UP CLOSE WITH JEANIE By Jeanie Summerville
Whatz up, babies?
Since Mother’s Day is right around the corner, I’d like to say, Happy Mother’s Day and I hope that you all have a wonderful one filled with much love, joy, happiness, beauty and peace of mind. On that note, this week’s spotlight might bring tears to your eyes as it did mine, because it’s about a mother’s loss and what she’s doing to comfort other mothers trying to deal with their losses as well. And, I want you to know that my heart goes out to all of you. So at this time, all I’d like for you do to is sit back, relax and feel the love.
“Hello, Frost Illustrated readers. My name is Pastor Alice Kelsaw. I’m the pastor of Freedom Worship Center and we present to all the mothers, that have experienced the death of a child, a Mother’s Day Luncheon on Saturday May 11, 2013 at 11 a.m. The location is The Summit, 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd., (Elcher Student Commons) for a comforting time for those left behind.
“I got started on this journey, of the Mothers to Mothers luncheon, in December 1995 with the death of my daughter Felicia Banks, her husband and my three grandchildren that died due to a house fire. My daughter and son-in-law were pronounced dead upon the paramedics’ arrival while my grandchildren were taken to the hospital. Two died within an hour of being there and my oldest granddaughter, that was only six years old, was taken to Lutheran Hospital and put on the ventilator. But, we had to make a decision the next day to take her off because she was brain dead.
“I have three children: the oldest is Angela, Felicia (who’s deceased) and a son Christopher. I can’t describe the pain, hurt and change that this loss brought into my life but I had my faith. If it weren’t for my faith, I wouldn’t have made it through this walk because GOD has comforted me with the comfort that’s beyond man’s understanding. And, so I’ve gone through the years wondering what can I do to give back to someone else that GOD has given me? So, I’ve been in contact with mothers throughout the years and speak a confident word into their spirit. I needed to be there for them and so I started this Mother’s to Mother’s luncheon last year—because we can be a comfort to one another especially in this season of Mother’s Day. Though we are mothers, we’re just mothers, that has been left behind. Some of us yet have children and some was the only child, so I thank GOD with my circumstances because things could have been worse.
“Through this luncheon, I’m doing something in the name of my daughter Felicia and if I could give comfort to just one, two or even three mothers or hopefully the whole group, I’d feel like I have given them the comfort that GOD allowed to flow in and through me. And, I need to share with them that in the beginning of my grief I never allowed anyone to tell me when my grief should be over. If I felt like crying the whole day initially, I did. If I felt like talking about it, I had great support from people that would come on my job and come by my home and just sit down and listen to me talk. I didn’t try to do my normal everyday activities because things weren’t normal anymore after that day.
“I had to find something like a new normal because I had a close relationship with my children. We would talk on a daily basis and so that was a void, not being able to see my daughter or talk with her or to any of my granddaughters. So, I channeled my energy getting deeper into the word of GOD and towards getting involved with other people, their children and grandchildren. I would do other things to comfort myself because nothing could make up for the void that I feel but we can do things that will kind of, be of help. It took me about one year to get into my spirit, that they were actually gone and wasn’t ever coming back. I thought that any day the phone would ring and they would be there or someone would tell me they were just on an extended vacation. But once I came to the reality that they weren’t back, I started to move forward and if I felt like getting out of bed, I did. If I didn’t feel like it, I didn’t. I had a job and they were very understanding. I tried to go back to work but I couldn’t because I wasn’t ready and took more time off.
“You have to work your grief out and you can’t let anyone dictate to you when you should stop grieving because you’ll never get over it. Some will try to tell you that you should be over this by now but this is a heartfelt thing because your heart has been broken and anytime you have an injury such as that, it takes time to heal, no matter how long it takes. You just take it one day at a time because this is something that you carry with you everyday. And, everyday I’m thinking about my daughter, my grandchildren and my loved ones. So you have to have that really strong support from someone that you can go to when you have those, valley days. I call them that because it’s always best to talk with someone with life experience. They’re more apt to have more sympathy and compassion for you because they‘ve gone through it. If you talk with someone that’s going through what you’re going through at the same time that’s very difficult.
“Through it all, I never faulted GOD for what happened to them. Actually, what this does is either draws you closer to HIM or separate you further from HIM. Not one time did I fault GOD but I did have a question for HIM, question being: ‘Why couldn’t you have just left me one of my grandchildren?’ I somewhat got the answer because my daughter always wanted me to keep all three children at the same time but I just always wanted to keep the oldest daughter because she was the first and a little bit closer but my daughter would always say, ‘Mom if you can’t keep all three, you can’t keep one.’ And so when I had to make the decision to have her life support system turned off, I could actually hear my daughter saying, ‘Mom, if you can’t keep all three you can’t keep one.’
“My faith has sustained me thus far and I know if GOD provided me with the confidence only HE can provide, I know HE can do the same for those that don’t seem like they can make it through it. I just need to connect with my sisters and my mothers who’s going through the same thing that I’m going through and let them know that we have a GOD that is able to comfort you beyond any understanding. I just want to hold your hand and help you walk through this. So please come and join us.
“Five years ago, I could not have shared this story because I could not have talked through it without breaking down. But, I know that GOD has strengthened me to share it with others because HE wants you to know HE’s there to comfort you too. For tickets to the luncheon or more information contact me at (260) 804-4068.
“I gave my life to Christ in 1978, raised my children up in church and so they came from a religious background and if it had not been for that, I don’t know. I’ve done many things in church from church mother to Sunday School superintendent to assistant pastor of several churches and district missionary of one of the districts of one of the Church of GOD and Christ. So GOD called me out two years ago and had me to start my own ministry and so our church is called Freedom Worship Center and we’re starting everything from the ground up and we are growing. The thing that GOD called us to do is make disciples of each other and so the members here are really growing spiritually in their everyday walk. And, if you’d like to join us please do. Our address is 5821 S. Anthony Blvd., inside of the League of the Blind and Disabled building. Service starts at 11 a.m. Sunday School starts at 10 a.m, and Bible Study is on Thursday at 6:30p.m.”
Now in closing I say, thank you, Pastor Alice Kelsaw, for making this unity available in GOD’s name that I feel is much needed. I also think that, it would be even more beautiful if the sons, daughters, grandchildren or a loved one of the grieving mother would make sure that she makes this event and take care of the $10 donation, in the name of love. So until next week, you’ve been Up Close with Jeanie. Bye, bye, babies.
P.S. If you would like The Spotlight shined upon you or someone that you know, all in the name of love, just send me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from ya.
P.P.S. I’d also like to thank all of you who have been sending me e-mails to give me some feed back on our journey. Keep up the good work and to those who haven’t please feel free to do so because I’d love to hear from you too.
This article originally appeared in our May 8, 2013 issue.