From The Diary of an African American Woman by Erica D. Fulton
From The Diary of an African American Woman by Erica D. Fulton (MA-Counseling, MDiv., LPC-Intern, Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor)
I knew that this day would always come. No one lives forever is what I always heard people say. No amount of reasoning prepared me for the journey. The journey began with a trip to the emergency room at Saint Joseph. At first, it did not seem so foreboding. Then months later we were back at the emergency, but this time we were at Pearland Medical Center. I still remember that day which was a Friday. I was on the floor when my cousin texted me. She said that it was urgent. I called her not too long after that. She told me that it did not look good. My grandmother was in the ICU, and she might not make it. This shook me to my core. I remember crying hysterically and asking God not to take her. So many emotions surged through me. Fear was the strongest. I remember being in the resident room, and I was pouring my heart out to Paul and Raumone. I recall telling them how I could not imagine my life without her. I also felt anger
because I sensed a shift coming. I did not know when it was going to come. I could sense it. An internal fight had begun.
I arrived at the hospital with family gathered. I just kept crying. The rest of my family was in the waiting room. The waiting seemed to take forever. At one point, her kidneys started to shut down. It seemed as if things were taking a turn for the worse. Throughout this entire time, I called my pastor, and I informed him of the situation. I provided him with a updated medical narrative when he arrived. My pastor has been an important figure in my life because he is also my spiritual father. They prayed with us, and I felt a sense of calm. My grandmother finally
became stabilized. I ended up staying overnight with her in the ICU. I just wanted to be with her. I started thinking about all the nights she walked the floor with me. I did not want to leave her alone. I stayed. I watched nurses go in and out. I heard the machine beeping constantly. The next day I went home and prepared for the work week that lied ahead.
Eventually, my grandmother was transferred to Park Plaza. At this point, she was nonverbal. She would make noises, but she could not hold a conversation. My mom was staying with her. I visited her as much as I could. I would always tell her that I love her. It broke my heart to see her that way. The woman who I saw lying in the hospital bed was different from the woman that had raised me. I remember my grandmother being an independent person who did her own thing. She paid her own bills, and she did her own shopping. She took care of everyone. My grandmother raised not only her two daughters but her grandchildren. I recall a time when my grandmother almost seemed like superwoman. Years ago my grandfather had fractured his hip in three places. She was working at the time, taking me to school every morning, and taking my mom to work. She never complained. I remember my grandmother telling me how she acquired her home. Her niece, who lived across the street told her about a house for sale. Well, my grandpa was not convinced. He was reluctant, but my grandmother was determined to have it. She would not take no for an answer.
The day came. That day comes for everyone; regardless, it felt too soon. If I had a wand, I would have frozen time. I was not just laying my grandmother to rest. I felt like I was losing so much more. This woman was not just my grandmother. She was like my second mom. She was my rock. For a moment, I felt a surge of anger. Her death would change my life. Somehow I wanted to stop it. I did not know just how much I could. That morning the driver came to pick us
up. My mom, aunt, and I got in the car. My mind started to flash back to memories of my grandmother. I remembered times when my grandma and I would laugh together. I recall us just talking. I remembered us watching "Dirty Dancing" together. I would never have human contact with her again. The pain felt all too real. We arrived at the church.
I approached my grandma’s casket. I was screaming inside. I had seen her in the casket at the funeral home, but today was different. I saw my mom struggling to keep it together. I remember my cousins coming up to the casket and telling me that I needed to be strong for my mother. During that time, I was shedding my own tears. I felt like screaming "let me grieve for once!" I felt like telling them to let me just holler aloud and scream. Eventually, I was left at the casket and I was telling my grandmother my final goodbyes. I did not want to tell her goodbye. I
just wanted to turn back the hands of time and freeze them. This was the woman who raised me. She walked the floor with me. She was my backbone. She always knew how to reassure me when I got frazzled.
As I stood at her casket, I began to reflect on the many special moments that we shared. These moments include my first crush, losing my first tooth, my high school graduation, getting married, and the death of my husband. I was her first-born grandchild. My mom told me that when my grandma found out that my mom was pregnant with me, she almost bought out JC Penney's because she was so overjoyed. Since the funeral I have had days where I felt like falling apart. Some days tears would just form at the corners of my eyes. At one point, I convinced myself that maybe this all was a bad dream. As the days passed, reality started to set in and it all seemed like too much.
When I feel like falling apart, I remember the words of the song. I have days when I feel like running away, but instead I fall on my knees. Jaci Velasquz’s song contains these specific verse that summarizes my journey in the face of the death of my grandmother: I get on my knees, I get on my knees. There I am before the love that changes me; see I don’t know how but there is power when I am on my knees.
To my queen
I love you and I will miss you
You were more than my grandmother
You were my rock
You were my second mother
No matter what happened
I knew that you would be there
I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate everything that you did
All your sacrifices were not in vain
I will miss your voice
I will miss your laugh and your smile
You will always be in my heart
From this day forward I plan to honor you with my life but most importantly to honor God
You taught me how to pray
You lived a life of prayer
I will say it again you were my queen
I will treasure all the memories we shared
I love you grandmother
I love you
I was blessed by God to have you for so long
I look forward to you praying from heaven and being my guardian angel
Erica D. Fulton holds a dual degree from Houston Graduate School of Theology. She has a Master of Arts in Counseling in preparation for LPC/ LMFT licensure and Master of Divinity. She graduated from UST in 2012 with her
Bachelor of Arts in Theology. She is currently a LPC-Intern who is supervised by Robin Exum and is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor. She will soon be starting her Doctorate in Professional Counseling specializing in the area of trauma, grief, and loss. She has over 14 years of experience and 8
years of experience working with the elderly population. She has also obtained a certification in leadership from the Inspire Women Leadership Academy. Lastly, she is a widow and godmother of 4. She is on the board of
directors for GettingSorted.com. They are an organization that works with children who have learning differences and their families. You can follow her on Instagram at authorericafulton or here: http://www.ericadenisemarie.wixsite.com/website