20 years ago today, I stood in front of family and friends and eulogized my beloved grandmother, Lillie Ann DeBerry. I will never forget the anxiety that overtook me as I clutched the already written devotion and the feeling of relief when I decided to freestyle it and just speak from my heart. The look on my grandfather’s face, the smiles, but also the emptiness that I felt- the feeling of being gut punched as I braved my way through those moments. Unforgettable.
My mind has a hard time believing that 20 years has passed but another part of self is settled in it. I am such a different person then than I am now. I have been twice divorced, engaged twice, had 5 more children, left organized religion, cut off all my hair, regrew it, grew locs, moved, and yet I still miss my grandma Lillie with the same intensity.
I will tell you that I find great solace and peace in my spiritual practices of ancestral recognition, veneration, and honor. I know that she is ever with me, speaking, guiding, protecting, even chastising at times. Her spirit remains a strong presence in my life and the lives of my children.
Her death was tragic but it was her living that I am more concerned with. Once my mother transitioned last year, they both have shown up in multiple dreams. I giggle at the shenanigans that have occurred in the dream realm with those two. I have often felt a burning anger at how my grandmother lost her life, all of the pain she endured throughout the years. But, just as quickly I recall the joy that she expressed so freely, the tears with each laugh, the warmth of her hugs, and the love in each pot of food that she prepared. And I feel ease. ]
May my life be a testament to the power, strength, tenacity, and pure love of that woman. May my ancestral mothers be honored evermore.
I miss you Grandma Lillie. I love you. Until we meet again,