EXPOSING MYSELF

I have started more than a dozen articles, essays, poems and random musings — on and off of this platform — none of which have been finished or posted. Why? I’m not entirely sure. I keep telling myself that I need to start by introducing myself before I share my opinions, ideas and inspiration. (I guess I am just old fashioned.🤷🏽‍♂️) Yet, I’m not a big fan of writing my own biography or talking about myself. (Besides, there are enough of those on social media and dating sites.) And I’m even less of a fan of voluntarily doing things I don’t like. So, I’m not doing a traditional introduction. But I will introduce myself by exposing pieces of my heart — one article, one story at a time. This will be fun, right?

I am, of course, aware that each of you readers most likely has no clue who I am, where I came from, nor of the experiences I’ve lived. But I’m sharing them anyway. Why? Because it feels good to me. And it hope it will help someone. Regardless, in the end, I think you’ll get a sense of who I am from what I share, and how I share it.

Today, I saw yet another friend post that he’s lost his mother to cancer. And this will be my 5th year without mine. She, too, was taken too soon by cancer in 2015 — small cell lung cancer to be exact. Of course, I remember the pain of all of the moments leading up to and, even worse, following her death. Yet, “remember” seems an insufficient word to describe these experiences, because I don’t just remember the pain of those moments, I still feel it and live it almost daily — just in a different way.

Now, my friend is about to experience the first of his “firsts;” and, in my experience, the worst because the “firsts” are often the hardest — especially Mothers’ Day. My first of the firsts was Thanksgiving Day because my mother died in November. But at least that holiday was about more than just celebrating motherhood. Still, like many of yours, my Mom was front and center on Turkey Day because she was an amazing cook and loved to feed her family. Oh how we looked forward to giving thanks — not just because it was the right thing to do, but because it was so easy to be grateful for such a delicious meal cooked with love by such a wonderful mother. So Thanksgiving Day was a hard first for me, particularly coming so quickly after her last breath. But, still. It wasn’t Mother’s Day. And I had time to adjust before that particular first came to pass. Sadly, many of you weren’t or won’t be so fortunate.

Every time I hear that someone has lost their mother, my heart aches. I want to comfort them;console them; help take the pain away. But I know from experience that no amount of sending “condolences,” flowers, “thoughts and prayers,” or even saying “I’m here for you” will do the job. Grieving friends can’t even process those words and sentiments in these initial, difficult moments. Sure, they can read them, hear us, smell them and even touch us and feel them sometimes (at least pre-pandemic). But they cannot feel or absorb any of it because their heart is breaking; and their mind is racing; and their emotions are all over the place. Still, I do it anyway because it feels better than doing nothing. Yet, I always feel as though my condolences are woefully inadequate — both for me and for them.

Yesterday, I was reviewing many of my incomplete writings I discussed earlier and above, including some books, poems, blogs and more that I had written but never finished. A new friend, who is also a book coach and published author, has offered to take a look at my incomplete work and give me some feedback and, perhaps, even help me identify a path forward so that those works might eventually see the light of day rather than collecting virtual dust while tucked away on my cloud drive. As I was exploring myself through my past writings, one of the first things that I found was the journal entry I had written about the day I found out that my Mom had lung cancer and would, most likely, die because of it. Fate is our friend.

I read it, and read it again. I cried and cried again. I even chuckled and chuckled again because I had forgotten I had ever written it, and I found it ironic that I was re-discovering it now — poetic irony or serendipity, perhaps? And, then, it hit me. The path foward became more clear. Instead of just praying for him and his family, perhaps I could share my own story — or at least parts of it — so that others will know the range of raw and unfathomable emotions that they are experiencing aren’t abnormal, or unusual, or even something to be feared. But, instead, they are the continuation of the lessons our mothers taught us — lessons on life, love and you, as the song “Here’s to Life” goes.

So, yes, my introduction will come. Not in the form of a bio. Nor a resume or CV. But through an exposition of my raw emotions and feelings — and some of the rawest and deepest of those that I’ve ever felt and, most likely, ever will feel or share.

Here they come. I’m exposing myself!

(But you’ll have to read my next few articles to see them.)

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Father, Life Coacher, Movtivational Speaker, Preacher, Teacher and Lawyer. But mostly, just a man learning to write and be vulnerable. shor.by/jamalmedwards

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Jamal M. Edwards

Jamal M. Edwards

Father, Life Coacher, Movtivational Speaker, Preacher, Teacher and Lawyer. But mostly, just a man learning to write and be vulnerable. shor.by/jamalmedwards

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