Chapter 4: Loss of Wisdom
Saturday, May 22nd, 2010
It had been a week since the death of Mrs. Emma and Jeremiah had prepared for her funeral on this cloudy Saturday. He felt very guilty for what happened. He questioned why he chose to be at the slam rather than stay with his grandmother. Could he have prevented this fiasco is had been at the house? Would his grandmother still be alive? Although he believed in it being people’s “time”, this was different. This was his grandmother. The piece to his life he didn’t want to do without. Would the situation have played out differently if he was around? Question after question lingered in Jeremiah’s head.
Jeremiah sat in complete silence. He didn’t know how to feel. He didn’t know what to think. All he knew to do was cry while looking at a picture of his grandmother propped up on the sofa table.
The investigation into what happened a week ago was ongoing. What was known, however, was that Mrs. Emma had died of a heart attack. No foul play was involved. Jeremiah couldn’t wait around for anymore answers. So He grabbed his car keys and decided to drive over to Mrs. Emma’s house.
Mrs. Emma’s House
Jeremiah unlocked the front door with a copy of a key he had. He scurried around the house to see if anything was missing. He went from the living room to the den to the kitchen. The house was left in disarray. It was such a disaster. Jeremiah picked up pieces of a shattered vase, which was a family heirloom, and stared at it for a little while.
He sat up overturned furniture that had been knocked down in the small space riot. It was like he just knew his grandmother was coming back and she didn’t need to see a messy home. But then reality sat in and he realized his grandmother was not walking through that front door. Or any door for that matter.
Jeremiah went to Mrs. Emma’s bedroom to search for anything suspicious. He found Mrs. Emma’s jewelry missing. It contained valuable pieces of jewelry Mrs. Emma held near and dear to her for a variety of reasons. She kept them tucked away in a hidden place. But through all of the looting, the thieves found them and took them before they left the house.
But what were they going to do with the stolen property? Pawn it? Sell it for drugs? What? That didn’t matter to Jeremiah. The only thing he became concerned with was catching the thugs he held responsible for his grandmother’s death.
The more he thought about it, the more his heart was filled with anger. The more his body filled with a sense of rage. He flung items off of Mrs. Emma’s nightstand. Then in an instant turn of emotions, Jeremiah grabbed a hold of a picture of his grandmother and held it tight in his arms. He backed up against the wall and slid down until he had reached the floor to sit on. He cried what seemed to be every tear he had.
He wanted to always be strong for his grandmother. But Jeremiah grew weak. The pain was too much for him to bear. She was all that he had left. Yes, he had friends. But there was nothing like grandma’s hand. Nothing of this earthly realm compared to the love she gave. His heart was shattered and his spirit was torn.
Not wanting to be in the house anymore, Jeremiah left. As he was driving down the road, he had received a phone call on his Blackberry. It was Darius.
“Hello?” answered Jeremiah, still sobbing.
“Hey, Jeremiah. Where are you? I’m at your house and your car is not here.”
“I had to take care of some business. But I’m on my way back to finish getting ready.”
Darius’ curiosity kicked in. “Are you ok, man?”
“Yeah, I’m good. I’m good.”
“Alright. I’ll be waiting.” Darius hung up the phone with a look of confusion and concern on his face.
Jeremiah pulled into his driveway and there sat Darius. He wanted Darius to be by his side at the funeral. More than friend, he was like a brother.
“Whatsup, D?” Jeremiah greeted Darius along with a handshake. But it wasn’t with the usual excitement Jeremiah would normally have.
“Not much, man. How you holding up?”
“I’m doing. But honestly, I don’t even want to go to this funeral. I’m tired of going through this. My parents and now Granny.”
“But Jeremiah, you’re not going through this alone. Number one, you have God with you. Number two, you have me with you. And I know Michelle is there for you as well.”
The conversation continued as the two friends walked inside Jeremiah’s house. Quickly changing the subject, Jeremiah asked Darius about Michelle. “Speaking of Michelle, how is she doing? Still got her situation on my mind.”
Jeremiah hadn’t talked to Michelle all week. He didn’t even return any of her calls. He had just sat in solitude, not wanting to be bothered with anyone.
“Man, she is still coping with what she went through,” answered Darius. “Why haven’t you talked to her?”
“D, why would you ask me that? You know Granny just died and I have been dealing with that. Just didn’t need to be talking to a bunch of different people. Especially Michelle. She might have wanted to pour her problems on me and I don’t need that right now. I needed my time.”
“I understand what you are going through, but that’s kind of selfish. Just being honest. Plus, why did you even ask about Michelle if that’s the way you feel?” Darius was curious.
“No, you don’t know what I’m going through. You don’t understand. You still have both of your parents and you say you understand? You have two grandparents still living. The other two died before you were even born. And you understand? No you don’t understand.”
Jeremiah continues his tirade. “But Michelle is my friend. I do care about what’s happening with her. But I’m dealing with my own problems right now and I don’t need to be bogged down with any outside issues. And I don’t need your opinion about me.”
Darius knew that this wasn’t the real Jeremiah talking. This was the hurting Jeremiah. The sorrowful Jeremiah. The one who felt he could have prevented what happed to Mrs. Emma. Darius felt the pain penetrating from Jeremiah’s presently fragile heart. Darius wanted to change subjects, but as soon as he tried, Jeremiah cut him off.
“Look D, I’m sorry for snapping at you.” Jeremiah said in a calmer voice. I apologize for getting smart. Like I said, I care about Michelle and I care about you. I’m blessed to have you two in my life. This is just a lot for me to handle.”
“Apology accepted. You have the right to be hurt and you have the right to cry. But don’t push who’s left, out of your life in the process.”
“I get what you are saying. And I will try hard not to.”
Darius gives Jeremiah a grin of approval. “Jeremiah, Let me pray with you.”
The two bent over in a state of submission to God and Darius put his arm around his best friend. Darius began to utter words of petition unto the Lord.
“Dear Heavenly Father. I come to You, lifting up my brother to You, asking that you will comfort him. Help him to get through this time and embrace him while he is faced with the loss of his grandmother. Please hold him close as he celebrates the home going of his grandmother. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
“Amen,” echoed Jeremiah. “I appreciate that, man. I truly needed it.”
“You’re welcome. That’s what I’m here for. Remember that. The limo will be here any minute to pick you up. Let’s finish getting you ready.”
“You rolling with me, right D?”
“What about your Uncle Steve or Michael? Or even your Aunt Erica?”
“They want to drive themselves. Not quite understanding why, but they do. So, it would be just me in there. So you going to roll?”
“Yeah, I’ll roll with you,” said Darius.
Jeremiah finished dressing in his tailor fitted black suit, white shirt, dapper tie, and Stacy Adams shoes. He sat with the Bible in his hand, alongside Darius, waiting for the limousine from the funeral home to arrive.
Just moments later, there was a ring as Jeremiah’s doorbell sounded. Jeremiah removed himself from the couch and walked towards the door to open it. There stood a middle aged woman, who was the funeral home director, dressed in uniform.
“Jeremiah, are you ready?” asked Delcia Clemons, director of the Clemons-Wright Funeral Home. The time was then 11:30. The funeral was slotted to take place at 12:00. Mrs. Emma’s church, Straightway Baptist, wasn’t too far away from Jeremiah’s house.
“Yes, ma’am. I’m ready. Darius is going to ride with me. Is that ok?”
“That is fine. Do you have someone you can ride back with after the repass?” wondered Delcia.
“Yes ma’am. I have someone.”
“Ok. Well, we will go ahead and head to the church then.”
Jeremiah and Darius followed Mrs. Delcia to the limousine where her assistant opened the back door for the two.
They made their way in, got comfortable, and then the travel to the church began.
Upon arrival to the church, Jeremiah noticed all his family was lined up outside. They were waiting to processional in the church.
Jeremiah exited the limousine and under the direction of Mrs. Delcia, fell in the front of the line. The family then went inside the sanctuary and took their seats in the middle section of pews. Soft music played in the background from the organist.
The service was a traditional one, but had that church flare to it. The choir sang songs. Words of sympathy were read. But it was not at all sad, for it was a joyful occasion. And even though Jeremiah cried a few tears, he was still ok. As a matter of fact, he done a tribute to his grandmother.
He stood in front of his grandmother’s casket, which was laced with framed pictures commemorating Mrs. Emma. In honor of his beloved grandmother, this is what Jeremiah gave:
“It’s the loss of wisdom
More than pages turned
Seeing through God’s vision
Life’s badges earned.
Words continually flowed
Not from mind, but from heart
Everything she knew, I know
Keep it close at this time apart.
Appreciate the wisdom shared
And every thought released
The understanding that she cared
All that is stored in me,
I can retrieve.
But more is gained
Left teachings of the cross
And it’s what remains.
Tears are flowing
Because the learning ends
But rejoice in knowing
Her life really begins.
Keep her near your heart
Never forget her smile
We may be apart
But God has back His child.
So let us find peace
In her being home
It may seem like wisdom released
But it truly lives on…”
After the poem, “Loss of Wisdom”, Jeremiah spoke to the crowed. “Granny never liked goodbyes. So this was not a goodbye. But more of a see you later.” After then, Jeremiah took his seat.
This was a different setting than Harmony. There was no applause. No cheering. It was silent with the exception of a few “amens.” Not that it bothered Jeremiah. He was focused solely on remembering his grandmother.
Afterwards, the eulogy was given by Mrs. Emma’s pastor, Rev. Bennett. It was entitled “No Sorrow”, taken from 1 Corinthians 15:51-53. It was short, sweet and to the point, reiterating the importance of salvation.
The title had its place and Rev. Bennett urged the friends and family who packed the church to not be sorrowful for Mrs. Emma. She was now in a far better place than what they had on earth. One day, they would be a part of the glorious number in Heaven, but accepting Christ was the prerequisite.
The family recessed from the sanctuary after the eulogy as the remaining people stood up out of respect. As the family was getting in their cars and preparing to go to the cemetery, they were met with the loudness of motorcycles. Five of them to be exact.
The husky leader of the pack got off his bike and promptly walked up to Jeremiah. “Sad day, isn’t it?” he taunted Jeremiah in his burly voice. “It’s a shame to lose such a nice lady. But nothing we can do about that now, can we?”
“Who are you and what do you want?” inquired Jeremiah. “We just got done with a funeral. Do you mind?”
At that time, Mrs. Delcia asked politely for this gang to exit the premises. Her assistants were standing by her side. The leader of the pack declined to go away.
“Let me answer the man’s questions, lady. Jeremiah, the name is Deacon. And yes, I do mind. How ’bout I introduce you to the rest of my boys?” Deacon went down the line pointing at each guy clad in black, individually. “That’s J.T., Tek, Trouble, and D’Vine.” Tek was the only white guy of the group.
Jeremiah recognized Trouble, a.k.a. Terrick Farley. Mrs. Emma’s instincts were right. Terrick was into some bad stuff. Jeremiah wanted to say something, but instead just gave Terrick a look of disapproval. His focus was on Deacon. But while Jeremiah was looking at Terrick, Terrick was looking at Michelle in a very strange way.
“Look, we’re going to call the police if you all don’t leave,” warned Mrs. Delcia.
“Alright, we’ll leave.” But before they did, Deacon leaned over to whisper in Jeremiah’s ear, “You know, it was fun taking what was precious to your grandmother. Real fun.”
Jeremiah jumped at Deacon as though he was going to fight him. But Darius wrapped his arms around Jeremiah and held him back.
Deacon and his boys decided to leave the church. But as they did, Deacon looked back and gave Jeremiah a devilish smirk.
“Are you cool, Jeremiah?” asked Darius.
Jeremiah slightly pushed Darius away and walked towards the limousine. “I’m fine,” Jeremiah grumbled.
Darius and Michelle stood in astonishment, while Jeremiah’s family jumped in their cars without saying a word. But why was his family so hostile towards him?
They felt as though it was all Jeremiah’s fault to why this happened to Mrs. Emma. Their thought was if Jeremiah hadn’t been at some silly poetry slam, all of this could have been prevented.
It was his responsibility, after all, to check on Mrs. Emma every weekend in person and call throughout the week to see if she needed anything. That was their deduction from the whole situation. Nevermind that the rest of the family seemingly abandoned Mrs. Emma, hardly calling or at the very least, sending a letter or a card. Yet in still, it was all Jeremiah’s fault. Go figure.
As the caravan of cars pulled away from the church, Jeremiah stared out of the window of the limousine. Reflections of all the current events resounded in his mind, as reflections of the church painted the window. His grandmother, his family, and now, Deacon. Why has all of this happened? That was the only question that lingered in his thoughts.