It was January 2012.

I was going on my first flight.

Not for leisure.

The air on the plane was stale, I was already missing Bennie. I thought I'd be able to sleep during my flight, but my nerves got the best of me.

A couple of hours later I arrive in Newark. I headed to the arrival area to wait for my ride.

5 hours later.....I'm still waiting.

I called my aunt back home to let her know that if I wasn't picked up soon, I'd be getting right on a flight back home.

Something told me to just wait. It was more important being there than my ride being late.

As I continued to wait, my phone died.

Somewhere around hour 6, I was being picked up and on my way to Trenton.

It was freezing.

Newly fallen snow, blanketed the city.  The city was fading. Lonely. Cloudy, dreary, dark and quiet. I was exhausted. I just wanted to get a hoagie from WaWa, and go to bed. I had to prepare my heart for the next day.

The following morning we headed to the church. We followed behind one another almost single file, filling the church.

I wanted to sit up front with them to hold their hands, and comfort them.....but I barely knew them. I sat in the pews towards the middle right side, behind the family. I wasn't technically family was I???

The service began. I saw her. She draped her 11 year old head softly on her mothers shoulder. 

She was my niece. I'd only met her once, on a similar occasion, but she was just a baby.  She didn't know me. She knew who I was, but we unfortunately did not have a relationship, and I blame myself. Her mother  (my oldest sister) and I were not brought up together, and through the years the distance did more harm than good.

So there we were.

My heart was breaking into pieces. I could only see the backs of their heads, but there body language embodied sadness.  

How could I be so emotionally drawn to people I don't know personally? I was overwhelmed with grief. I was there to support my sister, because she lost her mom, but I'm in here sobbing as though she were my mom.

She was the only mother she knew. Her grandmother. Her backbone. Her rider. Her best friend. The person that instilled strong values, education, working hard, preparing for the future etc....into her and my niece. 

Now she's gone.

I owed this woman my respect. She raised my sister  when she didn't have to. She raised her with her own children. Made her, her child. What she birthed into my sister allowed her to become this phenomenal, sassy, overworking, Nordstrom and Amish market loving, multiple degree having, woman.

I am forever grateful to her.

I HAD to pay my respect.

I had to let her know I appreciated her... for covering my sister, lifting her up, encouraging her, reprimanding her, being her strength, guarding my niece.....everything.

Everything that she was to her, meant the world to me.

It was confirmation I needed to be there with them. We needed to make up for lost time, and work on developing a relationship. Although this reunion wasn't under the best circumstances, it gave me an opportunity to be with the family I love, just as much as the family I grew up with.

God be knowing.

The remainder of my visit was wonderful, her family felt like my family.

I arrived back home with my heart full.

Thank you and rest in peace Ms. Pelzer. I love you for loving them.

I hate I had to meet you, by saying goodbye. 



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