Sunday, November 18, 2012

The kids are alright.



Wow.

We've been absolutely surrounded and enveloped in love. Outpourings of kindness from friends near and far underscoring for us how absolutely adored our dear sister was. We've been speaking her name and looking at her photos and telling stories. There have been tears and laughs and then tears again followed by some more laughs. And all of it has been okay.

And all of you! Sigh. You have been so amazing. Do you know? I imagine every single one of you with your prayers and thoughts as invisible hands holding us up. And yesterday I had to do something hard but it went fine because it was like all of you were surrounding me with invisible tissues wiping my tears. The love is so very felt. It so is.

As for me, you also know that I am a woman of strong faith. More than anything else, it is that which has given me the greatest comfort of all. My big brother and baby sister are believers, too, and in addition to clinging to one another, we are clinging to God's unchanging hand. So that part makes it okay, too.

I guess I just wanted you all to know that--so far--the kids are alright. We are. And since the kids are alright, we will make sure that the mama and the daddy are alright, too. No matter what.

I've thought of this quote a lot lately:

"A man who has lost his wife is called a "widower." A child without parents is an “orphan.” Yet there is no single English word to describe a parent who has lost a child. A heartbreaking lexical gap."

~ Danielle, former blogger at sixyearmed.com



That it is.

But believe me. The kids are alright. And even the grandkids are alright. So the mama and the daddy will be bolstered by our love every second of every day. They, too, will be alright.

I woke up this morning wanting to talk to you guys. To let you put your fingers on my pulse and your hands upon my shoulders to know that things were moving along. Hard but forward. Because you all are important to me. I feel the need to tell you that. You are so important to me. I know that some of you who only read here and have never seen or met me in person cried real, true tears. Your hearts have been broken and you, too, have been unable to sleep. So like one of you said, if people don't think these relationships we've built through words are real--to that we say "nay nay."

Yeah.

The morning after, I woke up and just lay in bed wondering if it was true. I rolled over and looked at my phone and saw a stream of texts. Then I knew it was.





Shit.



I got up and went through the motions. Surprisingly I thought I was feeling mostly okay. But then I prepared coffee without placing the carafe under the coffee maker spilling coffee everywhere. (And don't judge me for the el cheapo, old school Mr. Coffee coffee maker like my brother did.)  I knew that I needed to take a seat, close my eyes, and let this new reality start sinking in. At least for that morning. So that's what I did. I sat in silence and cried. Then I prayed. And cried some more. That helped.

At first I mostly wanted to be alone. But then I felt up to some company and one of the people I wanted to see the most sent me a text. My linesister, Ebony. 

Her: "Up for some company?"

Me: "Yours. Yes. Please."

And so she came.


She always makes me smile and laugh. I was so glad she was there.

Then my dear med school friends Tracey and Lisa came, too. And even my little godson Jackson. I went and spent time with Tounces. Silenced her phone and put her in bed. Then I went to hug my brother and love on my sister-in-law because she lost a sister, too. And you know the BHE has been just that throughout all of this. But he lost a sister, too, so we loved on each other, too.

Calls, texts and email poured in. You came to this blog and left kind words. And they made a difference. I hope you know that they did.

My dear friend the Profesora in Pittsburgh called me and as soon as she did, I just cried and cried. Because I needed her and she knew I did. So I was glad for that.

Lesley left me yummy desserts and took care of our dinner. That gesture wasn't lost. The timing was perfect and she even chose our favorite restaurant which I know for certain was not by accident. That meant a lot.



This next morning, I woke up thinking about what things would be important to Deanna. So one of the first things I did was what I knew Deanna would want. I went to sorority meeting. You can see from the comments that Deanna was a majorly committed and active member of Delta Sigma Theta, our mutual sorority. Many of her closest friends were in our chapter and they all were collectively grieving the loss of a sister, too. So. After going to see Tounces and Poopdeck (which is what she would have done first) I then went to speak to our sorors in the Stone Mountain-Lithonia chapter. I was nervous that I'd start crying but my two linesisters Joy and Marra came to stand by my side and hold my hand. Joy was on my right and Marra was on my left. That made me feel strong.

I know that Deanna was smiling down at me, too. And she loved sisterly acts in the sorority so I know that seeing those two flanking her sister made her heavenly wings flap even harder.


Speaking of wings. To the soror who left the comment saying this:

"I bet she's in heaven demanding to crochet her own wings adding a bit of crimson the the mix!" 

Know that these words comforted me and brought a huge smile to my face. So thanks for that. I'm even smiling as I type that.

I also loved the words from the friend who said this:

"Instant death, instant glory!"

Yeah. 

The sorors were so full of love for my sister when I got there. It was overwhelming, but in a good way. It made me know that Tounces and Poopdeck done good. Deanna was simply awesome. Or as my friend (and soror) Psonya reminded me of how I once described my sister to her:

"Deanna = Awesome." 

Ha.

So those tears and hugs at sorority meeting just reminded me of that more. I appreciated every single one of them, too.

After that, we all just convened at Will's house and spent time as a family. Friends and family members streamed in and that was good, too.







Dad's brothers came to be with him from Birmingham. And they always bring plenty of laughs with them, so that part was good. And funny.



Of course, food was involved. And y'all! It's some people out there who can really cook. I know it might sound bad, but I literally may have slapped my mama over some pound cake yesterday. Is that bad? Ha ha ha.  My friend and fellow Grady doctor, Danielle J., even left us a full meal on our doorstep (which kept perfectly in the cold.) You could see the love in every container. It felt like a gigantic, pecan-crusted hug. (And Danielle, don't think that you bringing my favorite of your desserts went unnoticed. It didn't.)

I may or may not be eating some of those desserts at this very second. Mmm hmmm.



These things comforted us. And our parents, especially. But you know what? Yesterday after sorority meeting, Joy told me that I needed to hurry up and tell those kids so that I could get the kids up to my parents. She said that because she had personal experience with this kind of awful situation. She was firm because she knew first hand. Joy let me know that those grandchildren would be a comfort because they somehow have a sixth sense and know how to lift spirits in ways that we can't.

I didn't even tell the children until Saturday afternoon. But you know? It went okay. It did. And I felt this wave of comfort wash over me because I always wondered why my heart was so connected to C.J.'s mother, Davina. Remember C.J.? He was my friend's little boy who was also swiftly taken from us in November of 2008. And let me tell you--I always wondered why God convicted me so much about Davina and her walk through that grief. But now I know! It was C.J. that helped my boys through this. It was. They held his picture and talked about angels and talked about God doing things we don't understand. Like taking a child. Or a beloved auntie.

Then, Isaiah said, "Now maybe Auntie can help take care of C.J. like she helped take care of us, Mom." And that made me cry and smile at the same time because I loved that beautiful image.

"We can do a balloon for Auntie, too, okay? Like we did for C.J. and Grandaddy in heaven." That's what Zachary said. Because when we started that ritual last year--last NOVEMBER--God already knew. He knew! So He was preparing us. Aaahhh. He was.

So now I get it.

But back to those grandbabies? Man. My linesister Joy spoke a good word if anyone ever did. I'm glad I told them and got them up there with their cousins. Because she was so right. Those babies knew. They comforted at most perfect times and I swear, y'all, it was like they somehow had . . .I don't know. .  some kind of instinct that we didn't. It was perfect and good and amazing to see.









And would you believe that Zachary, Isaiah, and Gabby all asked to sleep with Grandma last night? And note that sleeping with Grandma isn't so unusual, but asking specifically to do so kind of is. 

But they knew. And so we let them. We sure did.





So really? I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for each and every single prayer, thought, tear, comment, wish, or affirmation you have had for us. Outwardly. Inwardly. Publicly. Privately. All of them. I wanted you to see how you are helping us with your own eyes. I wanted you to feel like you could put your hands on us and this is the best way I can do that. 

Plus. 

Writing here has also been my very best form of therapy. And talking to you this morning was therapeutic. Man, it was. So thanks for sitting here with me at my kitchen table in early morning light holding my hand. Thank you for listening and nodding and smiling and understanding. Because it has made a difference already. It has.

Yeah. 

You know? The kids are alright. And the kids are gonna be alright, too. We will always be the "Draper 4"--  just with one looking out for us from heaven.


And that's good, too.


***
Happy Sunday. To you all.

Now playing on my mental iPod. A song Deanna and I both love by an artist she adored. This made me so happy because Deanna always lived her life like it was GOLDEN. And she was golden, too. :)



"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD."   ~  Isaiah 55:8

58 comments:

  1. There is an insane amount of love in this post, I can't bring myself to write anything beyond that. I raise my coffee cup to toast the Draper 4!

    Teary-eyed hugs and more,

    ~ Tara

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  2. Still teary about this matter...my heart is so heavy for your parents. I cannot imagine losing a beautiful daughter like Deanna. I know God will hold them through this. And your children will learn how to comfort and how to grieve by watching your wonderful family. "And a little child shall lead them.."

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  3. Soror Kim, I met Soror Deanna when she lived here in DC years ago. It hurts to know she is no longer with us. I've always admired the Draper family. Such a close bond you all have and a model for being a dynamic family unit. May God comfort you all during this time. Deanna has such a vibrant personality and will be missed. I pray for the enveloping of our Father's arms around each of you. In Jesus' name. Delta love and hugs.

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  4. Family is all. Love is all. Even death can't tear that up.
    This post is proof of that.
    And also proof that somehow we are all family.
    Loving you profoundly...Mary

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  5. I just wanted to thank you for coming to Chapter Mtg. yesterday. Your strength gave me strength. Your words gave me peace. I miss my craft buddy but I still feel her with me. The last time I saw her we were making pottery together and she made a bank for her "Going to Nationals Fund" we laughed so hard about her sponsorship plan. The last conversation we had was a week ago. My dog was very sick and she connected me with Fran and Deanna txt to follow up on his progress. My heart hurts because I never got to thank her or give her pottery piece to her. I was looking fwd to seeing her at chapter mtg. Anyway...I'm rambling. I just wanted you to know I love Deanna and I love you so much and I will be praying for the entire family. For continued strength and courage and peace. Smoochez. Fran

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  6. Thank you for sharing this with us. Seeing the love in your family brought tears to my eyes. Truly may the love and memories of your sister always bring you all comfort.

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  7. You are blessed and surrounded by love. I am so glad that it is there to be a comfort to you!

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  8. Soror,
    I want to say first to you and your incredible family, though I never met DD, We had a special Sororcyberspace relationship which included inboxes each other on a regular at one point. Secondly, I want to say I was weighed down by life's burdens but this post gave me "life & joy". Instead of me trying to reach out to give you all words of comfort, you did that for me and I thank you. Like you said so eloquently in your post, instant glory once you depart or to be absent from the body means to be present with the lord. So, I say this, you have indeed restored my spirit so that I can continue to be a blessing to others while I'm here on this earth. I so enjoyed the beautiful words, pictures, and your moving spirit as I read along. It was especially touching for me because I am a visual learner mostly and It was like a beautiful scripted play with a happy and hopeful message at the end. Though I know this is a beginning and each day will present another challenge, stay in courage. Love you and loved your sister... SOROR Phyllis

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  9. I don't think I've ever read a more heart-wrenchingly beautiful testimony of love. I'm crying for the sorrow you and your family will continue to endure, but also for the joy of your words and photos and beliefs, and the almost tangible presence of your sister throughout the entire post.

    Each photo tells a story of its own, with love shining through them all. I believe your sister is smiling in the clouds.

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  10. This was beautiful to read. I know it was important for you to write but please know it was important for us to read.

    I found myself thinking of you and your sister ALL DAY yesterday. I was alone with my thoughts and a jigsaw puzzle. Lots of time to think. And there were tears for you guys just like you said.

    Me up here in MN thinking of you all down there in GA - and it somehow made me feel better about the world. That we all DO connect with each other. And that good can build up and help the world.

    And think of how many others are doing the same thing where they are - thinking of you all. It really is beautiful.

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  11. You sure will always , always , always be The Draper 4. Bodies are mere vessels for the enduring soul-love is infinite and eternal. I know you are in the throes of adjusting to a new normal-but I am so very , very glad that you have the support system in place that you do.

    Love,
    Maria, fellow Meharrian

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  12. Soror Kim,

    I know that I've never met you but I feel like I have. As a matter of fact, I feel like I've met the whole family because she talked about you all so much. In case you didn't know, she was so proud of you and she let us know it.

    I met Deanna after I crossed in '03 and we have been cool ever since. She was the only Soror to call me by my nickname, Peachy. As a matter of fact, when ever she saw me, she would yell out nickname so loud, everyone could hear her & all I could do is laugh & give her a hug. She was always welcoming & warm and if I or anyone else got out of pocket, she would let us know it, in a stern, yet sisterly way. To me, that was just the type if person she was & I loved her for that.

    When I found out, I, like everyone else was shocked & stunned. I shed tears but I have yet to cry & I don't know why. I know it's coming though. I guess the fact that she's gone hasn't hit me yet. Even when I attended the Omega party last night, that I knew she would have attended as well, it still didn't hit me. I guess because of all the love I saw between the Sorors & the Bruhs who knew her helped ease that pain a little. She was indeed missed last night because she always brought joy & laughter to every event I have attended.

    I could go on but I don't want to take over your blog. You & the entire Draper family will continue to be in my prayers. Whenever I read your blog or see any of your segments on tv and even your brother's commercial that I've seen numerous times before, I'll think of her.

    Oh yeah, one more thing...thank you for sharing so much yourself with us. I can imagine how hard it was for you but I'm glad you did and I'm thankful how you and our family are doing just fine in spite of. Now I see why Deanna was the type of person she was...because she was surrounded by so much love.

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  13. I am so so sorry to hear the news about your sister. I only learned of it this morning when I sat down with my cup of coffee to catch up with you, and realized what a sad week it has been for your family. And yet, you have each other, such a rich loving circle down through the generations, holding each other up. You sister is watching over you now, free of this mortal coil and clothed in pure light. Glorious, as you say. Please know I am praying for your family, and your parents especially. And you, all of you. My love, dear Kimberly. May the love that surrounds you all continue to be your path. And what your son said about his beloved aunt and CJ, when I read that, the tears flowed. The mouth of babes. God bless you all.

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  14. Soror, my prayer r with u. I am was sadden by the loss of my friend(virtual) soror. I was soo looking forward to meeting this big personality that made me laugh and think. Please know her loss is felt Globally. She is missed and will not be forgotten.
    She was our ▲ ☆ & was♡♡♥♥

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  15. It's taken this post to remind me that I've never met you... or any of you, a minor detail that had completely escaped me. It just reinforces my belief that spiritual bonds kick ass!

    xo

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  16. Thank you for sharing your sister with the world. She was uniquely funny and made me laugh often. That in and of itself is a talent. May your entire family be comforted and strengthened with loving memories. Praying with and for you.

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  17. Soror, this post was such a blessing. I only knew Deanna in the virtual world of FB but I can tell you that her humor and love for her family was felt through the computer. May God continue to bless the Draper 4 and your lovely parents.

    Blessings,
    SCLC

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  18. Kimberly - my name is Marian Davis. I know Will through my brother Hillis, one of Will's friends from Tuskegee. What a beautiful tribute to your sister.

    A few years back, when my college roommates husband died, a friend posted this poem on his CaringBridge site and it brought me great comfort then as I hope it will for you and your family now.

    ALL IS WELL by Henry Scott-Holland

    Death is nothing at all.
    I only slipped away into the next room.
    I am I and you are you.
    Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.
    Call me by my old familiar name.
    Speak to me in the easy way which you always used.
    Put no difference in your tone.
    Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
    Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
    Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
    Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
    Let my name be ever the household work that it always was.
    Let it be spoken without affect, without the trace of a shadow on it.
    Life means all that it ever meant.
    It is the same that it always was.
    There is unbroken continuity.
    Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
    I am waiting you, for an interval, somewhere very near.
    Just around the corner.
    All is well.

    Your family is in my prayers.

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  19. Kim,

    Your words are always so encouraging and right on time. I will miss my buddy always saying "Hey Alpha Chi" or "Hey Snappy Diva". But her legacy lives on in my heart. She was cool people and I love the both of you to death. Smooches :-)

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  20. There is no term for a person who's lost a sibling, either.
    Take care.
    r who lost her brother (aged 22) some 25 years ago

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  21. Hey Kim, I've wanted to say something before now, but that something just wouldn't come forward, until this very moment. I pray that you and the family will find comfort in God's arms during time and even in the days to come. Sisters share a special bond......a bond like no other. When you came into this world, Deanna gave you a piece of her heart, as well as when Jolai arrived! You all have a piece of each others hearts! Deanna,will always be with you because you possess a piece of her heart as well she of yours! I love you Kimberly, as well as the rest the family.

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  22. Another inspiring post as usual. Knowing what it must take to push through pain like this and lean on one another and to be strong,I am amazed and encouraged. These internet connections are real and true. You guys are an amazing family and I thank you for sharing so much of yourself and your life, the world is a better place because of families like yours.

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  23. May the Draper/Manning Families know that your love is our love. Soror, your words have frequently touched my heart. (circa 2004-2005) Prayers and love.


    These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33

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  24. Totally amazing how much love I feel coming through your words. God is so awesome!

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  25. i passed Meharry today and thought of you! praying for you and your family.

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  26. Soror your sister inspired and continues to inspire me to be the best Delta I can be. You inspire me to be a better person, sister, mother, daughter and friend. We should be carrying you and yet you continue to carry us through. Wishing you peace, love and God's continued blessings on you and your family.

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  27. Hi Kim, words can not describe how much I will miss Deanna. Only one word comes to mind when I think of her, "Angel"..... You and the boys were her heart. Stay strong and hold to the precious memories. I love you. Tamiko

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  28. Kim,
    I was so sorry to hear about your loss. I didn't kno your sister personally but do remember her while I was at Tuskegee. You and James Black (my hubby) had many classes together as biology students. I just wanted you to kno that I am praying for you an your family. Please take care!

    Tamekia

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  29. Soror Manning, thank you for having the strength to come to chapter meeting on Saturday and allowing us to grieve with you and your family. Your family is so strong and beautiful. It was such a pleasure to interact with Deanna and get to know the family from which she came. You are continuously lifted up in prayer.

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  30. Every night when before I lay down, I have shedded a tear for your family. I have shedded a tear for you because you lost not just a sister, but a GREAT sister. I have a GREAT sister and when I saw you stand in front of us at Sorority meeting on Saturday, I thought "how brave you are, how I admire your strength" because I don't think I would be. I shed a tear for your loss, but rejoice for your opportunity. Rejoice because you had the opportunity to have her as your sissy.

    Yes, your parents did an awesome job in raising a thoughtful, caring, loving, funloving, super intelligent (almost genius like), down to earth,faithful, gonna have a good time even if you don't, gonna help my sisters, even if you don't kind of person. She was the leader of the pack and I will be virtually wrapping my arms around you and your family EVERY Day. Isay a pray for your guys every day. I am honored to have known her and been able to call her friend and soror. I know that you know how awesome she was/IS but it feels great to hear that others loved and appreciated her genius too. So please thank your parents for me. Thank them for being a awesome example and passing on their loving spirit and sharing her with all of us..

    Delta Love

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  31. Kim,
    Your posts are so beautiful. I have prayed for you and your family ferverenty every day since Deanna's passing. Yes, your parents did an awesome job with her and please thank them for me for raising such a person, that was Deanna. Her spirit, her caring, her love, her commitment, her dedication to EVERYONE is inspiring to me. When you stood before us yesterday at chapter meeting, I was inspired. I will be continuing to send you and your family virtual hugs everyday. There are no words that I could say, but I hope you feel my prayers.

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  32. Community is everything and you and your family are living testimony. And I do believe that love lives on in all of us. You have evolved into the person you are in large part because of the love given and received and your sister will live on in that love. You have been constantly in my heart and in my prayers...
    Love, Katie

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  33. Praying for your family. DEANNA was an awesome soror.

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  34. Hi Kim,

    I missed chapter meeting but got the marching orders. I will continue pray for you and your family now, and later. I'm glad technology has made it easier for you to see how much Deanna touched so many lives. I'm glad technology allows me to be touched by you as well. I'm glad to be in the number of people holding you up, and you know we have the strength to hold you up as long as you need. God Bless you and all the Drapers.

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  35. Even if I wasn't lucky enough to know you and the beautiful spirit that you have, I would still feel as though I did because if you know Deanna, you know ALL about her siblings. LOL. She is your biggest cheerleader and PR person, same for JoLai and Will.

    The last time I saw Deanna, I literally bumped into her with my prenatal belly and she stopped, congratulated me and asked me what color should she start crocheting. She was THAT Soror...congratulatory, creative and supportive...but you know that.

    Like most of the people responding, I am praying for the Draper family. When I heard the news I cried, off and on for a while, wondering why this would happen to someone so young, so loyal, so (fill in the blank)... As I continue to read your blog posts and comments from Sorors and friends, I think perhaps God wanted all of us to take stock of our lives, appreciate each other more openly and give more of ourselves to others in need...all things that Deanna would also want us to do.

    Love you!
    Adriane Curry Simpson

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  36. Beautiful Kim, sending hugs and prayers for you and your family....Sabrina

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  37. Kim, I love you and miss you so much and wish I could be there for you and your family. I love your blog and your dedication to Deanna, it is beautiful. I love your strength as you wish to help others who are grieving, but that's so you.

    I want to reach out to you, but I know it must be overwhelming - the outpouring of concern and love. Know that I'm there in spirit and if there is ANYTHING I can do from afar to help ease the burden, I am there!

    I will continue my prayers for you and your family.
    Much love, Darrylyn

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  38. I loved Deanna - no, I love Deanna. And she loved you guys SO much. We had a beautiful and simple tribute to her at the beginning of our chapter meeting yesterday...Inglewood Alumnae sorors are solidly behind our precious Deanna and her beautiful, amazing family.

    With lots of love - looking forward to being with you in L.A. on the 15th.

    Also, I would like to apply to honorary membership into the Draper family. Where do I file my paperwork? ;)

    Liz McLemore
    VP, Inglewood Alumnae

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  39. Soror Kim (and Family),

    Deanna (DLD / 'Dirty Low Down' as our internal circle called her ;-) ) and I go waaaaay back. 1999 or so from an online Yahoo group that we fostered into REAL personal relationships. I would have loved to have witnessed some of the family stories she shared first hand. The love she shared for her family was and will forever be priceless. We all felt like we were a part of the family experience. While I knew ALL about you all, I did not know you all intimately; and because of that I am more so saddened.

    I have been steadfast in prayer for you all and for all who knew Deanna so dearly. Please know that there are many, many Soror warriors keeping you all lifted in prayer. This loss runs deep.

    Stacey M. Evans

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  40. It amazes me when I read your blog-- the strength, joy, and love that permeate through your writing! It is authentic proof that He gives you peace and strength that surpasses all understanding.(verse 7 of Philippians 4. The word in action :>)! And you're walking in verses 8 & 9 too! Love it! May His peace continue to rain and reign with the Drapers!

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  41. I am sorry for your loss. I love that you and your wonderful family are standing tall (strong). God bless you all.

    Your Fan all the way in Nairobi, Kenya.

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  42. Kimberly,

    I have read and reread your posts from this weekend trying to find just the right thing to say. And then I reread your post about CJ and it told me it was OK just to say Good Morning....Love you! So today, I say "Love ya, LS!"

    Kim J ~20

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  43. Hey Kim, this is Roxy from Morningside. I haven't spoken to you guys in soooo long, but I must say I was truly devestated to hear of Deanna passing. My heart sank. You see no matter the fact that it's been so long, it still hits close to home. My heart aches for the family that was left behind as well. After reading this, I feel much better about you guys and your well-being. I know too well though, what you are going thru. I lost my only sibling, my big brother in 2004. He would've turned 40 that year. And guess what, his birthday was August 11th as well. God needed his angels more than we needed them here on earth is what I keep telling myself. It is so hard to lose someone you love, but I'm glad to see that you are surrounded by so much love still. As everyone has said, my prayers and hugs are with you and your whole family. This blog was simply beautiful.

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  44. LaShawn Ames-McConnellNovember 19, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    Soror, soror, soror. Your sister was amazing and brillant and the best crafter I ever knew. She loved her family and she loved the sisterhood. I will always remember how seriously she took our oath and demanded that everyone learn it by heart. She will be missed. But I hear her through you and she is in heaven smiling her secret mirth-filled smile at al of us. Thanks Deanna for being my friend in good times and even in the bad we were always sisters. She will have the best seat at the Centennial. God gets all the glory out of her life. LaShawn McConnell

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  45. That was really special (blog). What a great family.
    Deanna was a little older, but if you knew one Draper...you knew them all.
    I also think we lived in a Draper house at Skegee on Old Montgomery Road.
    You guys are in my thoughts and prayers.
    Sincerely,

    Erika Singleton Wilson
    Skegee c/o 96, GK Spring 95.

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  46. Aw man! I haven't read your blog in a minute but this morning I am in tears. It's weird how you can feel such compassion for people you've never met but I really do. I'm sorry for your family's loss. I'm sorry that we have to deal with such difficult things as this. Some parts of life sucks but I know that God will continue to comfort and uplift your family. I will keep you all in my prayers.
    -Bridgette

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  47. Shugsie looking so sad just broke my heart. Please let her know I am praying for her.

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  48. Hi Soror Kim,

    Deanna introduced me to your blog and I have been hooked ever since. My mom was a patient in the Cancer Center for 6yrs. Deanna talked about her family so much that I felt that I know each of you. So I would keep an eye open hoping to spot you as I would pick mom up or drop her off.

    Deanna and I met in an online Delta group years ago and when we finally met in person it was like we were getting together for our usual lunch date to chit-chat & catch up.

    What a wonderful tribute you posted to a wonderful sister, friend, daughter, cousin, kindred spirit!

    I was especially touched by what you said about the kids(grandkids). They know just what to say and do when we have lost someone we loved. My 5yr old was key to helping my dad & I get through it when my mom passed last October.

    Stay strong and know that there are so many of us out there that Deanna touched with her laughter, wit, Delta Spirit and craft ideas.

    Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Matthew 5:4 (one of my favorite scriptures)

    Praying for you all,

    Kimberly

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  49. I knew Soror Deanna in the virtual world of FB, she was awesomely funny, and stood firm on her convictions. I am here offering Prayers, Condolences, Peace and Prosperity to the Draper family.

    Cynthia R. Johnson

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  50. Soror Kim,
    It's been a while since I've talked to or seen Deanna but reading your posts and the posts on her FB page just make me remember how fun-loving and wonderful she was! Your posts are beautiful! It's so nice to know that your family is doing "alright" right now. I pray for your family's strength over he next few days, months and years to come. May you find strength in your faith to get you through the holidays, birthdays and everyday!
    YID and Skegee Love!
    Joye Watts Mosley

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  51. Kim, Hello first I want to send my sincere prayers and thoughts. I cant say I know how you feel, but I can say that the Draper family is so tight knit that your love for one another will get you all through. Keep on sending these wonderful blogs and your right from a distance we fell as though we're near you. I thank you for being so transparent. Cinder Eller

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  52. Soror Kimberly,

    My sincerest love, condolences, and prayers are with you, your mom and dad, JoLai and Will. Deanna was so dear to me. Though I do not communicate often enough, whenever we would talk it was as if time stood still and we were right back where we left off in the last conversation. We had so many wonderful memories and love for our time together at Tuskegee and in our beloved sisterhood. When I pinned Soror Deanna, it was one of the greatest days of my life. Thank you for sharing your beautiful blog of love and cherished memories of Deanna. I am grateful to God that our Christian faith will sustain us. Big love to you and the entire Draper family. I love you and God bless you always.

    Christian, Delta, and Skegee Love,
    Sharon Parish

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  53. I read every word and smiled at every photo -- what a testament to Love you have created. Thank you for sharing it -- thank you. You continue to be in my thoughts as you mourn --

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  54. May the Lord continue to watch over, lead and guide you in this challenging time. My prayers are with you and your family. I will miss Deanna' s amazing smile, her love for DST, and so much more.... our loss is heaven's gain. Praying for you and with you.

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  56. I'm selfishly missing my crocheting guru, fellow scrap-booking, Harry Potter loving soror right now. Michael Jackson's song "Gone Too Soon" just won't leave my head! But as you said Kimberly, God is sovereign. Thank you for sharing your family's journey with us publicly. It's helping us all heal.

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  57. Eyes are just crimson red after reading that beautiful post.

    Deanna is and will always be a beautiful person, and all of the outpouring of love is a clear reflection of that beauty.

    Heck, she didn't even get too mad at me when I talked bad about the Lakers. :)

    Keep writing...keep expressing...keep loving...her.

    Kijahna
    Tuskegee Univ. Freshman class of 1988
    xoxoxo

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    Replies
    1. From the deck of the poop,
      It's around 6:00 am here in Cali and I am on a long blog catch up mission. I am probably the world's slowest reader. Then I came across this masterpiece. A student asked me just the other day, if I had children and I proudly said yes. Then I proceeded to go into my " yes I have four and they all graduated from Morningside High School and Tuskegee University. My son is a veterinarian, my oldest daughter has a degree in mechanical engineering and a law degree, my middle daughter is a teaching doctor at Emery hospital in Atlanta and my youngest daughter graduated summa cum laude in finance and also has a law degree and is working here in El Segundo at Boeing." and the response is mostly, Wow! So you see the Draper 4 is still and will always be intact in my heart. I am so proud of you guys.

      PoopDeck

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