Tag Archive | Mother

Where’s My Reward?

Alzheimer’s came into my family’s life in the early to mid 90’s when my precious Grandmother the Late Julia Mae Brown was diagnosed. We knew very little about the disease and went along with what the doctors said and did what they told us to do. Gran became a shell of her former self. She was very forgetful, didn’t remember her family, wandered off and even had angry out bursts. The Grandmother who would walk me across the street to Mrs. Winner’s to get cinnamon rolls, dance and sing was mentally gone.

Mom watched my Gran slip away and I know it hurt her terribly. She was the only girl and shared a very special relationship with her. I recall the hurt in my Mother’s voice as she eulogized Gran on December 11, 2006  “So long Julia, So long Julie, So long Mom… Bye Bye take your rest…” It was after that moment that we would often hear Mom say “Lord, let me keep my mind.” Then a couple of years later my step-mother passed away from a tragic fall due to hemorrhaging in her brain. Mom became extra careful with going up and down steps and more cautious of things around her. She didn’t want what happened to Gran or my step-mom to happen to happen to her. As a life skills trainer for the Learning Services Mom had a soft spot for the patients she worked with who suffered from major brain injuries. We were all shocked to learn that Mom had a terminal and cancerous brain tumor.

I remember taking Mom to her very first oncology appointment. The doctor had no beside manner, was very cold (to me anyways) and told Mom she could do radiation and take the chemotherapy pill that at the end of the day most people with gliblastoma mutliforme only live 2 to 5 years from diagnosis. I sat there in shock, looking at this man who basically told me that my Mother, my world, my reason for being a “miracle” would die! Mom on the other hand seemed unmoved by what he was saying, she was very polite and said “Ok” and “Thank you.” took the prescriptions, referrals, gave the man a hug and walked out. I’m not sure if she held it together because I (the youngest of her children) was there or what. On the way home steady tears streamed down my face and Mom said to me “Merical Joy, do I need to drive?” I said “No, ma’am.” and then she said “Well, fix your face.” I knew that while the doctor told my Mom she was going to die, she knew who had the final answer. (1 Corinthians 15:58 | NIV Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.)

Mom's first oncology visit

Mom’s first oncology visit

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This is why I found myself being upset with God today… Psalms 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Mother prayed to keep her mind, so why couldn’t she have her hearts desire to not suffer like her mother, my step mother and her patients at work? She accepted His call, did what He asked and during the worse part of her illness she felt as if she had more work to do.” For the life of me I can’t understand “WHY??” To me, she DID have more work to do. There was so much more that I needed to know and learn from her. By no way do I believe that God is a magician, but I do believe that He is a miracle worker. Didn’t my Mom deserve a miracle? With all of her ups, downs, struggles and success shouldn’t she have gotten something?

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Mom’s Last Radiation Treatment

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After I got out of my feelings and into my Bible and then to google for further research, 1 Corinthians 2:9 was revealed to me and it says, “However, as it is written: What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived — the things God has prepared for those who love him.” At the end of the day how can you question that?

Everything that happened leading up to Mom’s transition is still very fresh and hard to accept sometimes especially with the anniversary of her passing approaching. I’m doing the best I can for the most part because I DO know God, I DO Love Him, and I DO believe in His Word and I KNOW she’s not coming back. It’s just today is not a good day. I really miss, want and need my Mommy and I pray tomorrow will be better.

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34 Years….

Waking up in tears… Today is my 34th birthday. I dreamed of Mom last night. She called and asked me to take pics of her at the church. No matter how many times I tried to capture her I couldn’t. I was either too far away or my camera wouldn’t shoot. While attempting to take one last photo of her she started to faint, I ran towards her but by the time I got to her she was gone.

Photography is something that I love and cherish dearly and Mom was my biggest supporters and I pride myself on being able to capture amazing photos. It was frustrating trying to figure out what the point of the dream was and then I remembered this photography quote…

“Life is like a camera. Focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives and if things don’t turn out right, just take another shot.”

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Mom’s not here but she did give me life and wouldn’t want me to focus on her death. To enjoy the good times, develop and grow from the bad times and to keep trying and pushing forward.

Today I will celebrate my birth, the beautiful mother that I was blessed with and the life that I have lived so far. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been good nonetheless. I can lift my hands and say “Thank You, Lord. I won’t complain!” through sorrows, tears, smiles and triumphs.

Happy Birthday to ME!

Learning to Grow in Faith

My mom loved to plant things. She had the most amazing green thumb I’d ever seen. Needless to say I wasn’t surprised to notice that the flowers she planted more than 4 years ago still bloom every spring/summer. It’s been 2 years since she passed. 

This flower symbolizes to me that no matter what happens during our troubled season, there’s always a better season to come. We have to learn to be faithful through the process.

 Ecclesiastes 3:2 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant and a time to harvest.

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2 Peter 3:18 ESV
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

 

Always There

In preparing for a Kentucky Derby themed party I was faced with the question every woman asks “What do I wear?” I did what most women do, I went to the mall. Checked out a couple of my favorite stores and found the perfect dress in The Limited. The next question I was “Where am I going to find a hat?” Most people know that my mom was the queen of hats and accessories. I didn’t consider her things because they aren’t necessarily my style. After looking around and texting friends I came up empty and disappointed. Once I got home and settled (to my mom’s house) something told me to look in the closet. Low and behold Mom had a hat that matched perfectly with my dress. A hat still in the plastic wrapping with the paper stuffed inside. I pulled out the hat and tried it on and it wasn’t too much or too little. It was just right. As I looked in the mirror I felt my mother’s presence. It almost seemed as my reflection were hers looking back at me. I laughed and said “Thanks mom for always being there.”
I am reminded of the life of Jesus Christ. He lived, taught, prayed, suffered and died. He left part of Himself here in the form of the Holy Spirit to intercede on our behalf. The Holy Spirit also comforts and reminds us of His love. Often times we don’t consider Him in the things we do but when we operate in the spirit, His presence is ALWAYS there and can ALWAYS be felt.
Thank you Mom for reminding me of how Christ operates in our lives when we are tuned into Him. Thank you for showing me what it means to have a close personal relationship with Christ. To ALWAYS know that He is ALWAYS there for us even when we aren’t there for ourselves.

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In Loving Memory of Patricia Thomas

Dear “Momma Pat”,

Thank you for your life, love and laughter. You were the ultimate role model for your daughter Chanta, anchor for your family, and the life of the party for your friends.

As I sat during your service and listened to the wonderful things people said about you, I began to understand more and more why it was so hard for Chanta to let you go. “Pat had a light and a smile about her that was known wherever she went.” You were an incredible woman. A woman after God’s own heart, just like my mother.

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Rev. Carl Hardy said something that really spoke to me, “Things happen in a person’s death for things to happen in another person’s life.” When someone close to us dies, we question and sometimes even deny it. As much as we try believe that it is all in God’s ultimate plan for that person to leave us, we have a hard time believing that there is an even better plan for us. The only thing we see is the cloud of grief and the pain of the loss. Until the clouds pass away and the pain hurts less, I will have to remind myself of the “Pat Lessons” that you lived by and left for others to follow.

1. Be true to your commitments. (Family, Friends)
2. Bounce back from setbacks. (Through it all enjoy life. Life must go on.)
3. Love on family and friends (A hug, kiss, phone call and visit go a long way.)
4. Keep God in the center. (All things happen in God’s time.)

Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is bliss, taste it.
Life is a dream, realize it.
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is a duty, complete it.
Life is a game, play it.
Life is a promise, fulfill it.
Life is sorrow, overcome it.
Life is a song, sing it.
Life is a struggle, accept it.
Life is a tragedy, confront it.
Life is an adventure, dare it.
Life is luck, make it.
Life is too precious, do not destroy it.
Life is life, fight for it. ~Mother Teresa~

I promise to look out for Chan for you. It’s unfortunate that our losses brought us closer together but it is a bond that can never be broken. “All things happen in God’s time.”

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Love,
Merical

Broke The Mold or Did He?

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Not too long after Mom passed, I stepped out on faith and did something that I would never do. I entered a Model Call/Ambassador Call for a local organization called “Natural Girls Rock”. There were forty or more young women wanting to be part of this Natural Hair movement that taken over. I became one of the chosen few. With that being said, I want to take this time to thank Kelly and the Natural Girls Rock team for taking a chance on a grieving young lady who was simply trying to pick up the peaces of her life and put herself back together again. My Mom would be so proud and in love with the work that I have done with the organization. She was about community service, missionary work, teaching, inspiring, encouraging and love. That’s what Natural Girls Rock is about. What better way to honor her legacy by being apart of something that represented who she was? Most people don’t know, is when Mom first started feeling sick, long before we knew what was really wrong, I cut my hair. It represented newness, patience, it taught me what it really meant to be faithful and consistent and above all to honor my mom. Mom eventually lost her hair due to treatment but it didn’t define who she was. Needless to say I am attached to my hair because of the journey. It irritates me to hear people say “Oh it’s just hair.” because to me it’s not. It means more to me than anyone will ever possibly even care to know.

I was given the opportunity to do a photo shoot in September (nervously), a fashion show in which I walked in November(even more nervously) two days before my first birthday without my mom, and participate in other events that allowed me travel and to share my story and encourage others. Little did I know that my story, my journey and loss would inspire others. I have met some amazing women along the way, women who have continued to comfort and encourage me. (Thanks, ladies… you know who you are!) I have received so much love from people who I didn’t think paid much attention to me. Thse people saw my light, a light that I thought had dimmed the day my Mom passed.

What I have realized recently is that had Mom not put God in my in my life and had I not seen His light for myself through her I would NOT be the light that people have gravitated to. I never knew that encouraging others would encourage myself. “This little light of mine, I’m gone let it shine!” I don’t know where my light will take me or how many more lives it impacts but I go faithfully. He didn’t break the mold when He created Mom but I believe He left a lil bit for me.

“Believe it or not you’ve inspired me in many ways. Besides you’re ridiculously perfect fro, my spirit natural accepts you. You are very genuine . I admire your love for your mom and how you strive to overcome your loss. Your happiness comes through and brings joy to others. You da chic id see in a crowd and say I wanna hand out with her.” ~Shelya, FL~

“Thank you for being you! When I come to your Instagram page you make and brighten my day! You’re inspiration in every sense of the word.” ~Nacole, Fl~

Thanks http://www.naturalgirlsrock.com
Photographer: John Thomas (for natural girls rock)
Other pics were taken by me

Release

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On Sunday, January 20, 2013 130pm at Kennedy Memorial Gardens. My siblings and I RELEASED 74 balloons in honor of moms upcoming birthday Thursday, January 24, 2013.

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As we try to put the pieces of our lives back together after our lost, it is always something. When there is disharmony, it makes the continued grieving and healing process even harder. It is my understanding that all of the things that has transpired since mom’s passing is “normal” or that “it happens in every family “. What disturbs my spirit the most is that, normal or not certain things simply should not be. Seeing a person with a sorrowful heart and allowing it to fester is worse than seeing a loved one’s body committed to the ground. They have no clue, knowledge or understanding that having a heart like that can break their spirit. I understand people grieve and deal with loss differently. I however pose the question

“Should someone else’s grieving process affect the healing process of another?”

Proverbs 15:14 The discerning heart seeks knowledge, but the mouth of a fool feeds on folly.

If we have God’s understanding, we can ask Him for the knowledge to overcome every trial and situation. God is bigger than our grief, sorrow, pain and every problem that any of us face. We shouldn’t be like the fool who feeds on his folly. This is a person who is continually mouthing their troubles, blaming others including God. They blame Him (God) for their circumstances and even for taking their loved one away. They fed on self-pity and rehearse their problems to all who will listen. We must give our heartaches and troubles to God and keep a cheerful attitude no matter what is going on in our lives. We need to remember, “this too, shall pass” as God is eternal and has a good plan for our future.

We must find a way to give mom back to the Lord (She belonged to Him first, anyways.) and ask Him to remove the sorrow and grief from our hearts. We can keep the good memories, but we must not allow the enemy to torment us with the bad memories. God will replace the emptiness we feel, if we ask Him to. Jesus died on the cross, not only to give us eternal life, but He also died to take our grief and sorrows. Since He took them, we do not have to take these things into ourselves, but receive healing, and peace by faith. Faith that mom had and displayed everyday prior to her transition.

Isaiah 53:4-6 (NIV) Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Tormenting grief is of the devil, that torment can make you want hold on to things that should not be held on to, like worldly possessions. That negative emotion can cause you to live in the past, ignore your present and void your future. The devil uses bad memories to keep you in bondage and make you hurt people around you. Unknowingly or even knowingly you are hurting family and friends who are trying to transition from grieving to healing. Not caring or being aware and conscious of the fact that they suffered the same loss as you.

The Bible tells us in Philippians 3:13-14 to forget those things behind us, and reach forth to the things in front of us in Christ Jesus. The devil uses grief as way to keep you from remembering God’s Word and promise to us.

I am in no way shape or form an expert and I don’t have all the answers. This journey without mom is new for me and I am learning this process as I go along. I can’t quote hundreds of scriptures. I still have to go to the table of contents to find certain books of the Bible. Im not trying to be preachy or holier than thou, just stating how I feel and know for myself. I know is what I was taught and instilled in me.

I remember how hard it was for my mother to eulogize her own mother years prior to her own passing. Mom did not allow the grief of loosing her own mother to consume her. She didn’t harbor my grandmother’s possessions. She knew the true value of her mother and it wasn’t defined by material things. She continued to live even through her moments of sadness because she was human. She didn’t stop taking care of herself, working, going to church, ministering, and teaching. I know the kind of woman my mother was and not because she was “mom” but because she was a living testimony, inspiration and example.

The best way to honor mom’s life and legacy is to not allow the devil to bind us in so much grief and darkness that we can’t see the light. Mom would want us to be free and release but remember her. Jesus died so that we may live so that we can be blessed and a blessing to others. If we submit to God and resist the devil, then the tormenting grief and pain caused by the devil, will have to flee. (James 4:7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.)

With mom’s birthday, the first anniversary of her death and Mother’s Day approaching we have to remember it was God’s voice we heard through her. It was God’s light that we saw in her and it was God’s light that she went into when she passed. We wanted the best for her and she is receiving the best right now, in heaven. How could we not be joyous in that? There is nothing on this side of the world to hold on to but memories of and being there for mom when she needed us the most. My vow is to RELEASE tormented grieving and allow God to heal my heart and fill the void. I want to live the life that God has for me with a “cheerful attitude” and make my mother proud.

1 Corinthians 2:9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

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