Tomorrow Is Not Promised

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In light of some recent deaths

I felt compelled to write

Just a few lines, not too many

I only wanna shed a little light.

 

Light on the things I know to be true

I have very few loyal friends

While I associate myself with many people

I try to be real and not pretend.

 

There is no one whom I can say I hate

That is too negative an emotion to feel

It puts a weight on one’s shoulders

And leaves scars not so easily healed.

 

I want to say that I love you

To any and everyone near and dear to me

I don’t want to perish from this life

Without making sure that you believe.

 

Believe me when I say I’m sorry

For any wrong I may have done to you

Whether today, yesterday, or last year

Right my wrongs is what I must do.

 

I don’t know when my time will be

But I don’t want to leave my work undone

Yet there is so much still left to do

This race I’m still running, I haven’t won.

 

At least not yet, because I’m still PUSHing

Praying Until Something Happens

Believing that the Lord is always beside me

Doing what I love with purpose and passion.

 

If you have ever said a word against me

It’s more than okay because I forgive you

I don’t want to burden my heart with grudges

I’m gonna do what Jesus would do.

 

Too many young people are dying

One right after the other, after another

Leaving loved ones behind to mourn them

Children, moms, dads, sisters and brothers.

 

They are filled with sorrow and grief

Unsure of how they can go on

Without seeing the one they love again

Crying whenever they hear their favorite song.

 

I’ve done some things I’m not proud of

But I know my good outweighs my bad

I want to make a difference while I’m here

I want to be happy, not angry or sad.

 

When it’s my time to leave this Earth

I want to be celebrated and remembered

This old world will surely break you down

But every one of our days are numbered.

 

So no, tomorrow is not promised to any of us

We don’t know our future, only our past

Just treat people right and always be kind

And live each day as if it were your very last.

Haiku ~ Loss

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Tears stream down my face
Thinking of the love we shared
Priceless memories

Never said good-bye
Time ran out far too quickly
Words left unspoken

I think of your face
Your smile and the laugh you had
Brightened my dark days

This does not feel real
I feel like I am dreaming
But cannot wake up

I lost my best friend
Disbelief dismay and more
Many emotions

Those who knew you well
Are filled with grief and sadness
Especially me

I needed you more
Than you ever needed me
We had each other

Overwhelming fear
Is what has come upon me
Of what to do now

To live without you
When I never thought I would
I just want you back

But I dry these tears
I smile and I remember
So many good times

You would not want me
To be drowning in my tears
Feeling such heartache

I miss you so much
You are not here in the flesh
But your spirit lives

You are in my heart
You will always be right there
Never forgotten

I have to let go
Though I will be sad sometimes
Understandably

I will end with this
My love for you will not fade
We will meet again

It may not be soon
Maybe in another life
No one knows for sure

I will not forget
You brought meaning to my life
Endless gratitude

Loss

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My friend lost his dad

His mother lost her husband

A  sad day indeed

Hurtful words were said

Just days before tragedy

No one could have known

Though wrongs were made right

No bitterness between them

His conscience is clear

Like father like son

They could not stay mad for long

No bods were broken

He lived many years

He is in a better place

To suffer no more

Tuesday’s Testimony

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Well I never did turn into that bird. Tracey didn’t get any better either. She used to say to me all the time she wished I would go back where I came from. Told me I was more trouble than what I was worth. I really didn’t understand why she would say those things to me. I had not been getting in any trouble, I had been doing my school work. I think she was just ready to be rid of the extra responsibility. I don’t know that she got any other foster children after I left. But she was rid of me and I was rid of her. I wondered when I would ever be someplace where I felt wanted and loved. When I went to live with the third family, Sharon and Joe, they had four foster kids and two children of their own. When I first got there, everyone welcomed me with open arms, smiles, hugs, and such… I instantly felt a connection with everyone there.

“I’m so glad to have you here, Tuesday,” Sharon said the first night at dinner.

“Thanks,” I said rather dryly; seeing that I didn’t know yet if I was actually glad to be there.

“So tell the family a little bit about yourself. What is your favorite food?” she asked.

“Well, I like chicken. And macaroni and cheese mostly,” I said, starting to open up.

“That’s good!” she said excitedly. “Because we love ourselves some fried chicken around here! That’s one of my best dishes!”

I knew that Sharon was going to be the happy-go-lucky type. Always smiling and bubbly. I didn’t mind it. It was kind of fun to watch. Joe was okay. He worked a lot so when he was around, he didn’t do too much talking. He read the newspaper in the morning at the table and watched the news from the dining room in the evening when we ate dinner. He would sit at the table with everyone else, he would just be focused on the news most of the time. Sharon wouldn’t have him sitting away from the table, which is what I really felt like he wanted to do. One day though he got off work early and he started up a conversation with me.

“Tuesday,” he said kind of hesitantly. “You know we read about your mom in your file before you came here, but there was nothing in there about your father. Did you ever know him?”

“No,” I said, not really wanting to elaborate.

“Have you ever had a father type person in your life?” he asked.

“Um, no, not really.”

“Well I work a lot, but if you ever want to talk to me about anything that is on your mind, you can always come to me. I want you to feel comfortable enough around me to say what it is you feel, ok?”

“Ok,” I really didn’t know what else to say. I really had never had a “father-daughter” relationship with a man before. But I felt kind of glad that he at least would say that I could come to him if I needed to.

When my birthday came around that year, I didn’t really know what to expect. When the other kids had birthdays, Sharon and Joe had small parties for them and invited the neighborhood kids. I didn’t know how things would go on my birthday, but when it came, it was nothing like I expected. I turned ten so I was finally in the double digits. They showered me with gifts, a huge party, lots of kids from the neighborhood came and their parents. I had never had a birthday party. I was excited and I think I smiled all day; which was not usual for me since I was sad a lot. But that day, I had the best birthday ever!

My eleventh birthday wasn’t nearly as big as my tenth. But Sharon and Joe did still give me a party and a few gifts. I was with them for almost two full years. I started being more open and sociable with them. More than I ever had with anyone else in the three years and two other  foster homes I’d been in. I felt like my life was turning around. But what happened about five months after my birthday hit me like a ton of bricks. My grandma died. The social worker who had been over my case and my placements came to visit me one Saturday afternoon in the middle of May. I remember it like it was yesterday.

“Tuesday!” Sharon yelled for me to come to the living room.

“Yes?” I said once I got there, a little surprised to see Mrs. Jackson, and a bit worried too. I thought maybe she was coming to tell me I was leaving and going to another foster home. But then I had to think, “it’s Saturday, she never comes on the weekend.”

“Come sit down honey,” Sharon said reaching her arm out for me.

“Hello, Tuesday. How are you doing this afternoon?”

“I’m ok, I guess,” I said still wondering what was to come.

“I was sitting here talking to your foster mom and she was telling me how good you have been doing here.”

“Yeah. I like it pretty good.”

“Well Tuesday, I didn’t come all the way over here on a Saturday just to check in on you. I’m really sorry, but I have some bad news,” she said. I was starting to really get worried when she said that. Even if I was being moved, it wouldn’t warrant a visit on the weekend and she’s never used the phrase “bad news” when I’ve had to leave one home to go to another.

“Ok…” I said slowly, wondering what she was going to say next.

“I’m sorry to have to tell you this honey, but your Grandmother passed away last night. I found out first thing this morning and I didn’t want to wait to tell you on Monday.”

“Are you okay, honey?” Sharon asked as she put her arm around my shoulder to hug me.

“So what do I do now?” I asked. “I don’t have any other family left,” I had begun to cry. “I didn’t even get to say good-bye to her or see her one last time.” I was crying heavily by this point. It had really hit me that there was no one else left in my family.

“For as long as you’re here with us, Tuesday, we’re your family. Even if you leave us, I hope you can still consider us as family because we love you and we want to be here for you through this time,” Sharon said reassuringly. “Mrs. Jackson, do you know how the nursing home is going to handle the funeral arrangements?”

“No, not at this time. I will try to find out more on Monday morning,” Mrs. Jackson answered Sharon. “Tuesday, do you want to go to your room and have some time to yourself?” Mrs. Jackson had asked me. I simply nodded and got up and walked away. I’m sure they talked more about the funeral and other things related to my Grandmother.

I didn’t go to my room, which wasn’t really my room since I did share it with the other girls there. I went outside to the back yard and sat down beside this big tree. All I could do was cry and think about my Grandma. In the year and a half I had been with Joe and Sharon, they took me to see my grandma pretty regularly in the beginning. I would ask to go and see her, and they would never say no. But after my tenth birthday, I can only remember them taking me to see her three or four times. I think I only went to see her once after I turned eleven. She was always glad to see me, and I her. She asked me how I was doing and was I being treated right. I would tell her yes. I didn’t know what it was then, but now that I think back, I would always notice a certain look in her eyes; one of despair. Like she wished she could be there for me the way I needed her to be. I knew she would not have me in the foster care system if she could see about me herself. But that warm day in May changed my life. Losing my grandma hurt me more than losing my mama did. And even now, I still miss her every day.

Brina’s Story

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Well, I thought about what to write for my 50th blog post and I came up with a short story. I love fiction and I have always been very creative and if I sit down and just do it, I can come up with some pretty good stuff, if I say so myself. Much of what I write is based on true to life occurrences, but not so much true to my life. Some of what I write is, but not a whole lot. This one in particular, is not specifically relating to any personal happening in my own life. I hope you enjoy it…

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“Why won’t you let me be who I am?!”

“Brina, you fourteen years old, girl; you don’t know who you are! Stop trying to make me out to be this awful mama when you know that’s not who I am.”

“I didn’t say you was awful, but you try to control my life and my every movement. I’m not a little kid anymore!”

“Well little or not, you are still my kid and you are a child. You not grown and as long as you live in my house you gone live by my rules.”

These were the kinds of conversations that went on in my house from the time I was twelve until I was around sixteen and a half. My mama always tried to tell me what to do, what to wear, how to act, how to talk, who to hang out with or talk to. It made me angry and frustrated with her all the time. She didn’t understand me. She wouldn’t let me be my own person and I grew to really dislike her over the years. Well let me back up a little bit in my story.

I was about twelve years old when my dad got sick and died. He and my mama were never married, and they went their separate ways when I was about five. I had small memories of him from when I was little, but as I got older, he came around less and less. I really feel like my mom drove him away. She was always arguing with him and picking fights about money or him not spending enough time with me. She never really talked bad about him to me or anything or around me, that I could remember, but when he did come around or when she talked to him on the phone I could always sense frustration in her voice. But when I was eleven, he started coming around a whole lot. Taking me out to eat, or to the beach on the weekends, he even took me to this big water park once. I was having the time of my life! I felt like we were connecting and bonding in a way we never had before.

It was after my twelfth birthday that he told my mom and me that he was sick and he didn’t have much longer to live. I was devastated. He told me not to be sad, but to always remember the good times we had. He told me to hold on to those moments and whenever I thought of him, I should smile and not be sad because the time we had together was short, but we made the best of it. When I think back on it now, I can see why he started coming around in that last year of his life. He wanted to make some lasting memories with me so that I would be happy when I thought of him and not sad. It was four months and four days after my birthday that he died. I remember it like it was yesterday, and it’s now been seven years. I still think about him every day.

My mom was sad, but I think her sadness came mostly from my own sadness. She felt bad for me because he was no longer in my life. It took me a little while to regain my focus on school and my friends and other stuff, but I got it together. It was after I was ‘over’ the hurt of my dad’s death that my relationship with my mom went sour. I was distant with her and rude a lot. I felt like she didn’t respect me or my things, my room and such. She was so bossy all the time. I couldn’t stand it. When I was thirteen I wanted to go to a friend’s house for a slumber party but she told me I wasn’t old enough to be staying out over night. I was really ticked off at her because of it.

“What do you mean I’m not old enough? There are gonna be six other girls my same age whose moms are letting them stay out over night.”

“What those girls’ mamas let them do is not my concern. I’m your mama and I said no.”

“That is so dumb! I’m not trying to go out and rob or kill anybody or steal nothing. April’s mama is going to be at home, you can even call her.”

“Look, this isn’t a debate! I said no! I don’t have to call nobody’s mama to talk to them about you staying over to their house. You too young, and that’s it! Not quit talkin’ to me about it!”

It was always her way or no way at all. That’s what pushed me away from her and really messed up our relationship. I couldn’t talk to her about anything. If I had a problem and I even thought ‘Let me ask my mama bout it…’ I would change my mind just because I felt like she either wasn’t going to care, wasn’t going to listen and give me a chance to explain my thoughts and feelings, or I don’t know… I just felt like talking to her wasn’t going to get me the answer I desired. I overheard her talking on the phone one day to my Aunt Stephanie. “Step, child, I don’t know who Brina think she tryin’ to fool. She always askin me to go to somebody house and stay the night. I don’t know these people! And she not gonna be out here runnin ‘round with some little hoodlum, havin sex and wind up pregnant!”

Well I don’t know what my aunt was saying on the other end, but when I heard what my mama was saying, I was infuriated! I had no intentions on having sex with anybody at that time – I was fourteen then – but it all started to make sense. She was trying to compare me to herself when she was my age. We never really talked about her getting pregnant at sixteen, but I could do the math and I knew how old she was when she had me. And I can only imagine that she had been having sex for quite some time before she became pregnant. But that wasn’t me at all. I wanted to confront her that day, but I didn’t. I let it go. What I did do though, was talk to my Aunt Step. It was about two weeks after the conversation I overheard my mother having that I spoke with her.

“Auntie, can I ask you something?”

“Yeah honey, anything. What’s on your mind?”

“I kinda overheard you and my mama talking the other week about me and I wanted to know what you think about what my mama said. I mean what did you say?”

“Well now, what conversation are you talking about, Brina?”

“I heard mama telling you that she didn’t know who she thought I was fooling by trying to spend the night with my friends and something about me messing around getting pregnant.”

“Oh… that conversation. Well let me ask you this, are you having sex?”

“No ma’am. I’m not even thinking about that right now. Sure, guys try to talk to me, but I’m not really interested. I just like hanging out with my friends. I’ve missed so many sleepovers and parties this last year ‘til its ridiculous! I am the only one of my friends whose mama don’t let her do nothin’! Why don’t she trust me?”

“Well you know your mama was young when she got pregnant with you. She just don’t want you to be making the same bad decisions she made when she was your age. And I know it’s hard for you being the only one of your friends not able to go and do like everyone else, but I think your mama has a valid point.”

“How, Aunt Step? What have I done to make her think she shouldn’t trust me? Yeah, I have an attitude sometimes, and I don’t like her telling me what to do and not to do all the time, but I never snuck out, she never caught me in a lie or nothing like that, I get okay grades, I do what she ask me to do most of the time, even if I gripe and complain about it; but I don’t get why she don’t trust me or why she think I’m having sex!”

“You know what that sounds like to me?”

“What?”

“Sounds like you need to be talkin’ to your mama bout this situation. You know I’m always here for you if you wanna talk, but this is something you need to talk to your mama about. If you don’t tell her how you feel or what your problem is with how she treats you, then how is she gonna know?”

“I guess she won’t but I just don’t think she is gonna listen to me.”

“Give her the chance. I think you will be surprised.”

“I doubt it, but ok. I’ll talk to her.”

My Aunt Step is my mama’s older sister, well her only sister, and she has always been the one out of the two of them I felt more comfortable with when it came to talking about what was on my mind.  But I did like she said and I tried to approach my mama and talk to her about the conversation I overheard as well as how I felt about what she said and her lack of trust in me.

“Mama can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Bout what?”

“Stuff that’s been on my mind.”

“Yeah, come on over here and talk to me.”

“Well I overheard you talkin to Aunt Step a couple of weeks ago about me and I wanted to ask you about it.”

“Okay…”

“Well, mama, why you think I’m having sex; or trying to? That’s not me. That’s not anything I’m into or trying to be into at this time in my life. I feel like you don’t trust me to do the right thing because of the decisions you made when you were my age that led to you being pregnant and having me.”

“Well, I see some of these lil girls you hang out with and they look just like I did when I was y’alls age. Hot and fast! I figure if they doin’ something they ain’t got no business, you will be following right along with ‘em doing the same things. But you tellin’ me you not havin’ sex?”

“No, mama! And my friends may dress a little grown, but they are all good girls! None of us are really into that kind of stuff… yet. We like to listen to music, get online, laugh about silly, stupid stuff, and just have fun. We not trying to do nothing that’s gonna get any of us in any kind of trouble.”

Well the conversation I had with my mama that day went better than I thought it would. My Aunt was actually right; I was surprised. But the so-called trust that she put in me was very short lived. She let me go to a party with three of my best friends at another girl’s house one weekend and a fight broke out. The police were called and two of the boys that were fighting got hurt. Neither I or any of my friends that I was there with had anything to do with the fight, we didn’t get involved or hurt in any way and it seemed like that conversation my mom and I had just never happened. She stopped me from going and hanging out with my friends and it was like she had an even tighter ‘leash’ on me than she did before.

We had our good times, my mom and me. But they were few and far between. While I loved my mom, I didn’t like her very much. She tried too hard to be a mom and she didn’t trust me which with some girls I know, if it were their moms, they probably would have given their mamas reasons to not trust them since they didn’t anyways. But I didn’t want to do that with my mama. I wanted to be trusted and in order to do that I felt like I had to continue to not do things that would make her not trust me. Although she didn’t, regardless of what I wasn’t doing, I refused to give her any reason to say “I told you so”.

It was about five months after I turned sixteen when my relationship with my mama changed drastically. My grandma died. That hurt my mama to her soul. She was really close with my grandma and she was torn up when she passed away.  She had been somewhat sickly off and on for about eight or nine months before she died, but it was never anything serious. About a year after my grandma died is when I found out why my mama started being ‘better’ to me. One day I was sitting on the couch watching TV and my mama came and sat down beside me.

“Brina…” She just sat there after she said my name and didn’t say anything for what seemed like ten whole minutes.

“Yeah, mama? What’s wrong?” She started to cry and then I got worried. I thought she might’ve been sick or something and she didn’t want to tell me. I had already lost my daddy, my grandma, I didn’t think I could take losin my mama. Not after the progress we had made in becoming closer over the past year.

“I never told you this, but I think its bout time I did.”

“What mama?”

“When your grandma passed, on her death-bed she said something to me that hit me like a ton of bricks. I know you saw a change in my attitude with you, the way I treated you and talked to you; the way I let you have more freedom…”

“Yeah…”

“Well your grandmamma told me before she died that I didn’t need to push you away and make you feel that I didn’t love or trust you. We always had a good relationship, your grandma and me. Even after I got pregnant with you, she helped me, she didn’t fuss at me or put me down. She did what most mamas would’ve done, but what many would not have. She showed me how to be a mama to you the best way she knew how.  But what I did along the way…” She started to cry again. “What I did along the way was I held on too tight. I saw what a beautiful, intelligent and open-minded young lady you were becoming and I didn’t want anything to mess that up. I didn’t want for some little boy to be whispering sweet nothings in your ear and mess around and get you pregnant and mess up your whole future. I thought if I was strict enough, you would not fall into any of those traps. But Step saw it, and mama did too. She made me promise her on her death-bed that I would change my attitude and better my relationship with you; so I did. I’m so proud of the young woman you have become and I love you, Brina. And I’m sorry for the time we lost being happy by being mad and bitter with one another.”

So of course by this time I was boo-hooing! “I love you too mama. All I ever wanted was for you to trust and believe in me that I was going to do the right thing. I just want for you to be proud of me.”

“I am, baby! I am so proud of you and I’m proud to be your mama!”

And the rest, as they say, is history. I look back now that I’m nineteen and I hate that we missed out on a lot of mother-daughter bonding time because of my anger toward her for her overbearing ways, but I can appreciate it because I don’t think we would have the relationship we have today had we not had those difficult times. My grandma was a wise woman, and she helped my mom to see the best in me when really she looked at me and saw the worst in herself.

Living in Futility

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Commentary to the reader: I’m not gonna front… I could just barely follow this particular one written by my brother. He has such an extensive vocab that I sometimes have to pull out the dictionary to understand what he is saying. But overall, I think the message in the poem can be found if you look closely enough.

Futility is ever-present, like the necessity of death. At once destructive and constructive, requiring only a shift in one’s perspective. Irrational pursuits with vague, idealistic ends if any at all. Seemingly purpose driven lives that thrive off empty dreams. Lofty but quixotic abundance adding to the immensity of pragmatism’s penury.

Witness me, as I delve back into the lives of many selves once occupied. Seeing through the cold eyes of experience and days gone by. From every position and each dimension. Redouble your focus, look within and just listen. Can you hear it? The retrospective of truth at least as loud as the present.

Can you see it? The past contributions to the present misfortune? Can you, judging from the ideals of then, see that all is not well now? Look at the patterns of thought. Exactly the same. Thought renders action and futility remains. Must only crisis effect real change?

Can you feel it? In the depths of that which you call a spirit? An aura so strong you refuse to come near. The acknowledgement of truth an affliction of fear. You deny that it’s spoken, but we both know you hear. You know, but don’t care that your days are futile. These truths you deny but for only a while.

The more meticulous the flight, the longer it lasts. But speed in this race makes nowhere come fast. Confront and resist. Oppose. Is this it? Opportunities must be seized. Seizures rend results. Failure hurts some, while inaction hurts most.

Oppose the inertia of futility. You conditioned stagnation. The physical decrepitude. The intellectual deterioration. Resist. Fight. Dissent and disparage. Divorced from the past, cling to the present like marriage. A progressive alliance forever in flux. Constant and swift so resolve to keep up.

The stakes are so high in these perilous things, to ape is to die so create to know why. Why you stand above most. The prosaic live off hope. They perpetuate dreams, furthering fantasy. Inviting infinite misfortune from their fervent passivity. As of now you are one of them. Living in futility. The decision is now. Who would you like to be?

~Joseph Walters~

If I Had My Life to Live Over

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by Erma Bombeck

The following was written by the late Erma Bombeck after she found out she had a fatal disease.

 

If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s”.. More “I’m sorrys” …

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it … live it…and never give it back.

We take so much for granted in this thing we call life. It’s hard sometimes to find the positive in a whole bunch of negatives. This poem touched me because I don’t want to go through life never actually ENJOYING life. Life’s too short to go around with our heads hanging down and crying and complaining about things we CANNOT change. We can only do what is in our power and ability to do, no more, no less. Live life to its fullest, and GIVE NOTHING BACK! DREAM BIG! Have no regrets!

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