Anything is Possible!

With Love, Hope, and Perseverance

Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold This Body Down)


mlk on love driving out hate with sun rise

It’s strange that I don’t consciously recall hearing “Ain’t No Grave” before my friend Elaine shared it in memory of her father. Strange because it’s such a powerful song, especially with Molly Skaggs’ voice and the stunning images in the video below.

I share this song today in celebration of the spirit of Martin Luther King and hope Dr. King wont mind if I also share it in honor my father who left this earth two years ago today. They both loved Jesus dearly. They were men of courage and conviction. Dr. King changed laws and opened the eyes of a nation with determination, love, and peace. My father worked on a smaller scale. After 20 years of military service, my father  (and mother) volunteered at the local soup kitchen, led a boy scout troop, ministered to disabled veterans, and taught Sunday school into his eighties.

Last night, I discovered a new stash of memorabilia in the attic. I thought I was done with the hard part of processing of my parents stuff, but there’s more. There are at least three big trunks in the attic, and I’ve only opened one of them. Inside the first trunk I found maybe 50 letters my mother sent my father in 1968 when he was stationed at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba shortly after Vietnam.

attic trunk letter 1968

After reading just two letters, I’m beginning to realize what a difficult time this was for my parents when I was 12 and clueless, though I must have sensed something. Who knows what I’ll learn through my mother’s letters and what more I’ll find on this fascinating journey where the scent of my father’s old treasures makes me want to fall into a puddle on the floor.  But I don’t fall often. And if I do, I get up. I keep breathing and digging.

attic trunk items jan 2018 (3)

It’s all a process. Some day, I will have gone through all the physical items. The attic will be empty and the house will be sold. But the memories will live on. The spirit does not die.

As my father told me when I was 12, “Nothing is Impossible.”



Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

28 thoughts on “Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold This Body Down)

  1. Wrapping you in <3, JoAnna, xX

  2. Love this

  3. I understand all too well. It is a process. Keeping you in my thoughts. The song is a wonderful tribute.

  4. That’s so amazing to me that you found those letters. I think a lot of us didn’t realize how rough our parents had it. I remember little bits and pieces but never the heart ache my Pa wrote of. Beautiful post JoAnna 🦋💜🙏🏼

  5. So much love for your parents, what a tender message

  6. beautiful honoring
    of ancestor’s devotion 🙂

  7. JoAnna, this is such a beautiful and tender post. How I understand you. What treasures you have uncovered.
    Then you add this beautiful quote by Martin Luther King.
    Thank you for this sharing.


  8. That seems like an amazing find. i’m sure you have a lot to process. Good luck and enjoy the ride.

  9. This is beautiful JoAnna! I had a similar experience going through my mothers things. I learned so much about her and my dad, especially through the letters written during WWII. Things you can hold close the rest of your life. You’re lucky to have found them. 🤗

  10. Love that song — she’s good, but she ain’t Cash 😉
    I like that your father shares this day with MLK Jr. I’m sure they would have got on well.
    It’s a beautiful thing to have found those letters. We saved all of ours, too. I hope our kids are enlightened by them when we’re gone.
    Big Love On This Hard Day ❤

  11. Ah…JoAnna. I know exactly what you are going through. I think their energy lives on in their things…and that energy can pack a wallop when we pick them up. You are string and beautiful. I can see you lovingly going through the process. It is important. Stay strong. Keep moving forward. I am with you 💜

    • I so appreciate your support and understanding, Lorrie. I had not consciously thought about things holding their energy, but that makes a lot of sense considering their affect on me. I need to tune in to the wise and good spirit energy that is still in the house and remember that it follows me and is part of me no matter where I am. That always helps as does your encouragement. ❤

      • I’m so happy to help, JoAnna. When we help others we help ourselves…and sometimes what we write to someone else is so necessary for us too. I know most people in life will be alive to lose their parents, but it is no easy task and everyone will experience grief in different ways. And we NEVER know how it will affect us until we go through it.
        My heart is with you…I understand 💜💜
        Take your time and enjoy the process.

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