This I Believe

Kelvin - Durham, North Carolina
Entered on January 18, 2008
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: death, family

Some time ago, I had a very somber conversation with a close friend about life’s ups and downs, and the trials we all encounter along the way. It was one of those conversations that seem to come from nowhere, but nevertheless find their way to those of us who believe in a reality beyond that we can see. This divine influence or inspiration, depending upon what you prefer to call it, forces us to think about the deeper meaning of life, our purpose and inevitable challenges we’re bound to face as we navigate our way through life.

Somehow, during our philosophical ramblings, our conversation turned to his mother’s death and how deeply her passing had affected him. His solemn declaration that the world was no longer the colorful canvas he’d seen as a child but now simply an assortment of stark grays and blacks caught me off guard. Sure, several of my closest relatives had died, but my mother was still alive, and though I’d imagined countless times how I’d fare if she were to die, I simply couldn’t relate.

Now I understand completely. Just five weeks ago, my mother was called home.

No words can adequately describe the feeling of losing a parent, but for me it has been a double whammy — for my mother not only provided me with the love and nurturing that so many of us take for granted, she also was my closest friend.

Losing a loved one is never easy, and the sudden and unexpected manner in which my mother passed left me feeling empty and alone. It wasn’t long before I was feeling as my friend had described a decade ago, and just as it had for him, the world became an assortment of stark grays and blacks.

Slowly but surely, though, the world is beginning to regain its color. Because of the special relationship that I, my brothers and sisters shared with my mother, I’ve been able to reconcile her death and find the peace I know she would have wanted me to enjoy.

With some of her children nearing retirement and others well into their middle years, she had more than fulfilled her duty as mother to us and graciously accepted her role as a full-time friend and “mama” when we needed her to be.

Just over a year ago I was inspired to write about my mother and this is what I had to say: “My mother has truly been a source of strength, comfort and stability for me. As she puts it, God placed her here to be a guide for her children. And that she has certainly been. I often wonder how she could be so wise and so patient all at once. I can only imagine the love I feel radiating from her must be the same kind of love Jesus had for his disciples. My mother believes in the power of prayer, and her life is an example of what faith, action and prayer can do. I am grateful to the Creator for blessing me with her, and my heart becomes heavy at the thought of ever losing her.”

As I think about her now, as I am compelled to do nearly all the time, I am grateful that she lived long enough to transcend her role as a mother, and to become the wise and comforting friend that I needed so often. I’m also comforted by the fact that I grew in wisdom enough during her lifetime that I could also be a friend to her.