The Fulfillment Series

The Fulfillment Series

Friday, June 22, 2018

Unexpected Life Changes

So, I recently wrote about our new eating plan, and I'd intended to do post on the oil cleanse method, which has revolutionized my skin. But life had other plans. Unexpected plans.

My great uncle J.H. passed away. In April, he'd been diagnosed with kidney cancer, and by June, he was gone. While it wasn't quite as unexpected and out-of-the-blue as my PaPa's death, it was still so fast. Too fast. When PaPa died, I wondered if it would have been easier to have known and have had some warning. But now I know. You're never ready. We're never ready to let go of the people we love.

J.H. was my Mema's (grandma) brother. So, he's technically my great uncle, though I've only ever called him Uncle J.H. Uncle J.H. and Aunt Bobbie. Their names have always flowed together as one, like Mema and PaPa. I *still* say Mema and PaPa, and it's been almost a year. I can't think of one without the other, and the same goes for Uncle J.H. and Aunt Bobbie.

Y'all, I've always admired Uncle J.H. He carried himself in such a stately manner, like if you looked in the dictionary under "Southern gentleman," you'd find his picture. But he was also down-to-earth, always asking about other people and being genuinely interested in their answers. He was one of a kind, and the world--our family--has truly lost another bright light.

Deek often comes up with these great analogies for things, but at first, you don't see the connection. So, he always starts with "Hang with me for a minute." I'm going to say that now. Hang with me for a minute, and you'll see where this is going...

This morning, I envisioned our family like a Light Bright picture (see...hang with me here). Does anyone remember those? I think they actually still sell them.

Each member is a light that makes up the amazing picture that is my family. And slowly, over time, some of those lights go out. MaMa (my great-grandmother), PaPa's brothers and sister, cousins, PaPa, and now Uncle J.H. Sometimes lights come into the picture, when babies are born or when people get married, but never in the same place as the lights that went out. Those are not replaceable.

This Light Bright picture of our family is ever changing. One image is not more beautiful than the next, just different. But when you're like me and remember the original picture--the one with everyone who's gone--you miss it. You yearn to see it, and them, just one more time. 

But the truth is...that's not the original image, is it? That's the new picture that changed when the people before us--PaPa, his brothers and sisters, Uncle J.H.--lost their own loved ones. The image I feel is the "original" came only when other lights faded. I bet PaPa and Uncle J.H. missed their "original" Light Bright family pictures too. I bet they stood where the rest of my family is standing today...mired in grief and sadness. Missing. Longing. Wishing.

Yet PaPa and Uncle J.H. kept shining. And we should too. Instead of thinking their light has gone out, we should imagine it has been transferred--to the rest of us. It's up to us now to shine as brightly as we can. This family Light Bright picture may not be the one we remember, but it's beautiful too. It's infused with the lights of so many generations. 

It's a legacy. A proud, deep legacy.


  1. My dear, I'm so incredibly sorry that another beautiful light has gone out. J.H. was an amazing, gentle man and I'm very lucky to have gotten to know him even if it was just for a little while. Like PaPa, the warmth of his presence will forever be in our hearts. Thank you for sharing, honey. J.H. will be so missed.

  2. Our hearts are sending out sincere condolences upon this loss of an obviously good soul. We will send a prayer to Auntie and all of you, with your permission, and ask that Uncle J.H. truly rests in Peace with all his loved ones around him. He will be with you in heart.

  3. I am so sorry for your loss, Erin.

    Loved your light bright analogy. It was absolutely beautiful.

    While I never met your Papa or Uncle JH, the stories and thoughts you’ve shared of them make me smile and wish I’d known them. You are definitely keeping their light shining.


  4. A beautiful sentiment on the gift of life! So sorry for your grief... So happy your light is still Shining!