The Weeping Willow branches drooped lower on May 11th, 2022 and their wailing more subdued to endure forever.
My sister, my love, my confidant, my setter straighter, my humbler, my practical logical side, my left brain, my right brain, my “mama”, MY BEST FRIEND.
I struggled collecting my thoughts to do this. How does one begin to process, digest, and absorb this pain? I know, I know, you are likely saying right now “mandali-you are stronger than you believe, you can absolutely do this”.
I miss you so much and can hardly breathe whenever I think about never seeing the hidden dimples, the fierce beautiful brown eyes, the intense and piercing thought-provoking look “cut eye” you would give me when you wanted me to think outside of myself.
Please forgive me a moment of selfishness as I seek to possess you for myself. I have never lived nor known my life without you, my JenJen in it. Do I talk about the mischiefs of childhood -The scrapes you endured trying to perform tasks in my stead, your fearless interventions whenever a bully affronted me, or do I mention your sense of fairness and impartiality when I tried using the privilege of your class seniority in secondary school to avoid certain tasks (I am still a little vexed with you that you didn’t let me skip toilet duties).
JenJen, you were, are a beautiful soul. You molded me in your fierce yet gentle way. I ran off and hid myself ever-so-often, but you always had that magic of a hound’s dog to sniff me out of hiding. How I miss you!!
All through life, my journey was your journey and the good Lord prevailed on us the ability to discern our priorities and commitment to each other. I loved you unconditionally. You loved me unconditionally – in all my bruises and brokenness. Your final journey became my forever enduring journey and for the first time, a break from physical presence.
Now for the thank You:
1.) I thank the good God for giving baba and mama their number 9
2.) I thank God the number 9 was Sebenden – later to be JenJen
3.) I thank God that I didn’t drown that day in Kumba water when we went looking for your left shoe – I am sure baba and mama are still thanking God too because they would have lost both number 9 and 10 (murder number 9)
4.) I thank God that you never gave up on me in my darkest moments when I felt deserted by all.
5.) I thank God that I never went hungry in the early days in America. You worked hard and ensured I always had a little something coming through.
6.) I thank you for my first huge blessing in America- the birth of my first child, Bradley – your first child in every sense but womb.
7.) I thank you for being a mother to my children and the fun times cooking, baking and creating with Danielle.
8.) I thank you for nurturing and encouraging Joseph – seeing his gentle soul and telling him about his namesake – our Baba.
9.) I thank you for absorbing me into your life’s accomplishments – school, marriage, material growth, and subsequently, the birth of your lovely Peter. My fearless nephew.
10.) I thank you for introducing me to your other son Bey and allowing me to develop my independent relationship with him.
11.) I thank you for holding my hand whenever, wherever, and however needed – without questions
12.) I thank you for the random love text – “I love you – mama”, “Hey Beautiful – I Love You”
13.) I thank you for the Hug Emojis – Lord, those always made my day
14.) I thank you for letting me be free to be me, lol – so many idiosyncrasies.
15.) I thank you for the trips to foreign places and my hope to see more for the two of us.
16.) I thank you for thanking me even when not worthy of thanks.
17.) I thank you for loving me.
18.) Finally, I thank God and You for allowing me to walk besides you during these last 4 years as you kicked Cancer’s Ass. The lessons I learned from just observing you:
a. Your unwavering faith – priceless
b. Your love for your church and church family – priceless
c. Your love and dedication to your family – priceless
d. The deep conversations – priceless
e. Your compassion for others – priceless
f. The bible lessons – priceless
g. The communion sessions – priceless
h. Your fierce honesty and truth – priceless
i. The tongue-in-cheek wit – priceless
j. Your deep understanding of medicine and ability to challenge your doctors – priceless
k. Your very practical view of issues – priceless
l. Your utter belief, trust, and confidence in my abilities as a person – PRICELESS.
I love you; I miss you; I thank you for filling that huge part of my head and heart which will forever remain full of you, my JenJen, my best friend.
Sleep in peace, dance beautiful flower, dance. You are with your Lord and Master, and for that reason, I am at peace.