Will I Ever Be Ready

Spring is struggling to break through in Michigan. But it’s so close, I figured it’s a good day to put some winter clothes away. While sorting through some things that I packed away last summer, I came across this dress.

My late husband, Kevin, immediately came to mind. This was one of the first things he bought me early in our blossoming relationship. I still love this dress. It wasn’t something that I would have chosen for myself, but I loved it anyway, mainly because he bought it for me. I would learn years later that receiving gifts is my primary love language. It’s not the price of the gift, it’s the fact that someone has thought of me and wanted to do something to make me happy.

It’s been three years since he passed away. I can’t wear this dress without thinking of him.

“Is that okay?” I ask myself? Is it fair to the guy that I spend a lot of time talking to these days? Will getting rid of the dress prevent the sporadic thoughts of my late husband?

Luther Vandross station on Pandora radio is playing. The O’Jays “Forever Mine” begins playing. This is Mom’s jam. Kevin, a man who loved music even more than me, loved it too. Suddenly, I can hear him singing along with Eddie and Walter. I miss hearing him sing. He was a great singer. He sang with passion and soul.

Then I envision us dancing together. He’s the first man in my adult life that I enjoyed dancing with. Our love developed, in part, on a dance floor. We used to go to the after work affair and dance like teenagers, as though one of coworkers couldn’t have been on the premises. We didn’t care. He learned that I was rhythmic in my hips and my soul. Most people don’t see that about me at first glance. He did and loved it.

It’s been three plus years (thanks to his illness) since I enjoyed dancing with a man.

Continuing the transition from winter to spring, I came across some a Kevin’s fraternity paraphernalia.

He loved his fraternity almost more than life itself. Becoming apart of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc was one of his greatest accomplishments. It inspired me join the sisterhood that I belong to. We embodied what’s called that Coleman Love.

These are the few things that I have left of his possessions that weren’t destroyed in the house fire that claimed his life. Part of me knows I should pass these items to his best friend/fraternity brother. But I’m afraid to let them go.

Over these three years, I’ve been saying I’ll give things away when I’m ready. When will that be?

I don’t know. I just don’t know…

My Gentle Giant, #myKevin

Posting in honor of my late husband’s birthday today. I wrote this over a year ago but didn’t publish it. Today seems like the perfect day.

I’ll never forget the day Kevin sat across from me at a table in our work cafeteria and revealed an unexpected side of his personality. You see, we met at work. He was a manager. Very professional, knowledgeable, and well-put together in his appearance. He smiled and spoke to mostly everyone he crossed paths with. But as we were growing closer he didn’t want me to have any misunderstanding about who he was.

“I ain’t always nice.” He said sharply. In fact I think his exact words were, “I ain’t always a nice motha fucka!”

He went on to explain that he was educated on the streets and in the classroom. He knew how to play the corporate game and make nice with people when he had to. In the workplace he would check people very professionally because he wasn’t losing his job for anyone. Outside the walls of the company, though, he would go the fuck off and cuss motha fuckas out! His words.

I was 33 and I had never had a man express such a thing. I was shocked, speechless but so intrigued.

In later years , during some of our most difficult times, I would remember this moment and think, “Girl, that was your chance to walk away.”

But I’m so glad I didn’t. And I don’t say that now because he’s gone. I say that because God used him to teach me about the complexities of man, the complexities of love, the complexities of life. And He used me to teach Kevin about unconditional love, forgiveness, and kindness.

My husband was hard as hell. He could have the worst attitude and hold grudges for waayyy too long. But he was also a man who loved God, loved musicals, loved to sing and rap (of course, with lots of profanity). Lol.

But he was also a man who would pull the car over to take a picture of a rainbow, and remark of its beauty.

I learned to appreciate such beauty, too, because of #myKevin.

Naturally Yours,

LA

Catch Up With Life After Vlog…

So…Coronavirus is in full effect. The kids are out of school. You may be working from home. God-forbid, you’re in self-quarantine! Whatever the case, many of us are spending a lot of time in our homes these days. Why not take some time to catch up on my Life After Vlog series? Posted here are the last four of 2019. And if you subscribe to my channel you’ll be one of the first to see my first video of 2020. Like the videos? Then hit the “thumbs up”, then subscribe. Have a question or want to suggest a topic, put it in the comment section or comment in the blog.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

Life After: How to Honor Your Angel on their Angelversary

Naturally Yours,

In the widow group I belong to on FB, I learned a new term of endearment for to refer the anniversary of my husband’s death.  In my previous three posts, I’ve share the story of the days that preceded the day Kevin was called home. Today, in my Life After vlog series, I share how I plan to spend this actual angelversary and how some others have spent theirs.

 

Life After Vlog Series–Widow’s Who Say They’re Fine

In this second video of my Life After Vlog, I talk about celebrating my 2nd birthday last month without my husband as well the approaching holidays. It still seems surreal that I’m living without him.

When asked in those early months how I was doing following my husbands passing, the answer was the same as what it is now.

“I’m fine” or “I’m doing okay”.

But what else would I be in those particular settings–at church, in the office, at a sorority function, at a party. I was absolutely fine in those moments. No one was there , however, to ask that question when I was alone in the rental house awaiting the repair of my home, or driving in the car listening to a song Kevin loved to sing or traveling along a route we drove so frequently together, or when I was enjoying something that I wished I were enjoying with him.

I wasn’t always fine when I said I was. Sometimes I say, “I’m fine”, to convince myself that I was. Other times, like I say in the video, it’s because I actually was in those moment. The best advice I can give when dealing with the widow in your life is to prayer for her continued strength. She’s needs it.

Naturally Yours,

Life After–Vlog Series

This vlog series was conceived in early 2018 when I realized that I had a lot to say about what was happening in my life following the passing of my husband after his terminal illness and a devastating house fire in 2017 that ultimately claimed his life. I started recording videos when topics revealed themselves to me. What I didn’t record on video, I wrote about in my journal or in the notes section of my phone. I wasn’t sure if I was gathering material for a book, a vlog, a blog, or all three.

I decided to go ahead to get started posting. After the stroke I suffered a month ago, I realized just how much I can’t afford to hold on to ideas that I conceive until the perfect time to reveal them. The perfect time doesn’t exist. I don’t know what’s going to come of it, but I’m sure if will be a blessing to someone. I can’t promise that every video is be as inspiring as this one because that wouldn’t be real. And I want to provide a very real experience for viewers. The day I recorded this video I was feeling good, glad to be back in my house, and encouraged by a good word at church. I wanted to be encouraging to others. However, there are other recordings when I’ve been sad, angry, depressed, frustrated.

My journey is not over. As long as I’m living, I’ll always be living a life after that fateful night that changed everything.

If you like the video, please subscribe to my channel.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

It is Finished…Summer Class, that is #lifeafter

Thursday, August 1, 2019 marked the culmination of my first year as a graduate student of the Masters of Library Science program at Wayne State University!  Only a special kind of person–or maybe a glutton for punishment–undertakes a graduate program while displaced from their permanent residence due to a house fire, adjusting to life after the passing of their spouse, taking responsibility over a rental home that deceased husband managed, and a host of other things that you’ve probably already read about on my blog. But, I did it! And quite successfully, too, I might add. 4.0 GPA first semester, 3.5 the second, and a 3.0 this current semester.

Although I did well, I put myself through a lot stress at a time in my life when I should have been relaxing as much as possible. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean that you should do something, I advised myself.

Now, I don’t regret, at all, the decision to begin this program. I’d been contemplating it for a few years before finally applying. However, it might have been a good idea to start with one class instead of two. It took those first two semesters of talking myself out of quitting a time or two before I came to my senses and only registered for one class this last semester.

Forty-three year old LaCharmine cannot do graduate school the way twenty-five year LaCharmine did it.

Prior to the end of this semester, I told myself it was time for a break.

“Not even one class, LaCharmine,” I said to myself sternly. (I need that kind of talking to sometimes).

I need my evenings and weekends as free as they can be (given my church & sorority commitments).

I need time for writing.

I need time for reading.

I need time for getting my house how I want it.

I need time for dating. (Yes, I said it. Dating!!!)

Hmm…will I listen to myself and take a break from school? How will my first date go after 10 years out of the game? Will I accomplish the goal of completing novel #3 by end of 2019? Follow my blog for more #lifeafter posts.

Naturally Yours,

L.A.

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