When I look back over my life and I think things over, I can truly say I’ve been blessed! I’ve got a testimony.
Life sometimes presents us with complications that bombard us to a point where we’re weighed down and feel like all hope is gone. Whether we choose to believe it or not, sometimes there is no escape. No way out. That’s when the only way out is to go through it, come what may.
I believe we all are recipients of a trial or tribulation, at one time or another, that will beat us up to the point of being drained of life and in need of resuscitation.
As they say, “When it rains, it pours.”
This phrase has been watered down, to a degree. The “proverbial” piece of it refers to when misfortunes or difficult situations happen to someone in rapid succession or all at once, somewhat chaotically. A storm, if you will.
Many of us have been given the opportunity, without consent, to witness or be in the middle of a bad storm. I’m talking about where tumultuous winds blew, loud thunder beat against the sky and threatening lightning attacked and pierced trees, bodies of water, human life and other tangible things. We cannot escape the realities of such an uncontrollable, undeniable, relentless act of nature.
But we can take refuge.
The storm is never simple. It shows up in divers places, all at the same time, from that single root storm. Oh, what a tangled web nature weaves.
When left to ride out the storm as best we know how, its torrential rains saturate us to the point we are drenched in chaos and turmoil. Sometimes we feel like we are drowning and our breathing is utterly compromised. We feel like our very life is being choked out of us.
A few years ago, through it seems like only yesterday, the strong winds of life began to beat upon my house. This storm was tossing high, in the form of my mother dealing with breast cancer.
Mom was a powerful force to be reckoned with; she was a married, single parent who had to care for me and my other siblings without the proper aid and support of my dad. Don’t get me wrong about him, I loved my dad wholeheartedly. He was tall, fair-skinned, gorgeous, and intelligent. I believe he truly loved my mom, and she without a doubt loved every fiber of his being.
My dad was a decorated soldier in the United States Army. He fought in two wars and earned the Silver Star and the Purple Heart for his dedication to protecting his country. On the other hand, he was a “ladies’ man,” if you know what I mean.
Momma was born and raised in Bristol, Virginia, before moving to D.C. She cooked, cleaned and cared for five boys and four girls.
Her battle with cancer got so severe that she had to have her breast removed. It was an especially trying time because we had just buried my baby sister, Gwen, who was one year younger than me. After Momma’s breast removal, her health began to fail. As I said, “when it rains, it pours.”
My father’s death, my sister’s death, mom’s breast removal and other family matters worked together to create extremely difficult times. My mother became like a sponge, absorbing all the residuals from these life-shattering events that occurred in rapid succession.
She used to say “If it ain’t one thing, it’s the other.”
Momma went into a deep depression and got to the point where she could no longer walk. She had to use a motorized wheelchair to get around. She was never the same.
We moved her to an apartment building for seniors, rather than a nursing home. The family and I took care of her for the next few years. When she no longer wanted any of the home health aides to care for her personal needs, I was given those duties.
It was not always easy dealing with my sweet, caring, loving, stubborn and even sometimes defiant mom. You would think she still had legs, the way she had everybody popping around all over the place to do this and that. She was so funny. It was her way, or the highway.
At the culmination of her 83 years of life, Momma still had her wits about her. She managed her own bank accounts, bills and other paperwork. She logged all the money she spent on QVC and Home Shopping Network, along with what she donated to St. Jude Children’s Center and others. She also gave the home health aides a run for their money about being on time and performing the tasks she delegated to them. We must have went through three or four different companies because none ever seemed to perform to her standards.
Momma’s health took a turn for the worse when she began to get these strange, piercing headaches. It was a lot for me to watch her pain, despite the medication she was given.
One weekend, when I was away visiting with my ex-wife and kids, I got a call that Momma had died. Out of all the years of caring for her, she passed while I was not with her. This truly took a toll on me. Now, three years later, I still sometimes feel like there was something more I could have done to comfort and console her through her ordeal.
I’ll always love my mom, may she rest in peace. She’s my favorite girl. You only get one.
I still often hear her voice and her lessons as I come out the other side of the storm. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning light. (Psalm 30:5)