Life, Death, that Virus and the New Normal Pt. 1

I was struggling with the title of this post because I have so much to write. A lot of it is personal, but how could anyone write a blog post without mentioning the dramatic changes that have come to our lives and the entire world.

I’ve had some dramatic changes recently, in losing my two oldest siblings within four months. My oldest brother had a stroke nine years before passing and he succumbed to complications last October. But the shocker was my sister. Even though she was 16 years older than me, and I am no spring chicken, she had dreams and visions and plans for the future, but she left here suddenly.

I was prompted to write today because I was going through some of my sister’s pictures that I took from her place when my brothers and I cleaned out her apartment. As I went through the photo albums, I pulled out the pictures of her and decided to throw the rest of the photos away. I started thinking that we accumulate all of this “stuff” only for people to toss it in the trash after we die. My sister never had any children, and a lot of her photos have no meaning to me. She took oversees trips, she had pictures of her ex-husbands family and I am sure some of those pictures would bring back nice memories for her, but now that she is gone, those photos have no meaning.

Ah, life…we struggle to make a name or not, accumulate wealth or not and then we die and family get’s what is left. My sister named me as a secondary representative to handle her estate in her Will, second to my brother who just passed away. She didn’t have time to change anything and I’m sure she was not thinking she was going to die. The process of probate has been a nightmare. My sister did not have much money and so far I have spent almost $1,000 dollars just to be named executor of her estate and file the paperwork with the courts. And I am still not done! Ah, life…and then death.

It’s important to have everything together as far as estate planning and a Will. I think by the age of 30, that should be done. It makes it so much easier for those who are left behind. My sister wanted to be buried, but she borrowed against her Life Insurance Policy and once repaid, it left very little to bury her the way she wanted. I know it’s controversial for Christians, but I made the decision to have her cremated. The truth is I had no choice. It was all I could afford to do. So if you want certain things done at the time of death, make financial provision for it.

My sister was a bit of a hermit. My father had her and my oldest brother who died in 2007 before he married my mother. Together my mom and dad had six more children. So there were eight of us. Now there are are only five of us. After I moved to Florida, I learned my sister had been abused as a child, more than once. The first time was by a cousin and the other time, she never said. Once she told me that, I finally understood why she acted so strange over the years and stayed to herself. She always stayed away for long periods of time and then we would see her again. Even while living here in Florida that is the way she functioned. The sad part is she was never healed. And she died alone. The paramedics said that she was probably lying on the floor for three or more days. Her apartment complex finally did a wellness check because she was late paying her rent and she was never late. Plus a package was delivered and it sat outside of her door for several days.

I know this is a sad story, but I am sharing it because sometimes we never let people in. Not even our family and then we come to a tragic end. My sister was planning a move to California. But I remember when she told me the Lord spoke to me and told me “that is not going to happen.”. I just assumed it meant she would change her mind. Not that she would die. Her walls were lined with boxes for years, planning for a move that never materialized. I guess I am sharing this because it’s now or never for some of us. Either we are going to get in place or get out of stuff that we shouldn’t be in, or just forfeit the promise. Don’t die without seeing your promise!

Hebrews 11:13, NASB: “All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13, NLT:

RIP Sis!

Younger Helen

 

Life and Death

Cemetery

I was looking back trying to see when I last posted because I was thinking about how you never know what life is going to bring from one week to the next. Well shortly after I posted my last blog post, my oldest brother when home to be with the Lord.

He had a stroke in 2010, two weeks after he got remarried and he never really recovered. He was stubborn and did not do his therapy and basically, took some wrong turns and sadly departed this life, in my opinion, not fulfilling his purpose. I’m not here to be negative, but as a seer, I often see, but it doesn’t always happen, because I realize the person has to be willing and obedient.

My brother, remarried for the third time, in my opinion, out of the will or timing of God. Yes, I can say that because the marriage directly contributed to his stroke (that’s all I will share). He only had two weeks of marriage as a normal man out of nine years of marriage and that was it. I won’t go into a lot of details, but in the end, he did not have the strength to fight anymore. Shortly before he died, I had a dream that he was a little boy. I was trying to get help, but there was no one around and I couldn’t help him, because he no longer wanted to listen.

About three weeks before he died, the Lord woke me up and instructed me to turn on the TV and there was this minister sharing about how we can’t fall apart when someone who knows God goes home to be with the Lord. My stomach immediately churned as my spirit was picking up what God was trying to tell me, but my mind did not want to accept it.

The week my brother died, I felt it in the air. Still trying to believe for his healing, but the problem was, my brother no longer wanted to live. The day my brother died, I felt sick all day and when his daughter called me that night, I already knew he was gone. You may think my “premonitions” are odd, but after my mother died, I asked the Lord to always prepare me whenever someone close to me was going to die and God has done that. He prepared me when my father died as well.

Amazingly, my grief has been easy. My brother was suffering and he is in heaven, so there is no reason to grieve. I told someone if God offered him billions to come back, he wouldn’t, so we have to keep living and make certain we fulfill our purpose.

Yes, I get sad thinking about my brother. He was a GREAT preacher. I wanted to hear him preach again. I wanted to see him walk again. I don’t understand it all, but God does and that is good enough for me.

I have about three more posts I want to write, but I had to share this. Life can bring the unexpected, but God will give us the grace to go through it. Be encouraged if you lost a loved one. Lean on God and he will help you through it.

Coming next: My list for a mate, Kanye West and a Christian celebrity that everyone likes, but no one loves, not necessarily in that order.

REST IN HEAVEN MY DEAR BROTHER!

Life Changes, Late Changes

I used to write blog posts every day, sometimes twice a day, but oh how things have changed. But for some reason, I felt strongly to post today and so that is what I am going to do.

So many good things have been happening for me, I just want to share and encourage someone to know that things will change and have to change, especially when WE change and no matter how long it takes. The changes I am about to share are very ordinary, but I am moving forward and moving up. Some of you like me may have struggled with obtaining ordinary things. Just know, God can help you to turn things around.

First, it took me a while to recognize some mistakes I made that contributed to my own suffering, but hindsight is 20/20. One of my biggest mistakes was walking away from a good job as a bill collector at Macy’s. It’s still very painful to think about. At the time that I left I was having some health and transportation issues, but nothing that could not have been solved and was solved. Leaving that position sent me into a long season of poverty and basically being out of the will God. After I left I tried the road of self-employment, but the truth is, I was not ready to do that in a way to really support myself the way I needed to. Like I said, it was a very painful lesson, but I learned from it and I am back on track.

Businesswoman sitting at desk working on computer

No that’s not me. lol

When you stay out of the traditional workforce for a long period, it’s difficult to get hired. And that is what happened to me. But I was able to get into an employment training program and after a little over a year of working temp at the same non-profit, the executive director was so happy with my work and  my work ethic (that’s what he said), he hired me as a contract worker, for the position of Administrative Assistant. Each year, I will sign a contract in October. It’s funny, but it fits with how I have worked for years, so this kind of work did not scare me. The good thing is this kind of contract work offers me more stability. And what’s even more exciting is that after only, 2 1/2 months I got a raise!!

My second life change is really not out of the ordinary, but nonetheless, still quite miraculous. I hadn’t driven in a little over a year because I didn’t have a car (I used to drive someone else’s car). Getting a car is a very normal thing to do, but how it happened to me was quite miraculous.

Sparkle-Kia Rio 2019

Yes, this is my actual car

In December 2018, while riding with my sister, on our way to church we got into a car accident. She was driving and an older man who was focused on getting to McDonald’s (yes really) rammed us on the backside of the car and we spun around and ended up facing the opposite direction. Thank God there was no traffic and we were not fatally injured. I suffered whiplash and had to go to the chiropractor for 3 months. I really hope I never have to go through anything like that ever again, but in spite of all, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I sued and received a nice settlement that enabled me to put a very large down payment on a car and in spite of my not so great credit rating (I am working on it) I was able to buy a 2019 Kia Rio and get a very low car payment. The car is not new, used, but brand new and only had 16 miles on it. I actually walked into the dealership and drove off the lot with my car without putting a dime down until 3 days later!

My third life change just happened yesterday. I had applied for a new apartment (brand new construction) and I was standing in line at Costco, getting some lunch and got the call that I had been approved. I’m going to bring this post to an end, but I know these are very normal life changes, but after a long journey things seem to be coming together at this season in my life and yes it’s late in life for me, but nevertheless with the help of God change has come.

light home interior

 

So what’s next? A full-body makeover. There is a gym where I work and I can use it for free and there is a gym in my new apartment complex, so I have no excuse. This coming week I will be meeting with a trainer to help me learn how to use the different machines in the gym.

This will be my biggest Goliath, but I have to make some major physical changes. The good thing about me is I am not in denial. I am well aware of what I must do and now is the time. I am in a weight-loss clinic at my doctor’s office. I’ve lost weight in the past, but I realize a regular exercise regimen is a key to keeping the weigh off. I  don’t know who this is for, but just be encouraged. Things will change, when you change.

For whoever is reading; whatever your goals are, start believing God, do the work and get ready; get set; go!! The time is NOW!