This is a long and tough post but I truly believe it’s worth the time to read. For two reasons, May is and forever will be a hard month for me. It’s the month we celebrate mother’s day but my momma is no longer physically here and it’s the month we laid my daddy to rest. I share this not for sympathy but to share a message that may be a little rough to read but the intent is to encourage and inspire action. When I think back on my parents’ life individually and collectively, to this day, I’m still learning valuable lessons. One day I will expound on that thought. It’s amazing how even though they are no longer physically here, they continue to raise me. I specifically remember during my dad’s illness I said ‘Daddy you have to get better because you haven’t finished raising me yet.’ He just smiled. Little did I know, 4 years later, he’s still raising me.
When I started this blog one of my primary goals was to encourage others. I pray this post in particular reaches as many people as possible because I believe it is a message that many should read.
If you have loved ones, show them by getting your house in order before you are laid to rest. No man knows the day or hour when GOD will call them home. It was unexpected when my momma passed in 1996. No warnings, no clues, no nothing. In so many ways life as my daddy, my brothers and I knew had changed in an instant. But I firmly believe with all that I am, it was her time. In just 46 years, she completed her assignment. Make no mistake, we are all put here to complete an assignment, once it’s done, it’s done. There is SO MUCH I could share about my momma – she was an incredible and amazing woman. I will share parts of her story at a later time.
My momma went to sleep on January 1, 1996. I moved to Florida January 15, 1996. Imagine what my daddy must have felt. Even though his life was turned upside down, daddy got busy making sure my brothers and I would be ok when GOD said it was time for him to take his final rest. It took my momma’s sudden passing to solidify the reality that he too would have to go and he wanted to make sure ‘His 3 thangs’ – which was one of my dad’s affectionate ways of referring to me and my two brothers – would be ok. I remember each time I would come home to visit, he would always say something like ‘if anything happens to me, this is where you can find this, that and the other.’ Of course at that time that was the last thing I wanted to discuss. I would simply say ‘ok daddy.’ In September 2010 daddy got sick. This was another sudden event because my daddy didn’t get sick. I vividly remember getting the call from my brother saying daddy was in the hospital. WHAT?! Life as we knew it once again changed in an instant. We had no clue that daddy would not fully recover.
Here’s the message of this post. When daddy got sick, our only concern and focus was getting him better. When he was healthy and strong daddy put provisions in place that in the event he was unable to care for himself, we would have access to resources so that we would be able to manage his business. He communicated with us in such a way that when the time came, we knew what to do and he had empowered us to do it. Too often families cannot focus on the immediate health needs of their loved one because the person that‘s experiencing the crisis did not make it a priority to get their business in order. One truism in life is that sickness and death will touch everyone.
Here’s the thing, the person that’s sick oftentimes doesn’t have the capacity to deal with the day-to-day beyond their illness. They should be able to focus all their energy on getting well. The last thing they should be concerned with is whether or not they have the resources to take care of their needs without putting undue stress on their loved ones.
It is such a tragedy to see families destroyed because they have to go through extraordinary means to take care of a loved one in crisis. Please understand – I do believe families should be there for one another. But let’s be honest, some family are family in name only. Some are willing but are unable to help. There are those that only show up with their hands out. Or they show up with unsolicited advice and criticism. And, there are some family you prefer didn’t help out because you never hear the end about their good deed or they expect something in return. These folks you wish would pray from a distance.
Another thing I believe and perhaps some who may read this may feel some kind of way but…I don’t believe it is the responsibility of the whole family to make sure your needs are met. Yes, having family outside your household help out when you are in need can be invaluable and greatly appreciated. However, don’t rely on others to do what you should do for yourself. Family or not, folks will get tired because they have their own lives and families they are responsible for.
My brothers and I are so BLESSED to have had the parents we had. They taught us to be self-sufficient. This does not mean we will not reach out and ask for help when we need it. However, as adults, we have been taught to take care of our business. After all, we have no excuse – we had excellent role models.
While you are physically, mentally, emotionally capable, love your family enough that, at a minimum, make every effort to put provisions in place to take care of you in sickness and death. Let your wishes be known to the appropriate person or people. Whoever you trust with this responsibility should be someone you can trust to do the right thing according to your wishes. Please note: the person who you entrust with handling things on your behalf doesn’t have to be a blood relative. Sometimes people outside your immediate family can be the better choice.
One thing I can tell you is that decision by committee typically doesn’t work well especially when there is no direction. So, in the event the unthinkable happens, those who are left to attend to your affairs are in the best position to do so. Only you know your situation. Do your level best to equip your loved ones with the reality of your situation. Trust me – it’s easier to deal with tough situations if you know what you’re working with. Don’t stick your head in the sand and think it will all work out. Yes, it will work out one way or the other but at what cost. It’s selfish to leave your family saddle with the burden of taking care of your business without your help.
FINAL WORD OF ENCOURAGEMENT – 1 Timothy 5:8 – Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Love is action.
Be Encouraged! Be Blessed!
this Pastor’s Wife