Grief: Cornbread and black-eyed peas… By Mae Catherine Godhigh

Dear readers,

Our American culture does not “do” death and grief very well. The 2020 pandemic only added excruciating levels of pain. Our mother transitioned earlier this year. Over Thanksgiving, I made time to talk to God about my grief process. I struggled because there is no timetable or manual available for the loss of a loved one. I needed to know what my grief should look like.  I turned to the only help I know.  I looked towards the hills which cometh my help.

I read Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 because it provides us with a guide on life’s issues. I am happy to share with you what God imparted to me. This is my testimony. In my state of feeling lost, I discovered I was guilty of preparing for gloom and doom. God reminded me to be careful of how I handled the holidays. People can easily get caught up in the trap of “wrong expectation.” So what is wrong expectation? It is expecting a negative outcome to your beliefs. During the holiday season, many people consciously and unconsciously are preparing to be sad and heavy. Don’t expect and welcome the anxiety. Don’t expect and welcome the depression. I heard the voice of my Living God say; this is not my will concerning you.

He further instructed me to guard my heart and mind because unchecked sadness and grief can lead to becoming necromantic or an obsession with death. Even to the point, some hopeless souls will entertain suicide.

The Healing Process

No, there is not a cookie-cutter model for the grief process. Like anything else, we can approach grieving in a healthy or unhealthy manner.  The choice is ours and ours alone. Everyone’s experience is not the same. I say to you, do not be ashamed of contacting grief support. You must be willing to complete the grief process because your healing is attached to it.

God never promised us that our process would be painless or tearless. What God promised is weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. Stand on His word. Stand on His promise. Your help is not on the way. Your help is already here!

This holiday season, I decided to turn to my mother’s favorite songs, photographs, her pearls of wisdom, and recipes. The aroma and sounds of the holidays dance in my mind. Today, I can smell Mom’s dressing, fried catfish, roast, greens, and pound cakes. She was an exceptional cook, and her menus were inexhaustible. One of my favorite meals was her fried pork chops, cornbread, and black-eyed peas. Oh, the joy that filled my belly! Mom would sprinkle raw onions on top of the peas, and it was on! This meal would make you put the table silverware down and use your God-given utensils.

Through celebrating our mother’s life, I am keeping her legacy alive. How and why mom died is no longer my point of focus. My focus is on how she lived her extraordinary life. This gives me pause to celebrate her during this holiday season.  In my spirit, I could hear my mother’s sweet voice saying Cat, I don’t want my kids to be sad.  Enjoy the holidays but enjoy life!  This is what I want for y’all. 

Yes, I miss her, and the tears yet slip from the corners of my eyes. But, I know I will be okay because God promised me in Jeremiah 31:13: For I will turn their mourning into joy and will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.

Mom left us with an awesome and prolific legacy. This is far more valuable than gold or bitcoin. I have enough warm memories to last me until I see her again in glory. In the voice of the Bolton brothers, I’m so glad my mama raised me on cornbread and black-eyed peas.

Here’s wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year!