It was the most difficult day of my life, February 18, 2010. My momma went home to be with the Lord after what seemed like a very brief struggle with cancer. Growing up, I always thought that she would be around "forever". I always thought that I would finish college and Lord willing, get married and have kids, and then at a ripe old age, she would leave this world. Well, the Lord had different plans and called her home a little earlier than I had hoped.
I have always thought that since she passed away what a scene is must be in heaven. Anyone who knew anything about my momma knew that she loved music and was always singing. She is the whole reason I became interesting in singing, playing, and writing music myself. I like to think she made it up to heaven and just started singing praises to God so much that God had to say, "Take a breather honey; it's not like you are going anywhere." (That part is a joke.)
Well, after the dust settled and reality began to sink in, we had the daunting task of packing up the house and sorting through everything. One day, I was packing all of my stuff to move to my new home at MSU as well as trying to see if there was anything else that I could use. Off to the side was a cardboard box with a lot of music in it. It was about to get thrown away. Neither my sister or I thought much about it at first. Knowing that my mom was a music teacher, it made sense that there would be a lot of sheet music for school plays, church programs, and other events all over the place. Something didn't seem right throwing it away at that moment, so I took the box, placed it in my car, and headed back for MSU later that day. I got back, unloaded everything, and began to relax. I placed the box of music in my room. For over a year and a half, I kept telling myself that I should go through that box just to see what was in there. But my more manly tendencies to neglect cleaning and organizing emerged, and it never happened.
One day, I happened to get into one of my OCD cleaning fits (a quite rare occasion) and decided I would go through that music. Well I started looking through it. Nothing really jumped out at me at first. On top were school plays and random sheet music. Nothing that exciting. Mixed in everywhere were old lesson books of my mom's that were from when she was learning to play piano. So it got a little exciting. Well as I kept going through the rather large box of music I stumbled across something that would make my day.
My momma loved music. Everyone knew that. But my momma also wrote music and not just shortly before her death. To this day I can still remember being the white-haired little boy sitting on stage with my little sister and mother at Elliot Baptist Church and being "forced" to sing one of the songs she wrote with her. Of course I didn't understand anything that was going on; just that I really did not have a say in whether or not I did it.
The other thing everyone knows about my mom is, to use a good ole southern expression, bless her soul she had some of the messiest and most disorganized writing ever contrived upon this planet. Notes would be scribbled sideways and upside down and on the front and on the back of every piece of paper, phone book, or envelope she could find. And often it was a rarity not to find some person's name and phone number scribbled in one of the corners. Back to the story. What I saw before me was definitely something I did not expect to find: handwritten originals and copies of, to my knowledge, three songs she wrote around the late 1980's. The date on a "final" copy of one of them was 2-2-89. Yours truly was about a year and a half old at the time which makes this next part very special. I started to read the songs. Going through the box of music was already not an easy task, but this definitely didn't help emotions. I kept reading. And then something caught my eye that I honestly was not expecting, a song that I had no clue had been written. So I started to read that song. I made it through the first page and then this jumped out at me:
Yours truly was mentioned in a song. I don't know how it happened. Maybe I was just laying on the couch beside my mom when she was writing, and that's how she came to write it. Maybe I was running around the house causing mayhem (that's probably what my sister would say). I don't know. But this definitely made my day. Boy was I glad this box did not get thrown away.
So on this two year anniversary of my momma's passing, I leave you with the words she wrote so long ago:
"God's love is around the world you live in; All around all that you see; All around everybody and it covers you and me; So take the gift that He offers; It's forever and it's free; Spread His love to everybody, all around"