I am 61 days away from a major milestone birthday. For at least the past 6 months I’ve found myself in continual reflection of my life, my purpose and my legacy. I expect that this will continue up to and thru my golden year.
Yesterday I saw news of the passing of a lady I met only once (she’s the one in the middle in the above picture). I’m slightly shocked about the magnitude of my emotions regarding this news. I wondered “why is this hitting me so hard?” And then I stopped to think. I don’t know her, but I KNOW her! You see in the years that we’ve been Facebook friends I’ve come to know her: her family (Ben, the kids, sister Michelle, etc), her ideals (not all of which I agreed with), and her passions. We were FAMUly (graduates of the same university), had mutual friends, and shared a love of family and Facebook. As I’ve gone through the rest of last night and today, I’m noting the numerous tributes from those who never met Trisha. I’m touched by how many lives she touched. As I think about the little I knew of her life over the years and I think about my own future I’d like to share:
Lessons I’ve Learned from Patricia Sherfield Polite:
1. No matter what life throws at you PRESS on!
Press was Trisha’s tag after her initial breast cancer diagnosis. Once she made the choice to reveal the news to others, she went on to become a major fundraiser for Susan G. Komen, a spokeswoman for Cancer Centers of America and tireless speaker on behalf of breast cancer.
2. Face life with a smile and a golden spirit.
I remember when we met, precancer, and what a joy she was in person. I sometimes disagreed with her viewpoints but when my friend and I saw her in the GA dome we both said “there’s Trisha.” As we approached she turned with that smile and her lovely, sweet southern drawl and said “Hey y’all. It’s my facebook friends!” and of course we took an usie.
3. It’s ok to let people know who you are.
Trisha shared a lot- about her family, her friends her thoughts, and because of her sharing she touched lives of those who knew her and those who’ve never made her acquaitance. I remember sharing with her that I’d dreamed about the entire family and how odd I felt it was. Me: I’ve never even met your kids. Her: I talk about them ALL the time. Of course you feel like you know them.
She also shared (once she decided to) about her desire to PRESS on through Cancer. She invited us into her triumph story. In doing so, she endeared herself to all.
4. Live life on your terms and offer no apologies
Trisha lived a good life! She had a good job, a good marriage, and loved her kids. You didn’t have to like it if your own life was miserable but she was not going to downplay her blessings because it made others possibly feel some sort of way. Trisha loved Ben Polite in a way that we could all feel. She celebrated their love in particular and black love in general for the entire month of December- EVERY year. So if the example of her life inspires you to a better life, then her job was accomplished.
5. Love and celebrate your friends
Some of us have friends and some of us are part of a sisterhood. Yes, Trisha was a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, but more importantly she was a part of tight girls network with an iron like bond. They are there for one another, PERIOD! I’m guilty! Sometimes my friends and I lose touch or let distance, hurt feelings, assumptions, misconceptions come between us. Not Trisha and her girls! Nope they are HERE for one another. ALWAYS!!! And that inspires me to do better and to be a better friend.
I’m sure this list is not comprehensive, but as I sit here typing in the midst of my midlife emotions I pay tribute to a beautiful lady which a spirit that will continue to shine. I will not be there on Saturday to pay tribute to her. This is my way.
Press on and Shine Trisha!!!!