Category Archives: grief

Reserved Seats

reservedThere are some people who will regret how poorly they treated you in the past because your future is so glorious. There are some people, the ones who spread lies, those who believed those lies, those who believed heinous things about you without verification of truth. They are the enemies that God will prepare your table before. No need to prove anything, no need for validation. Your success, your blessings, your overwhelming success will speak for themselves. #ThusSaidTheSpiritOfTheLivingGod

You spread out a table before me,
    provisions in the midst of attack from my enemies; You serve me a six-course dinner
    right in front of my enemies.
You care for all my needs, anointing my head with soothing, fragrant oil,
    filling my cup again and again; You revive my drooping head;
    my cup brims with blessing.     -Psalm 23:5 (VOICE/MSG)

Tiffany Lane-Crane/ TiffEpiph  2014

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The First Wives Club Just Changed My Life

giphy (4)Uhhhmmm ok wow! When I first saw this movie I was 25 years old. Times sure have changed as I viewed this film today digitally through Amazon Video, but back in the day I owned a VHS copy of it and I’d watch it regularly like it was a tv program. I cracked up through every scene, laughing at the whimsical characters, those mid-40 year old women who were attempting to rebuild their lives after being abandoned by their husbands, who had taken much younger wives. Well fast forward 20 years and my view of this lovely and funny story is very different. I am now that mid-40 year old putting her life together post divorce. As much as I adored the movie then, seeing it today was much more than a revisit to this comedy that I love. I relate to these characters on a completely different level now, with a few important differences of course.  I am not white nor wealthy, which all the main characters in the film are, so there’s that. But I do relate to this ageism thing of what to do with your life if you are no longer such and such’s wife. And if such and such goes on to marry someone who is young enough for you to mother, then that tends to add insult to injury. Although I’ve been mistaken for much younger, (blame it on the melanin), in reality I am what I am, and I am who I am. And that is a mid-40 year old who holds every memory and experience from her past. I ache in my joints on a second by second bases and manage regular extreme pain. I have the energy level of someone recovering from surgery, with the metabolism of a pregnant snail. I have found that my favorite recreational activity is a good nap, or posting on Facebook or Pinterest after waking from a good nap. I have more responsibilities than I can balance in my own strength as I attempt to put myself and my life back together, while raising a young boy by myself…. oh who happens to have Autism. I’m exhausted even writing all of that because it just makes my real life all the more real.

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So when I get inspiration to move out of this place that I’m in, I try to take it.  This movie gave me just the inspiration that I needed. I am more than a little moved as I watch the women in this film reclaim their own power. Now of course this is a fictional story, but it is a reflection of art imitating life as divorce numbers are at an all time high. The reality of women piecing their lives back together in their 40’s and 50’s and older is amazingly common. I’m taking this motivation and am going to hold on to it. I’m going to take this moment to set some goals for myself, because you cannot you move out of a rut if you never take some steps to do so. We recess, draw back, fall off, loose ourselves, let ourselves go when there is no movement.  Mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, financially, there must be movement.

giphy (5)So instead of sitting around and wallowing in self pity while I’ve been home nursing an injury and my car is not running properly, I’m dedicated to movement. I’m setting some goals and am going to act on them, but this time I’m going to be smart about it, as in setting SMART goals. Those SMART goals will be Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, and Time Bounded. Specific goals that are measurable. Ones that agree with my core values and are realistic to my real life, and schedule and responsibilities. And lastly ones that have a time frame on them. Now speaking of time, it’s a thing. Later in life you reflect on the time you’ve spent, the time you’ve wasted, the time you have left. We respond to that feeling with either hopelessness or urgency. Hopelessness sets in when you assume that you don’t have any options, that your best days are in your rearview and that nothing will ever get better than where you are today. But today I’m choosing to believe the alternative, I’m going to take this sense of urgency as motivation to do something new. I do not have the luxury of wasting time like I did in my youth. If God blesses me with life, I have a limited amount of it remaining and I have to use it wisely. Sitting around eating chocolate while I blow up is no longer a reasonable option for my life.

One of the main areas of my life that I have allowed to sit somewhere between dormantgiphy (3).gif and aborted is my entrepreneurial spirit, but it got a big kick in the butt watching this movie.  It is not too late for me to do the things that I’ve dreamt of that will set up a legacy for my child. That’s the key phrase, it’s not too late. It’s not too late to get healthy and pain free. It’s not too late to start my businesses, it’s not too late to make a difference in the world, it’s not too late to one day have the love of my life. And it’s not too late for you either.  All of this pivots on hope, and this movie just gave that back to me. I’m going to wipe the tear marks that the closing dance scene to You Don’t Own Me just left on my face, and begin my movement. This movie will be a regular pit stop for me again, but with a greater meaning than just for laughs. Thanks Bette, Diane, and Goldie! I hope that your residual check balances increase and that this film is revisited by those who love it, and seen by those who’ve never had the pleasure.  Hope renewed.

Dear Stacey,

Rocked to my core! The wind knocked completely out of me! I have spent the last several days stuck on a couch in an emotional pendulum swing between shock and grief. And although my faith has always been strong, this, this thing, your not being on the earth anymore, has shaken me to that core, down to my very faith. It’s like I want to ask the Lord, did You get this one wrong? My niece who embraced me from the very moment she met me after marrying into her family. The one who called me Auntie, thus calling me family when my heart ached from the loss of my own family. In those days when the passing of my mother was fresh, and my support was thin, Stacey had no idea how she blessed me with her very presence, with her acceptance, with her embrace. She had no idea how she made me feel loved without even trying, I can only hope that I made her feel the same. And all the countless qualities she possessed that others experienced through her that I don’t even know about, but so many that I saw for myself. Vibrant, beautiful, talented, creative, warm. The beautiful young woman who smiled with her whole face. The special young woman who radiated of positivity, who was a beacon and example for other young people on how to do this “live your dreams” thing. The one who radiated Black Girl Magic in exquisite and rich dark chocolate skin. With all of this, her young marriage, and babies not yet in grade school, her life budding of newness, is it possible that You got this one wrong God? I know You can’t make mistakes but this has got me stuck on this couch, the wondering if maybe for the first time in history, that this was in fact a mistake. Please help me to comprehend.

And then it occurs to me. A word is dropped in my spirit, this word is seldomly taught in churches. That word is… sovereign. It is the understanding that God You have all power, that You have all authority. And regardless of my little human brain to comprehend what has taken place, You are sovereign. Yet with this understanding we still grieve our great loss, the loss of a child, a mother, a wife, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a niece. We grieve the loss of the phenomenal  deposit of Your likeness in her.

We also honor the utmost privilege of knowing that she is now in Your full presence… again. For we know to be absent with the body is to be present with the Lord, and that she belonged to You from the beginning of time. She has now only returned to that place which was her home all along. She is gloriously draped in love, and is now ever abounding in You. Thank you Jesus for taking all of her pain away, she will not again know struggle, illness, weakness, nor despair.  She was a woman of God on earth, and now she receives her reward in every moment remaining in eternity.  She ran her race, and while we desire that she had more time to run it, she did indeed run it well. 

So now Holy Spirit, be who You are, be our Comforter. Be our strength. Be the bearer of our grief. For those who knew her for the full course of her life, and cared for her most directly, be their strength. For those who are now redefining their lives with the inconceivable thought of being without her, be their strength. For those who were touched in personal ways by who she was, be our strength. Comfort us oh God, let us feel Your presence near.  And let us have a glimpse of and take great console in the assurance of where she is today. It is an honor to have this knowing and this peace. That she is ever abounding in paradise with You. How glorious she is, how magnificent is that place. Let us be honored by the moments we had with her beautiful spirit as we attempt to accept that she has returned home.  

Dear Stacey, thank you for embracing me. Thank you for making me feel loved and accepted. I know now as you are in the full presence of God, that you now understand how special you were to me, are to me. As I grieve loosing you now, I’m just now starting to understand that I am also grieving the loss of you after my divorce, I’m grieving the family I had in you. But I truly thank you for the honor and privilege of knowing you and loving you.  It’s amazing the work that was completed in you in countless ways. Your parents did a fabulous job in molding you into this ray of sunshine that lit up dark places. The crevasses of my heart will always be filled by you. Thank you for being my family. I love you niece, until we meet again. 

Your Auntie Tiff  

(Thank you cousin Jeannie Bates and sis Donyia Burnett for allowing me to grieve and celebrate with the family.) 

(SOME SPECIAL PICS OF STACEY)

My sweet Stacey came out to celebrate my birthday.
Always full of smiles, Stacey, me and her Auntie Gale.
Thanksgiving day at Aunt Sandra’s house, sister Courtney, cousin Krista, me and Stacey throwing up some peace. This was the day I met my beautiful niece, we had an immediate and instant bond.
Beautifully radiant! We came out to support Stacey as she’d choreographed a play that her cousin Steven starred in, and sister Courtney danced in. She was incredibly talented and creative.
I took this picture of Stacey and her Auntie Gale during Stacey’s celebration. I loved how easy she was to love.
With Grandma Helen, and all of the family who came out to celebrate Stacey’s accomplishments. She was heading off on an adventure to be Princess Tiana on a Disney Cruise ship. Amazing! I had to capture this moment. Stacey was later featured on The View with Whoopi Goldberg playing the princess. I was doing backflips watching her on the tv screen.
Mommie and Sis watch a dance performance at Auntie Donyia’s Thanksgiving bash.
I love this picture! This one isnt mine but the love between hubby, baby girl and Stacey jumps off the page.
One of my faves, this one also doesn’t belong to me. But I shared it on social media as what the definition of sisterly love looks like, Stac and Court.
The last time I had the honor of being with Stacey, this was our housewarming party, anniversary, and the celebration of welcoming my son into the world held at my home. The family gathered and individually spoke blessings over my son Caleb. I was very moved by what Stacey shared and spoke over him, stating that he would always be a man of God, that he would soar and go on to great heights. Alongside cousin Eryn, and Uncle Steve, Stacey is in the center here talking to Daddy Gary. I’m sure he was sharing some wisdom. The camera peeks over cousins Donovan and Steven, while our guest Barron J shares.
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Uncle Steve, Auntie Donyia, Baby Caleb, Cousin Eryn, Auntie Gale, and Mommie Paula enjoying the day.
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Amazing how Stacey’s own words comfort us now. But that’s who she was, overflowing with encouragement and love.
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Stacey Parker Wells you are forever loved and as our hearts are broken you will be deeply missed.