Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Reflections (abridged version):

2013 Reflections (abridged version): 

As I sit and think about the previous 364 days of my life I begin to feel a myriad of emotions (laughter, sadness and joy).  Several lines from one of my favorite poems (Mother to Son – Langston Houghes) describes my experience this year….”Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.   It’s had tacks in it, And splinters, And boards torn up, And places with no carpet on the floor---Bare.”   

This year has been one of personal challenge.  My biggest heart break was having to bury my oldest sister.  You see my siblings are not just my siblings they are also my closest friends.  I was especially close to Jackie.  She was the oldest and I the youngest of the Wadley clan…"bookends".  And to see her struggle with health issues over the last 4 -5 years before her passing was tough for all of us.  She and I would talk at least 4 times a week prior to her becoming acutely ill.  My intellect helps me understand that she is in a better place and finally at peace, however, my heart is not so understanding I miss her dearly.    I love and cherish my surviving siblings and our relationships.  I know the loss of our sister has changed each of us in different ways. We all have a unique and different bond.

I have enjoyed seeing my great nephews (Cameron, Myles, Dylan and Grey) grow up.  While I endured the loss of my eldest sister God gave renewed hope as I saw  Grey get older and stronger after being born premature at 1lb 7oz and spending exactly 100 days in the hospital.  Grey (aka Little Warrior) has just started walking and is a testament of God’s grace and power of prayer.  On June 19th Jackie made her transition to be with the Lord and exactly one month later  (July 19th) Grey celebrated his first birthday.  Thinking about the amazing power of God’s love and presence in these two situations alone takes my breath away.   These little boys have my heart and I know how much they truly love their Uncle Ronald.    They bring such joy to my life even though we live many miles apart.  They are the children I will never have.

On a personal level, my life has been up and down when it comes to love everlasting.  It has been filled with disappointment, joy and some extreme heartbreak.  However, the experiences have been interesting and God has had a hand in each situation.   I want to go into 2014 loving more and surrounding myself with those that know how to and are willing to love in return.  I can no longer worry about those that are unwilling to take this journey with me.   Life is short and I want more joy than sorry when necessary.  My close friends keep me laughing on days when things are not going so well (little do they know).  I thank God for their presence in my life.  

Ever since 2001 when I came to the realization the possibility of a long life is not guaranteed from one day to the next I vowed to take one BIG vacation annually.  I have kept that promise to myself all but one year since.  This year I went to Sint Maarteen (Dutch spelling/pronunciation) and had a great and relaxing time.  This was only my second time taking a vacation with someone and it was great.  Kenny and Joe are great guys and kept me laughing daily.   To be in the presence of kind and loving people is a blessing.  We had not seen each other in about 8 years but you would have thought we were neighbors.  It was good to get away and not think about anything happening back here in Chicago.   I still have some of my tan….YEAH!!!  What happened in Sint Maarteen stays in Sint Maarteen (Big Ass Smile).    Now I have to start planning for 2014.

I live a very blessed life at the end of the day.  You will never see me host a pity party for that is not my style.  While it is not a crystal stair, my life is filled with unmeasurable joy and blessings.  I thank you all for each part you have played in my life.  I pray that we all continue to recognize our blessings in 2014.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Will this Emptiness Subside

It has taken me some time to write this.  Oddly enough writing is my joy and one of my true passions in life.  It is a God given gift.  Now I am no Toni Morrison (smile) but I do what I do at the best of my abilities. 

About two months ago now my eldest sister and close friend died after a long struggle of a heart ailment.  Losing a sibling is different than losing a parent.  I really can't describe it but the feeling of loss is different.  For the last few months of her life she was in and out of hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.  Her quality of life had truly diminished and it was really tough for me and my other siblings to see her struggle as she did over the past few years. 
My relationship with Jackie was close as it is with all of my siblings.  However, as any of you that have siblings know the relationships vary with each brother or sister.   My closeness with Jackie started way before I could remember.   In most of the family photos where the five of us were the subject of the photo I would be positions on Jackie’s lap.  There she was holding her little fathead brother.  I am sure since she was the oldest she was given the responsibility of positioning me on her lap as the shutter clicked.  And with my dad as the family photographer, we took a LOT OF PICTURES.   
As we got older, my relationship with Jackie grew closer.   Once she got married and moved several blocks away to live with her husband at the time I was a little sad.  However, with her living so close we would still see each other often.  As time marched on and our lives changed but our relationship never wavered.  In fact Jackie was my confidant.  I could remember coming to terms with my sexuality.  Jackie was the first person I ever told.  Now I will not say that she was jumping for joy because that was not the case.  She was cautious because as most of my family and friends this was something that they did not really understand.  Hell, I was trying to understand it myself.
Jackie was the peacemaker in the family.  She wanted all things to be okay always.  I truly miss her as does my other siblings.  I find myself mentally thinking that I need to give her a call to talk about the latest “family events” or just to chat.  Then I realize that I will never hear her voice again and I get a sense of emptiness in the pit of my stomach.    I know that she is at peace for she no longer has a person that had a warped definition of love, no more ventilation and oxygen uses, consistent hospital visits to remove a build-up of fluid on her legs.  Yes, her last few years on this earth were very difficult.    However, I am thankful that the last three weeks of her life God stepped in and moved that “person” out of her life and moved Michael my older brother in.  He became her daily caretaker to ensure sure had her daily meals and medication at her house.  Michael was truly an angel and stepped in and stepped up when we as a family needed him. 
Currently there is a hole in my soul where Jackie once resided.  I know that this pain due to absence will heal but the scar will remain.  I will always miss her as I would if this was to happen to any of my siblings.  As I stated in the tribute I wrote and read at her home-going service, on the day I was born God immediately gave me my four best friends known as my siblings.  Today I have to go on without one of my siblings/best friends and it is a little difficult.  However, I thank God for the 53 years that I was able to experience life with my big sister.