This past November my husband’s (Trev’s) grandmother passed away. The family calls her ‘Mama,’ and Mama’s wish was to be reunited with the late love of her life in Jamaica. Transporting her body from Canada was no easy task, but it brought together her HUGE family (7 children, 29 grandchildren, and 33 great-grandchildren) and reunited Trev with his roots.
Her funeral was one of the most moving moments of my life. It was held in small church in the mountains. She has cared for this church her entire life. As a young woman she went against convention and encouraged her congregation to bring in a live band. At the time, this was revolutionary. If a person needed money or food, she gave it to them. Apparently, she would walk for hours to bring food to the hungry and medicine to the ill. In her community and her family, she was a leader who gave of herself to make others feel more alive.
From the church, her body was transported further up the mountain. It took almost two hours for her to be carried down and sealed into a crypt where she was finally reunited with her heart. I have the privilege of having know this women for 12 years and listening to her wisdom about love: for self, for family, for others. Her life was a living example that love is the most powerful force in the universe. Up until 3 nights ago, I’ve always wondered how she overcame the sacrifices she made for others with such grace and humility.
Mama passed away in a hospital. In the morning, she got up and made her bed, because, in her mind, there was no good reason not to. She also visited with family and rested. I often wonder what she would have thought of in her quiet moments. I don’t believe she was afraid. I believe that she was at peace because her life was an expression of inner need to love and care for others. Her life was lived knowing that each day carries its own risk of death. On her last day, Mama wasn’t dying. She was just living one more day. Before leaving, Mama entrusted her youngest daughter with the answer to my question “How does one continue to love despite the associated pain and disappointment?”.
Her last words were this: “Have faith, and you guys MUST take care of each other.” To be honest, this blows my mind! An entire life summed up in 11 words of pure and simple wisdom.
I find it sad when I speak these words to others and they shut down at the word ‘faith.’ It seems for a great many people that faith is not separate from God and religion, and they dismiss it before considering what faith actually means. I could look up a number of dictionary meanings, but I don’t want to. I’m tired of people trying to tell me how to define what I already know. For me, faith is an action that is performed with an acceptance that I don’t know what will happen. Its facing the fear of the unknown and diving in because it feels right. It’s one of those actions that I know will allow me to feel peace as I die. Faith will give me the strength needed to follow the second half of Mama’s final words.
Love is act of faith. It’s terrifying and beautiful. Ive always found love to be easier to give to others than to myself. Mama’s life and her words have inspired to live her example in my own unique way. The decision to finally write a blog is part of the process. For the first time, I’m going to trust in those who love me and listen to their words of encouragement to publish my art and my writing.
I express myself through a variety of mediums: words, needle felting, painting, drawing, crocheting, crafting, cooking, and giving. As far as what exactly my blog will be about… I have no idea nor would I impose any boundaries on it. I will leave it open to change as I work on allowing myself to be ever more open to the unknown.