Deep in the mountains of the Oregon Trail lies (lays? Sheesh..who knows? not me) an unmarked grave. The woman within? The one I want to thank. Sick and tired from the trials of life and a life lived hard on the Oregon trail, she died just short of the end of Barlow Road. She left behind a husband and two young children under five. Rumors have circulated that she may have been pregnant, at least as I have recalled hearing but can't be verified. One more mountain pass and she would have made it to her promise land. I can only imagine the excitement and dread of taking off from her parents' land with her husband to a promise of land. Who knows, maybe she was an orphan? Either way, this immigrant woman left one land for another with the promise that it would be GRAND. It appears she fell just short of it.
No joke, I sobbed for this unmarked grave. I'm sure I looked insane for mourning a stranger whose name I didn't even know with such intensity. I insisted on having my photo taken next to her pile of rocks and a government issued dedication plaque about her life's hard knocks. Give honor where honor is due.
Lady, I honor you. Had you known without the shadow of a doubt that the land you desired to be free in was over the ridge, I know you would not of fainted on your death bridge. You would have finished the course, I believe this with such force. I wish you could know how much your life has not been in vain and how much I think of you when the storms in my life bring down a torrential rain. You see, I've been tired and sickly too. I've been sick and tired too. Not only 2 kids under five but a son who is 20 who also came from my womb and a husband who would not have left me buried there but taken me to a family tomb, I mean no harm when I compare me to you. In fact, there have been times of doubt and uncertainty that I thanked God and felt I owed my very life to you. So what I'm saying here is with no disrespect. I will pay tribute to you when I reach my promise land with praise so loud you'll think I am a full brass band. For Jesus first and then to you, a woman I will be, entering my land while standing as tall as an heirloom oak tree. You see, I have named you. With the greatest respect and the greatest honor, your new name to me is "Does Not Have To Be You".