Pictured above is a song by Wrabel called Poetry. When I began dating my boyfriend, Alex, this song is what my heart spoke. Pictured below the song is a picture of my mother and me – me holding a security blanket and my mother deep into a book. Pictured to the right of us is me on Christmas morning at my grandparents and my Nana and I on Mother’s Day.
Today makes one month and eight days since my Mama passed away. My Nana is in a nursing home with a serious disease- many diseases actually, but one, in particular, that is killing her. As she sang “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are gray” into my ear, I felt her saying goodbye to me. When I took off my gown, mask, and gloves, and said goodbye, she saluted me. She saluted me like she was proud of me and she knew I was going to write “that book” one day. She saluted me knowing that I was going to be OK. She saluted me knowing, really knowing just how much we both loved each other.
Alex, Mama, Nana, and Poppy- these are people in my life; people who were in my life and God gave me a purpose in them. I can think of chunks of my life where it felt like I had nowhere to be. This past year has been full of places to be and people to be with so I am heartbroken and elated that I had a place in their lives.
When Alex came into my life, I entered his world and all that it entailed. Even though he wasn’t fond of this song and this wasn’t the song he was singing, he gave me a new song to cling to as it is my love and thankfulness for him. He was there with me through my mother’s sickness and stood by my side through it all. My mother loved him dearly and always imagined the day we would start a family together.
My Nana was happy too, that I had somebody. But deep down, she knew there were things that were unsettled about our relationship and there are. My mother believed in miracles and I’m holding on to one- one that will take us from unsettled to settled.
Yes, it’s complicated but isn’t all of life?
God has put so much on my path just in the last month. He’s revealing and uncovering mountains of questions I had that are now answered. When I think about the journey I’ve been on searching for these answers, I never thought in a million years that it would be my mother’s death, my best friend’s father’s death, and my Nana’s deathbed that he would use to provide these answers to me. I’m a smalltown girl from Thomasville, NC who set out for adventures and to find my happy ending. I’ve become a woman living in Charlotte, NC who found her answers in the midst of family and friends. Maybe sometimes it takes sicknesses, illnesses, death even, to discover who you really are meant to be. At least, that’s what it has taken for me.
I’m on this road built of choices – some really, really bad but some really, really good. I think it’s the mixture and the product of all of those choices that have led me back here to my favorite place, Amalie’s on North Davidson, feeling like a writer. Feeling like a writer is giving me meaning because I always wanted to be one, but never felt like one. I feel like one now because I’m writing and I’m not afraid to share it with the world anymore.
I want my entire journey in a book and I’m thinking of the steps I need to take to self publish. One of my best friends, Tuan, did it and he is such an inspiration to me. “Ta Dah” is what he would say after setting his mind to something and then doing it. I wonder why the doing part can be such a long, long process.
There was a time in my life when I questioned: “Is Jesus God?”. This question put me at a hard stop because I knew I couldn’t move forward with anything having these doubts. Realizing how warped my relationship had become with Jesus put me in a place of disbelief and rightfully so. Thankfully, I got plugged into Church at Charlotte and the doctrine there reshaped me. Even though my time there was filled with trying to forge a new path while being on the same path that put me in disbelief, I was rescued in God’s love. He put a lady in my life who tenaciously would not back down from me having that precious relationship with Jesus I so genuinely wanted.
I think of all of the people in my life, all of the people I know now and knew then, and I realize how every single person has been a part of my development. I’ll graduate from Appalachian State University in the Spring of 2020. I wanted to get my degree to become a better writer and to have the skillset and confidence needed to do it. I have gained many skills from being there. One advisor once told me “it’s more about what you learn out of the classroom that what you learn in the classroom in your college career”. I’ll never forget him telling me that. When my mother passed away, I was right by her side. I’ll never forget that experience in Hospice, I dream about it every night almost. That experience has changed me as a person and that experience- watching her take her last breath has left me in a state of knowing who I am and what I need to do. I was her little girl. That’s what she called me and that’s who I was. When people see me now, as a 31-year-old woman, they tell me that I look like a little girl. What they don’t know is that I am forging into a woman who has a heart full of God and a heart full of memories, brokenness, and fullness to carry me into the person Jesus is forming.
I can let go of the security blanket and look at my mom holding that book. She’s holding a book!!! This picture is my dearest treasure and it really is worth those 80,000 words that I’m working to publish.
So for now, here is my blog- Words On Sleeves. It’s a place for me to share myself with you, grow, and hope that you will do the same with me.