The mother of one my best friend’s passed away last week. She was truly beautiful, a bright light– absolutely radiant– and, truth be told, she is the woman that I most wish to emulate. She had a big heart, was always inclusive, and made you feel like your words were the only ones she wanted to hear when you were talking to her. Her compassion was accompanied by a sharp, inquisitive mind. She was an open learner, curious and bright. An artist– skilled in many, many mediums, her vast creativity existed not just in a studio. Part of her artwork was the hundreds of children she taught and then the thousands of children she impacted with the Arts in the Basic Curriculum program she launched in Mississippi back in the 90s. She believed that learning and creative were not mutually exclusive, that they were inclusive, and that they fostered each other. Many children in Mississippi found themselves on the page or stage because of her.
For a bit now, the piled up toll of sleeplessness has weighed on me. I don’t feel quite myself– I’ve lost a little light, a little spunk, a little creativity, a little spark. I’ve been less inspired, less provoked, less motivated– and I’m a person who is almost always inspired, provoked, motivated. I love being a mother and pour everything into that aspect of myself, then find that there isn’t much oomph! left for the rest of the ways I want to be impactful. This weekend, I attended the funeral, and I was struck with what a purposeful, beautiful life sounds and looks like at the end of it. Every aspect of the day captured my best friend’s mother so completely, so absolutely, her beauty permeated every moment. You could see it in the vibrant flowers arranged for the service, the tears on the faces of her youngest nieces. You could hear it in the words her long time friends used to describe her, in the songs chosen to be sung in the service. You could see it in the way that those who had loved her loved each other all day long. You could hear it in the memories, the stories told, the pictures passed, the lives she helped unfold. She was a person I was so sorry, so sad, to say goodbye to, but her life, and spending a day in full reverance for it, once again inspired me to get my spark back, to barrel through the sleeplessness to the other side where the art of life awaits.