Dealing With Grief Through Faith With My Eldest Sister Denise R. Beckom

WRT 5 | Eldest Sister

  The grief caused by losing a loved one is one of the heaviest burdens anyone will have to carry in life. In this conversation with my eldest sister Denise R. Beckom, she shares how her faith and deep connection with God allowed her to manage grief. As we wrap up our Family Series, we talk about her steadfast support to me after my husband passed away. Denise also opens up on how faith impacts how she looks at death, sharing her experiences after losing her beloved grandmother and a very close cousin. — Watch the episode here   Listen to the podcast here   Dealing With Grief Through Faith With My Eldest Sister Denise R. Beckom Family Series We are wrapping up the family series and going to have a conversation with my older sister, Denise. My sister is so amazing and I’m glad that she allowed this opportunity to share her experience being with me when my husband passed and other experiences that she’s had with death and being a person and living in this world. You are going to enjoy the conversation. She has some great nuggets, advice, and things that you will find helpful and also inspiring and encouraging. Let’s get right into the conversation.     We are wrapping up the family series and my guest is my oldest sister, all of our oldest sister, Denise Beckom. How are you doing, Tina? Good. If you could share a little bit about yourself with our readers. My name is Denise and I am Tina’s eldest sister. We share the same father. I am a retired teacher. I live in Chicago and yeah, that’s me. There’s so much more. She’s holding back. Things you like doing, like the place, about the things you’ve done since you retired. You’ve been jet-setting, girl. Tina is not my only sibling and her siblings. I have another set of siblings on my mom’s side and my siblings are all over the country. I am the only sibling of seven, of which I have two sets and I’m the only one that lives in Chicago of all my siblings. It’s funny that I now have two siblings in Dallas, one on each side, which is funny. I have one brother also who is also the youngest sibling on each side, which is also an anomaly. I have taught middle school reading and social studies and have written several grants which were targeted toward struggling readers, pretty much taught in the African-American community for a large number of my years of teaching. After that, I went to a school where it was more multicultural and I’m okay either way, children or children for me. What I like to do in my spare time and mostly enjoy is going to New York to see Broadway plays, eating at New York restaurants, and walking downtown Manhattan. That is so much fun to me. The other thing that I do when I’m here in Chicago is to volunteer at the theaters that are in the Black community as an usher or in whatever capacity they may need me. I am an advocate of sibling bonds. I did not grow up with Tina and her siblings, but when I became of age to start driving, I sought them out because siblings are important to me and I wanted to bring all of them in, whether we had the same dad, same mom, or whatever. They’re my siblings. Thank you. That’s something I wanted you to share about. If you recall how you sought me out in some of those first interactions and what that looked like or what you recall. There are six years between Tina and me. When I started driving at 16 and probably by the time around 17, I’m venturing out past two blocks that my mother said for me to go and come right back. Now I’m venturing out on my own and between where we lived and where Tina and my dad and her siblings and mom live, I don’t know, it’s probably a good twenty-minute drive. I can only “sneak” over there because I’m still a new driver. When there was someplace that I was supposed to be going and I could go, I figured out how to zig-zag away and try to cut down on some of the time. My initial interaction with Tina probably began when she was in about eighth grade. I’m trying to think about that. I remember one of our first interactions as it is, unfortunately, for colored girls, was around the hair. Tina wanted a perm and her people weren’t necessarily sending her to get a perm, so I came over. I think she had bought the perm herself. I bought it with me or whatever. That was our first interaction. I came over and I put a perm in her hair. Was it the Dark and Lovely box? Yes, it was. That was around the time they had products that were specifically for African-American. Either I brought it or she went and bought it. That began a lifelong sisterhood and friendship going back to the place. What was the place I went to with you? Was it New York or where did we go? We went to New York. One of my colleagues’ daughter is an actress. I love the idea of “jet setting.” I have always told my friend and her daughter that wherever she is at a play, I will come. She was in a play in New York and at that time Tina was living in Pennsylvania, which was two hours from New York. She came in. We stayed on the New Jersey side, which was our second round of staying in New Jersey together because we had started this thing of trying to have a sibling trip. On our first sibling trip, we went to New York. I remember the whole thing. We went to New York and we …

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