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Living on borrowed time

Writing about myself is something that I try to steer clear of, kind of like the mentality of a photographer who thinks their place is behind the lens instead of in front of it. Well, I live by the notion the majority of the time my place is behind the scenes writing about the lives of others. However, I want to share with my readers a little piece of my world and me.

I am an only child from East Central Mississippi. I grew up in a very loving and devoted family, who strictly believes in family ties and responsibilities. This rearing has led me to become the woman I am today, and for that I am very grateful.

My family and I lived with my grandmother following the death of my grandfather. We were her primary caregivers for the last 17 years of her life. In my family, this was what you do; you care for your loved ones all the days of their lives.

When my mom was diagnosed with congestive heart failure in 2002, this mentality kicked in again and the lessons of caring for your family became prevalent in my life. At 25 years of age, I was faced with the grave reality that the death of a parent could be something I would face sooner rather than later in life, and I must prepare myself. Thankfully, my family has been blessed to have a strong support system of prayer and medical professionals who were blessed with the gift of knowledge from God. My mom has survived and battled heart failure for the past six years and is now living on what I consider &8220;borrowed time.&8221; I thank God daily for giving me this &8220;borrowed time,&8221; for I truly feel it is a gift.

The family devotion mentality weighed heavily on my decision to move to Alabama nearly two years ago. My mom has always encouraged me throughout life and has truly been devoted unselfishly to my success. Because of that devotion she didn&8217;t encourage me, but rather, instructed me to move away from home and pursue the next step in my career. For the most part, what momma says do, I do.

I have now found myself in the City of People, a place not only the local natives call home, but I call home too. I can go into a local store or restaurant and rest assured there is at least a couple of familiar faces in the building. Part of that comes with the job. Through my work here at The Times, I have been able to meet many great people and learn about their lives. But also throughout the community, I have been blessed to have been received with open arms and welcoming faces. Because of this, I will always treasure this community close to my heart.

Unfortunately in recent months my mother and father&8217;s health has deteriorated. My instincts to care for my family have kicked in and I need to return to Mississippi to care for them. This decision has come with many tearful moments; however, I know this decision is the right decision because I will have the opportunity to enjoy some of this &8220;borrowed time&8221; God has allotted my family. I will have a few more weeks here in this wonderful community to say my goodbyes and enjoy its beauty. But please, know I am grateful for my time here and for your hospitality.

Thank you for welcoming me and helping guide me through this lovely journey in the Black Belt. I will always treasure this community and its core, the City of the People.

See you at Christmas on the River.

Gennie Phillips-Odom is the editor of The Demopolis Times. She can be reached at gennie.phillips@demopolistimes.com.