All rights reserved and by clicking on the links below you acknowledge that you are going to a third party website and must honor their terms of use. 

I hope that it comforts you as it comforted us...especially in this current season that we are all journeying through.

- Aminah

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2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast  by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM)  – All Rights Reserved

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Season: 1 Episode: 4 - “Give Us Strength, Lord”

Intro Music: Royalty Free

Promo: BuzzSprout Services 

Welcome back family to our Joy in the Midst of It All podcast show. I am your host - Aminah Amarachi.

This time of year is one that can be filled with life, light, joy, laughter, community and celebration, yet for many, of late, it has been one that is also filled with sadness, sorrow, anxiety, depression, longing, uncertainty, and isolation.  Yet, each of these emotionally filled moments serve as a “CALL” for us to be more patient, loving, kind, understanding, and compassionate with ourselves and each other as we unearth, navigate and integrate the hidden lessons and blessings (the gifts) within them all.  

Each of us is on a journey that has had, and continues to have, many twists, turns, tribulations, trepidations and triumphs. I call these our junctures along this path we call life.  For me, having supported our Dad as his full time family caregiver, there have been many times when I, too, experienced these emotional junctures, all I could muster up in those moments was a resounding, “Give Us Strength, Lord, Give Us Strength.”

So, with reverence and honor for those of us who have laid loved ones to rest, past and present, I pray that we all find our way to embrace that which is greater within and amongst us to carry us through this, and every season, all while calling forth those moments of fond memories, experienced with those who have gone on to their next journey, so that we may celebrate them by sharing those moments with each other while we are still traveling along our individual, familial, community, and globally connected way.

Now, let’s continue our journey…

Some of the many pivots that occurred while I was caring for our Dad, was the record number of family transitions, of which many of those loved ones were on his side of the family.  From 2013 through 2017, alone, we laid to rest at least fifty loved ones - aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, grandparents, church members and friends, including our Dad, and three of his siblings.

Additionally, as the family historian, and as the matriarch within our immediate family household’s line, representing our parents, I felt responsible for attending as many homegoings as possible just as our parents had. Yet, as you will see, self care, especially while serving as a full time caregiver, may require you to pivot from what has always been done a certain way in your family, for your own health and well being.

Today’s Episode:  “Give Us Strength, Lord: Being the Bearer of Sad News”

The year: 2013

The date: December 6, the same day that both our auntie and

  Nelson Mandela passed, 

four days before the anniversary of our Mom’s eldest brother passing, and five days before our own Mom’s birthday.  Rest in Peace Filled Power Family.

The scene:  Receiving a “CALL” that one of our Dad’s younger

 sisters had transitioned, and the weight I felt about

having to tell him, while he navigated his 

own Alzheimer’s journey.

The Story:

The time leading up to having to make a decision regarding whether to tell our Dad that one of his younger sisters had passed on, your know, one of his hangin out at the Waffle House ® - coffee drinking, head tilted back cackling as they reminisced about the good old days- road trip and cruise traveling baby sisters was a challenging one, in deed and indeed.

Our Dad had experienced his more than fair share of strokes, during his Alzheimer’s journey, for which it was like a game of chicken and egg, you know, which caused which first, had the initial stroke caused the Alzheimer’s or the Alzheimer’s caused the strokes.  I will leave that for you to research and decide.  Let’s just say many days were spent in the emergency room, and over the years a plethora of hospital stays - for which Dad always seemed to be admitted over a holiday weekend…hmm…when not much could be done, except be an activist advocate for him, while he and his God worked out his own recovery.

The call I received, came probably less than a few hours after the last time I was blessed to be able to see, visit with, and spend time with our auntie, and be there for our family, before she and God chose the next leg of their journey together.

I called my siblings, later, though at the exact moment or time of day, I couldn’t tell you.  All I knew for sure,  deep in my bones, was that our Dad, who was being cared for at a nursing home for veterans (More on that transition in a future episode) did not need to hear this news from anyone, except us.

I also, knew, having witness twice how God allowed him to be in his right mind when our Mom transitioned, and when his older sister, also on the journey, was brought back into her right mind, so that she understood that her baby sister was not going to get better, nor go home, that stepping aside and allowing God to be God, is one of the most powerful things to witness, while traversing this thing we call life.

So,  I contacted the place that was caring for Dad and informed them of the following a) Not to say anything to him at all. Let us be the ones to tell him, b) have him up, dressed and ready for us to pick him up at 6:00am, might have been earlier, it’s a blur, on the day our auntie, Dede’s baby sister was to be laid to rest, and c) we will bring him back when spirit moves.

The angel that appeared, for our family, was our now good big sister- friend Lois Searles, who God placed in my life the very year that we had to make the hard decision to move our Dad to a nursing home.

After picking up our Dad, at o’ dark, 6:30am, I watched our Dad sitting quietly in the passenger seat, taking in the early morning ride.  Yet, I knew him well enough to know that he sensed something was amiss.  I began our trip, with my youngest sibling in the back seat, by playing some of his favorite gospel music.  Then, once I felt grounded and ready, I placed my trust in God to give me the strength to break the news to him, and also to support him in digesting the news.

I said, “Dede?”  He turned and looked at me and replied, “Yes.”  I began, “I have some sad news to tell you.”  His brows furrowed as he looked dead at me.  “Your sister Evelyn went home to be with the Lord.”  His continence shifted, I witnessed God land the news into his spirit, just as had occurred when our Mom transitioned, and then he turned to look out the passenger window, as silent tears streamed down his face, while the morning sun rose.

Upon arriving in town, our big sister-friend, Lois, graced us with her home, so that we could support our Dad in changing out of his traveling clothes and into his Sugar Sharp Sunday’s best, in preparation for saying goodbye to and laying his sister to rest. And, since we had forgotten to bring Dad’s Sunday fedora, she allowed us to use one of her Dad’s.  She, too, had walked the journey of caring for her parents, which her faith in God helped her to navigate them both simultaneously.

 We went on to the church, met up with family and friends, and celebrated our auntie (Dad’s baby sister) life. Dad even made his own feelings known as to his love for and sadness at losing his sister, during the service.  We then returned to Lois, to get our Dad ready for the trip back to the nursing home, which was two hours away.  Let’s just say it was a full day.

Stay tuned for more right after our FIRST spotlight moment…

Spotlight Moment #1: Our Dear Big Sister Angel Friend, 

Lois Searles

Have you ever been blessed by God, who places a complete stranger in your life, who becomes both a big sister and a great friend.  Well I have.  Our family has.  And, that angel is Lois Searles - pianist, singer, business woman, teacher, lover of adventure, and finder of great things in some of the most amazing places, at a great price.  And, as you heard, our angel, on the day we needed to navigate getting our Dad dressed to attend his sister’s homegoing, she was there. So, be grateful for the angels that God places in your life, as we are so grateful for Lois.  Thanks, Big Sis. Much Love, Light and Turkey Delight.  Your little sisters.

Now, back to our show…

Welcome Back

As you can see, angels are everywhere, and God will give you the strength you need to navigate all junctures within the caregiving journey and life itself. We were blessed to be able to honor him, rather than make the assumption that because of his journey, he would not understand, nor could participate in life, and loss.  We must remember this, from a place of compassion and doing unto others as we would desire they do unto us, regardless of whether they are children, someone with a unique way of being in life, are challenged by a health condition, or are our elders. 

My Reflections:

My Dad and I used to sing a song called, “I Don’t Know Why, Lord,” by the Williams Brothers®.  Even when Dad and I sometimes forgot and made up our own lyrics, this song was one of comfort in the midst of a storm.  Whether the junctures in your life leave you sighing or crying, flailing, or floundering, lost, confused, deflated, defeated, or overcome, remember that is okay to get out of God’s way, and allow God to strengthen us, take hold of any situation and make things better by and by. I will leave a link to the lyrics in the show notes. 

My Insight:  “Stop trying to do it all alone. Let God strengthen and support you, in both expected and unexpected ways.  You could wind up with another big sister angel friend for life. Like we did.”

Now, it’s time for our next Spotlight moment…

Spotlight Moment #2: Is for every stranger who has crossed yours or your family’s path and became an angel, even in disguise. You know, those who blessed you and your loved ones.  Thank you all for giving folks food when they were hungry, water when they were thirsty, a place to sleep when they had none, compassion and care during a crisis, and regard, because we are all deserving of dignity, respect, connection, community, and love even when we we may not admit that it’s the very thing that we need.

Now, back to our show…

Here are my take-away, tip, tool, and toss.

Take-a-Way:  Depending on your current caregiver bandwidth, be okay with taking a break from EVERYTHING. And, that goes for even if you are not a caregiver. Just to do nothing except be compassionate with yourself and cared for by God.  Even if it means you may have to miss a homegoing service, family trip, a girlfriend outing or two. That’s why we have family, so that we can take turns attending homegoing services, various events or hosting family reunions, and class reunions, for that matter, so that no one person is weighed down and burned out.  Big Mama, even though it didn’t look like it, or maybe she did not let y’all see it, but she was burned out, too, which is why most times you heard her exclaiming, “Give me strength, Lord, give me strength.”

Tip:   When a matriarch or patriarch of a family passes on, don’t let the family fall apart. Don’t hide out in little cliche's. Don’t live life without healing hurts, disagreements, disappointments, and grievances you may have with each other, real or imagined. Each living next in line matriarch and patriarch needs to get on one accord, get together,  and collectively pick up the torch that our ancestors have been trying to pass on to us and find ways to bring and keep the collective extended family together so that we see and know each other beyond just showing up at a funeral. And, our descendants are then able to go forth and by witnessing how you carry that torch, and as our thank you to those who carried before us, they will know by our actions how to do so, also.

Tool: Give yourself a one hour praise fest of your favorite healing, soothing, uplifting, strengthening, and fond memory jogging songs, that you shared with your passed on loved ones. Gwan now, enjoy yourself a song fest, like nobody’s watching and even if they were, just don’t care and do it anyway.  Invite them to join you. It’s good for your spirit and keeps your long gone loved ones close to your heart.

Toss:  Choose one activity that you and your loved one, who passed on, used to enjoy doing together, and share it with a young one - child, grandchild, cousin, or friend. Age appropriately, of course.  Modify as needed, but carry forth a tradition, anew.


 I’d like to take this time to thank you all, both seasoned followers and new, for spending your time with me on today’s Joy in the Midst of It All journey. Take a moment, this season, to show compassion for yourself. Then take another moment to connect with someone else, and show compassion for them. 

So, take a moment to tap the button on your favorite podcast streaming platform to tune in and follow the show.  We release an episode every second and fourth Thursday of the month. OK. Also, go ahead and tag a family caregiver and tell them one thing you learned today that will support you, and maybe them, in moving through the caregiving journey with more ease. Then blaze a trail on over to my podcast website, for the show notes, transcript, and links, and if your heart so leads you tip me what I like to call a “Cup of J.O.E. (A jolt of encouragement and support),” over at Buy Me a Cup of Coffee.  My preference is tea. You can see the link in the show notes.

I'm your host, AMINAH. And, I want you to remember to...

    Be Blessed, And Less Stressed...Why?

        Because both yours and their lives depend on it.  Have a great day.

Outro Music:
Buy Me a Cup of Coffee (Tea) for a J.O.E. (Jolt of Encouragement and Support)

2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast  by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM)  – All Rights Reserved