Holding on to God

This year hasn't been the best. It's honestly been a bit of a struggle. In January, JM broke up with me and not only broke off our romantic relationship, but dropped off the face of the earth as my friend too. The later hurting me more than the former since I valued him as a friend. In February, Lenny, my stepdad started to lose his faculties and we knew that death was nearer than it had been any time before he'd originally entered hospice in July last year. The two weeks preceding his death were some of the hardest of my life as I watched him struggle to let go of his life on this side of heaven. He passed away March 10. I walked into the room to see him as my mom prepared us a meal. He'd breathed his last from the time that she left the room to let me in and me walking in to see him. It was the first time I'd been with someone who'd died. My cat, Princess, who still lived with my ex died next. My daughter called me sobbing and needing comfort. I told her abou…

Her Legacy

A week ago, I returned from my leadership forum. That morning, I shared the story of my roots. The story of where I came from and where as well as how my identity initially formed. I was a Burke from a strong line of tough Irish folks who made their way to the States in the late 40s and found each other after knowing each other in County Mayo where they grew up. My granny was a Burke by marriage, but she embraced it and each of us who were born into her line through my grampy who gave her his name. She gave up her spirit just before I arrived back in Cleveland last Friday night.  Me, grampy, granny - 1992
I knew she was going to die while I was away, or at least suspected she would as she was not expected to recover after her fall the previous Saturday night. I visited her one last time before I headed to Chicago on Wednesday last week. This past Wednesday, we laid her to rest. We had a mass, shared our hearts and passages from the Bible to encourage those of us left behind to know that…

Deja Vu

A little over a month ago, I was getting ready to go to Chicago for a leadership forum days after my step-father passed away. This week, I am heading there again and another person who has impacted my life in more ways than I can describe is about to pass away. My granny had an aneurysm burst in her head and now has a brain bleed covering more than a quarter of her brain. She, too, is 89 years old just like my step-father was. I am feeling like the same thing is happening all over again, but the big difference is that she is peaceful in the letting go. She has been ready and waiting to go to Jesus for a long time, but now we think Jesus is ready to receive her, too. Two of my aunts are on their way home to say goodbye. All of us locally have been to see her today. We have loved on her, sat with her, held her hand, told her how loved she is and laughed and told stories with each other about our shared lives. I cannot tell you how blessed I am to have been born into this family and to h…



Does Death Make Life Richer?

I am wondering about death. About life. Can life be as rich if we don't know the sorrow and loss of death? That is where I am right now in my pondering. When someone close to you starts to enter the end stages of life, it makes you think much more about living and the time you do have left with them. Not knowing how long they may have left makes me desire more time with them in my life. My grampy died 10 years ago last month; he was one of the most significant people in my life since birth. He had been close to death a number of times from numerous ailments probably precipitated by his eating, drinking, and smoking habits, but he always seemed to rally. He was a stubborn old man with a will of iron. Still, his body gave out on him, and death took him. I remember exactly where I was when the call came from my Uncle Matt to tell me. I said, "I'm not ready for him to be dead." He asked, "Would you ever be?" Of course the answer was no. Thankfully, I know I'…