Just got back today from a mini-July 4 vacay with my BFF Denise. We had a blast at the beach in South Carolina and took in the fireworks under a star-lit sky. God is beyond good!
As a non-American, I don’t necessarily share the same level of fervor about July 4 as natives do, but I do enjoy the holiday and appreciate the greatness of the country I now live in.
Two years ago, I was enjoying the fireworks with yet another friend when I got the sad news that my bestie, Molly, had passed away following a valiant fight against breast cancer. I don’t think I will ever again watch July 4 fireworks the same way.
Here’s what came from my heart in response to her passing:
I would know that little girly voice anywhere. If I was at work, I knew I would be taking a break. Perhaps we’d meet midway through the tunnel to exchange stuff, talk, whatever.
And Molly could talk!
But it always was all good.
The climate where I currently reside consists of a dull pain, pockets of sadness, sudden bursts of tears, a sense of relief mixed with heaviness of heart, the occasional grin, and many ‘what ifs.’
We were sisters, not by blood, but by His blood. Our bond was our love for God. Far beyond our ties as “small island girls,” we leapt over the confines of neat, banal labels and were sisters on diverse fronts.
And sisterhood never dies. Cancer cannot beat it into submission; in fact, in the face of the behemoth called cancer, you stood strong and stared it down, giving us strength when we, your girls, felt debilitated and anemic in our souls.
But our bond transcended “the plantation” that brought us together. I remember the first day, in Ambassador Thomas’s office area, you and Maggie sitting on the couch, young and not knowing what the “Casa” had in store for you, Lera like a schoolmaster running things efficiently, a beaming smile your default setting.
And with the years we grew closer, our sisterhood forged through adversities, both personal and professional.
We shared our love of Joyce Meyer, “that crazy lady,” as you described her, because she touched upon the hurts of childhoods interrupted. She genuinely felt our pain, and we related entirely to her. We reveled in our trip down to Hampton to see her. Girl, you know you did me in with that snoring that Friday night at Mary’s!
But it was all good.
We meshed over music––Kirk, Fred, Israel, Jonny, Papa San––you loving your hymns but allowing space for my wilder, more contemporary tastes.
I recall you crying on the phone after your mom died, relating how Fred’s “I Will Find A Way” ministered to your soul in that abyss-like hour.
I see you and Ian and me jamming at Papa San’s concert, awash in the joy of praising God, Caribbean style.
You loved Jonny’s album to the point that you wanted to somehow forge its message with that of Obama during his campaign. What a concept! And so on point!
We loved good food, and we roped Reinaldo right into our food fests––tres amigos in search of good eats, good laughs, and good times. I remember us sniffing the heady aromas of Diana’s candles, trying to decide which one would be our fragrance du jour.
We lamented the folly that was our workplace and how it affected us, all the while trying desperately not to let it mar our spirits and searching diligently––and finding––the good that lay buried, just a few layers below the lunacy, in the hearts of many with whom we worked.
And the house! How do I survive living in a house that you transformed with your dreams and visions of color, splashed on walls and tables and in the spirits of everyone who comes by? I tell them that this is Molly’s house, not mine; I just live here.
In every room I see you … “cutting in” while you leave me to roll paint, regaling Susan and I with tales of your days growing up in Vincie and in Ms. Edna’s shop. I can still see my mistakes on the wall, a heavy-handed apprentice eager to meet the approval of the boss. I miss my supervisor, showing me when there’s too much paint on the brush, the spots that need touching up… ah!
I will miss our prayers, our laughter, our chats, our outings. We did life together as only sisters in Christ can … abundantly.
It was all good, sis.
Bye sis, … for now.