I have lost a wonderful woman.
The world may not know her name and no one would think of her as important, but I do. For so long this woman was my rock, my cheerleader, my confidant, and my biggest supporter. She heard my voice when no one else did and encouraged me to speak up.
She taught me that I don’t need a huge platform to be heard. I just need to speak what’s on my mind and in my heart and eventually, someone, the right person, would hear me. This applied to my writing. When I was struggling to put words to paper, to deal with the rejection letters flooding my inbox, she was the one that encouraged me to keep at it.
When my first book came out, she was in my acknowledgements. Though that was a way of saying thanks, I feel I have not done enough to thank her. I can never do enough.
Now that she’s gone, I am determined to honor her memory, much as I honored her in life. I shall continue writing, because if I don’t, she might just rise from the grave and slap the mess out of me. I will continue to do good for others, because she has always felt that there is nothing so nearer to heaven than to help others. She used to say it didn’t matter how you worshiped or if you worshiped at all, all that mattered was what you did to be a good person and that you did it from your heart, not expecting praise.
My great aunt was a strong woman who was self-reliant, caring, kind, loving and giving. She instilled these qualities in me and every day I continue to remind myself of the type of person I want to be. Though I am a work in progress and not perfect, she taught me to never expect perfection. The only way to gain perfection is to be dead. Part of the fun of life is being a constant work in progress.
In honor of her, I'm posting the below video. She used to love to listen to Elvis's spirituals. Said it did things for her soul. So Auntie, this is for you: