Today is a special Monday for me. And after the weekend that I was blessed to experience, I am hopeful that it is also an endearing day for others in my family.
Today, March 6, my brother Marchello would have been 35 years old. This year marks the 20-year of his anniversary death. It was my vision to do something different in remembering him that would allow fellowship among family. As when any loved one’s life has ended it causes grief to occur. Everyone grieves differently. And as I stated in my recent book that is dedicated to my brother, “As difficult as grief is, it is necessary and healthy” (2017, p 30).
“When that person is lost in a tragic way, it can be more difficult to comprehend.”
Unfortunately, my stages of grief were prolonged. But for over a decade I have chosen the route of advocacy not only to assist me with accepting the loss of my brother but also help break the silence that aids in other lives being ended too soon.
This is how I have been celebrating my brother’s life and not his death.
But again, it is important to acknowledge that everyone chooses a different avenue. Sometimes we can mistake the way people handle grief for lack of empathy or lack of respect for other family members or the deceased loved one. But something as simple as communication will help others maneuver through the stages of grief and help others gain understanding of what their other family members are internalizing.
The Bible tells us in Proverbs 4:7, “with all thy getting get understanding.”
Because people do not grieve in the manner we think they should it does not mean that they do not have an appreciation for someone’s life. I had to choose to celebrate my brother’s life in a way that worked for me. Other family members did not agree with it and some still don’t. But I also had to deal with how members of my family chose how they would remember my brother and grasp hold of the fact that their way was how they selected to celebrate his life.
In gaining this understanding and acceptance, it allowed a wonderful event to occur this past weekend that makes today special. This weekend, for the first time since my brother’s passing, many relatives were able to get together for a Celebration of Life/Family Reunion. Now, of course, I was nervous about how things would turn out. After all, there were broken relationships among some family members; some known and some unknown. But you know what? At some point, I had to stop stressing over who would show, who would intentionally choose to be absent, who would allow tension to escalate and what have you.
I had to just trust what I felt God leading me to do and remind myself that I am only responsible for my attitude and actions. And if you do not help kindle a fire, it will eventually burn out.
So, I am so excited about how things turned out!
Was it perfect? No. There are not many family gatherings that are. But on a scale 1 to 10, I will give it an eight with the grand expectation that it will become a 10!
Next time I am going to have even greater expectations because I will have more than a month to plan it. But it manifested because my family wanted it to happen. If you would like to see your family get together and think it is going to take a miracle for that to occur, well it just might. But if you are willing to allow God to use you to make it happen, then it can.
You do not have to wait on anyone else to take the step. You can take the step that will move a mountain and mole of bitterness and brokenness. But the expected outcome is worth it.
Want to know more about my story? Check out my book of memoirs, Keeping My Faith While Saving My Mind that is FREE on Amazon for today only!