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December 30, 2010

If You're Happy, Then I'm Happy

Gratitude. Thanksgiving. Two words that describe how I made it through 2010. I have to tell you, there were many nights that I didn't want to see the day, and days I didn't think I would make it through the night. Gratefully I made it. I thank every one of you who pulled, pushed, comforted, loved, and prayed for me this past year as I struggled with releasing Jumoke in death while also healing from a total knee revision in July. The combination of the physical and spiritual pain was the only indication I had that there was a living but grieving woman trying desperately to make sense out of the senseless. I can still hear the actress Sally Fields in the film Steel Magnolias crying out at the loss of her daughter WHY? I too have screamed, cried and asked the same question over and over. WHY? I can tell you there is no comfort in any answers I've heard or contrived. Life just is. My heart cherishes the memories of my son Jumoke clothed in idealistic accoutrements and reconciled with the truth of who he was. My beloved son, who had chinks in his armour from fighting the good fight until the end. I am filled with gratitude that his life was intertwined with mine for 35 years, and thanksgiving that his love lives in me and will always be part of me in this life and those to come. These feelings of gratitude and thanks have not come easily. A trip across country to celebrate Jumoke's death one year after his suicide was something I had pledged to do. I promised his California family during his Memorial Service in 2009 that we would meet again in 2010. I held on to that date as I recuperated from my surgery confident that I wouldn't be limping. Wrong. I not only limped from my knee healing, but also from a heart still hurting from the beginning to the end of the trip. Damn - would I ever feel relief and full out throttled joy again?

Upon returning home there was a card in the pile of mail. I opened it and all the angst and pain oozed out of me as I was reminded of the words Reggie spoke at Jumoke's Memorial, "If you're happy Jumoke, then I'm happy." How could I have forgotten those words? I used to tell that to him all the time when he was a little boy growing up. I wanted him to know that no matter what, I would always be proud of him and have his back. "If you're happy Jumoke, then I'm happy." The words are no less true in his death then they were during his life. Those words comfort me today because I realize he felt the same way about me.

I wonder how the world would be if we all had the same sentiment for our President, Congress, family, friends and neighbors? I wonder what kind of world it would be if we said to people we don't know who have challenges we can only imagine, "If you're happy, I'm happy." What would happen if another individuals happiness became important to our own? I can tell you this those words gave birth to a place in my life to let go of the pain and feel the gratitude and thanksgiving that give me peace now.

Consider shaking gratitude and thanksgiving all over your life 2011, and remember, "If you're happy, I'm happy."

Click here for the brochure of Jumoke's one year memorial. Enjoy.

From my heart to yours,


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