Dedicated to the memory of my brother James P. Coleman III 9/1/63-7/1/17
A great sadness showed up on my doorstep on July 1, 2017. That is the day that my family and I received the sad news that my big brother, James P. Coleman III, who we affectionately called "Little Jimmy" had died. My brother was only 54 years young, which is three years younger than our mother was when she departed this world back on October 4, 1999, after a long and courageously fought battle against lung cancer. I don't have to tell you, that we are all devastated and are still dealing with the emotional impact of his sudden departure from our lives and the heartache this loss has left behind. Just like with my mother, my brother was too young to die. There was so much more that he had left to do in the lives of others. One of the mantras that my brother lived by was , "Be a blessing to others." This was his way a way of life for him despite his own personal pain or struggles, he always found a way to "be a light in a dark place." Although, I am saddened at the loss of my brother, I take comfort in knowing that he is no longer in pain and he is in the presence of the Lord and in the arms of his mother once again.
Death often has a way of reminding us about the roles that people play in shaping our lives and just how short life really is. It wasn't until my brother's passing, that I actually realized just how much of an influence he had on my life and how much his guidance, over the years has shaped my way of thinking. Not only that, it is during this time that God has also reminded me about all of the good times and memories that my brother, sister and I have shared while we were growing up in New York. I am reminded of how he protected and stood up for me when others threatened to cause me harm. He really took to heart the words that our father instilled in him, "Always protect your sisters!" There is a funny story behind this that I want to share that illustrates just how serious he took his role as "protective big brother." In elementary school, one day I was waiting my turn on the swings and I accidentally got a little too close and next thing I know, I found myself lying flat on the concrete with a huge, bloody gash over my right eye, that would result in my needing stitches. Word of my unfortunate accident somehow made it's way to my brother. Long story short, later that evening, there was a knock at our front door. Guess who it was? It was the grandmother of the girl who accidentally kicked me. Come to find out, my brother and one of his friends decided to beat the girl up who had kicked his little sister in the eye! I'm still not sure why his friend felt the need to get involved, but nonetheless they both got in big trouble! LOL! We laugh about that now but it wasn't so funny back then! Truth be told, back then I can remember feeling loved by my brother because of his protection! I am eternally grateful that I had a big brother who always had my back! Yes, we may have fought like cats and dogs at times, which is just part of the whole sibling thing, but in the end I knew that my brother would always protect me.
In addition to protecting me, my brother also had a profound impact on my life in a far reaching way. It was because of my brother's urging and insistence, that I attended the world renowned HBCU, Tuskegee University, which I graduated from in 1987 with a degree in Business Administration. I will be perfectly honest with you, Tuskegee was not the first choice on my list of colleges. I have to admit that I was in a little bit of a "culture shock" when I first arrived on campus in the small town of Tuskegee, Alabama back in 1983. Yeah, I was feeling "some kinda way" about my surroundings. A feeling that would soon subside, thanks to my brother paving the way for me and introducing me to all of his friends, some who would also eventually become his fraternity brothers (Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.) and extended family. At the time I wasn't so sure that it was a good thing because for I while I had become known as "Coleman's little sister!" However, in the long run, it worked itself out and I established my own identity and found my way. My brother's passing has not only brought back some wonderful memories, but it has also brought back some wonderful people into my life. People who loved my brother dearly!
As my family and I attempt to process and come to grips with the great sadness, that has taken a seat at the table of our lives, I take comfort in knowing that so many people loved and embraced James during a time when he needed it the most. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To tell you the truth, "Thank you" just doesn't seem adequate enough. You are appreciated and loved.
RIP James...my big brother...my protector, oh and by the way...tell Mommy that I miss her!
Wife and mother of two, pursuing my life purpose after getting laid off! Read more on my About Me page.
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