I actually thought that when you died I would completely lose my mind. I thought that I would roll around on the floor drooling unable to snap out of grief. I am thankful for a God who comforts mourners. I am thankful for at least a semblance of 100% sanity. There is not a day that goes by that I do not think about you. I admit that I have been preparing for your death for years; however, I still miss you immensely. When I was about 5 or 6 I remember attending my first funeral and crying the entire time because that was the first time I understood what death was. Death is final. Death is sad. Death changes everything. I remember deep and heavy tears because at that funeral I knew that one day you too would die. I wasn't thinking anything about the person laying in the casket; I was sobbing because I didn't ever want to lose you.
Your death causes me to think long and hard about "the good old days." Through everything I am so grateful that you played such a huge role in my upbringing. I remember the countless days we spent together during summers, spring breaks, and weekends. I remember us dying easter eggs, decorating for Christmas, preparing cornbread, singing songs, watching movies, having sleepovers , taking trips to the country, purchasing new suits, going to church together, and of course dancing at every family function. As a child I felt awkward and distant because of a few traumatic incidents that I endured; you were the first person (maybe even the only person at that time) who didn't make me feel like something was wrong with me. When I was 8 years old I fell in love with books because they allowed me to escape reality. Everyone wanted me to play sports or be "normal" ; however, that just reminded me of everything I wanted to escape from. You consistantly encouraged me to just be myself. You supported me and helped me to find my own way. You purchased me books that you knew I would appreciate. You took the time to get to know me as an individual and I appreciate that. It took years before I felt that my parents tried to connect with me and my interests, but I was comforted by the fact that you always loved and supported me. I can't even count the number of times that you told me you loved me and how proud you were of me. I thank you for making me feel sufficient. You looked out for me and took up for me (even if you embarrassed me terribly in the process.) I admit that sometimes you made me upset because you were overprotective and DRAMATIC. I now understand that you were just loving me as much as you could with everything that you had. I honestly do not know where I would be right now without that love and support. I never EVER questioned your love for me. Thank you so much for being present and believing in me.
Although I did prepare for your death for a long time I have not been the same since I heard of your passing. Nothing prepared me for the void that I immediately felt. Nothing prepared me for the real pain I experienced in my chest when my heart broke after hearing my mother say those two words, "she's gone." I am not the same. I miss the thought of you being safe and secure at 3328. I can't be the same because I can't call you anymore. How can I be the same now that I can't kiss your forehead again? I will never ever not miss you. I will never ever completely stop crying over you. Even though I am sad I need you to know that I am alright. Knowing that you are free from the burdens, pains, and sufferings of this world brings me nothing but joy. You were not perfect but you were a good woman and I am grateful to have known and loved you. My tears are not because I'm going crazy, they are because I love you and I feel your love and spirit still with me. My tears really are a sign that God is still moving in my life. My tears wash away the pain leaving behind joy and contentment. I feel your spirit still echoing the same love and passion in my heart that you showered me with my whole life. You taught me how to pray. You taught me to have an appreciation for hymns. You taught me how to trust in the Lord- everything that you taught me helps me to feel better whenever grief swells in my soul. Thank you for being a great teacher.
All I ask is that your spirit never leave me. All I ask is that God keeps allowing me to remember the sound of your voice and the feel of your hug. Thank you for being my number one supporter and encourager. Your love saved my life. I pray that I can live and love as passionately as you did. - I love you too, Derek
Click here for the audio of the eulogy I preached for my grandmother at her funeral