*These past 18 or 19 months have taken their toll since the pandemic and other instabilities have disrupted our lives. The death tolls alone in our immediate, community, national and global circles bring to mind questions about our own mortality.
I was just talking with my cousin Vivian, who’s like a big sister, about the death of yet another family member, Gwen Murray. Vivian – whom I affectionately call by her middle name “Loretta” – was telling me that her husband Chuck had just lost three brothers (Eddie, Eugene and Vernell Webb) over the span of four months.
She said, “with all the people leaving us in such a short period of time, it’s caused me to think about my own life span – counting how many years I may have left; twenty, five, twenty minutes, the next second. Personally, I’ll take the 20!”
I agreed. We tend to count how many years it’s been since we graduated from school, or when we started on a job and other special occasions, but seldom or hardly ever do we think of how many years we have left, at least until now.
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She said, “I look in the mirror and see the gray, and as I see new wrinkles, I have to remember that all wrinkles do not necessarily come from age; they also come from smiles, laughter and tears. I acknowledge my wrinkles because I realize they are there because of life experiences – smiles of happiness, tears of joy, and yes, tears of sadness. I have a new grandbaby on the way in December and when she looks upon my face for the first time, she will see the greatest smile and the greatest joy just to know that she will know me. When I see her I will say, ‘Hello my lovely, I am your great-grandmother, I have waited for you for so long!’ We will dance together and sing together! Her mother, my granddaughter Jeterra and I used to look up at the shape of the clouds together – we will do that too. I will not be counting my years then as I will be so full of joy and thankful for being so blessed.”
I said, “that’s the spirit Loretta; I needed to hear that today!” She went on to say, “the pandemic among other things has isolated us so much. We’re used to hugging and getting together, but we can’t lose our hope.”
In times like these, no truer words have ever been spoken: We must hold onto faith, hope and love; and remember to count our blessings! Thank you Loretta!
Vivian Lamb Webb resides in Southfield, Michigan and serves on the Restoration Committee of the National Black Resort of Idlewild, Michigan.
Larry Buford is a Los Angeles-based contributing writer. Author of “Things Are Gettin’ Outta Hand” and “Book To The Future” (Amazon); two insightful books that speak to our moral conscience in times like these. Email: [email protected]