Clarity and Peace
“I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources, He will empower you with inner strength through His Spirit. Then, Christ will make His home in your hearts as you trust in Him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.”
Ephesians 3: 16 – 17(NLT)
Hard to believe my brother, Billy, made his transition over a month ago. I have lost a child, another brother, both parents, relatives, and friends. But Billy’s death hit me the hardest. Still not quite sure why. I guess it is because I was not ready. I realize when it comes to the death of those I love, I am never ready. I was not ready to let go of Billy’s dream of dancing at his 13 year old granddaughter, Jordyn’s, wedding. I was not ready to let go of Billy’s dream of being the longest survivor on dialysis. Most of all, I was not ready to let go of our long conversations about growing up in Jordan Park and on Trelaine Drive; summers in Sumner, GA with our grandparents; college days at University of South Florida (USF); religion, politics, plants and the sounds of nature. How I long to hear one more, “Hey, Baby….” at the beginning of our conversation and “Love you” at the end.
But, during our last phone call, he was in pain; his leg was swollen. He apologized by saying, “I don’t want to be a wuss (sic) baby, but I’m in pain.” Lord, who apologizes for being in pain? So, now, my peace comes from the belief that he is pain-free. I picture him smiling surrounded by his beloved brother, Bobby, our parents, and tons of loved ones. My peace is also rooted in the fact that I loved my amazing brother as hard as I could while he was here. And he knew it. He received my love which, to me, is a precious gift. So, with this peace comes clarity.
Clarity that I must love my loved ones as hard and as well as I can while they are still here. “Give them their flowers while they can still smell them,” as my mom, Essie Mae Chever, would say.
Billy was a master at giving flowers. From calling and texting (the most loving messages), bringing me delicious, homemade macaroni and cheese while I was on bed rest with my first and second child, to sharing the special bottles of hot sauce his wife, Cheryl, gifted him because he knew how much I love hot stuff. And, most of all, knowing me so well, I rarely had to put my feelings into words. I am sure family and friends share similar examples of Billy giving them their flowers.
The beauty in all of this is none of Billy’s love of conversation, remarkable knowledge, are gone. All are still with me. Eye-opening clarity. The goodness does not go away with death. If I allow it, the goodness gets better and goes deeper as I reflect on all the good that flowed from Billy. Plus, I believe that is how Billy would want it. Celebrate life and all its’ goodness. Lastly, in Billy’s inspirational words, shared by my sister, Alice:
“God wakes us up; it’s up to us to do the rest.”
And do the rest he did, with courage, strength, and love.
Dear God, I must believe You do not make any mistakes. Every morning when You bless me with another day, let me do the “rest” by always honoring You. God, give me peace and clarity as I remember Billy. Also, God, give peace and clarity to everyone struggling to make sense of the loss of a loved one/s. Thank You God! Amen! Amen! Amen!
Alice Chever -Pickett
Mary, you have truly touched my soul. With tears in my eyes, I recall all our good times. The inspiration I get when my right knee hurts, and thinking of Bill saying ‘God wakes us up and it’s up to us to do the rest’. Billy ‘s death also hit me the hardest, because of the special bond we shared. Acting as his Patient Advocate, prior to the Corona virus pandemic. Being there when he needed something special ( a cup of coffee and a morning glory muffin) . Being there when a nurse was actually cursing in Polish ( thanks to ‘grandma Helen’, a family friend’s mother, who taught me Polish; so, I understood what he was saying), because of the job he had to do. Putting on gloves and getting 4×4’s to help stop the bleeding . Reminding the nurse that the patient is the most important part of the team. Protecting him, as he always protected me. And, like you Mary, I remember our conversations and the laughter! Clarity and Peace. Knowing that I can close my eyes, and feel Bill’s presence. The best brother ever, and I’m so glad I took every opportunity to let him know what a blessing he was to me. Thank you Mary. I know in my heart that ‘all is well’, with our beloved brother Bill. Many Blessings and always Much Love! Your sister and friend, Alice.
Alice, thank you so much for your kind words. You are so right, Billy was such a blessing to us. Thank God, we have so many wonderful memories that will carry us through our lifetimes. Love you, too, my dear sister.
Beautiful tribute to Bill. I am sure he is smiling at you. I miss him, especially with politics right now. I know he is ok, as my mom let me know.
I have received so many calls from diffrent people that Bill touch their lives. They call me to tell me what ever happened on that day that Bill was there guiding them.
My husband, your brother was a force to be reckoned with with his plethora of knowledge and calm spirit.
Until we meet again……….
Cheryl, you are so right. Billy was, indeed, a force to be reckoned with. I love hearing you share how he touched so many lives; a true gift.
Love you Cheryl