A book dedicated to healing, love, and wisdom, Jane who so happens to be an active contributor to So She Slays, endured something we all must face at one time or another, the loss of someone we love deeply. In Jane's case it was the very woman that helped to make her who she is today, her Mama.
Through the journey of grief we often feel like no one can relate or that we are on our own. Jane's personal story of losing her mother suddenly will comfort anyone who has experienced losing a loved one.
We had the chance to speak to Jane about her book, Journey: A Trek Through Fear, Loss, And Acceptance, and the pivotal moments in her journey of creating, "one of the hardest things I've had to write."
WHY WRITE THIS MEMOIR?
I wrote Journey in honor of my mother, Dollie. She’s actually my grandmother, but she raised me, she’s mama. I used to write fiction, but after she went to sleep, I couldn’t think of writing at the time. I was depressed. Then, many months later; I started to reflect on the many conversations she had with me telling me to keep writing no matter what. She would say if something happened to her to not give up. Actually, earlier in the week that she was in a coma, she asked me when I was going to release my next book. I decided to write Journey to share her story and as a way to release some of my emotions on paper.
HOW DID YOU LOSE HER?
Vascular Dementia, like Alzheimer’s is a form of dementia. But, it started off as a Sundowner’s with mama. Some days she would think someone was trying to harm us and then a day(s) later, she would be back to herself again. Her health declined drastically in November of 2015. It was hard. It was really hard. I really miss her. My entire family does. She was an incredible woman.
IN YOUR BOOK YOU SAY YOUR LIFE "CHANGED IN AN INSTANT." HOW SO?
Here’s the thing that breaks my heart: my mother was doing great and not on any medications. She had a mandatory eye surgery. The anesthesia may have been too strong for her at her age. In less than twenty-four hours of her surgery; the hallucinations began. My family was scared, confused and doing all we could to find out what was happening. So, as you can see saying my life changed that day instantly is not an understatement.
WHAT WERE SOME PIVOTAL MOMENTS FOR YOU IN WRITING THIS BOOK?
My mother was in and out of a coma for a month before she was asleep. During that entire time, I was praying that things would turn for the better as well as the strength to endure that tedious time. On the morning she was no longer with us, my prayer was for the strength to endure. Writing, Journey the following year, I was unsure if I would be able to finish writing it. It was so hard to have to sit and type it. Eventually, I was happy that I was writing it. It was honoring my dear mother, my queen. It was a moment to share her story. And, it made me happy to know that I was writing something that my children could have to read and reflect on. My husband encouraged me while writing and my firstborn princess was excited to see me work on Journey. She would say, “You can do it, mommy! Mama would be proud.” That was the motivation I needed. Mama would be proud. And, I’m happy to know that I wrote something that though was hard to write, is now a gift to my family. Hopefully, it’s a gift to other families as well. My youngest princess can read it one day and be happy that it’s written by mommy. Now I’m pregnant again. Another blessing. Mama would’ve been excited. One day my son can one day read about that moment and know that when faced with challenging times, standing in prayer and having support can guide us all through.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE YOUR READERS GET FROM YOUR BOOK?
I hope my readers can see that they are not alone. There are millions of people who are enduring dementia as well as helping loved ones through those tough moments. I also wanted my readers who are on the outside of the situation, only witnessing someone experience taking care of the loved one with dementia to not take it personally when the caregivers seem to be distant. It’s a really depressing situation to be in and it is nothing against them. Caregivers also love helping hands. I’m blessed that I had my husband to cry to and help me along with my uncle. When they had taken so much time off of work, I had to do what I had to do. We were all we had. And when my uncle had to work or go out of state, it was just my husband and I. I had to be strong as I could for my oldest daughter. She was our only child until the beginning of 2015. Our children are our everything. We love them so much. I had to be strong. However, when mama went to sleep, my oldest daughter was five and my youngest was nine months. At nine months, she couldn’t quite comprehend the change, but my oldest understood. I wanted her to express herself to us and release what she was feeling. She was close to Mama as well. I wanted her to understand that it’s okay to cry. I don’t ever want to teach my children to suppress their feelings. It’s not healthy. When I mean by me trying to be strong for them is that I didn’t allow myself to crumble and be “out of my mind.”
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU LEARNED IN GOING THROUGH THIS ENTIRE EXPERIENCE?
I have always prayed every day. Since a little girl, one of my prayers were to have my mommy forever. When she went to sleep, that was a fear that I was forced to face. Again, grieving doesn’t go away. So many moments in life are attached to memories of my mother. I always think about her. She’s on my mind and heart every day. Grieving is painful and it also challenges one to grow.
Journey: A Trek Through Fear, Loss And Acceptance can be bought on Amazon. With a five star rating from everyone at So She Slays and by Amazon this book would be a perfect gift to help comfort anyone and even yourself.