Today, I am Honoring My Lady and My Best Friend. Every time I see this picture, my goodness this Lady is GORGEOUS in red! That was my favorite color on her. She is smiling because it was her 81st birthday and her “boyfriend,” aka Big Daddy, was taking her on a fish date. I was the third wheel because all best friends are great third wheels.
How She Loved Bart
She loved him so much. Even during a very trying time in our marriage, where she could have just said: “Leave him,” but she did not say that. What she did was carry my weary body into her home, place her beautiful hand on my hand and the other on my head, and prayed.
Then, she picked up the phone and called a trusted and amazing human. She briefly (and discreetly) said a few things and then hung up the phone. As she looked up at me with tears in her eyes and a smile on her face, she said: “It is going to be okay.”
It was, but during that “it time” part, she held me accountable in my words and actions. She also had another man work with Bart. Together, they walked with us through the mud. Our marriage is stronger because of the prayers and the advice that we received.
I miss her so much that I physically ache. Everyone should have a Ms. Jo. I mean everyone. Someone strong, not afraid to speak her mind, and loves so completely. I never doubted that she loved me. She never doubted that I loved her.
I Wish We Had More Time
We had little time, ten years maybe, not long enough. It is as simple as that. What started as me admiring grace and beauty (and her voice) moved onto noticing her beautifully crooked finger. Then it matriculated into me timidly requesting her to be my mentor. Quickly, followed by me sitting on her porch and squalling. I cried so bad that she said we were making the neighbors talk, and for the love of all to get in the house.
Next, it moved to me helping out here and there. Going to lunch and running errands. Lastly, it moved more into caregiving and sitting with my Lady. Many nights of me making supper and us eating it together while watching Jag. Cleaning. Oh my goodness, I cleaned things out. We looked at her billions of pictures, and I soaked up all her memories.
Find a Mentor
Talk to your church and see if you can set up a mentor/mentee program. It is so worth every moment! “Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5).
You will not regret it. I miss you, Lady. More than I can even describe. My best friend, person, mentor, accountability partner, teacher. I am so excited to see you again! Until we see each other again, in heaven, I love your face off!
Welp, 2 Years Have Passed since my beautiful Lady saw Jesus (and Jerome) face to face. Somedays, it feels like an eternity. Then, there are days that the stinging pain is fresh.
Grief is a beast.
I have never been one that has been okay with the loss. Like never have I been okay in the history of ever. Never. I try to be all mature and stoic. Then, that moment when I am alone, it hits.
Overwhelming sadness and tears. When I am alone, I can let my guard down and just mourn. Boo says that I can’t cry because that would be like Superman with a broken arm. It isn’t the norm and, to him, it isn’t okay. He does not like to see me upset at all.
Frankly, none of my kids do and when I do get emotional, Big Daddy buys me something LOL. I guess that is their way of “fixing” the giant hole in my heart that she left. In a creepy way, I drive by her house. I’m sickened with how they have let the yard go. One day, there were mattresses on her front lawn.
She would have NEVER allowed that. Honestly, she would have strapped those things on my back like a pack mule and I would have hauled them out. Or, in her fashion, she’d call her ‘boyfriend’ (Big Daddy) to come and get them. In his true fashion, he would hop at her command.
Oh, she had a hold on him. I loved how she loved him. One day, she called me, in a panic. I thought something was wrong. She says get over there and I stop everything and go. That was our thing.
Walked in on a Disturbed Lady
She was standing in the kitchen when I flew in and this was the conversation that we had:
L: Look what was on my front porch and back porch!
**Holds up 2 baggies that had a letter and a mint in each baggie. I get the baggie and pull out the letter. It was an invitation to the KKK.**
Me: Josephine…what on earth! Did you hear anyone?
L: No but I don’t have a gun anymore either so what am I supposed to do? They must have seen your kids out here working in the yard. Those **insert dirty words**.
Me: What would you like me to do?
L: Take that filth home with you. Get it out of my house.
Me: Yes, Ma’am.
L: When are you bringing supper?
Me: When I get it fixed.
L: Are you eating with me?
Me: I always do!
L: Are the mints safe to eat or are they tainted with hate?
Me: I vote tainted with hate.
L: Shame, I love those mints. See you soon. Love you.
Me: I love you more.
L: That is not possible.
So, now, recounting that…I’m going to have to go and cry now. I’m alone, licked the cheese off a 1/2 a bag of Doritos, no one will see me…it’s all good.
Lady…until I see you again. We are gonna make some Poke Salad, Cornbread, and fry some fish. Plus, as a bonus, I can finally meet your Jerome.
I love your face off and I miss you every single day.
Once upon a time, there was a Boss, Professional, and Judgy People. Well, there were a couple of more people in that group, but I shall refrain from speaking on that. This past week has been riddled with my frustration with the human race. I have zero tolerance right now and I really don’t know why.
Normally, I can look past things. I can chalk it up to immaturity, triggers that are mine that was activated by an action of another. Normally, I can regroup and then be done and okay. I try hard not to let it affect me, emotionally.
As my Lady said, “your emotions are yours. No one can control them but you. Pull yourself up by the bootstraps and move on!” That statement would make me cry every time but now, it is my mantra.
Kindness Goes a Long Way
When you follow the rules, talk to the person in charge, clear the issue and then the second in charge scares your child. Uhm…not okay. That has been one little issue that we have had. It is not okay to scare a child or to use your authority to force an issue. Especially when that issue was resolved by the said person’s boss.
Luckily, I have a friend on the inside that was able to run as a buffer for this little moment. Once she knew of the problem, she had it resolved immediately. However, I did make sure that my voice was heard as well. I opted to show kindness but to be firm in that what happened was not okay. Hopefully, this is resolved.
Mistake of One Leads to Misfortune for the Other
At a time when money is tight (as in always), this is not the time to go without a paycheck. Yet, I have for the last 3 weeks. When I was told that I would not be paid until a certain thing was done, I had a hard time using my words. My son was in the car. I was not going to let the actions of another trigger the intense emotion of anger that I was feeling. There were so many words that I wanted to use. Yet, I refrained.
In saying that, my tone was quite evident by my son and the person I was speaking to. He quickly got off the phone with me. My son never said a word. Smart on both parts. My fingers, however, did a lot of speaking when I translated the news to my husband. All I have gotten was a haphazard “sorry.”
Judginess of Others
Oh. My. Goodness. The rate people judge others is TREMENDOUS! Disgusting actually. I have to be really careful with how I phrase things. We have been unable to do some things with one of our children. It isn’t for lack of wanting to go and do. The fact of the matter is, we have been limited because of Hunter’s illness.
Unless you live in my house 24/7, you have absolutely NO idea what has gone on and happened here. I don’t feel like I have to send notice to people or go to a place and make a statement in regards to why I can’t be there. It isn’t necessary.
Recently, we have had more chance to be able to go and see my child do the thing that he enjoys. I love being there supporting him. What I don’t love is the looks I get. Completely and totally ignored by most. The comments I do get are “haven’t seen you in a long time someone else usually does this activity.” “Doesn’t (insert name) usually do this? Thought you fell off the planet.”
Then there are the sweet people who know the situation and ask how my son is doing. How I am fairing? How is Hunter? Just kindness. Those little moments, though are few and far between, touch my heart. Yet there are still the other group of people who are isolated, by the judgy people, as well. These people do not fall into the “click” of others. They found me and they were sincere in questions. That was a sweet moment too.
In the End
I have to just move on. That phrase from my Lady needs to permeate more through my body and mind. I need to quit looking to others for understanding, kindness, and maturity. It is what it is.
I need not the approval of man but to remember who I am in Christ. Trying to figure out if someone likes me, doesn’t like me, is mad at me, why they are mad at me…I’m just over it. There have been a few moments of questioning who I am as a person because of the actions/words of another. I am over it.
What a pointless way to spend my time.
If you ever wondered WHO you are in CHRIST, then look no further! Head on over to The Alliance and print out this PDF. It is who we are, in Christ and Scripture to back up that fantastic knowledge.
Live your life in order to bring joy and honor to our King. If You (me) continue to look to others for approval, we will constantly be in a state of depression and despair. As I tell my kids, look for the kid that no one wants to sit by or talk to. The one that is different from the others. Go say “hi” and get to know that person. Don’t point out differences. Be mindful of judging others. Most importantly, BE KIND!
As my Oak says, “In the end, if you do not see it, taste, touch it, or hear it, do not speak on an issue. Keep your mouth shut.”
Well, it is a rejoiceful Happy 85th Birthday to my Lady. My goodness. I can’t believe that it has almost been 2 years since I have seen your face or heard your voice.
I miss your face, your voice, and your presence.
This picture was taken on her 81st birthday. She decided that she wanted to go and eat fish with me and her boyfriend. Her boyfriend was Big Daddy. Their relationship cracked me up.
Oh, how she loved him and he loved her. She may be the reason we are still married. I firmly believe that Big Daddy would have gained “custody” of her in a divorce settlement LOL.
Ramona & Stacey
In the end days, I became Ramona. Still not sure who Ramona was in her life, but I took on that name. She, more often than not, referred to herself as Stacey Cox. Also, she spoke fluent and correct German.
She was my person. My mentor and best friend in the whole wide world. What started out as a Titus mentorship twirled into the best friendship and then settled firmly into me being her caretaker.
I would not trade my time with her for anything. She loved me even when I was unlovable. The wisdom, tears, joy, prayers, lessons she taught me was invaluable. I am truly a better human for having her in my life.
The fact that I can still see your Doug, Chelsea, and the rest of that crew. Also, the friendship with Joe, Esther, and Devon. I love how you loved them. Such a devoted wife, mom, and granny Jo to your HUGE crew.
Getting All Up in my Feels
Gonna stop because I’m going to start feeling my feels. I know you say that crying is healthy and I need to do it more often. Today, I may not stop crying. So why even start that mess. You know I hate to show emotion.
I think I’m going to go and eat fish with your boyfriend.
Today (this being written on Saturday the 29th), I have overwhelming sadness. There is no particular reason why. It has been a beautiful day but it has been a long day. I have accomplished quite a bit, but still feel like I’ve done nothing. Now, in the quiet of my room…I feel that pressure of sadness. It is almost like a weighted blanket being laid across my chest.
The one year anniversary of my Lady leaving me is today.
Fear of failure.
Frustration over accidents.
Anger in regards to businesses and their lack of care for their customers.
Sadness as I think of my niece and nephew.
Hurt as I think of what my sister has to deal with on a daily basis.
Listening to a friend, mourn knowledge of what has been.
Pain thinking of the things that little eyes have seen and little ears have heard.
Uncertainty when I look at my son.
So Many Emotions
Since I’ve been off my anti-depressants, I feel things. I feel ALL the things. This is not pleasant for me. I’m certainly not familiar with these emotions and the random times they pop up.
I miss my friend. It really is that simple.
Lately, I have stepped out of myself and I’ve allowed myself to talk about these things (all the things) to my husband. Bless his heart. He is so good.
He simply doesn’t know what to do with all that encompasses me and these things that I feel. When I say I’m fixing to cry, he sits down and lets me sit on his lap and cry. It doesn’t take long and once I’m done, I’m done.
He’s a good man.
God is Bigger
For now, I will lean on the knowledge that God is bigger. He is big enough to handle all these stressors, mean people, stupid mistakes, and health issues. I have to realize that, in Him, he sees the beauty in me. He captures all my tears and he places them in a bottle.
He is good. All the time and all the time He is good.
Happy 84th Birthday, Lady. My Lady began calling me Ramona as her mind came in and out. She also referred to herself as Stacy. We got tickled when she came back around, and I would tell her. I loved to cook for her, for her birthday.
It overwhelmed her having all my kids in her house, surrounding her table. She would sit, talk, laugh, and just absorb those crazy moments. Her eyes would dance and sparkle as she helped my kids with different projects, while I cleaned the kitchen.
She also enjoyed us taking her out to dinner. She and her boyfriend (Bart) would put me in the backseat, and they would hang out in the front. They solved the world’s problems. They loved eating fish, together.
Bart would surprise her and bring her flowers, every once in a while. She loved him for that.
I miss her laugh.
The thought of her singing, with her beautiful voice, makes my heart rejoice. Her wisdom is something that I will hold onto forever and a day. In this picture, she had just turned 80.
She wore my FAVORITE shirt. Red was my favorite color on her. She loved the water (as they owned a houseboat for a long time). This shirt just was the epitome of what she liked and what I loved.
I would love to be sitting in her room, in my green chair and her in her leather chair. I would love to be at that table again.
There are many times, I sat, in that chair and at that table, with my head in her hands while I cried and she prayed.
I miss hearing her praying over me. Her guidance. Her forthrightness. I miss every single part of her. Everyone needs a Lady.
Today is her first birthday that she is celebrating with Jesus and her Jerome.
Let’s Talk About Them Slippers. I have never been a slipper kind of gal. All slippers irritate me. I have to bunch my toes up when I walk in them, or they will fly off my feet. I don’t like big slippers, I don’t want little slippers. I don’t like animal slippers, I don’t like fancy slippers. I do not like slippers. I do not like socks, but that is for another post.
In 2014, my daughter asked me what I wanted for Christmas…I had no clue, and I tried just to give her a vague answer because I really didn’t need anything, but she wanted to give me something. That is her Spiritual gift…She *LOVES* giving gifts that bring joy to people. Loves it. I didn’t want her wasting her money on me….but she insisted.
So I said, get me some slippers.
I knew that I probably would never wear them, but it was an idea, I could put wear them around the house on Christmas Day and then retire them to the closet until the next Christmas. Problem solved.
Little did I know…..I would form a bond with these slippers, and they have forged their way into my heart, and they are very very special to me.
When I opened my gift…I did the act of surprise face, and then I promptly put them on and oohed and ahhed over them. She was pleased. That is all that mattered in my book. I did, notice, however, these were not like the slippers I thought they would be. They were more like fuzzy sock type of slippers and though I do not like socks…I do when it is super cold….so I did put them on, and they did the job.
The Years of Hospitals
In May of 2015 is where my slippers became a part of my journey. That is the month that my Lady had her first, of many, strokes. I stayed with her during the day and most nights. She was in and out recovering from her stroke and her MANY UTIs….So. Very. Many.
The next year, daddy had a stroke. I was blessed (is that the right word) that I knew who to talk to, what to say, what questions to ask, and what doctors/tests to request because I had already walked through that with Lady. I spent several days with him during the day and evening. Flash forward a year, and daddy had quadruple bypass surgery. Then Hunter got sick and was in and out of hospitals, then a few months and my Lady went to a nursing home….then back to the hospital….then back to the nursing home. My slippers and I saw my Lady for the last time on September 30, 2017, as she took her last breath on October 1, 2017.
My slippers have walked many many hospital halls and nursing home halls, seen many ERs, lots of wall decorations, supported me in many conversations with doctors, specialists, and nurses wheeled lots of wheelchairs, walked from floor to floor and hall to hall, absorbed tears while I hid in the bathroom, and so much more. Alyssa has bought me other slippers for Christmas, and I do wear those, around the house because I like them. These slippers: black, gross, dirty, and washed too many times, well, they are special to me. I keep them packed in my “to go” bag at all times.
Thank you, Alyssa…for giving me something I never really wanted. They have a lot of memories.
Self-Care Not For Sissies. For about a year now, maybe a bit longer, I have been learning how to take care of myself. It is hard. As a wife, mom, daughter, friend, believer….it is hard for a woman to stop and recharge. For me, I felt like I didn’t have time. I had to go go go go and do do do do and when I was tired….go more and do more.
One day, I was at my Lady’s house, and I had things to do there. I needed to get laundry started, dishes started, do some computer clean up, get the trash, visit, and then I was going to make her dinner and bring it back and eat supper with her. Those were my favorite days.
I got there, and we chatted for a moment, and she looked me square in the eyes, and she asked me if I had slept any the night before. She always knew when I hadn’t slept…always. This day, I must have looked pretty darn bad. I just smiled and told her I was fine and that I would get some stuff started for her. So, I stood up, and she promptly told me to sit my butt back down in my chair.
It’s a Command Not a Statement
I sat down, and I looked at her, and I asked her what she needed. She had a sense of urgency in her voice when she told me to sit down. That smile, she just smiled and said for the next 15 minutes, I was going to sit there….be quiet….and close my eyes. I laughed at her, and then I laughed more. Finally, I told her that I was there for a visit and all I wanted was to visit. There was wisdom that I needed. Also, I needed to get some of her stuff done. She told me the stuff can wait and so can the visit, but I was not to speak or move.
Well, I leaned back, propped up the feet and I eyeballed the clock. I would do as she said, but if I didn’t….she’d get me, but I was not going to enjoy it and I was not going to sleep. Well, about 45 minutes and a ton of drool later…my eyes popped open. I was disoriented, I had no idea what was going on or where I was. I looked at her with this frightened look, and there she was….in all her wisdom and beauty….just smiling. She asked how I felt and, frankly, I felt like a million bucks.
I could not believe I fell asleep without the aid of meds or a fan but command from the greatest human ever. It was glorious. She explained to me that she was worried about my constant moving and going and doing…that I needed to stop and regroup or I would be sick and then I would be of no help to anyone.
I took her message to heart. I began, initially, claiming Sundays as a day of rest (literally). After church, I would come upstairs…take off my makeup….change my clothes and pile up in bed. I would watch movies, play on the computer, clean my room, or nap. Bart would buy Chinese, and I would not come out of my room all day long. Somedays, I just laid in bed. Other days, I would listen to praise music and just pray. To this day, I still do that. I used to feel guilty and now, I realize it makes me a better human.
Since that time, I have extended my self-care attitude. Occasionally, I would get a massage. I get out by myself sometimes. Also, somedays I would head to bed about 8. Now, I don’t go to sleep, but I take a couple of hours to be responsibility-free and just reset my internal clock. There are nights when I take long, hot showers. There are also times, I do face masks or hair masks cause I enjoy it. I look at pictures, listen to music, text my friends, call my siblings or mom.
My kids can still come up here and chat, my husband comes up here to chat sometimes. I still have a few critters up here in my bedroom. Now, Hunter goes to bed at 9, and his bed is close to mine, so it isn’t like I lock the door. Most night, I just sit….and be still.
Still, I am a Good Mom
I am not selfish and I am not trying to get out of my parenting/wifely duties. There are several nights I stay up, play cards with my husband or those boys who have taken over my girls’ lives. I am a mom of 7. Yet, I parent about 11 kids. I mentor, love, cook for, clean for, educate and haul all of these peoples. Every day, I have 4 special needs kids…one with behavior issues, one low functioning and with learning disabilities, and then Hunter with Opsoclonus Myoclonus Syndrome. Sadly, I am tapped out by the time supper is over.
It does not make, us as women, wrong to go to our rooms and let our husbands take the reins of parenting. In fact, it makes me better. It builds relationships that might not otherwise be built if I’m always in the room. Let’s face it…my husband and I could be sitting RIGHT NEXT TO each other, and every single time there is a question or a problem, the kid comes to me. Every. Single. Time.
Daddy needs to know that our penis is bunched in our new Superman underwear. He also needs to know that the squirrels ate the wires in the car. Oh, wait, Daddy needs to answer the bazillion questions that arise with one of our kids. Also, Daddy needs to tell a certain boy that poop goes in the potty and not in his pants.
I’m happy to let daddy do ALL the things……….while I just chill.
Operation Get Out of Debt Pressures Pitfalls and Poor Choices. We have made so many poor choices because we were deceived. What began as a blessing ended in a nightmare.
In 2015, my sweet Lady had her first stroke. It was a tough year for her. She struggled through all the pokes, prods, tests, weakness….she just kept on keeping on. I was so proud of her for all that she was doing to fight back and to get well again. That was the year that our relationship turned, a bit. It did not turn too much because she was still my mentor, my best friend, my confidante, my person….but I became a caregiver for her.
Taking Care of My Lady
I started simply by just doing her laundry. I did that because her washer and dryer were in the basement and she did not need to go downstairs to do it (or I didn’t want her to go downstairs). It was not and a big deal to me. There were days, or weeks when her laundry would be a little more than I could handle in the time I was there (because we were chatting and I forgot LOL) so I would bring it to my house to wash. Again, she was my family. She is my family. I would have done anything for her.
Then it moved to “hey Lady….let me collect the garbage and get it onto the curb.” It wasn’t that she couldn’t do it. I didn’t want her to do it because she had some left-sided weakness. She got out of breath carrying the heavy garbage down the steps. Also, she had to go through the courtyard, down the driveway, and then hoist it up to the can. I wanted to serve her.
Next up was keeping up with the dishes and my, personal favorite (cause I seriously love doing this), was organizing closets, cleaning out the fridge, cleaning out her closet. We had the best time giggling over things that I would find. Oh, how I miss her.
I digress into memories.
We trudged through that first year, and she announced that she wanted to send all of my family on vacation. She had points that she could use through her Timeshare. There were too many for her to use she was going to lose them if we didn’t take some. I struggled with accepting such a gracious gift because that is a lot plus, I didn’t want to leave her for that long. She insisted and so in March of 2016, we headed to Virginia for 10 days. The only thing we “had” to do was go to some Timeshare informational meeting, but we just had to listen…it would only take 30 minutes out of our 10 days, and then we could be done.
Timeshares = Lies
So, we planned events around that 30-minute chunk of time. No big deal. Or so we thought. This 30-minute meeting turned into 4 hrs long! 4 hrs of telling us how great timeshares were and how much money we were saving by buying into this…how the points we could get through buying a timeshare were points that would give our entire family a guaranteed vacation, even when our family was still expanding. There was the one-time fee, no more, no less and we would get a free tablet. We would be able to use our points to have someone buy our groceries and have them delivered and put away in our condo of choice in our location of choice…we could even go to Europe. I mean, it *sounded* glorious and affordable.
Diamond Resorts and Wyndham = More Lies
When we sat down, with a representative, and they reviewed it all again. They brought us lunch, they were engaging, and then they showed us the price. Uhm, no. Just no. Oh, wait…NO. The price tag was like $40K, and we were not going to do that. Then the manager came over and told us again, the pitch. By then 2 hrs had passed. We informed them that we could not afford that. He asked what our professions were and Big Daddy said he was a P & P officer. Also, I homeschool the kids. He asked how much we could afford and we told him nothing. He took that info and came back and said that he would slash that price in half, we would still get everything, as promised because of our professions.
Manipulation and Debt
We told him that we needed to think about it and asked if we could come back later and make a decision…..he said no, the offer only stands for right that second and if we leave, it would go up to the full price or even grow in price. He needed an answer immediately. I guess we were shocked when we heard we could not even leave without giving them an answer….but now, more time had passed. I was over it. Big Daddy yielded to the pressure. I didn’t give it much of a fight because I was over it. Just over it. We were so stupid.
Falling Into the Traps
Well, that sounded like something we could do. We yielded to the pressure of this, and we took out a small equity loan to cover the cost. Stupidly, we thought we had it made. We finished out our vacation and came home to tell my Lady. She just shook her head. She said, guys….did they tell you about the maintenance fee you have to pay every year that costs as much as your house taxes? Did they tell you that this? Did they tell you that? What about this? She said that her fees go up every single year and she cannot financially handle it anymore but it takes death to get out of it, and since she has family, death wouldn’t even do it, her family would inherit the timeshares (even though they do not want it), and they are now responsible for the fees.
Stuck in a Timeshare
We were shocked. Sadly, we tried to get out of it, but it had been past the 10-day mark, so we were stuck. Alas, we were stuck with this loan and with these fees. Our goal was to just make the best out of it. We were not told, the number of points we “bought” would not accommodate all of my family. Yet, we needed more points, more points meant more benefits, more benefits meant more in fees. Oh, and they don’t know who told us about the grocery thing, but unless we are platinum members, that doesn’t happen.
We were lied to about so many things. We were pressured, and the funny thing is, is where the meeting was….there was no wifi, and there was no tower to use my 4g even to look up this operation to read reviews on it. Convenient, huh :/
Be wary of timeshares. They are nearly impossible to get out of, they are vicious, they will call your family to pressure for payment, they do not stop. It never stops. You would have to hire a lawyer to get out of it. You can’t sell it because it is not worth anything and if you do sell it (that rarely happens), then you will lose money. If you stop paying, they foreclose on you, and it affects your credit scores…..so you are stuck.
Please be aware and do your homework!
Do not be pressured and Do your homework.
Don’t just say “I’m over it” like I did and do not buckle on the pressure.
Be wise. Don’t be stupid, like us :/ Luckily, we are out of it, but not without consequences.
The joys of making crap decisions….they follow you forever.
So, Today is Friday and I need to know Where to Go From Here? Friday’s are typically spent with my Lady. I would head over to her house a little before lunch and we would either eat there or go out….that began our day together. Once we were done eating, I would get some laundry started or get started on her “Brandi do” list. Don’t get me wrong, I love to organize. I love her and I would do anything she asked me to do. Frankly, I did.
Sit, Cry, Pray, Repeat
Once those little things were done, we would head to her chair and I would head to mine and we would sit……..we would talk……I would cry……..she would pray…..she would teach me. I would head home about 4, get supper started, and then head back over there to bring her supper. Somedays I would eat with her and somedays I would drop it off and head home.
I sit here, at my table, eating a salad……alone.
We buried my Lady yesterday. It was a day we were all dreading but we knew that that is what she wanted…to be with her hero and her Jesus. We all know that she would never come back to this fallen earth….that she would simply wait till our room was ready and she would meet us at the pearly gates.
Her service was beautiful. I was honored that I was asked to sit with the family, though I am not blood. This family took me in, like their own, and loved me. I am thankful for her boys Joe David and Doug. I’m thankful for their wives Esther and Luanne. I’m thankful for the two grandkids that I have met Devon and Chelsea…..then there is Caden, Abigail, Colton, and a new one on the way. I had the privilege to meet her brother and his wife and her nieces and nephews at the funeral.
Steve Loved Her
Her precious friend did the service and he did exactly as she asked. Make it a celebration of life and not a free for cry session….oh, and be sure you talk about the plan of salvation. Her constant prayer was that everyone comes to know her friend, Jesus. She was pretty special like that.
Our friendship was rare…..so many people have “acquaintances” but that is as far as it goes. We had a closeness that cannot be described. She knew my EVERYTHING and I knew her EVERYTHING. She caught me by surprise one time, during her hospital stay…a nurse asked a standard question and she answered it in a way that I was not expecting.
Once the nurse left…I got all up in her stuff and I said: “Faithie….are you sure you did that, for that long?” She smiled and said yes but she was not proud of it. I asked her how I never knew that and she said that that was something I did not need to know LOL. You could’ve knocked me over with a feather.
Our relationship shifted a bit after her stroke in 2015. I did more of the housework and I took care of her needs a bit more, but that did not diminish what she did for me. She taught me how to live life to the fullest. How to love my husband and my Jesus without reservation. She taught me how to parent and make cornbread. More importantly (LOL), how to get out stains like a beast.
Brandi…when you have time
How when she called and said, “Brandi…when you have time….” I never heard the rest of the sentence. My kids knew if she needed me, I would go. I’m blessed to have older children who can watch the younger children. I’m also blessed my kids loved her so deeply and she loved them. I would always tell her, I’m on my way. I would always try to hide my grin or my gaping mouth when I would walk in and see what it was that she needed….once she flooded her kitchen LOL….what was she thinking????
All Out of Love
Everything I did for her…..I did it with joy in my heart and love. Whether it was hauling her somewhere, filing her toenails, cleaning up, sitting with her…so many sleepless nights. It was absolutely an honor and a joy to be in her presence. It was always and will always be my pleasure. There was never an I’m too tired, I’d rather not, can someone else do it, it can wait.” I just did it because she needed it.
Never will I Ever
Never will I have another relationship like I had with her. I have close friendships and I treasure them…..but she was my everyday. There will never be another Ms. Jo, Josephine, Faithie, my Lady. There is a giant hole in my heart……..one that will never be filled. Jesus did well when He allowed our paths to cross. He knew I needed her and He knew she needed me.