The importance of stating what’s really inside your heart
This article originally appeared in The Herald, the official newspaper of Texas Southern University
Students returned to school last year receiving the news that Ms. Beverly E. Caldwell, director of the Ernest S. Sterling Life Center at Texas Southern University had passed New Year’s Eve losing her fight against cancer. Many were shocked because most people were not aware of her illness. Her passing disturbed me to the core of my soul because her death was unexpected.
The week of December 11, 2006, I came to Texas Southern University to pass out my graduation invitations. As my mother and I walked towards the student center, it started raining and I decided to go back to the car. Little did I know that this would be a decision that I would deeply regret. My scheduled graduation date from Texas A&M University was Friday December 15, 2006 and all preparations were in full swing.
Mid-week I received a phone call from her daughter Tonya stating that they would not be able to make my graduation. Her mom wasn’t feeling well but she wanted me to know that she did make plans to attend and that she would have my graduation gift waiting for me when I got back to Houston. In my mind, I’m thinking okay everything will be alright and when I get back to Houston, I’ll just go by and visit with them like always.
I moved back to Houston just a couple of days before Christmas. On New Year’s Eve, I still had not finished unpacking all of my belongings and I’m just starting to get back settled into my old room when my phone rings around 9:30p.m. From the moment I saw that it was my daddy calling me, I immediately started getting knots in the pit of my stomach because he never calls me that late. My suspicions grew by the tone in his voice and the way he asked me how was I doing. So me being the bold upfront child that I am, I insisted that my daddy tell me what was going on.
He told me that he had some bad news and that Beverly had passed. From that moment on, his words became noise to me and I just became overwhelmed with tears. My mom walked over to me, took the phone from my hands and started talking to my daddy to see what it was he told me that had me so emotional. At this point, I kept repeating to myself, “There was so much that I wanted to tell her.”
The most important thing that I never got to tell her was thank you for believing in me and being there for me when no one else was. It has now been a year since she passed and I’m still not at peace with myself. I never told her that I loved her and how much of an inspiration she was for me. The nature of our relationship many people will never understand but when my emotions become to hard to conceal, I know that I can turn to the two most important men in my life: My Heavenly Father and my Daddy.
Constantly we hear phrases such as, “You should appreciate people while they’re here because they are not promised tomorrow,” “Never go to bed angry,” and “Don’t take people for granted.” But you never fully pay attention to the truth behind those statements until you’re forced into that kind of situation. Why do people wait until loved ones are on their death beds or after someone has walked away from a relationship for them to wake up and realize how important and special that person was to them. Is it really due to the age old saying that “You never miss what you had until it’s gone?”
We have to stop waiting until the final hour to tell the people in our lives how much they mean to us. Why wait for Birthdays, Valentine’s Day, or any other holiday to proclaim how much we love our friends and family. Make the most of the time you have with the people while they are alive and truly cherish every laugh, every frown, every hug, every kiss, every cry, every conversation, every e-mail, every phone call, every text message, and any other interactions that you may encounter with the ones you love.
And since I’m not promised tomorrow, here it goes: To my parents for unconditionally loving Eboni NiCole Graham. I’m old enough to admit that I was a handful but I stand by the fact that I really was the perfect child! To my sister Mariah for putting up with my craziness, me singing at the top of my lungs at home and allowing me to repeatedly watch while acting out all the parts of The Little Mermaid and Pirates of The Caribbean 1-3. To my best friend Brandon who has been by my side for eleven years now! Thank you for your honesty, understanding me, and accepting me for who I am flaws and all. To my family for constantly pushing me to reach beyond the stars and always supporting me. To my church family St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, thank you for giving me a place to worship and make a difference in the spiritual lives of our youth. To the Tiger Yearbook Staff and The Herald Newspaper Staff for making my job both enjoyable and unforgettable. To everyone that has crossed my path during my undergraduate years at Texas A&M University and to the friends I’ve made currently here in graduate school at Texas Southern University.
Thank you all for giving me inspiration, laughter, but for allowing me to be me. To anyone that I may have offended in any kind of way, please know that it was not intentional and that love supersedes all in my heart. To anyone that has touched my life in any way, I say thank you because all of my experiences have helped make the woman that I am today.
Sincerely with love,
Ms. Eboni NiCole Graham
Graham is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.