Monday, April 19, 2010

Moving Forward

Happy Monday mi gente!

Today marks 2 months since Serena's beloved mother passed away. She's my guest blogger today - send prayers and love as she shares with us.

Moving Serena Wills

Can I live without her? How do I start the healing process? Now what, Mom? Show me what to do.

These were all thoughts that crossed my mind as my mother took her last breath. It's been two months since my mother, Marguerite Sauti Wills passed away due to complications of Ovarian Cancer at the tender age of 60.

Only for 2 seconds did I not think I could do this life without her. Then I quickly discovered that I have to. There's a lot of unfinished business on my end, and who are we as humans to take our own lives when someone or something dies? We're no one. Moving forward after months of travel, talking to doctors, nurses, rehabs, etc. - my life as well as my families' shifted.

Think of it metaphorically. A ship puts its sails up, and instead of going north, the winds whip through and shift the ship east. You don't want to go east but you can't fight the wind.

In my case, I wanted Mom to be here - talking to me on the phone, cracking jokes... like old times sake. But God saw it differently and took her away.

I wanted to write this blog because I felt that there are some people on here that wanted to go in one direction, but instead you're being forced to go another. Maybe it's a job, and instead of you getting that promotion and moving up the ladder, someone else got the position and you feel stuck.

Or maybe it's that man or woman that you're trying to make amends with, trying to pull together a broken relationship - but instead you break up and don't even have a friendship afterwards.

Numerous people are forced to move forward - as Biggie's cd was titled, "Life After Death." That's what I'm learning as I go through various steps that will hopefully lead to healing.

There are a few things I want to point out before I go that I've noticed that happens when a natural shift occurs, even as tragic as mine.

#1. "Beware of blaming yourself." It's so easy to point the finger at yourself asking, "What could I have done differently?" "Maybe one more opinion could have healed her." "What did I do to make him/her leave me?"

#2. "Denial is real, but in some instances okay." I have picked up the phone to dial Mom and then forgot, she's not there. That's natural, as we had a daily routine. What isn't natural is to straight act as if nothing happened. Some don't know how to cry, shout, or scream. They hold on until they snap. Once you snap you may not be yourself ever again. I have a friend I've been praying for and she snapped a few times. She won't let go of the past and walks around as if nothing happened.

#3. "Haters are alive and well in this devastating time." They are even more upfront when they can't fathom how you're strong. They will try to knock you down because you're at your lowest point. Like my fave rapper said, "Can't Knock the Hustle" and "Kick that Dirt Off Your Shoulders." Watch your back because they are out there.

#4. "Cleansing your soul is amazing!" It's okay to cry, let go and get it out. Cleansing also is remembering the great times, and in my case, holding onto those memories. In a relationship that's gone awry, it's nice to reminisce - but don't do MJB and keep "reminiscing on the love you had." In that case, you have to pack that baggage up as He has something greater.

#5. "Listen." Mom told me a lot in her last 6 months. When I shared my fears the day she passed, especially about having kids and being married one day, she said, "You'll be better than'll be a great Mom."

That compliment will always stick with me coming from a woman that adopted two medically challenged children. It's an internal affirmation.

So think back to when your life switched gears when you didn't want it to - and remember no matter how horrid, hard, or dark it may seem, that there is something in store for you.

Your pathway might have turned...twisted...and you might have come to a crossroads. But, the road didn't end. Learn from it - and as much as it hurts to walk without that person physically, just know you can make it. If you're like me and lost the person to death, then your stride will change - because have a partner walking with you always. Mom is always with me, and when I feel her presence I welcome her in and onto my path.

Everyone meditate on what I said, think of some things you went through, and get ready for a greater pathway.

May peace be with each of you.


Please donate to my friend Susan Grassi's fundraising page in memory of my Mom - Marguerite Wills - and to help create a cancer free world at


Annamaria said...


The normal response didn't seem appropriate! lol

Ok I'll comment in a minute!

Stef said...

Man Annamaria!

Anyway, Serena, your strength continues to inspire me. I'm always thinking of you and keeping you in my heart. Your mother sounds like an amazing woman, and you are just like her.

Annamaria said...


You are an inspiration to us all. Your strength in dealing with this situation is amazing & I know that you are making your mom proud every single day.

We all have fears about the future & how we are going to handle the rest of our lives. BUT I believe your mom laid the foundation for your to be great at anything you put your mind to.

Keep on moving forward "WITH" your mom at your side. Her body may not be here with you but she is definitely here with you every day in your heart.
Keep surrounding yourself with positive & the negative will be silenced.


Rameer The Circumstance said...

Bless you and yours, Serena.

This one was hard for me to read...but I'm glad I did.

Brooke said...

God is blessing you Serena. He blessed you with a wonderful mother, and now using you to inspire others. Every day you grow stronger, and your faith keeps you in God's grace.

There's something about certain people, about the way they move through the world that suggests they have unlimited inner resources and universal carte blanche. They move as if petty things do not matter, as if everything they want is theirs for the asking. They seem to walk in harmony, even amid heartache and chaos. It's not where they're going that fascinates us, but moreso their way of getting there, how they do the things they do.

You're one of those people. You bask in His grace. We easily recognize it because you exude it. Beneath the poise, the presence, the confidence and your faith - there's a hint of something more. It's called Divine Favor. It surrounds and protects you, and inspires others. It's the source for those who walk with amazing grace through walls...which although invisible, stop most of us in our tracks.

But not you. You understand that life is unfolding in its perfect pattern, and no matter how hard it may be, you surrender to it. You understand that God's Kingdom is within, that you are in His care, and that the universe is always there to support you. THAT assurance is what we call grace. And I'm in awe of you.

Jaz said...

Wow, Brooke, you nailed it. No more to say.

Serena, you and your family remain in my prayers. I can't imagine how you feel or what you're going thru, but you are handling it with grace and strength, and I SO admire that! God bless!

Jay said...

Hard to follow Brooke's comment, but I echo everything she said. Serena, God is using you as an example to show us what true grace and faith look like. We'll all have our own cross to bear and path to choose when we get to a crossroads, and you're showing us that life goes on and CAN go on in a beautiful way, no matter what pain we suffer along the way.

I'm inspired by you, just as everyone else is, and I continue to keep you and yours in my thoughts and prayers.

DMoe said...

Serena -

What an inspiring sentiment to share with us. Thank you for that.

As I think of my relationship with my mom and dad, I'll try to use your words to guide my steps remembering how fragile life actually is.


Serena W. said...

These comments are amazing and I thank each of you for commenting. Even those who aren't leaving comments, just the fact that all of you are taking in what I wrote touches my heart.

These words weren't enough to explain all that I'm going through. You have some people that really don't know what to say. I always believed that silence is power and just a, "I'm here if you need me" is fine.

Brooke and Annamaria your comments touched home. The future can be scary and people ask me if I "prepared" for Mom's death. You can plan all you want but when the moment comes prayer is powerful.

Those last conversations were precious and she left me and my family with guidance. That in itself is a gift. Not enough people get a chance to say good bye, are able to ask those lingering questions, etc.

Hope I'm not making too many people cry today :( and do hope that God can continue to bless me so I can touch and reach out to others.

Serena W. said...

Wow I'm reading the rest of the comments. Glad I and we can inspire. "We" is my family. They are so strong, especially my Nana who will be 86 years old. Talk about inspiration.

I'm so thankful that I have a rock, a foundation and close to God because if I didn't I would be in a straight jacket by now going crazy...

Ms. Penn said...

I think we all would be going crazy without some source of strength and inspiration. You are touching so many people with your testimony Serena, and I'm glad I read this today. God is using you, and He will continue to grant you strength so long as you keep spreading His message of love and faith. Thank God for you. You and your family are always in my prayers.

Serena W. said...

Ms. Penn you are so right, but there are some people that are disconnected. They think they are higher and mightier and of course we know they aren't. In some instances...untouchable.

I'm glad you chimed in and read through it. I keep finding so many great pics and it reminds me of the wonderful times we shared before she passed. Mom taught me so much about the world and the African tradition in particular so when I went out into the world I would be ready :)

These are great comments everyone!

Stef said...

I think alot of times people don't know HOW to channel their faith when they're hurting. I know I struggle with this. You go thru the questioning God phase, the "why me?" phase. As much strength as I think I have, I always go thru that. It takes me a while to get back to that place where I know God is watching over me. How do you keep it going so strong all the time?

I'd be lying if I said I was as strong as you are ALL the time. My faith falters. I guess the good thing is I keep coming back to it, but I'm afraid one day I'll face something that I won't be able to recover from. Any advice on how to KEEP that faith Serena?

Brooke said...

That's a VERY real question Stef. I know a lot of people have their faith tested. That doesn't make you weak though, not at all. It makes you HUMAN. Beautifully human.

ArrElle said...

Hello Serena:

Even though I we haven't met yet, I just want to let you know that today's post is profound. Whether you know it or not you are blessed to have had your mother in your life through good and bad times who was loving, strong, kind, etc. in your life since not all of us were so lucky. Your mother may not be here physically but she is here spirtitually in which I'm sure you already know this. Today's post really hit a spot not only for me but for others who've read it as well.

Sending Luv your way, your friend in your head,


Serena W. said...

Stef I wish I had a perfect answer and trust me I've had a few conversations with God. The, "Why did you take her so soon, why my mother, why me..." OR I'll go through what I could have done differently, could I have gotten that 4th opinion?

I reach out to people, I don't bottle it up. I talk a lot to my family more so and friends that have gone through the same thing. I read biblical passages as I'm Christian. Those who are other faith go to their's and read, or listen to a word.

I'm also not afraid to admit that I have a counselor and belong to a support group. That has helped me so much to vent. I realized that I couldn't have done anything differently. She was already stage 4 when she was first diagnosed and we took it from there.

There is no perfect answer, as Brooke said, you are human "beautifully" and if we had perfect faith we wouldn't be walking this earth.

Do you release Stef? Like I have no problem of crying, I had a session of it yesterday. I also have no problem of talking about Mom, what happened, etc. I have what you call my prayer warriors. I can talk to them day and night and they are there for me. They are friends and family that have been in my life for years and years. They also know how to LISTEN.

Finding that outlet and having time just to talk to Him is a great start. Also everyone can't be on that faith team, as I get older my circle of friends get smaller. I can't deal with the itty bitty complaints and bs any more. It's all in the past.

Serena W. said...

ArrElle I'm so lucky. I hear about people who never knew their parents (I never knew my Dad). Or they died so early on. One friend lost his mother to cancer at 15, another at 5, etc...

My one girlfriend who I call my sister Venetta lost her's in 1996. I was only 21 and she was 22.

Her mom was in her early 40's.

I'm so blessed and those on this blog that still have their mama's. Hug them, cherish and love them.

Thank you too ArrElle for the compliment and prayer.

Ms Nay said...

Thank you for sharing your testimony Serena. Though I have met you only once I can truly say that you are blessed and highly favored. You are an inspiration to me and obviously a lot of other people.

Serena W. said...

You're most welcome Ms. Nay! I've learned so much from people sharing what they have been through and it helped enlighten me as to what I'm going through even now. You never know how people will influence you, even in just a 10 minute conversation sometimes :)

You have a beautiful spirit as well and I know it will only grow as you raise your daughter :)

Stef said...

Thank you Serena. I guess I have to get a prayer team to pray for me when I'm feeling weak. That's a great idea!

Serena W. said...

Stef it is amazing! I have a group of friends that are wonderful. They love me whole heartedly, they keep reminding me, "you did all you can."

I need those reminders because it creeps up on me.

Remember I also stay active and that helps. Running is great but African dancing makes me feel so good and so close to Mom. She danced for years and I remember when I told her I started dancing in 2007! She was so happy.

But I thoroughly enjoy it!

Pretty Ricky What Dey Call'em said...

Dammit Serena... you made me come out of my Blog silence! Your blog was all that and a bag of cool ranch dorito's. Sometimes it's really hard to deal with death, especially when it's close family... but I'm sure your words today will help many people deal with loss. That was a blessed word... NO DOUBT! You got me blog crushin' right now!!!! You might be my new blog boo!

(You know I'm always silly... but don't mistake that for how much I admire you :-)

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