Friday, May 29, 2015

Coping, Crying and Celebrating

I found out that my father in law had died yesterday morning. He was 88 years old and he had lived a long, full. prosperous life. He leaves grown children and grandchildren to carryout his legacy. We knew he was sick. Hospice was visiting the house and we were given an opportunity to say goodbye to him. I have been in this situation before, So I know that having a loved one in hospice care allows us the blessing of saying all we can before the spirit transitions. In a way it is a blessing.

I sat up in the bed and I said a prayer. I looked at my phone closer and I saw that I had two text messages and six Facebook messages. I knew immediately that something else had happened that night or early that morning. Something besides my father in law passing away.

As I started reading the messages and the text, I felt as if I had fallen out of bed and landed in someone else's body. My friend of almost 30 years, whom I often called my sister, had also transitioned. She's 43 years old with two beautiful children. Her children unlike my father in laws children are very young. Her life unlike my father in law had not been long enough. My mind was reeling. I went over every conversation we had. I searched her Facebook page to see when the last post she made was dated. I wasn't going to cry for her yet because I didn't believe it. I called her cell phone over and over, whispering, "pick up Nicole please." There was no answer. I went back to Facebook and I messaged back and forth with many friends in disbelief. It was true, Nicole was gone, Unlike my father in law, there was no preparation and no hospice and no goodbye.

I sit here now with tears filling my eyes. I am writing this update today in memory of my friend and my father in law. People think that your illness, whatever it is, is the hardest part of life. The illness brings about the changes and the physical pains and the disability. However, we must realize that even though illness exist in our lives, it does not make us immune to grief, loss, and despair.

My body was probably shaking and I was probably blurred in my eyesight now that I think back, I remember my husband asking me if I wanted to go to the ER He said I looked so lost and vacant. He said my hands were trembling and I wouldn't move. To be honest, I couldn't move. All I could do was pray. Inside my head over and over again, I prayed. I prayed for Nicole. I prayed for her kids. I prayed for our friends, I prayed for her family. I prayed for myself. I prayed for my father in law and my mother in law, I prayed for my husband.

It took me 2 hours to get dressed. My hands just could not understand the signals my brain was sending. I am not even sure it was sending any signals. I sat down in my closet and I asked, "What am I supposed to do?" I needed someone, anyone at all to explain to me what comes next. What is my next step after hearing so much painful news in one day, Everything was hurting. Inside and out I was in pain like I can't even describe. I knew how to grieve and mourn right? I have lost so much, right? Then why in the world was I stuck in this closet motionless, besides my hands shaking,

I wish there was a way to deal with this emotion. I wish there was a way to think of my funny, beautiful friend Nicole  without crying or feeling selfish or feeling confused. I finally stood up and I remembered a song that we both loved so I began singing it and then playing it on my ipod.I listened to it in the car to go see my mother in law. I am listening to that song right now in fact. It hit me that even though I will miss my friend, my sister, my classmate I could celebrate her and grieve her at the same time. When my father in law passed we were sad but grateful that his suffering had ended. I am not sure if I ever realized Nicole was suffering but I do know that I love her and we had beautiful conversations and amazing memories. I needed to celebrate those days. I had to get past how she left and stop asking God why she left. I needed to take time to CELEBRATE her and our love for one another/

No matter what you are dealing with already, grief can magnify pain. However, not grieving can only make it worse later on. Whatever you are dealing with allow yourself to feel emotions of loss, grief, joy, excitement. Remember that it is okay to be angry and confused and irritated by the situations life throws us into. I will never forget my father in law with his big powerful personality. I will never forget Nicole with her loving, funny, infectious personality. I will however, allow myself to feel it, grieve it, move through the process as slowly as I need to, Because I know that unlike permanent, disabling, incurable illness I will get past this moment and I will see my loved ones again. Where we all can walk and jump and sing, with no pain and no worries. So for now I will look forward to that day and celebrate the lives of the people I loved today.

In memory of Nicole Byrd Norwood and Raymond Daniels


  1. That was Beautiful. Thank you. Your words ALWAYS seem to help me understand and get through certain things. Love Ya Always. :)

  2. Thank you once again for putting this situation in perspective for me. I really needed to hear this.
    What would I do without you? Much Love to you.

  3. I am blessed to be able to express what I am feeling. I am honored that you all are affected by it. I love you and I thank you. Cyndi and Eddie we will get through, <3

  4. So beautiful...While at my grandmothers house this past weekend, I ran across "Mrs. Byrd's" picture in the call paper, and instantly I was shocked. Nicole was my second grade teacher, I am now 28. I discovered her on Facebook and we chatted about where we were at the present day. She told me that she had re-located to Houston and was teaching eight grade and she loved it. I told her that I was struggling with school and she "told me" that I was going to go to Langston with no questions asked and that I was to use her parents address. I was able to obtain my degree and although it wasn't from Langston, I always think back to her pushing for me 20 years removed from her classroom. As I sat there looking at her picture in the call paper, it not only blew my mind with how young she was when she left this earth, but also how young she was when she was my educator. It made me realize how young she was with a passion for education that it was still there 20 years later when she was encouraging me to go back and finish my degree. As I embark on my journey to pursue Education, I certainly hope that I can touch my students lives and leave an imprint such as the one she left in mine.