“Bing;” that was the sound my phone made day after day this week to remind me I had something else to do. I glared at the list, which was growing and not shrinking.
“I’m stuck,” I muttered. “I’m not where I thought I’d be on this list or in life at this point. I’ve got to try harder to reach more people with my writing. I need to figure out the next step in my TV career because I can’t do what I’m doing for the next ten years and I’ve got to progress in my relationship. I cant allow my illness, melancholy or procrastination to prevent me from making the impact in the world that I’d like.”
My impassioned speech got me off the sofa and to the mail box, a few feet away outside. The first thing I saw was a giant envelope from my cousin Ruth, who I call Jean. In it was a program from the 100th anniversary celebration for Beulah Baptist Church in Harlem. I’d paid my mother’s share towards a page dedicated to the slew of family members who attended that church until their death.
My parents were married in that church. I frequently went there with my grandmother as a child, especially on holidays. Funerals for my grandfather and so many others were held there. But, I hadn’t set foot in that church in nine years. The last time I was there I delivered my grandmother’s eulogy in 2010.
I flipped through to the page listing some of my relatives. Underneath their photos was the Bible passage: “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he’s old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6 (KJV)
I got choked up when it hit me that I am the granddaughter of Nettie, niece of Lillian, grandniece of Evelyn, cousin of Barbara, and “granddaughter” of Agnes. I owe it to myself and them I to rise above. I can and will improve upon the contributions of the generation before me so that’s their struggles and living are not in vain. I will use the skills, wisdom, faith and resilience that my ancestors showed and taught me. I will begin by making myself/self-care number one on my to-do list.
#ancestors #family #church #invisibleillness #chronicillness #chronicpain #blogger #writinglife #disability #autoimmunedisease #spoonie #disability