“Mom, good things happen on J5,” I said on June 4, 2016.
My Mom had asked if I wanted to spend Sunday, June 5, organizing and decorating my new apartment. And I told her J5, as I referred to it, was for reflection and celebration, so I was going to the beach.
The next day, I packed a bag with my Bible, books, journals, and sunscreen and prepared to go to brunch on the beach. I hugged my Mom as I headed out, told her I love her, and she grabbed beach towels for me. She was going to a church meeting at noon. I’m pretty sure I probably told her again that good things happen on J5. Sounds like something I would do. Kissed her cheek and hugged her big again. She is so little. And I walked out the door.
It was the last time I spoke with her.
For years, June 5, or J5, has been a day worth celebrating.
In late 2011, I took a risk, moving to Wisconsin to work for a Governor who was being recalled. No U.S. governor in history had ever won a recall election.
On June 5, 2012, we won. Not just a little bit, by a larger margin than the Gov had won his first election. In a victory that stunned pundits and changed the course of a state, I think for the better.
The risk, the stress, the hard work had all paid off. Victory was sweet and it was ours.
That race forged friendships for a lifetime. And we marked the next J5 with celebration.
Good things happen on J5.
In spring 2014, I was stunned to find out one of my cousins had a malignant brain tumor. We are the same year in school and had been getting into just the right amount of trouble together for years. His illness hit me hard.
On June 5, 2014, he had brain surgery to remove the tumor.
As I sat praying on a blanket in a lakeside park, one of my Wisconsin friends texted me: “good things happen on J5.” It made me smile and lifted my spirits. A few hours later, I got a call, the surgery was a success.
My friend was right. Good things happen on J5.
Last year, as I sat down to brunch, I got a phone call from my Mom. It seemed strange because I had just seen her, and I picked up.
It was our pastor’s wife. She said my Mom had fainted during the church meeting, paramedics were there, and they were asking about her medications. Sensing something much worse was going on, I raced home to grab her medication, threw it in my beach bag, and drove toward church.
Last June 5th started my family on a 10-day journey toward an earthly end, an anguished goodbye. A journey laced with tears, sadness, and pain. A journey filled with Hope, and Faith, and Love. A steadfast Hope that doesn’t fail even when everything you used to know falls apart, a Faith that binds us together with the strings of eternity, and a Love that doesn’t let go, sweetly, soothingly, silently, it doesn’t let go.
It is the formidable faith of my Momma that is her greatest legacy. It is the unrelenting faith of my Momma that taught us where to anchor our souls. And it is the quiet faith of my Momma that leads to our greatest Hope.
Last year, June 5th became the pivot point for the rest of my life. But it is still a day to celebrate.
Because a year ago, on June 5, my Mom lived. She lived long enough for us to hold her and for us to be able to let her go gracefully.
So all is grace. And good things happen on J5.