...of a woman's strength

In times of bereavement, “be strong…” has been addressed to me or other females. I’ve labeled that as a cliché. “Do you say this to me because you don’t know what else to say?” I silently ask. With a “sympathetic” pat on my back or squeezing of my trembling hand, the condoler disappears.

I’m left to discuss my feelings with me, Larie, myself. “What do you mean by, ‘be strong?’ Have I displayed otherwise? I was as “strong” as I could be when I got wind of my Pops’ death. I was alone; in a foreign country. Anton was back in the U.S. for job certification. All within 12 hours, I packed, secured the next available flight; which, by the way, was 18 hours, and then I had to face the rest of my grieving family. When do I get to be weak, vulnerable and comfort-worthy? It was just before we left for the funeral home when you said to me, ‘Be strong for yo’ mamma and grandma, now ya’ hear.’ I HAVE FEELINGS! I HURT TOO! I’M HUMAN! I-AM-WOMAN!”

I overheard someone say to my auntie, “Be strong for your husband right now,” at her eldest child’s funeral. He’d been doing contract work in another country since retiring about a year ago. Therefore, it had been assumed that the death of their daughter was harder on him. I screamed to myself, “HOW DARE YOU! How dare you tell my auntie to ‘Be strong for her husband?’ Don’t you think she’s hurting also? God gave her strength to birth two daughters. It took strength to raise those girls to follow Jesus, in spite of their father being an unbeliever. How ‘bout she was strong during the time she held her crying, fearful and confused child after she’d been raped. Or maybe, just maybe, her strength was needed to keep her from “taking the law into her own hands” when only one of the three rapists was tried and convicted!”

“It was her strength, the strength of a woman, that kept her body from becoming soul-less upon the discovery of her first-born’s soul-less palace. Strength was given to her for this, the moment she collapsed with her hands clinching her stomach because of the aching she feels in that temple that once housed her daughter as she cries out to her Strength’s Source, ‘Oh Lawd! What I’m gone do?’ She had strength to inform a little sister of her big sister’s home going.”

My auntie’s strength, because she is woman, is what will allow her to gently respond, “I’m hurtin’. I miss my baby. How I deal wit’ ‘dis? I’m waitin’ to wake up,” as her eyes glaze over because the moment she found her daughter’s body replays itself.

My mother was told, “be strong for ‘yo mamma and daddy,” at her brother’s funeral. Mommy was strong; she was VERY strong. She had to be strong while watching the AIDS virus dictate my uncle’s body. My mommy used her strength to not give up although my uncle did, (he’d stopped taking his medicine). A sister’s strength allowed her to get her brother to the hospital, “just in time.” She relied on her strength when the doctors pulled the plug.

When is my mother afforded the opportunity to express her hurt? Will “you” think of her as weak? Please do not label her as not being able to “take it” or “fed up,” if she cries. And definitely do not say, “she don’ gone crazy,” if mommy does not conform to “your” expectations!

Let us display our strength, the strength of a woman, in all ways, even Jesus shed tears. Luke 11:1-35

No comments:

Post a Comment

Y'all's comments are overwhelmingly encouraging. I appreciate them very much. They motivate me to continue being myself. Smooches!