The Road I Travel

With Mother’s Day hours away, I thought it would be an appropriate time to say goodbye to A Righteous Revival. I began this blog back in the summer of 2013 when it seemed like everything that could have gone wrong in my life had gone wrong. It served as a platform and medium of therapeutic outlet. My dedicated readers – you know who you are – have been supportive and encouraging these last almost four years and I hope that you will follow me on to bigger and better things at my new project.

I recently launched The Road Linds Travels to merge my two passions of writing and travel. Similar to A Righteous Revival, I continue to share my personal growth through candid stories, anecdotes, and memories. My dear Mother is still very much a large part of the motivation and subject of my posts. I believe she’d be very proud to see how far I have come since laying fetal position on the floor of my bedroom in Eternal Sunshine. I am very proud of myself.

Much of my strength is innate and learned but much of it, I got from my mama. She stressed how important it was to be a self-sufficient woman, never relying on a man’s emotional or financial support or anyone’s support for that matter. She showed me what hard work meant – the literal kind and the figurative kind that comes with simply living life. She was why I was able to remove myself from a toxic marriage, to pick myself up off of the floor that night, and keep on keepin’ on. She was a much-needed reminder in the form of an electrical wire when I wanted nothing more than to just give up. She’s forever my deepest inspiration.

With that being said, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the comments, dedication, and energy you all have put into following and reading A Righteous Revival over the last few years. I do hope you’ll make the transition with me and subscribe to The Road Linds Travels, as it is sure to be one hell of a journey! Much Love and peace.

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The Power of Energy

I haven’t written in quite some time for A Righteous Revival – I’ve had plenty to say but various things have stopped me from starting and finishing a post. Tomorrow marks what would be my mother’s 62nd birthday and I’d be lying if I told you I haven’t cried tonight or earlier this week when she talked to me in a dream. I’d be lying if I told you that I am okay.

We live in a world filled with too much small talk and not enough feeling. Somewhere in history, “how are you,” went from being a sincere question that warranted an honest response to small talk that merely expects a one word answer like, “fine” or “okay.” If you actually divulge your true feelings, people become closed off and uncomfortable, wondering how their small talk made a right at the serious corner. We’re not always fine and we’re not always okay and that is okay.

Tonight, as I’m loaded up on antibiotics and over the counter painkillers as well as plenty of red wine, I remember my mother for her sincerity. I remember that every time she asked me how I am she expected a full report and if that’s not what she received, she would know it. We were that connected.

Nope. C’mon, what’s wrong? I can hear it in your voice, Linds,” she’d summon the flood, if you will.

I remember my mother for her candor. If she didn’t like something or if she was passionate about something, not a person in the room was a stranger to how my mama felt because she made it known. Sure, she apologized for it at times, but I think, as women, we grew up in a society that unfortunately taught us to do just that. I think my mother grew up in that society even more so than I did. I’ve since learned as a strong female, I should not ever apologize for strong convictions or even my presence, no matter how untimely it may be in a given situation.

My mother made everything so simple in a crazy world – she was a ray of light when the storm clouds rolled in and when the sun was shining! I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t angry with her for her untimely absence. She’s been visiting me in my dreams excessively over the last couple of weeks. I’m not sure what it means but I am certain it’s a testament to how intensely bonded our spirits are.

This is the 5th birthday of hers that has passed since she died and I still can’t tell you how I’ve managed to continue on without her. After she died, it became evident just how much I relied on my mother, how much I leaned on her for support through good times and bad. Somehow, still unbeknownst to me, I have paved my own way, put one foot in front of the other.

Oddly enough, my mother spent a couple of years leading up to her diagnosis brushing off her symptoms as a mere sinus infection, which I have been suffering from for over a week now. A few months after she died, I was diagnosed with mononucleosis, the same illness a piece of shit, hole in the wall clinic in Shawnee, Kansas, misdiagnosed my mother with when she was actually dying from stage four metastatic lung cancer with multiple tumors. Last week, she came to me in a dream to inform me that the antibiotics I was on were not going to work. Sure enough, I later discovered these antibiotics were part amoxicillin, a drug my body has grown immune to. I can’t say it enough – this is just how connected we are and have always been. Maybe that’s what keeps me going – the power of energy should never be underestimated. Happy birthday, Mama. I love you more.

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Sentience

My mother used to gush about how well beer went with chocolate and I agreed, so every time I enjoy a nice amber ale and there’s chocolate nearby, I have to indulge. It’s the little things like this that make me feel closer to her. I wish I could have introduced her to how good chocolate is with wine, though – especially dark chocolate with red wine!

The last gift she ever gave me was a set of decorative, pewter measuring spoons with etched hearts all over them. Every time I reach for those hanging in my kitchen, I taste the familiarity of the bittersweet memory. I had just moved to Brooklyn and she mailed them to me the way we used to mail each other during my college years. When I retrieved the large, white business envelope from my mailbox on that drab, New York winter day, I could see and feel the awkwardness of its shape – it certainly wasn’t just a greeting card inside there. Little did I know that was the last time I’d ever receive mail from my mother.

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She loved having her hair brushed or played with, so every time someone brushes or plays with my hair, I feel a pang of guilt for each time I denied my mother that simple, temporary joy. I’d give anything to feel her hair between my fingers, to run a brush through the length of her locks.

Whenever I’m at the beach, I look down in pursuit of the smooth, colorful sea glass my mother collected and loved so much. I recall her joyful smile while lounging in the sand and soaking up the sun one morning on a beach in Malibu, her ability to enjoy the silence that was so opposite of my inability. I wish she were around to teach me how she did it and to tell me what she enjoyed most about it.

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It is all about the little things and there’s nothing like losing the most important person in your life to make you realize this. If she were still alive, would snail mail mean as much to me? Would I still deny brushing her hair whenever she’d ask? Would chocolate be just another snack and would I even look for sea glass when perusing coastal lands? The truth is the little things have always meant a lot to me even before losing her but their meaning is so much deeper now, so much more sentient.

She and I Against the World

The majority of people in my life assume that I’m fine, that I’ve “gotten over it.” The truth is not a day goes by that I don’t feel the absence, the gaping deficiency in my surroundings, and the dark, irreplaceable hole in my heart that used to be filled by my mother.

On a recent trip back to Kansas City, I obtained a portion of her medical records, which revealed some things that I wasn’t privy to, for example, her depression. I had no idea of my mother’s depression prior to her terminal cancer diagnosis and I could go on and on about the guilt that this ignorance instills – how couldn’t I see or recognize that the most important person in my life was depressed, but this isn’t about me. It simply brings to light pieces of the puzzle I didn’t know existed, pieces that I hope to find a home for but understand may never find their resting place.

I began A Righteous Revival as a means of keeping my mother alive. This blog has grown and blossomed into so much more but carried her memory in every post. It was just the other day, I text a close confidant in my life, “My mom was the best. This world seriously lacks without her.” Everything I do lacks without her, but she lives through me. I often ask myself, “What would my mama do?” I recall past conversations with her or imagine what current conversations might be like. This is particularly difficult because I’m not one to comfortably assume, however, I do know my mother would not have voted for Donald Trump and would express passionate opposition to his first three plus weeks as so-called leader of the free world.

My mother spent much of her youth and adulthood feeling like the black sheep of the family and I heavily identify, especially as of recently. I am the young, willingly sterile, divorced, west-coast liberal, travel enthusiast who you’ll never find lying down like a doormat or settling for anything less than I deserve or know to be right. Oh, how I wish my mother were here to witness the legacy she began, to find comfort in our similarities, and to feel that I am not alone in these sentiments.

Too often, I have found myself in situations where people are mistaking my honesty and my passion for anger or aggression. It doesn’t always pay to be direct in this world and I know that’s something my mother could relate to. So often, I’ve found myself in situations where it feels like I’m being told to shut up and sit down like a “good woman” would do, being put in what a large portion of society feels is my place. I never shut up and sit down, but it sure is exhausting to do the thing that others don’t want you to, to stay true to yourself.

The political climate of America today has a way of bringing about these desolate feelings more often than usual, especially when you find yourself surrounded by conservative white folk who turn a blind eye or likeminded liberals expressing complacency and defeat. I don’t fit into either of those categories just as I haven’t fit in to so much of my life. If only mama were here to break bread, smoke a joint, and mull over current events with. The world truly was a better place when she walked it, when it was she and I and not just I against it.

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What the Hell

“What the hell, ma?” I sit on my living room floor, at my coffee table, staring at my mother’s photo in the frame, questioning the day by day, the events and the chaos, the life that has continued on and never ceased to continue on since she took her last breath. I’ve found myself in this position many times. The “what the hell” is sometimes out of anger that she’s not here to see me through it all and sometimes, the “what the hell” is a nod to her struggles that I am now experiencing firsthand. I have found that history most certainly repeats itself. Most of the time the “what the hell” is a genuine question that I desperately wish she could verbally answer.

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