Friday

The Power of Showing Up...


The recent loss of my grandmother has taught me about the power of showing up. My mother and I learned of the death of my grandmother while traveling back from China. Ironically, I left her at customs in DC, she traveled to her home in Virginia and I continued on to Pittsburgh. While I was in the United Red Carpet Club during my lay over, I learned of my grandmother’s passing.

When I returned to Pittsburgh, I briefly returned to work, cleaned up a bit, and traveled to Rochester for the funeral. Truthfully, I delayed my trip to Rochester. I was dealing with my own grief and doubted that I could contribute anything worthwhile to the preparation process. I reasoned that between my sister, cousins, aunts, uncles and mothers, they had enough help. But I was wrong.

At my grandmother's wake though, I was struck about how important it is just to show up.

The wake was incredibly well attended. Like any other wake, it was attended by those we expected--those who knew her and loved her, and those who know and love members of my family. And those who could not attend sent flowers and plants. However, what was surprising was how many people showed up who were unexpected.

Some people we barely knew who were impacted by my grandmother or her children attended simply to show their support. One woman who attended was a former employee of my mother. She worked for my mother ten years ago and remembered that my grandmother had contributed some food to the school's diversity lunch. While she had never met her she wanted to attend because she saw the obituary in the paper and wanted to support "[my mother], the best boss that she ever had."

The numbers were overwhelming. And even though I did not speak to everyone, every person touched me by their sheer presence, Indeed, on some level, we needed them. Indeed, we were also bolstered by the presence of each friend who attended and by each family member.

I also realized how importance my presence was at the wake, at the funeral, and in my family. Frequently, I skip events because I don't think that I'll be missed. However, I realize that it is not true. Showing up shows that you care. Showing up shows your support. Showing up matters. And sometimes, that is all that is needed.
Post a Comment