As I began to look ahead at my upcoming week I noticed on the calendar that one year ago, a dear and lovely friend, Mrs. Trudie Beach, went home to heaven. I smiled as I began to think about her, when out of nowhere a question crossed my mind. Didn’t Mrs. B. lose a child too, just like me?
I quickly sent a text to my friend, who was blessed to have Mrs. B. as her mom, and she confirmed this was true. I wondered, why would I think of this now?
Mrs. B. moved into our neighborhood to live with her daughter and son-in-law several years ago when she began suffering from the effects of dementia. She was the quintessential Proverbs 31 woman – a woman of virtue, who embodied reverence, endurance, strength and faithfulness. She was soft spoken, and had quite a wit about her, too.
Since Melanie died 18 months ago, Mrs. B. probably wasn’t in a position where I could have asked her a question, but I thought about how she held herself. She always seemed to have joy and contentment. Oh, how I wish I had the chance to ask how she managed through the death of her son and still come out on the other side with such a gentle, kind and loving spirit.
At the age of 95 years young, Mrs. B. passed away after leading a full and accomplished life. She was among the first African Americans to break the color barrier and became a Head Ward Nurse at St. Jude’s Hospital in Montgomery, Alabama. After that she went on to get her Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice and then became a high school teacher. Two phenomenal careers, especially for a woman during that time in our country!
One of my fondest memories of spending time with Mrs. B. was when we were all having dinner at our house and began asking Alexa to play some of our favorite songs. Mrs. B. loved Mahalia Jackson and when we played Amazing Grace, it was truly incredible! Regardless of the state of her dementia, once that song began playing she started praising the Lord and singing each word.
As I reflected on that memory, that’s when it hit me! There’s no question Mrs. B. was filled with crushing grief when her only son died, but she was also a strong Christian woman who loved Jesus with all heart. Of course, that’s how she managed through this grief journey. It was all about her faith.
As we look back at Mrs. B.’s life it’s obvious that in order to accomplish all she did in her lifetime she had extraordinary strength and resilience. As a Christian woman she placed her faith and trust in the Lord, and I’m sure it was that same faith she tapped into as she walked through child loss. We all need a little of Mrs. B. in us.
I’m sure the reunion with your son was pure sweetness, Mrs. B. and I hope you have been able to meet my beautiful Melanie. Today on this one-year angelversary, please know how much you are loved and missed.