I sit in a row cascaded by purple. Purple hats. Purple scarves. Purple shoes. The closest purple I could find in my closet was a navy-based dress with an assortment of flowers swarming it (some of them purple). Maybe if people don’t look too closely they’ll think the navy is purple.
I’m here because of her. A woman who stood in the gap for my mother when her mother passed and then stood in the gap for me when the same occurrence transpired.
I remember as a teenager and her mother had died, the three of us, myself, her, and my grandmother, formed a tight ring of prayer in my grandmother’s living room. At the time I was ignorant of the lifelong sisterhood rooted in covenant encircling me, but now I see it so clearly. That demonstration of a bond defying blood. The ride-or-die syndrome that my grandmother’s friendships seemed to be diagnosed with that was also injected into my own friendships.
Next to this woman, in this pew, I feel closer to my grandmother more now than ever. They are cut from the same cloth, she and her friend. They have the same way about them. Though different in personality, it is the essence of old-school, Black womanhood that they share. That, I done’ been through hell and back, essence. That, I’ll love mine, fight for mine, cuss you out in a second for mine, essence. That, I may have lost my mind, and lost my job, and lost my health but I’ll praise Him anyways essence.
We are here for a purpose. The minister is speaking about love. He is speaking about hope. He is speaking about Alzheimer’s.
Alzheimer’s is a disease I wasn’t too familiar with. I only knew what I had caught glimpses of in movies like The Notebook or heard tidbits about from books I had read (yes, The Notebook is also a book but I didn’t read it.)
Is Alzheimer’s hereditary? I didn’t know. And I didn’t know how much of this disease had ravaged my grandmother’s best friend’s mind. I didn’t know if she would even recognize me when I came. I breathed an internal sigh of relief when her eyes lit up in familiarity.
Purple is the symbolic color of Alzheimer’s and we are here to learn about its impact on our elderly community. There is a white woman whose wokeness I’m impressed with speaking from an Alzheimer’s organization at the podium. She shares that Black people are more likely to contract this debilitating disease. More likely to experience the effects of dementia. More likely to go through this specific kind of trauma. I also learn that dementia is the loss of memory and that Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia. As if we needed multiple kinds of horror in this life. It is like the variations of Covid that started appearing after we finally got used to the first strand. Go figure.
I’m cold because for some reason the church took that saying seriously that says when Black people come together it gets hot and so, they didn’t turn the heat on. I don’t think we have enough people in attendance or something because I am freezing. But I’m happy that I pushed through the two-hour drive on the turnpike. I’m happy, even though I have a hard time with traditional church services for a few reasons that I won’t go into in this post. I’m happy because I am so close to my grandmother right now and so close to this woman who I’ve been trying to see for two whole years. I know enough to know I must relish the moment. I’ve experienced enough sudden endings or pauses in my temporal relationships to understand that life is fleeting.
I remember this as we have dinner after the service: leftovers from a Cabaret that was held the night before. I didn’t even know folks still did Caberets but I’m famished and will devour whatever is put in front of me. My plate of fried chicken, green beans, and mac n’ cheese is wiped clean within fifteen minutes.
As my inherited friend’s daughter shares the hardship of this illness and how it has taken its toll on their lives, my heart aches. I grab my friend’s light-brown hand and hold it for the rest of the conversation. I don’t want this moment to end, but I know that eventually, it will. And it does.
That is the tricky part of life. The good moments always seem too short and the bad, too long. I think that’s why I have this proclivity to take so many pictures because I want to capture the good ones and hold on to them as long as possible. Plus, pictures help us not to forget. In a world where dementia and Alzheimer’s exist with the capacity to steal even our loved ones’ names from our lips, we need some way to remember.
Pictures and faith are mine. Pictures capture the good moments while faith promises us many more. Click To Tweet
The minister said as much while preaching. He also reminded us that even when we forget, God does not. He does not forget His love for us. And nothing can separate us from it.
I watched this word confirmed when my friend, in her diagnosed state, leaped to her feet when the choir sang. Her hands raised high, her head upward bound and her mouth relinquished sounds of praise that brewed in her gut from many trials overcome. She may not remember some things, or some people, or some moments, but the Father, she simply can not forget.
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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And, lastly, if you have read “Stories for the (Urban) Soul, please put up an Amazon review here. I was SUPER encouraged and blessed when a new reader put up her review for my 2nd book which you can view here :).
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