A watchful eye on the dying

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For more months than I care to remember, my life has been one heck of an obstacle course.
Yes, I’ve been absent.
Yes, I’ve been bothered.
Yes, I’ve been woozy, lost, dazed, and ripped up inside.
I’ve watched someone die.
Someone that I love. But more than that, get this,  it was someone that I loved.
She was my everything.
She accepted me.
She loved me.
She loved my children.
She gave herself to me, to us, unconditionally.
She was my grandmother, and I watched and I prayed, and I saw her dying.
A vicious mass 16 centimeters came along, didn’t ask any questions, it just came and positioned it self inside of her and wrecked all of our lives.
Her heart, worn and battered from years on the battle field of life, simply had given up.
She fought.
We tried.
We fought for her.
We fought with her.
We encouraged her.
We loved her.
And.. we lost her.
My life is shattered. In shambles. I don’t think anyone gets that she was the all and the everything.
She was the boom and the bip. The sugar to the Kool aid. She was the main ingredient. She was the rest of the story.
She was gracious and beautiful and full of wisdom and lessons.
She was music. Gospel music. Powerful. Strong. The alto of all Altos.
She was my Jumae.
From the beginning she’s always been there.
Not sometimes.
Not with conditions.
Just there, always.
She protected me. She rescued me. And I wanted to do the same for her.
I was helpless. Although I tried everything I could, it didnt work and so,  I watched.
I watched her slip away. Little by little. Bit by bit, breath by breath. I watched. And it shook every fiber of me.
I watched her grow silent.
I watched her in fear.
I watched her grow angry.
I watched her withdraw.
I watched her transition.
I watched the dying.
And through it all, she was so brave.
My family, we were there. The way she wanted it.
We watched her suffering, but only for a little while. I wanted the pain to stop. I was relieved when it did. Then I felt guilty about feeling relieved. I didn’t want her to go. I wanted her to stay. She was so full of life. But she had to go.
She went from shock, to saddness, to disbelief, to denial, to depression, to hope, to dispair, to faith, to withdrawal, to acceptance, to transition.
I watched her going.
I stroked her arm.
I whispered in her ear. “Thank you for taking care of me, thank you for loving me.”
She looked at me.. she didn’t talk much in the end. Sometimes she mananged to say I love you too. But she was always mumbling bible verses. Encouraging herself. She knew her word. She kept it in her heart. She taught me. I stare in the mirror and I see her eyes, I see her face, I see her spirit in me.
I am everything I am, because of who she was.
I love music.
I am cultured.
I am strong.
I am brave.
I am giving.
I am loving.
I am gifted.
Jumae taught me.
She told us she would be here for thanksgiving, and she was. And after all the chaos of the day. After seeing everyone, and us loving on her, later that night, after almost everyone left, she left too. And she did it as she always did, she did it Julia’s way.
That was her thing to say, “yes, I did it, but I did it Julia’s way.”
She traveled the world, she recorded albums and songs, she sang with some of the best known singers this world has to offer.
She did it all, and she did it her way.
She was remarkable.
The bravest, and strongest woman I know.
I am honored to have known her.
I am in awe of the beauty of every part of her, even to the last minute, even in watching the dying.
I had to let her go.
I loved her, we loved her. But God loved her best.
I will miss her always.
I will honor her always.
And I will be the kind of woman and mother that she taught me to be.
When you see greatness in me, please know, Jumae taught me.
My angel. With the voice of an angel. Is resting with the angels.

Julia Mae Price-WIlliams -Great is Thy Faithfulne…: http://youtu.be/WJkAZuO8aVc

In memory of my loving grandmother Julia Mae Price-Williams 1937-2014
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The book titled ,The Needs of the Dying by David Kessler really helped me see that dying was as much a part of life as living. It helped me put things in perspective.
Excerpt :

The need to be treated as a living human being, the need for hope, the need to express emotions, the need to participate in care, the need for honesty, the need for spirituality, and the need to be free of physical pain.

Peace and love,
Dee

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16 comments
  1. Thank you for sharing your Jumae with us. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. May His peace be with and within you.

  2. Mary Conyers said:

    What a BEAUTIFUL LADY she was. And yes, you are so right, she did it Julia way. Julia had her on style of doing things and only she could do it. Guess what? She made sure to leave her twin here with us. YOU!

  3. latoya said:

    Wow so speechlees. I am just reading this wth watery eyes. Dee you are so Extraordinary sis. God will continue to comfort you and the family at this time.

  4. Dawn Wells said:

    Tears Cousin, well, well said and written ! To God be the Glory for her life. Julia lived her 3 scores and 10 which we know to be a blessed life. It is evident, the life she lead was a blessed one…She was an angel. Her voice was like no other but she used it to “build and grow” the Lord’s kingdom. May she continue to rest in heaven’s gates in peace and harmony.
    Love you Boo 😘 !!!!

  5. Nicole Elmore said:

    Beautiful words for such a beautiful Woman. I had the pleasure of knowing her. Even though I didn’t see her often I knew of her love, teachings, her faith, her beautiful voice and most of all I saw her through De’Lisa and Brandy eyes… I love this beautiful tribute for Julia.. Beautiful and truly heartfelt

  6. I am in tears as I write this because just recently I had a similar journey with my Dad. May God and His Angels of Mercy and Compassion BE with you at this time of your Life. I understand more then you know. My Heart is with you and shares with you your grief. (((HUGS))) Amy

    • Awwwww.. Wow.. I thank you so much. I was just sitting here thinking of my grandmother as I eat my dinner. I miss her so very much. God is a keeper, and a great comforter. But it never goes away. My heart is with you as well and your experience with your Dad. We understand, that life is not forever, but it sure isn’t easy. I thank you for your kind words.
      Peace and many blessings,
      Dee

      • Ah, yet, Dee, Life is forever. It continues in ways we truly don’t understand, for the human mind is finite, and God’s mind is infinite. I know my Dad is alive, just not in the way he was here. Do I miss him? Terribly! It would be selfish of me to want him to still be here because he suffered so much and he wanted to go HOME so badly. His last words to me were, “I LOVE YOU, AMY”, then he returned to the death state he had been in, and did not come back out until his last breath. He made such an effort to speak when he could barely be understood. Looking directly at me and saying those words were his final Gift to me, one that I carry with me in my Heart now and always. May Peace BE with you! Bless you for writing back. Your words mean so much to me. Love, Amy

      • As yours do to me…. i love everything you said here. It caught me at the right moment…
        Selah !
        Dee

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