Taking a Piece of My Own Advice
On May 21, 2019 – my firstborn child, Reat Griffin Underwood will turn 20 – in heaven.
He deserved to be here, with us, his family. He would have recently finished his sophomore year in college. I expect, this summer he would be interning at a medical facility of some type, a staff member at Scout Camp, and playing a role in a musical theatre production. Like his momma, he knew how to engage with others and keep a full calendar.
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.” – James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son
I love this quote, from a different vantage point.
“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to busyness, alcohol or anger…so stubbornly is because they sense, once this vice is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain. “ – Mindy Corporon
I am grateful to be his mom and to have had him by my side for just under 15 years.
My faith is strong. I know I receive messages from him through songs, animals, and scripture. Many of my friends provide messages from Reat without even knowing it.
Recently, an event in St. Louis held by Jeremy Jacobs, a friend of Reat’s from high school, was one of these messages. Jeremy is a sophomore at Webster University studying Musical Direction for Musical Theatre. He and his younger brother, Ryan live the life Reat had planned. I am thankful they share it with me.
When Jeremy called to ask if he could turn his plan, of achieving a world record with this play, into a fundraiser for Faith Always Wins Foundation and our SevenDays® Make a Ripple, Change the World event…I was hearing a message. 13. Jeremy repeated it. 13 hours was the provided time frame for this difficult, highly artistic feat!
Jeremy and an exuberant group of young artists were going to put on a play from start to finish in 13 hours. Let me be clear…The clock would start…they would discover what play they would learn, build a set and design costumes, create and perform with actors, music and musicians. The clock would stop when the curtain went up.
I listened, feeling thankful for his call to me. In my response to Jeremy, I told him the meaning of the number he kept repeating.
You see, Jeremy was telling me he wanted to do something for Reat. He thought he had not yet “done something” meaningful to remember Reat. I explained that this event would be perfect for remembering Reat. 13…
The curtain went up at 13 hours and 21 minutes.
Since Reat’s death, Jeremy has been living his life, finishing high school, applying, and now attending college and working toward a career he desires. At the same time, in some space in his heart…he knew he needed more healing and he was willing to tell me about it.
The amount of grief one person has from the death of a loved one, the death of a friend or a coworker, is unknown to the world around you…unless you share it.
My experience of trauma and life disruption created a passion within me I didn’t know existed.
Daily, I engage with others on the three pillars of our Faith Always Wins Foundation; kindness, faith, and healing.
However, today…taking my own advice from the H.O.P.E. Workshops created by Workplace Healing, LLC…emails and most human interaction will have to wait a few days.
My heart requires more healing. I am sensing a need to remember.
13 and 21. The day he passed. The day he was born.
Messages come in all forms.
In kindness, faith, and healing