This past weekend, hundreds of family and friends gathered to pay our final respects to my beloved cousin, Karen Faye “Kaye” Smith.
Her death was truly a shock to all who knew her, especially her only child, Ashley, her grandkids, her mother, and her siblings. Though it was a solemn occasion, a true celebration of her life ensued on the days leading up to and on the day of her home-going services.
While we reflected on fond memories of what Kaye meant to us, her death also triggered feelings of inspiration to live in the manner of which she did. If there was any one thing evident about this woman, it was that she absolutely loved her family and had a deep desire to fellowship as often as possible. She cherished every moment with loved ones. Kaye would often host extravagant get-togethers on her lawn to simply share and spread the roots of the Ebow legacy. She would say “Chalice, y’all young ones gon’ soon have to take over. We’re getting old!”
I cannot say I know what you are going through or how you feel sweetheart, but I can tell you that I am and will be here for you and your kids. I truly cannot explain how much my heart aches with and for you. Why so? Because I, too, am my mother’s only child and your relationship with your mom is a parallel reflection of that of mine. I’m sure it feels like a nightmare. I’ve had these nightmares before. I’m sure it feels like the wind has been knocked right out of you. I’ve awoken breathless many nights at the mere thought of this. What I am certain of is the ability of the God we serve to carry you through this. Depend on Him through prayer for your daily strength and guidance. You are entitled to mourn and grieve however you see fit, but just remember what your mother has instilled in you and how she has raised you. I do believe that she has well-equipped you with all the tools necessary to sustain. Continue to make her proud because when people see you, they see her too!
Lessons through the Life of Kaye
- Do not become encapsulated in irrelevant matters, but instead bask in the invaluable moments.
- Be quick and easy to forgive others.
- Cherish the presence of your loved ones.
- Live each day as it were your last.
For one last time, we gathered with more family and friends at Kaye’s home immediately following her formal repast. Some faces were familiar and some were not, but everyone was on one accord. She met no stranger and you could indeed feel the love amongst all. I met cousins that I had never heard of and laughed as people told stories. It’s as though she was there introducing everyone as she usually would. “This is Chalice, Geredette’s daughter. You know, Uncle Fran and Aunt Ba…” As we all parted ways and went our separate directions, one thing will always remain. That is our love, respect, and admiration for you Kaye. I know she would be proud and smiling over her lawn.
You did it! YOU brought us together, Kaye! We will always love you.
I’d like to hear from my readers. How do you/have you dealt with the loss of a loved one?
To those who have lost a parent, what words of encouragement would you offer Kaye’s only daughter, Ashley?