On March 12th, 2017, my parents would have celebrated their 51st Wedding Anniversary, and that is a day worth celebrating.
When I think about them being gone, it sometimes overwhelms me with so much emotion I am paralyzed for a moment. I wanted to write this tribute to them last week, but just couldn’t. That’s the thing about grief, you can feel whole and well in one moment, and then the next, overwhelmed. The main thing is, I am doing it now, and that’s OK. We all need to be kind to ourselves.
I want to honor my parents with this story, because they are two people worth who deserve to be acknowledged.
My parents bravely left their home in Haiti to come to America with the hopes of creating a better life for themselves and their family.
They both worked their asses off, first going to school to learn new skills and then holding down jobs that would support their growing family, which included my sister and myself.
My mother graduated and found work as a secretary for a Fireman’s Insurance Company for 10 years before she took another position and worked for that firm for over 17 years.
My dad first trained as a medical lab tech for a hospital and he stayed in that position for over 40 years before he retired. My parents had staying power, to each other and to their employers.
How often do you hear someone talk about a job they had for 40 years and then end up enjoying ONLY 2 years of retirement?
As I write this post today, I am deeply saddened that my parents are no longer here physically, but I feel an enormous sense of gratitude and appreciation to these two people who sacrificed and gave so much of themselves to me. Acknowledging the love and sacrifice they showed in raising me is the only gift left that I can give them now.
I wish to honor my mother for the wonderful loving caretaker she was. A woman who strived to keep her family together and who became my fun sidekick and travelling companion when I went on business trips or vacation trips with her. Mom had the habit of calling me every day for minor things and to tell you the truth, it didn’t bother me at all. My friends used to ask “Why is she is calling you so much”? My reply would be to ask them “Why doesn’t your mom call you every day?” One of my friends told me she would have put a stop to those calls- Hey she had better things to do. Well to that friend, I would say, “You didn’t have the strong bond with your Mama that I have with mine.
My Mom and I were the best of friends and we loved to hang out with one another. My mom wanted to ensure that I was treated with respect and understood my value. She used to tell me that if “folks don’t have any respect for you, then don’t even bother with them, because they obviously don’t know how to respect themselves”. Love you Mom …every day.
I honor my Dad for being the great provider he was for his family, ensuring we always had a roof over our head, clothes on our back, and food to eat. He was gung ho about having a good education and knowing yourself. There was one quote he always said to me that I will never forget and it goes like this: “If you want to be successful, you must respect one rule: never lie to yourself.” Damn those words are forever in my heart. Never lie to yourself and you will increase your self-worth and you will understand your limitations.
Not lying to oneself is way that we can gift others with the truth of who we are. We become someone they can trust and believe in. To know our true selves as an authentic human being is no small thing.
My parents impacted my life in ways that are both tangible and unseen. Today, I am a reflection of their combined strengths and values, as well as a product of their love.
These two people went out of their way to bring me into the world, to care for me, and to send a decent woman out into a waiting world to make my own way. I know they would be proud of me.
This dedication is to my Mom and Dad –Happy Anniversary to the two most important people in my life. I know that you are both together in Peace –and that you will always watch over me as I continue on my journey through this life.
Love Always…. your daughter Sandy.