My father is from one of the smallest little towns about 80 miles outside of Memphis, TN called West Helena, Arkansas. This place is so small that the fun thing to do is go to Piggly Wiggly, and everyone meets at the “Club” aka Wal-Mart (s). In the south, everyone pronounces every thing with an “S” at the end. Ha!
West Helena, is really unique, in that even though it’s 2017, you sort of feel that time has stood still there, which is actually refreshing. This city is known for the Blues, and people are really soulful.
I remember about two years ago, I felt the need to connect to my roots, so I told my dad I wanted to go to his hometown as an adult and meet his friends and family. Most importantly, I wanted to see where this man came from.
My father was very poor as a kid, lived in many different homes, and even some of them had dirt floors. His mother was a hard working widow (My grandfather died when my dad was a young boy) , that cleaned houses, and worked hard to provide for her 3 sons and daughter. My father picked cotton, and his way out of West Helena was the military, which has provided a great life for him and his family.
On a trip with my father, I got to meet this special woman who had known my dad and his siblings since they were kids, and she was a comedic riot: Mrs.Doris.
Soon as we knocked on her screen door, she came to the door and yelled. “Is that Bimbo?” Her and my dad embraced, she met me. We all sat and had a wonderful time. She even offered me something from pots on the stove that had been “stewing” to eat, which is a true southern way. It was a sheer delight to meet her.
I was just informed that Doris passed a few days ago while she was having dinner with her sister. Because of her diabetes, Doris had become legally blind and had really struggle to see. She exhausted herself caring fro her husband until his untimely death a year or so before hers.
However when Doris fell ill at the table, she transitioned into the after-life, and then her sister being a nurse brought her back to life. When she came back to life I was told, she said to her sister, “I can see, and all of my friends and family are gathering around me, and I just feel so much better.” After that, Doris died in her sister’s arms.
The story moved me so deeply to tears, because it allows me understand no matter how much pain or joy we feel on this side of life, there is always something greater beyond us and this moment.
It encourages me to not focus on the discomforts and what may upset me now, because it’s all temporary. There is a place truly where everything that bothers us will dissipate and there will be no groaning, or pains.
My only regret is I wish I had a moment to hear Doris’s laughter and watch the deep love she and my father expressed when they spoke about life, but i know she is somewhere, where her vision has been fully restored, her blood levels are normal, and she is able to walk around and celebrate life with those she loves…