This last Friday, on April 7th, I went with my mom up to North Carolina to place flowers on the graves of our passed loved ones in our private family cemetery. We did this especially for my Great Grandmother, Neno, who I write about a lot because she has been gone for two years now. I got to see family that I don't get to see often as well.
Our little family cemetery resides in the back of my Great Aunt's house, way up in the mountains of North Carolina where no cellphone service can reach. It is so quiet and peaceful that you just want to stand there to soak it all in before the craziness of life comes back. It has been where my family is buried since the year 1911. We even have a small little gravestone that says 'Little sister' with only the year 1911 on it. It is the oldest plot out there. I love that little stone. As a little girl, I would make sure to put flowers down for the little girl that is buried there. I still put flowers down on that grave even now.
As I laid flowers down and paid my respects to my passed loved ones, I couldn't help but think about that one day I will be buried there too. I hope that 60 years from now when I am grey haired and after watching my kids and their own kids grow up, that I may pass on in my sleep (I don't know how I will die, but I can hope peacefully). And shortly after, my body will be placed into that cold soil of that hill next to my Neno and my PopPop. I can't think of any other place that I would want to be when I'm gone from this broken world.
Thinking about death is depressing. Thinking about your own death some say that is crazy talk. Why should we think about this now? Or why do these thoughts come to mind? Death happens all around us. Two weeks ago, I wrote a letter in my article to my Neno and I explained that grief overwhelms us and the pain will lessen over time. It is like a broken bone. When it rains, the bone aches, reminding us of what we are missing.
This whole subject got me thinking about what I said the day that my Neno passed away. I wrote on my wall of Facebook, sharing my grief with all my family and friends. I didn't even know that they would later share it at her funeral. But they did, in her eulogy. It was such a beautiful service.
An eulogy is defined as a speech or a letter praising someone who just died. It is what people remember you for. What you did-who you were during the life you lived. And now that you're gone, those words on that paper that are being said bring comfort to your loved ones that are still living. It brings them a peace during the darkest times where you can't help them.
So with that and everything that I have said, I wanted to write my version of my OWN eulogy. What I would hope that would be said at my funeral. Of course, I can't control what they will say or how this will all go down. Because no one controls this. Death just happens.
"Makalae Stephens, a woman who was a mother, sister, daughter and friend, at which she tried to be perfect in all the roles God gave her. She lived her life putting others before herself. Whether she went without, she didn't care. Makalae wanted everyone else to be happy because she knew that they deserved it. She strived to put a smile one everyone's face. Makalae never knew how much she touched the people around her. She made true friends that stuck with her more than family sometimes. She brought out the good in people because she saw the good in them.
Makalae repeatedly said that she was nowhere perfect. Yet she continuously tried to prove herself. I don't know who she was trying to show up, but she worked her butt off to prove that she could do anything.
Makalae struggled more than anyone at the beginning. What she had to go through when she was growing up made her stronger and made her the woman we knew her to be even up to her last days. Whatever Makalae tackled in life, she conquered.
She hated asking for help. Makalae would suffer in silence while helping you with your problems. She would go behind closed doors to cry so no one would see her tears. The woman hated feeling weak. But Makalae wasn't even close to weak. She was raised by one of the strongest women and became just as strong as Neno.
Makalae traveled. She saw the world as it is: broken. And she tried to fix it with the little things she could do. She wanted to mend this world for her children and her children's children. The woman hoped to make her life better for her family and she did. Makalae hoped with all the oxygen in her lungs. Hope was all she had throughout her life. And she survived. Makalae Anne Stephens is a survivor, a conqueror, and she will forever be missed.
Dum Spiro Spero, While I breathe; I hope."