Family, Life, Loss, Love, Motivation

Life Goes On….

When I was a little girl, I had my life all planned out. I was going to be a monkey trainer, married, two kids, and riding horses in the mountains with the gobs and gobs of free time I would have because my personal cook would have dinner ready every evening, and my responsible children would finish their homework every day without being asked, and they would have a weird obsession of picking up after every mess they made.

It did not work out that way… At all. What can I say? This flashback to my little girl dreams getting crushed, brings me to my next topic…. “Life goes on.”

“Life goes on…..” You know, it was a phrase that I never really liked. Yes, it is the truth, but it seems so insincere, so blunt, and so lacking of any emotion or empathy. Now, at the ripe age of 35, I am sitting here in my wheelchair, at the end of the dock, writing down my thoughts, looking across a gorgeous lake, and watching “life go on.” I have come to accept that phrase.

I am not heartbroken about those dreams I had as a little girl not working out. There have been many points throughout my life where I thought I had it all planned out, but the forces that be shook their heads and thought otherwise. Every single time my plans completely got thrown into the blender in regards to how I thought my life was supposed to be, there was always one thing that was guaranteed… Life goes on.

There are so many things that can turn your world upside down. Whether it is the death of someone you love, a traumatic event, a broken heart… Life does not stop and wait for you to catch your breath. The sun still rises and sets, deadlines do not disappear, bills arrive just on schedule, traffic still piles up at rush hour, and you come in contact with strangers who are completely unaware of the pain you carry inside. At times it does not seem fair that the world keeps going with complete disregard to your own feelings of loss and defeat, but maybe that is what helps us heal. Think about it, if life stopped every single time you faced a detour, it would be kind of like trying to watch a YouTube video with really slow Internet. We all know how annoying that is… Nobody likes “buffering.”

Maybe you just need to coast on that detour, just for a little bit. I have learned to look at the detours of life from the perspective of relating them to real “detours.” Yes, some detours absolutely throw you for a loop, and get you so lost that you have to use every lifeline necessary to find your way. Sometimes though, there are detours that may in fact make it a longer ride to reach that final destination, but if you truly open your eyes, that ride is more beautiful, and it would have been something that you never would have experienced otherwise. It may be a blessing in disguise, it may scare the crap out of you, it may open doors to amazing opportunities, it may shut doors that you never thought would close, you may meet the love of your life, you may lose the love of your life, but it is life, and it is yours, and it is unpredictable.

I by no means claim that I have it all figured out. So, until it is my turn to see the ones I have lost throughout this journey of life again, I will put my seatbelt on every morning and keep rolling with life as it “goes on,” doing my best to embrace the detours and wherever they lead me to, and holding on to the belief that hearts that are meant to be together will always find their way.

Also, monkey training is never out of the picture…

Current events, Entrepreneur, Family, Life, Literacy, Reading

Making A Difference 

           Ever since high school I have made it a habit to watch the news. I have always wanted to keep up on my current events, but let’s face it.. the news is depressing. It always seems to be focused on the negative of any situation. I believe it is nearly impossible to watch the news without having to hear stories of death, hatred, and war. It is the world that we live in, and there is no denying that. Every once in a while though, there is a bright spot in the news that gives us all hope that there is still good in this world. Those are the stories I love to watch, those are the stories I love to share, and those are the stories that make us reflect on ourselves and hopefully make us strive to do better and be better. I saw one of those stories the other day when I turned on the nightly news, which I do every day after work. I would like to share that story with you in hopes of brightening your day.

         Monday evening, I was watching the NBC nightly news and doing my usual routine of decompressing after work. I am a fan of the nightly news on NBC because they always end their news program with an uplifting story. That night was no different, and I found myself smiling as I was watching a story about an 11-year-old entrepreneur named Sydney Keys III. It caught my interest right away, because I remember thinking…. “I don’t think I could even spell entrepreneur when I was 11 years old!” Sydney has a love for reading, but unfortunately he realized that boys in his age group, especially African-American boys statistically stop reading. In order to fight this stereotype, Sydney created a club called Books n Bros in order to make reading more fun for boys around the ages of 8-12-years-old. “Books n Bros is not only encouraging literacy within the Black Culture and African-American literature, but also Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, and Endless Possibilities!”


        

        Sydney has been featured on numerous news programs and outlets. On his website you can browse through featured collections of books that all have strong African American characters and stories of African American leaders and history. So, take a break from all of the negative news, and visit Books n Bros to see how Sydney is making a difference by simply doing something that he loves. I have always held strong to the belief that we can learn so much from kids, and this is a prime example of that. Here is a shoutout to Sydney for seeing that changes needed to be made, and for taking the initiative to be that change!  

You can follow and learn more about Books n Bros at www.booksnbros.com or on Instagram at http://instagram.com/booksnbrosllc.

Coping, Death, Family

I Love You Little Brother

Summer is quickly approaching… and I, like many others, am ready for sun, shorts, and flip flops! Along with the coming of summer is also the one year anniversary of the loss of my younger brother. We lost Eric on May 9, 2016, when he was only 26 years old. It was the hardest and most devastating thing that I have ever experienced. Death is a part of life, but when death happens unexpectedly to someone so close to you and so young, it makes such a deeper impact… it takes a piece of you. Throughout Eric’s 26 short years, he had taught me so much about life… the good, the bad, and the ugly. Even though he is no longer here, he is still teaching me and I can honestly say that I can feel him smiling down. I would like to share some of the things I have learned and experienced about coping with the devastating loss of my little brother.

1. Gone but never forgotten…

Not a day goes by that I do not think of Eric. Just like it states in one of my favorite poems by E.E. Cummings, “ I carry your heart with me. I carry it in my heart. I am never without it.” Those words have so much more meaning to me since the loss of my little brother. He will always be a permanent part of me.

2. Everyone has his or her own way of coping.

Everyone has their own way of coping with anything traumatic that has happened, and I have mine. This right here… writing down my thoughts… it is extremely therapeutic, and it allows me to express my feelings and struggles in ways that may not only help me, but it may also help anyone that happens to read this.

3. It’s ok to cry…. And also to laugh…

There are days that I think about him and tears come to my eyes, but there are some days that I think of him and I smile. Most of the times these feelings come rushing in completely unexpectedly, and I am still learning how to take a deep breath and accept all these emotions. I understand now that the emotions that I feel will never change, but the way I handled them will. It will take practice and time, just like so many other things in life.

  4. It is important to keep his memory alive. 

Eric’s pictures are up in the house, we speak of him often, and we share memories and stories about him. His son, Kobe, speaks so highly of his dad, but I know over time that his memories may fade because Kobe was so young when Eric passed away. Eric’s poster of him playing basketball in high school hangs above Kobe’s bed, and I will never stop answering Kobe’s questions about his father and sharing how much Eric loved him.

5. Maybe it’s a penny… a butterfly… a mustang passing me on the highway…

I do believe he is up there watching over all of us, and I do believe that there is truth behind signs that he somehow is present. My brother loved playing jokes and he had such a good sense of humor… and last summer when I was rolling around the lake and a butterfly smashed right into my forehead, I truly felt like it was Eric. I closed my eyes, and I swear I could hear him laughing. Maybe it’s coincidence… maybe it is not…

6. Eric was “too unique” for this world.

Eric’s other half and mother of his child, Monica, stated it better than anyone ever could. She said, “Eric was an extremely unique person, and this world just could not handle him.” That has stuck with me, and I could not agree with her more. The tattoo on his arm stated the word “untamed,” and that is exactly how he lived his life. The big sister in me always worried about him, but I also highly respected his ability to not waiver from what he believed in even if it was not the popular and accepted approach.

7. Sometimes I forget he is gone, and that will never go away.

There are so many times that I see a picture of Eric, and hits me all over again that he is gone. Sometimes I feel like he has just been on a long vacation, or busy… I feel like I should just be able to call him up or shoot him a text. I’m sure this will take time, and just like an open wound, I have to give myself time to heal.

8. Always say “I love you,” and always be present.

It is as simple as that. The last words Eric and I said to each other were, “I love you.” The night before Eric passed away, the whole family was together celebrating Mother’s Day. There is no other word to describe that day besides, “perfect.” It was the first time in almost a year that the entire family was able to get together, and I am so incredibly thankful that we had that day together. It was a perfect ending for Eric… he truly loved family.

9. He is happy… He is free…

It is hard too describe the feeling that swept over me as we scattered Eric’s ashes at the lake. The best way to describe it was that I felt at peace. I knew he was finally laid to rest at his absolute favorite place. I feel close to him when I sit at the edge of the dock and look out over the water, and when I miss him that is where I want to be… that is where I feel him the most.

10. I am a big sister, and I will always be a big sister because of Eric.

I am many things…. A daughter, an aunt, a granddaughter… but I loved being a big sister. From the day I walked into the nursery at the adoption agency and I met my little brother for the first time, I was so proud. I remember beaming from ear to ear when Mom brought him in to my second grade classroom because I wanted him to be my “show and tell” for that week. I will always have those memories, and I will be forever grateful for the 26 years I had with him.

Rest in peace little brother… I love you…. 💚