Southern Women: My Two Examples of Strength
Both my parents are now deceased. My handsome, strong father died 20 years ago after an agonizing battle with melanoma. He was 46. Two years ago, my mother died suddenly, not quite 56. However, I am fortunate that both of my grandmothers are still living. They both are the most beautiful, strong, intelligent women I know. And yet, they are both two completely different people. I have realized lately how much I am like both of them. Yes, they are both strong Southern Women, their birthdays are two days apart, and they even live around the corner from each other…but their faith and how they handle grief are worlds apart and I feel like I’ve experienced both of their personal journeys in my life.
You see, Grandma (my Dad’s mom) became a widow at 25. My handsome young grandfather was killed in a tornado, crushed in a building in downtown Waco. He was playing pool. And he wasn’t supposed to be there. So my grandmother was left with 3 small children and she was angry for having to pick up the pieces. She remarried and had two more children. When my father died, she didn’t even shed a tear…she was angry that her son was died at such a young age and that she had to experience another devastating loss.
Mimi, on the other hand, lost her mother and husband within 4 months of each other and was forced to run a business for the first time in her life at 52 years old. Picking up the pieces was no doubt a tribulation. Through it all her faith never waivered and she had lots of support along the way. She managed to run that business successfully and later married, Harris, her high school boyfriend. Despite other trials in her life, she has been strong and courageous and has been rewarded with a fulfilling life full of travel, friends, and happy memories. Harris was later was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He passed away 4 years ago. We all miss him terribly but the grief began before he passed and in some ways his death was a release from the sad anticipation.
Mimi has always had a strong sense of faith. She’s a devout Episcopalian and has been active in her parish and the broader church for her entire life. Her home has always been open to friends and clergy, and she has gladly given her time, talent, and treasure. She is everything a true Christian aspires to be–loving, kind, happy, fun, and joyful! Every morning she exclaims “The is the day that the Lord has made! Let us be glad in rejoice in it!” She always reminds those around her of God’s love.
I’ve discovered that grief wouldn’t exist without love, and the more you love someone the more profound your grief will be. With my father’s passing, I was angry like my Grandma. I was mad at God. With my mother’s passing, though, I realized I was like Mimi. Even though it felt like there was a hole in my heart, I could see and feel that God was all around me. There were too many signs of His love and that He DOES have a plan. It’s hard to deny.
Grief is a journey. I’m here to tell you, the path is better when you put your faith in the Lord, when you trust His mysterious plans, and when you look for His signs of love.
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