Dear Mom: 5 Lessons While Mourning


Dear Mom,

I stood in the our living room this morning. The room you’ve coined the “white room” adorned in white and sparkly tapestry, riddled with family photos causing a tour through time speaks to me. It’s as if your voice echoes even louder in this room and I can hear you calling me from the alternate dimension there within. I froze as if my feet where cemented in the coldness of mourning your absence. Grief has been a gloriously eye opening yet painful experience. Yet here I am, a seeming glutton for punishment, standing in the room where you housed the memories and photos dearest to you. The weight of my heartache pulled my knees to the floor right before your couch in the last place I saw you sit and speak a clear sentence to me. I’m not o.k., mommy. This uncontrollable raging river of tears told me so. They sweep me away with each sunrise as I touch the things around our house. Today I heard you in my head saying, “Baby, you can’t take nothing with you.” Your death has proven that because here we are – daddy the kids and I – dwelling in the place you took your last breath among all of the things you bought to make this house a home.

Staring at these things and thinking of you as I do each day brought heaviness to my heart but clarity to my vision. Life is so fleeting. Here I sit mourning the absence of you yet reveling in my gratefulness to Allah that he chose you to be my mother and my guide for 40 years. As I continue to reflect upon you and fight through my own pain, I think about the family of the young lady who was 31 years old and lost her life, along with the truck driver who hit her, instantly in a horrifying car crash where both of their vehicles caught fire spreading flames that ripped across I-85 North here in Georgia. I believe she was simply on her way to pick her children up from the babysitter. I think about the fateful crash that took several lives including that of Kobe Bryant who was 41 and his beloved daughter Gigi age 13. On that plane were also 7 other people two of which the mother and father were both killed. They were: Payton Chester,13; Sarah Chester, 45; Alyssa Altobelli, 14; Keri Altobelli, 46; John Altobelli, 56; Christina Mauser, 38; and the pilot, Ara Zobayan, 50. They were taking a simple helicopter flight to a basketball game. These are just two instances where people left their homes in pursuit of their normal activities never to return again. Leaving loved ones and the accumulation of things and status behind. What struck me most as I sat here thinking about you and them. All these lives were lost in the blink of an eye (cancer took you, Mom, in a matter of weeks). Their ages didn’t matter, their status didn’t matter, their wealth didn’t matter. You were 73, just about 2 months shy of your 74th birthday and my 40th. We had plans. Just like the rest of these loving souls did. Now that my anger has stopped and I’ve surrendered enough to quiet my soul to make my peace with God, I can hear. There is a lesson in this as is every death a built in lesson.

  1. Use each day to build a legacy that speaks to my character and leaves the world a better place because I was here. We all may not be wealthy in finances but as you used to say mom, “We are rich at heart.” Give a smile, give a hug, give a laughter, say a prayer for someone other than myself, feed someone, give a kind word, read to someone, etc. the effects of these acts linger with those I’ve touched long after I’m gone. You are proof of that.
  2. Make peace with myself. I’ve spend so much time forgiving and reconciling with everyone else in the world but my own soul. Just like the humans I forgive and let back in I must remember that I too am human and deserve redemption.
  3. Believe in a power bigger than myself. Whatever people want to call that higher power is their business and I respect that and require anyone who wishes to be a part of my life do the same as it relates to my faith. I just plan to make it my business to connect with mine and let Allah guide me to wholeness, spirituality, balance and peace.
  4. Feel the fear and do it anyway. As we’ve summarized, life is fleeting. I can’t get to my purpose being caged in by fear and doubt. Do you know, mom, that during a conversation where I was encouraging him your grandson told me, “Feed your faith mom, not your fears.” He gets it mom, he gets it.
  5. It’s not the years in my life, its life in my years. I told my dad that I hope that I become half of the woman you are. His response, “you’ll be more than that. Just keep going.” I must put more effort in creating the beauty in my life instead of allowing your death and painful things that happened to me before you left to cripple me and live but not in fear. I must let death inspire me and ignite me.

Well mommy, thanks. I needed this talk. I promise I’ll continue to make you proud but I sure did get a huge lesson from this. I’m awake now. Though you aren’t here physically your essence still remains. Your lessons still teach me. Your life still inspires me and all that you’ve done for me and so many others still humbles me. Thank you. I miss you deeply, Shuga’. This is all I have for now. Still learning how to live with a broken heart. The miracle is that there is beauty and hope in the brokenness. Til’ next time…….

With Love From,

Nina

“Remember, life is not perfect, it’s purposed for…………….GREATNESS.”

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