I recently viewed a video on Facebook related to the business of funeral homes. It triggered many emotions within me.
Unfortunately, at age 29, I have helped to plan two funerals for individuals close to me. When I was 15, I helped my mom plan my grandmother’s funeral in 2007. My mom was an only child. I planned my mother’s funeral in 2019. I am also an only child. These two experiences top the list of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.
After I lost my mom, all I wanted to do was sleep and disappear into my bed. I didn’t want to go through the formalities of taking care of everything or trying to smile in people’s faces. My world had literally been turned upside down. Depression and grief were kicking my ass. However, I know that carrying out these responsibilities is a display of love for the deceased.
However, this display of love costs a lot of money. If you are lucky, your love one will have things in place to assist with the cost. My grandmother’s funeral service and burial totaled around $8000. My grandmother did not trust banks. Remarkably, she managed to save enough money to pay money for her own funeral. I kid you not, she hid the money in small bags in her favorite recliner. When my mother and I counted the money, it was in excess of what we needed for her final plans. I am still in awe to this day.
My mother always believed in planning at least to some extent. For the longest, I remember going with her each month to pay on a funeral/life insurance policy. Her total funeral costs totaled about $4500. She had enough insurance to cover her service as well which I am grateful for.
I shared these personal anecdotes to show how expensive funerals can be and how important it is to have a plan for yourself and your loved ones. I had nothing but a pleasant experience with the funeral home that I used for both my mom and my grandmother. It also helps that the owner and my mom went to high school together and knew me all of my life. Death is hard. However, having a plan/insurance can at least ease some of the financial burden and stress.
I have tried to avoid being vulnerable like the plague. All of my life, I have never had the luxury of being “soft”. The world does not allow girls (women) like me to be soft. Oftentimes, we aren’t the ones who get rescued. There aren’t fathers who are functional enough to protect us and shield us from the world. They are battling their own demons. We have to fight tooth and nail to rescue ourselves. This fact leads to the building of lifelong walls that are almost impossible to tear down.
However, I am opening up to the idea of being vulnerable. Losing my mom forced me to open up a level of vulnerability that exposed my emotions for the world to see. I’ve always believed that grief should not be for public consumption. At my mom’s funeral, I fought with everything in me not to cry at the service. I made the mistake of touching her body in the coffin. Her body was cold just like it had been when she was fighting for her life in ICU…hooked up to a ventilator. I couldn’t contain my grief after that.
As I age, I am learning to tear down walls I built in my youth. I’m more open to asking for help and admitting my mistakes. Who knows, maybe I’ll even end up letting go enough to fall in love…we’ll see
My heart broke when I learned of the death of Chadwick Boseman. He had battled terminal colon cancer for the past four years. He was such a phenomenal actor. Some of his most notable roles involved him portraying historical African American figures (James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson…). He brought such a dignity and depth to each role.
Undoubtedly, his role as T’Challa in Black Panther will forever be in the hearts and minds of everyone…especially African Americans. He managed to complete this movie while enduring numerous treatments for his cancer. I can only imagine the amount of pain he was in. I can only imagine his level of fatigue. Having watched my own mother battle end stage cancer I am just floored at his resilience and determination.
My heart aches for his family and friends. He is resting with the ancestors. Well done young sir, well done
Today is my mom’s 71st birthday. I wish my mom was still here. Grief is a never ending process. Some days I am happy and cheerful. Then there are other days when I am extremely sad and angry. The latter usually occurs around major holidays and our (my mom and I) birthdays.
My mom used to tell me how sad it was that some babies lose their mom at birth. One of my biggest fears was losing my mom. She was significantly older than most of my peers parents. My mom survived breast cancer when I was around 4 or 5. After my grandmother died (I was 15), I would have thoughts and nightmares about losing my mom. Those thoughts would make me extremely anxious and depressed.
I am grateful for the 27 years we had to spend together. I just don’t think that they were enough. I had so many things I wanted to say to her. I wanted us to start traveling together (she was never able to afford it). I don’t know if I will ever be 100% okay.
My best friend, my angel, my mother…we were two peas in a pod. We argued like sisters sometimes because we were both so stubborn. Your sense of humor was unparalleled. You became a mother at age 42 because you never gave up on bringing me into this world. I wouldn’t trade these 27 years for anything. You always said that you asked God to let you live long enough to see me be old enough to take care of myself. You told me last year that you were confident that I would be okay and that you could leave knowing that. I know I’ll see you again some day. My heart is completely broken but I know that you aren’t suffering anymore.
Posted to remind myself that no loss will ever be as hard as the loss of my mother ❤️
On Monday, July 13th 2020, authorities found Naya Rivera’s drowned body. She was 33. Only 33. She left behind a 4 year old son. Reports say that she was able to lift her son back into the boat before drowning. Essentially, she sacrificed her life to save his.
She couldn’t have known that the trip to the lake would be her last. She was an accomplished actress and a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community. The former “Glee” actress had so much to look forward to…so much left to accomplish.
Whether it be by tragic circumstances (Naya Rivera and Breonna Taylor)…or by men who they hoped would protect, help and love them (Oluwatoyin Salau and Shana Donahue)…or by their own hands (Jas Waters), the deaths of black and brown women leave a hole in the world. A hole that could have only been filled by their work…they didn’t get a chance to complete it
How do we deal with the loss of black and brown women when they leave us too soon?