Tomorrow is NEVER Promised

How ironic that the very weekend I would be volunteering at a camp for grieving children, that I too would revert to a childlike state as a result of the sudden, unexpected death of my grandmother. During the orientation for Camp Braveheart, the facilitators simulated a healing circle for the volunteers. Those who participated in the drill were prompted to share an experience of a loved one lost. At the time, just weeks ago, I had never lost anyone of significance. Of course, I have had mere acquaintances die untimely deaths.  Then most recently, there was the death of musical legend Whitney Houston which stunned the world myself included. But nothing could have prepared me for the death of my very own icon Dorothy Mae Andrews.

I am a bumbling grief stricken wreck, spoken words are too exhausting for me to utter and short breaths between heart wrenching sobs keep me alive. But I want to die along with her. I received the call the morning of March 30th as I was set to fly to see her in the hospital after a failed stent replacement surgery that ended in amputation of her leg. You never know how you will react to a tragic situation until you are face to face with it. Alone in my spacious barely furnished apartment, I felt empty. Yet there is no room for anyone to replace her. One word cannot describe the woman that I so admired and revered for she is an embodiment of many words: feisty, courageous, independent, adventurous, generous, outgoing, loving, kind, loyal, encouraging, stylish, optimistic, funny and fun, fun and more fun.  Miss Dot was full of life and she truly lived a life worth living. Just a day has passed since her death but I hear her speaking to me saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and “It’s gonna be okay.” I know deep within my very being that she was proud of me as she was all her children and grandchildren. But I am selfish enough to believe that I was her favorite because she was mine.

I wish that I had a chance to say goodbye, to hold her, kiss on her and tell her that I loved her beyond compare. At times, I feel that I was robbed of that opportunity, and then I sense her presence. I know she would not want me bitter, angry or laden with guilt. She would tell me in her saucy way, “Snap out of it. Tomorrow is never promised.” But if it was, Grandmother, I would hasten to your bedside, hold your hand, whisper prayers of faith and healing in your ear, then tell you how much your loved, appreciated and valued.

One of the culminating activities at Camp Braveheart is the candlelight memorial service where handwritten letters to loved ones are released into a bonfire in their memory.  So in remembrance of my beloved grandmother, I set fire to the rain of tears that consume me and write these words in her honor.

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6 thoughts on “Tomorrow is NEVER Promised

  1. Wow that was beautifully articulated. Your grandmother was an amazing woman who was full of youthful life & happiness. Words can’t describe the pain one feels when the lost of a love one strikes us unexpectedly. It’s a pain that infinitely burns deep within your soul like a fire that can’t be put out. In 2010 I lost my 24 yr old uncle as a result of senseless murder in the black community along with 3of my childhood friends within the spand of a few months. I felt as though I was on an emotional roller coaster & the hopes of freeing myself seemed impossible. The sadness never goes away but as time goes on you learn to deal with it. I extend my deepest heartfelt condolences to you because I understand the position your in. Memories of happy experiences with her, celebrations, memorials, videos and discussions of the wonderful life she lived will bring you joy from time to time. She would want you to use that as motivation to continue to press on but yet keep her alive in your heart. As I think back we had such a great time in Atlantic City this past February all because of her. There was nothing but laughs and excitement. She started a little party in the lobby of the hotel just by dancing and singing because her presence was embraced. Every experience I’ve had around her was fun because she always had a quick come back & her conversations had a way of engaging you with interest. God bless her soul she lead a fantastic life

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