Joy in the Midst of It All (TM)

Gone Too Soon: Our Lily in the Valley

December 24, 2021 Aminah Amarachi Season 1 Episode 5
Joy in the Midst of It All (TM)
Gone Too Soon: Our Lily in the Valley
Show Notes Transcript

In this weeks episode, we wrap up the 2021 year with a look back at a bitter-sweet moment in our families journey. The year we laid our Mama, Dede's beloved, to rest.

As you tune in, embrace the season that you are in, at any given moment, with peace, dignity, and grace.

Allow yourself to be right where you are...

The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Neibuhr

Be blessed.  Not stressed.  Why?

Because yours and their lives depend on it.

Aminah - Your host

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

Support the Show.

Season: 1 Episode: 5 - “Gone Too Soon: Our Lily in the Valley”

Intro Music: 

Promo: BuzzSprout Services 

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

First, please count it to my head…not my heart.  I forgot to mention that also in that month we lost a great aunt on December 18, 2013.

Now, for me this episode is bitter-sweet.  It’s sweet because I am finally in a space and place to be able to share it.  It’s bitter because Our Lily in the Valley, our Dede’s beloved, transitioned, for us, far too soon for our tastes, plus this is her birth month and the season of holiday family gathering hasn’t been quite the same since she, and our Dede have gone on.

Yet in the spirit of all they taught and modeled for us - giving can caring compassionately, we intend to move forward integrating the best of them with the best of ourselves and passing that wonderful bounty forward to our descendants.

Now, let’s continue our journey…

Today’s Episode:  “Gone Too Soon: Our Lily in the Valley” (Sequel to THE CALL)

The year: 2009

The date: September 5TH - the exact morning I was scheduled to

         Move back home to care for both of our parents.

A day I will always remember. Rest in healing and wholeness filled peace, Mama.

The scene:  Waking up at o’ dark clean past 7:15AM, with my mind

  set on making that long half a day trip back down

  home, within the next hour or so…Well that time, at

  least as I had intended it, never came.  Instead, what

  came, next, was “ANOTHER CALL.” You know the one in

  which As you clear the crust form your eyes and the

  cobwebs from your mind, you think you are hearing

  someone’s early morning laughter, on the other end of

  the line, only to realize that it wasn’t.   Not even by a

  long shot.  In a word, “Blind-sided.”

The Story:

That morning was the beginning of what would be the last of my ten year residency in a place I had come to enjoy as my adult home. A place which blessed me with the love of family and friends, great career adventures and many opportunities to just be uniquely me. Since I had packed up my life, and home, almost six weeks earlier, I was staying temporarily with one of my sisters until time would come for me to move back home to care for both of our parents.

As we both proceeded to gather ourselves and prepare for the long drive back home, the phone rang.  My sister answered.  I heard her tell my other sister that I was up, and then place the call on speaker phone. As I listened to my other sister, who was already down home, I thought “What has her crackin’ up with laughter that early in the morning?”  Well, as I would come to understand she was not laughing from a place of joy nor jollies.  She was hysterical. Why?  Because she and our Dad woke that early morning to find our mom, Daddy’s beloved of 42 years, gone. Passed on.  Right there in our home.

Stay tuned for more right after our FIRST spotlight moment…

Spotlight Moment #1: Our Family, Friends, and Neighbors,

Near, Dear and Far. You are SuperStars.

If I had ten thousand ways, there would never be enough to show the gratitude that swells in my heart everytime I recall how our family and friends stepped up and stepped in right on time.  From taking us to the airport to catch a last minute flight.  To the grace of safe travel.  The blessing of there being a rental car on a holiday weekend.  And, to pull up to our down home home, with tears of realization streaming down my eyes, which began as we left the airport and reality set in, because my protective autopilot within, had shifted into neutral long enough for me to begin taking in what had just happened. And, for the next surreal of seven days to come, God, our family, friends, and neighbors had us covered.  Thanks FRAMILY.

Now, back to our show…

Welcome Back

 THAT CALL -  Yes, ANOTHER call…Just about two years to the month, give or take a few, had my sister and me spring into action, again, asap.  We got dressed, booked a last minute flight and rental car, made some calls to our aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors, and our other sister’s beloved’s family, so that there would be some family boots on the ground until we arrived. Then, we called a dear sister friend, who you will meet in a future episode. Without hesitation, she agreed to come pick us up, asap, and take us to the airport to catch our flight.

 On the drive to the airport all I could think about was a) how our Dad was taking this, b) who I else I needed to call, c) have our family, friends, and neighbors arrived to support our sister and Dad, until we could get there, and d) what in the ham sandwich just happened? 

 On the flight, my sister and me were deep in our own thoughts about the call we’d just received, and the catalyst for that call, and how it was so unexpected, yet I can tell you now, in hindsight (You know that 20/20 in your rear view mirror reflection) that our Mama had had an inkling of what was to come, and that even in her looming fear,  the stress it had to escalate, and her concern for us, had tried in a subtle way to both prepare and gather us all together before it was too late.

 I also realized, later on, that upon arriving back into our hometown, grabbing our luggage, then the rental car, we were operating purely on adrenaline and autopilot.  It wasn’t until we were in the rental car, with my sister driving, and we merged onto the interstate to proceed to our family home, that my autopilot fell away, and fall apart as the realization that “Our Lily of the Valley, Our Mama, was Gone…and way too soon, for our tastes.

 Yet, let’s remember that God never places more before or on us than we can bear, through his grace and glory. Why, because when we drove our street, you know the one we used to run around on as kids, and before we could even pull into the driveway, our yard was filled with loved ones.  The ambulance had already come and carried our Mom away to the next leg of her journey.  And, thankfully, God had allowed our Dad to be fully present to both the realization of his sweetie’s passing, and every moment of that surreal week to come, such that it never became a challenge for him or us, during his journey through Alzheimer’s.  He understood that she had gone on home to be with God, and our other ancestors.

 Our brother-in-love, to be, was with our other sister.  Our bonus mother-in-love, to be, was navigating, right along with our aunts, uncles, cousins, and neighbors, with all the things that needed to be taken care of in that moment, and our aunties wrapped us in their arms and let our sorrow filled tears marinate their shoulders for as long as we needed.

 Over that next week, plans were made to celebrate our Mama’s life, and lay her to rest, and at each step of the way, angels appeared in expected and unexpected ways, standing right by our sides, offering words of comfort, access to resources, meals, hugs, check in calls, visits and more. Thanks, again, FAM.

 And, our Mama even blessed us, Mr. Sims and Mrs. Betty, of Lewis Sims and Sons Funeral Home, and our entire families with some later and levity to carry us through such a surreal season in our lives.  Thanks, Mama, for keeping Jesus on that main line.  Keep on telling him what you want.  Love ya, forever…Our Lily of the Valley.

My Reflections:

 In life, there will be moments, unplanned, seemingly, and beyond your control.  Yet, even within that seeming flux, upheaval, and disarray of all things that you thought would always be, that would never change, or at a minimum we felt would anchor us in this journey we call life, there are opportunities to mourn our losses, magnify our gains, and move forward in ways we might not have been ready to do so before that season came to pass.  That’s why I remember Reinhold Neibuhr’s “The Serenity Prayer,” during seasons such as these.  My sister has since shared with me the FULL version of the prayer.  I will share a link in the show notes.

My Insight:  

 Even though it may not feel as such, at least for me, the shock, and surrealness shall pass.  That has happened for me, because I had to PIVOT, quickly, into being a full time caregiver, for our Dede, with plans that God provided.  Remember, I showed God my plan…well…hmm..let’s just say God had a different vision for our journey…junctures, and joy. It wasn’t until I was no longer our Dad’s day-in-and-day out caregiver, yet trust me I was still full time boots on the ground…smile…that, too is for a future episode, that I actually had the space and place to reach back and FULLY process the loss of my Mom.  Til tis day, her homegoing was surreal. My father’s was clear as a bell. Be okay with where you are. I'm grateful for that season, indeed. Why? because just two short years later, we would then celebrate our Dede’s life and lay him to rest. So, God knew I needed time to be with Him, and myself, to process myself through the juncture i.e. weight of losing my Mama, so that I could go forth, not still in that space of dealing with losing her in the middle of laying our Dad to rest. Another loss.

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

Spotlight Moment #2: Lewis Sims and Sons Funeral Home

If you’ve never had to lay a loved one to rest, I can only speak for myself, that for us it was sudden and surreal and I will even add a shocking experience when our Mama passed on.  However, thanks to Lewis Sims and Sons Home, they held our hands throughout the process, and honored our Mama (and Dede) with respect, dignity, and grace.  Mr. Sims, Mrs. Betty, and the whole crew, Mama still got Jesus on  the “MAIN '' line…LOL…Yes, that inside joke…  Lewis Sims and Sons Funeral is located near the site of the original Henderson High School, at 263 N. McKibben Street, Jackson, GA 30223.  Their phone number is (770) 775-4747. Go on and give them a ring.  They will take care of your family like you are their family.

Now, back to our show…

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

Take-a-Way:  This, too, shall pass. Just that simple. It doesn’t mean you won’t miss them. It doesn’t mean that you won’t have moments where some smell, look, taste or particular environment, or a simple statement that you or your siblings say reminds you of them. It’s all good. Hold on to those, and allow the sorrow to find its way to another place.

Tip:  Take the opportunity to give as many bouquets of flowers, You know - quality time spent together, graciously affirming and uplifting words, hugs, kisses, and create memories, let them abound, and bless them with unconditional love - while they are still living.  If this season of seasons has taught us anything, you know 2020-2021, is that the song that sings the chorus in one of our Mama’s favorite scripture Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“ To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens:  A time to be born. And, a time to die.  A time to plant. And, a time to uproot what has been planted. A time to kill. And, a time to heal. A time to break down. And, a time to build up. A time to weep. And, a time to laugh.  A time to mourn. And, a time to dance. A time to cast away stones. And, a time to gather stones together.  A time to embrace. And, a time to refrain from embracing. A time to get. And, a time to lose.  A time to keep. And, a time to cast away. A time to rend. And, a time to sew. A time to keep silent. And, a time to speak. A time to love. And, a time to hate.  A time of war. And, a time of peace.”

Family, know your season. And, it’s purpose. Then, journey through it with peace, grace, and dignity.  This, too, shall all pass. And, what will remain is the joy, fond memories, and wonderful new traditions that you will integrate all of that into that will carry you forward beyond your moment of mournin’ - “M.O.U.R.N.I.N.’.”

Tool: Go ahead and set up a virtual family gathering.  It can be weekly, monthly, quarterly or bi-annually, as our family has done, Use whatever the platform of your choice. And, don’t forget the elders. When we held our first one, and less than five minutes into the gathering, two of our elders who still use flip phones asked, “When are we gonna do this again.” So, young folks take the opportunity to teach them. To show them and embrace them into this technology. And, do not let this world disregard, push aside, ignore, and forget our elders, because what goes around comes around, and one day you too will be an elder.  So, family, use technology to stay connected with parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. Our family enjoyed all of our virtual gatherings.  We have had three so far. In our most recent one, as in all of our gatherings, we checked in, celebrated each others’ accomplishments, gave thanks for being on this side of glory, shared prayers and songs, and we talked about the need for families to keep our life affairs in order.  So that no one is blind sided by loss that becomes a domino effect in the whole family. More on that in a future episode to come.

Toss:  Do not let the season we are all in, nor the personal season you find yourself journeying through, or the collective global season that we are going through, harden your heart, nor withdraw your hand of compassion, understanding, and kindness, from huemanity.  Let not a mask overshadow your smile nor turn you into an uncaring, disconnected, emotionally agitated being. Call for calm. Call for peace.  Call for healing. Call for joy for yourself and everyone else.  Make each season your winning season.  Even if you are in a season of mourning our losses.  Our ancestors would want you to live on so that they too, may live on through you, your children, your service, your purpose, i.e. your life.


 In closing, I’d like to take this time to thank you all, both my seasoned and new followers, for spending your time with me on today’s Joy in the Midst of It All journey. Take a moment, this season, to embrace missing and mourning your loved ones. Take another moment to magnify them for the blessings they left with you and celebrate those as fond memories that you will share forward with your children’s children’s children’s.  If you need a way for your family to understand the power of remembering, honoring, and representing our ancestors, take a moment, together, this holiday season, to watch the wonderful movie called “Coco,” created, produced, distributed, and copyrighted by © Disney’s Pixar Animation Studios (ARR).  From my family to yours, Happy Holidays, and a Light-filled 2022 New Year.  I pray that you and your family enjoy a holiday season filled with connection (even if it is virtual), joy, laughter, and good times, even in the midst of those moments of mourning.

Now, take a moment to tap the button on your favorite podcast streaming platform to tune in, follow, and subscribe to receive updates when a new episode is released.  We release an episode every second and fourth Thursday of the month. OK. Also, go ahead and tag a family caregiver, or a few and tell them one thing you learned today that will support you, and maybe them, in moving through the caregiving journey with more ease, no matter who God has chosen for you to offer your gift of caregiving to. 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 will 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