If I had to write a letter to myself before my sister passed away knowing what I know now, this is what it would say:
Why are you waiting? Live! Get started now! Your sister sees so much in you. She sees the woman that she helped create. She doesn't think she's your mother— she knows that she's your older sister. But you know how older sisters are: they expect everything from you that they didn't expect from themselves. They want you to travel more, learn more and do more.
Sometimes, you're going to wonder if she's ever pleased with what you've accomplished. But no matter how unimpressed she seems, she's proud deep down. It's just that she knows your real potential, and she's trying to get you to see past your limitations and become that person she knows you can be. She knows that if she keeps expecting greater and greater things from you, you'll rise to meet her expectations. She knows that you have it in you to beat the odds, carry the load that no one else wants and take the risks she always wanted to take but was never able to.
She's going to leave you before you know it. You're going to be surprised, angry and confused. But don't be devastated; she's at peace because she invested everything she learned in you, and she shared her dreams with you. She was preparing you for life without her.She knew you were going to take a ride on the roller coaster of grief, but she knew that you would find the strength from God to bounce back and do your best to carry on. She knew that you would be stronger, appreciate life more and be thoughtful about your next move after she was gone. She knew that you would teach her son how to fly and that you would not let the fear of losing someone one you love to prevent you from marrying Cedric. Oh, she knew that you would take care of and love her dog, Mustang too! She's smiling in heaven about that because you told her that you would never be a pet owner. She knew that you would choose to love Mustang and grow to love her dearly.
She knew that deep down you were afraid to love because you knew that with love comes pain. She knew that at the end of the day, you would always do the things that mattered most. She knew you would encourage people and believe in everyone that the world would label as the "underdog." She knew that you would miss her, but that you would never forget the things that she taught you and the memories that you created together. She knew you would stand for the things that she believed in after her passing. She knew you would be an example of God's love, mercy, and grace. Erika, she already knew!
“Like branches on a tree we grow in different directions, yet our roots remain as one. Each of our lives will always be a special part of the other.” – Unknown
Keep the faith,
I don't know your story, but I do know that on January 11, 2014, my sister, Lisa Greene, was called home, and it forever changed my life. I had to accept the fact that her purpose on earth was complete. And as much as I miss her, I've come to accept this truth. If you've experienced the loss of a job or a loved one, or if you've just recently filed for divorce, I want to remind you that grieving after a loss is normal. Grief is healthy. It's all a part of the healing process. Allowing yourself to experience grief is necessary.
Grief has no age, no gender, no race. It does not discriminate. Pain will make its appearance eventually in each and every one of us. What we do with it is ultimately up to us. Just know that you, my friend, are not alone. It might seem like it when you're feeling sad, angry, scared and overwhelmed. But you're not alone. In fact, there are more people than you know that can relate to what you're going through and can help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. That's why it's so important for us to share our stories of grief, even though it's hard. When we share our stories, we find out that we are not alone.
My prayer for us this week is that we can give ourselves permission to grieve. We should cherish the wonderful memories of those that we love, even if it hurts. And we should make our best effort to share our stories so that we may connect with others through our grief. Together we can heal. Together we can live!