I wrote an obituary a year ago – for the love of *my life

 

A year ago today, life dealt me the card where I wrote an obituary for the person with whom I shared the greatest love. I’ve written a variety of things throughout my life from speeches and poems, to technical reports and executive summaries, blog posts and grocery lists, lyrics and emails. I love writing, but nothing prepared me for the monumental task I asked to take on and was granted the opportunity to. There, rightfully so, should be nothing that prepares one for the writing of an obituary short maybe of having done it once before.

 Coming from a big family of big personalities, coupled with the time sensitivity and pressure to get programs and publishing done, yet countered by the delicate balancing act I knew it needed to be – the below is what I wrote. As much of a loss as it was for me, she was so much to everyone and loved everyone she knew be it friend, family, neighbor or stranger “one by one”. This had to be as much about her and inclusive so everyone who read and heard it felt like yes they were included in that message. Although she was MY grandmother and very specific people’s wife, mother, sister, friend I wanted the words I thought and wrote to reflect the collectiveness of the broad spectrum of love she created with everyone who knew her however long. The personalness of the individual and personal relationship was to be held in each person’s heart and memory to be shared amongst each other, but these last words were for all of us to find comfort in ALL having lost collectively.

Obituary

Eleanor Moyo (née Twala) was born October 29, 1941 in Fort Rixon, Zimbabwe. Her father and mother relocated to Mberengwa in 1948 where she eventually attended the local primary school and graduated from Dadaya Secondary School. In 1961, after 5 years of courtship, she and Cleopas Daniel Moyo, were married. Together they eventually had eight children, four daughters and four sons, they raised in Zambia where they lived for nearly 20 years before returning to Zimbabwe at independence

Although initially reluctant to “entertain” JWs who would often come knocking on her door, Eleanor eventually came to the truth, ironically, after Cleopas agreed to meet with and “interview” them. On his suggestion, she eventually agreed to give them a listen. She was eventually baptized in 1979 in Ndola, Zambia. In 1982, two years after Zimbabwe’s independence, the two moved their family back to Bulawayo, Zimbabwe where they have lived to date. This city, also called the City of Kings, was to become the family’s headquarters. A home filled with beautiful and unending stories for family and friends where she enthusiastically welcomed, hosted and shared her love of food, fashion, music, dancing and fellowship. Stories for days.

As a working mother of 8 and several grandchildren, she spent 22 years at Mpilo Central Hospital in medical records of the X-ray department until retirement in 2003.

Her official diagnosis of Stage IV breast cancer came in October 2012 and she came to the US soon thereafter for treatment and care. The last three years saw her fight a spirited battle with the disease. In all of that time, her joyful, energetic spirit was steadfast to all who loved and cared for her. She laughed, danced, cried and cooked for most of that time.

On September 6, 2015, at Laurel Regional Hospital, she passed on having spent the day with and surrounded by Cleopas, all 4 daughters, 2 nieces, 4 grandchildren, relatives, friends and brothers and sisters of the congregation.

She will forever be celebrated by her eight children, four daughters and four sons, twenty two grandchildren and countless relatives and friends she was very near and dear to.  To all who knew Eleanor she was an amazing daughter, wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, friend and colleague. A phenomenal woman. Legend. May she rest in peace and may we all be blessed for having been blessed by this child and woman of God.

To the congregation and the Kingdom Halls she went to, we are eternally grateful for you all keeping her spirit filled and strengthening her faith. Here she made friends who cared for her like family. The countless errands you took her on, the scrumptious meals she enjoyed in your homes, the scriptures you read and the hymns you sang. Thank you.

________

I have the * in the title above because this was not about me and I was not the only one who lost a love. As much as a love like hers is thus far irreplaceable in my life, the my-ness of it all seemed too selfish when I saw the outpouring of love for her I had known was there, but I hadn’t quite seen with my own eyes all at once.

A year on, may my grandmother continue to rest in everlasting love and peace. I look forward to the strong feels she still inspires in me.

_____________

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I Give Up ____ for LENT!

Is there anything we are keeping to ourselves any more? Is there anything sacred any more? Anything?   …?!

Our relationships with
– family
– friends
– joys/frustrations
– sex life
– celebrations
– God
– money

Anything?

Oh yes and the big one – death?

(Judging by the Celebrity Death Watch trend stemming from the deaths of people like Anna Nicole Smith, Amy Winehouse, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston…I digress with a major side eye!)
It seems there isn’t.

Lent
Lent starts today and social media is aBUZZZ with what people are giving up! It ranges from the usual obvious “vices” like alcohol, sex, shopping, going out, smoking, social media itself…but
whatever it is the cyber audience has been made aware of the intentions to observe the Catholic/Christian holiday of Lent. You MUST know this and so you will be told – just in case you were wondering about the faith or some of the people in your social media circles. You must!

The exhibitionism in our society is waaaay out of hand. We are a nation of exhibitionist Christians! It’s so overtly blunt that even politicians like Santorum and Romney want to be sure that they “prove” their [variety of] Christianity as a means to prove their worthiness of the United States Presidency. If you are not out there exhibiting theological doctrines and mantras there is no way you are what you are. If you think you are smart you better be tweeting and blogging about it all day, if you are beautiful you MUST have a blog about beauty complete with products and pictures and videos and retweeting all the compliments you get because you must PROVE it to everyone – those that you don’t even know included!

Can we save some of ourselves for ourselves?! Or let others save some of themselves for themselves?! Something just seems a little off when acts of faith seem to be done in order to prove our faith to others as opposed to for the purpose of private and personal growth in the said faith. Although I am not Catholic, growing up and having attended 2 different Catholic girls schools in Zimbabwe and then in New Orleans, I do know or at least learnt that Lent is supposed to be a time when a person sacrifices things that are becoming a wedge in their relationship with God. It’s supposed to be a time of quiet (that means private) contemplation and reflection.

 

 

 

If you decide to give up alcohol and [pre-marital] sex, for example, ONLY for Lent – doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose? Although everyone struggles with their faith and growing in it (myself included), to me it seems somewhat hypocritical to be giving up things you aren’t supposed to be doing in the first place and be counting down the days until you can be a free sinner again (because that is what you will see as people toot their horns about not drinking as they simultaneously  tweet/status update/et al. about how they just can’t wait to hit up the bar).
So, in closing, I just want to suggest a little introspection and self-evaluation, perhaps as an exercise for Lent. What are you trying to prove? WHY are you trying to prove it? To WHOM are you trying to prove it? In general. In life. Whatever it is you are giving up for Lent be sure that it is a worthy sacrifice and not a superficial one and if possible is it an adjustment that will continue well past Good Friday if it is in fact a vice? Something that in the grand scheme of things and the big picture of our lives is actually a sacrifice that not only needs to be made, but we are honestly willing to make.

Hmm…I will be doing the same 🙂