I looked into the face of a woman who had known her. Known my mom. There was only a hint of recognition on my part, and it wasn’t until she elaborated on the details that I could place her, one of the few Black colleagues my mom had at a job she dedicated her life to for a quarter of a century.
The woman asked how I was doing and stated in slight wonder that she had just been thinking about my mom. And then, to see me randomly in this setting was such a profound occurrence that it had to be divine. I agreed, nodding and feeling the Father’s presence even as I responded that I am well. Although this is a typical greeting in our formal society, I suddenly knew it to be true.
So many days have passed by: 1,826 of them, to be exact. And every day, there is a part of me that is shattered. Torn into bits by the incomprehensible experience of the death of someone close to you. Of someone who was, at least biologically, the closest to you.
As I’ve told friends before, there is just something about that umbilical cord… I swear it is the connecting point between heaven and earth, so even if the relationship is rocky, it still rocks you when they’re gone. But I digress…
I nodded to this woman, an old colleague whom I remember my mother wasn’t too fond of, but I had to remind myself that I’m sure she feels differently now that her understanding is elevated and her trauma is healed.
I nodded to this woman while becoming suddenly aware of the fashionable threads kissing my limbs, the perfectly crafted twist-outs praising my scalp, and the natural glow of my smooth cocoa complexion. All of this happened within seconds, and I knew I was seeing what she was seeing. My mind’s eye flashed to the gifts I have been given since my beloved mother’s passing. The accomplishments. The success.
Yes, I was well. It is well with my soul.
It is well because of Him.
It is well because of her.
I wanted to tell this woman, “My mom is still taking care of me,” but I knew I didn’t have to say the words; she could see it.
I realized at that moment that I am a walking, talking billboard for this woman’s labor. For both of my parents’ labor, who are now in glory, rooting me on and sometimes appearing to me in dreams, and even, in one glorious encounter, in person.
When my mother transitioned, I felt like an orphan. I felt like my foundation had been ripped from beneath me. That my origin had been wiped out, and there was nothing in its place. Even though my grandmother, who I was emotionally closer to, had passed years prior, I had not felt this way. I had not felt like my world was over. I suspect it was because my mother was still physically standing in the gap.
It suddenly felt like said gap was a bottomless pit.
Flashbacks of my childhood and stories from what I had been told of it lept across psyche. There was no one left on the planet who I was close to who would know those stories. No one who could experience the joy of my birth more than that woman. How could the little I had been given be taken away?
I felt all these things for 1,826 days.
What was my purpose? How could I have a purpose when I didn’t have children? When I didn’t have a husband? Parents? A job? What was I doing here?
On really bad days, I still wrestle with these questions. On really good ones, they are not even a thought.
But for 1,826 days, the Father’s love and care, and strength carried me through. And for so many of those days, people availed themselves to me.
My sisters caged me in from the raging attacks of grief and loneliness, even as we sat in the limo on our way to the funeral service.
One of my besties heard my heart-wrenching cry on my first holiday when I couldn’t withstand the emotional brutality of extended singleness. As a result, we crafted a plan to make our own annual Christmas memories.
My community rushed to support, provide and encourage me at many events, which is something they had always done before, but were now even more intentional to do because they knew, that without them, I was alone.
And one woman, in particular, seemed to singularly embody the very love my mother had lavished on me for 34 years. This woman had been a constant in my life for some time but suddenly moved to the forefront as a lead in my storyline.
In those moments that I was so used to having my mother’s assistance, encouragement, support, she rushed in. She took me to my scary doctor’s appointments, became my emergency contact, would send a much-needed follow-up text of encouragement after an event, and included me in her family gatherings.
For 1,826 days, I was loved.
I know my mother’s shoes can never be filled, but I so appreciate the people in my life’s efforts to fill them. Or at least, supplement them.
And because of them, it is well with my soul.
Severe moments of loneliness, grief, and trauma did not overtake me. Serious bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts did not win. And instead, books, businesses, travel excursions, shopping sprees, enjoyment of life, joy, love, and fun is my story.
It is indeed well with my soul.
It is well with me.
5 years later.
In other news, did you know that I just dropped the pre-sale for my debut novel When Love Wins? You can check out more here! This time around there is an audiobook in addition to the eBook and paperback versions. Make sure you are subscribed to my email list to catch special offers, discounts, insider information, and more!
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