Letter to 2016

Letter to 2016

I couldn’t be emotionally available in 2016 the way I wanted to be. My heart was broken from the loss of my cousin. I didn’t realize the toll it took on me until late in the year. I wasn’t able to grieve for others because I was barely able to grieve for myself. I wasn’t able to believe in much other than God. I believed God had a purpose for me, but every step I took felt like I was walking through the mud – even with some of my biggest wins. I obtained my Master’s degree. I facilitated a year’s worth of training sessions. I accomplished many personal and professional goals, but it all kind of felt like I was going through the motions. I wished Demarcus was there. When we were kids he was always there. As we grew, we started to walk our own paths, but we were still close. He was my brother. He is my brother.

I served as Master of Ceremonies for my grandfather’s 95th birthday party, and I could not help but think, Marcus should be up here with me. When we got back to my aunt’s house I was enamored with the joy of my younger cousins. They were running up the same stairs Marcus and I used to run up. They were playing the same games while making the same bumps and thumps. They ran downstairs with the same fake complaints about how someone else was playing too rough, and then they made up and started running again. They were cousins, some of them meeting for the first time, but they knew they were family. They were the younger us. I was the older them, and that is precisely what I felt like, I. Marcus was not there. Where was the rest of the family my age, who knows? It was just I, and at that moment I was not fine with that. I didn’t confide in anyone because they were celebrating, but I wanted to cry. I wanted to go home. I wanted to see Marcus walk through that door and give me a hug, but it didn’t happen. It won’t happen for a while.

2016 has been a tough year for, seemingly, everyone. We have all lost, and experienced pain. You are not alone my friend, and I believe you when it says it hurts. I believe you when you when you say no one will ever understand what you are going through. I believe you when you say that you are broken. I have been there, and a piece of me still is. Physically, my cousin and I will never be how we were, but I know my cousin is fine; much better than I am (To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord). We will see each other again. I have faith in that because I have faith in Jesus, he had faith in Jesus. I don’t know what it will take for you to get back to your happy place, but Jesus does. He doesn’t want you to hurt, and he completely understands the pain you are going through. He can heal. He will heal. He can exchange your ashes for beauty. Seeds have been planted in the soil you thought was dirt. Your tears are providing water. God’s presence is providing light. This process will take time, but I promise at the end of if it the fruit that is reaped will be so sweet. It gets better, friend. Don’t just take my word for it, try Ephesians 1:13 – 14.


  1. candis

    this is so true I cant bring my self to come to Saginaw… things are not the same and I have no idea how to deal with death… I love you Shell… We were all very close when we were younger what happen to those days take me back to when were kids playing together in my granny basement … or how I always was the only girl at the sleepovers we had I miss those days and I miss my cousin

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