Saying Goodbye in the Midst of a Pandemic
As a radio personality, I sometimes believe my job is to find the right words to say in any situation. But there are times when the words struggle to be found, and sometimes, they completely disappear.
That was the case last Thursday, as someone very close to me left us far too soon. A wonderful woman who fought valiantly, but lost her battle with COVID-19. A woman who considered me the fourth child in her family.
When someone leaves us before we're ready, you sit down and remember how things begin.
When I first got to Tuscaloosa, I was (for a lack of a better term) frightened. I was a freshman at UA and, to say the least, was struggling to fit in. When I made friends with this woman's daughter, I had no idea what the future held, but looking back, I'm glad it set off the chain of events that it did.
I remember being in my Million Dollar Band uniform one gameday and ending up walking to their tailgate with her daughter, son and husband. To be honest, I almost left. But before I could even think to do so, this woman told me to keep walking with them, and that I wasn't going anywhere.
And for the first time in my young adult life, I was, for a short while, adopted into a family.
And that wasn't the last time, either.
I remember walking around in Miami the year of the Alabama-Notre Dame National Championship, not having a clue what to do or where to go. And yet here again this woman adopted me and would not let me leave the family's side until I was scheduled to perform a pep rally.
This woman saw something in me that I clearly haven't found yet. Which is why when she left us so soon, the tears haven't stopped.
If I could ask her one thing, it'd be: "Why me?" She'd probably tell me to not question it, and then scold me for being silly.
Today we said goodbye. But I remember the pastor saying that this woman's life was not over. That in the metaphorical sentence of life, a comma was placed to signify the continuation of the story.
I guess that goodbye isn't always final, and this woman will find a way to send a message anyway she can from heaven.
Yes, goodbye stinks. You want to do everything you can to keep that person with you. But at the end of the day, what happens, happens.
Remember to tell someone you love them each day, and most importantly of all, remember you are an amazing individual who brings joy to someone each and every day.
To this woman, who treated me like one of her own, loved me for who I was, and never failed to tell me when I was wrong, I have one last thing to say:
Thank you so much, and I love you.