Bitter or Better :: Valerie’s Story (Pt. 1)

Bitter or Better :: Valerie’s Story (Pt. 1)
Me and My Smile

 This is Val’s story as told by her…

I came from a family of love and closeness and my brother and I made the decision to remain close throughout our college years and attended Prairie View A&M University where we continued to love on and support one another unconditionally. He was my big younger brother and he was my everything.

So, imagine him suddenly passing away in June of 2011 and not having an opportunity to grieve and process my devastation because I had to put all of my energy towards being strong for our mother who was battling pancreatic cancer. Now, as you can only imagine, the day my brother left the earth realm, he took a piece of my mother with him as she too was grieved beyond measure which by the way, only weakened her state further.

Fast forward to January, 2012 (yes, seven months later) and imagine me absorbing the news (mentally within me) that my precious mother had been called home to Glory. It was a very surreal time in my life that made me pull from the remaining strength that I still had inside of me, the reserves.

My Brother Byron
Me, Mom and Byron

Like many of my peers, my mother raised my brother and I in the church with total reverence for God and naturally, we believed that if we were good and did the ‘right’ things, bad things like this could not possibly happen. I mean, not within such a short period of time. They just did not happen, not to the true believers. So, imagine how I felt as I was going through the loss of my heartbeats Byron and Mom. I was like, “Lord, why is all of this happening to me and what is really going on?” But, as I was asking, God was replenishing my strength to continue. I was yet holding on!

During this time, I had my soulmate right by my side, holding me up, holding my hand and holding me down. But then, in August, 2012, we learned that he, my best friend of 15 years had Sarcoma (a cancer of the soft tissue) which had traveled to his lungs. We had just celebrated our anniversary and were basking in true love which had us sitting on top of the world. Then, in the twinkling of an eye, we were deep in the valley. But, I started to think and still believed that we were going to get through this, God is going to see us through this and Chris will be fine. Yes, I felt this deep within my soul as I sat in his hospital room every day praying and believing that God would heal him.

Chris and Me

Finally! We celebrated the day that Chris got well enough to be transferred to a rehab hospital for personalized care which was an indicator that we would soon be back together, hand-in-hand, smiling and him going back to serving on the Parking Lot Ministry at our church. He served on the front line of that ministry like a true soldier and was the General of the Reed family as he covered me and my children in so many blessed ways. 

YES! I was breathing a lot better knowing that my main man, Chris was on the road to recovery and God had heard and answered our humble prayers. Our family had been restored. 

Our Beautiful Kids

Return on Friday for the continuation of this story and to find out if having gone through the loss of her mother, brother and the cancer diagnosis of Chris made Val Bitter or Better. Read Val’s bio below 

Move Forward In Righteousness XOXO

Yulunda - Post Signature


About Valerie: Valerie Johnson-Reed, mother of three children, Ryan, Kayla, and Micah.  Was a Social Worker for approximately 10 years.  However, after having a son being born extremely premature, she decided to change careers and became a teacher which allowed her to teach him at home.  She has been an educator living in Texas for 10 years. She has a passion for reading and helping others and one way that she does so is by participating in community service with Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Incorporated, which is the sorority she joined while attending Prairie View A&M University.  She is a member of The Wisconsin Sleepers, a coed non-greek community service organization.  Valerie has a Bachelor’s of Social Work and a Master’s in Sociology.

  • Tiffany says:

    Valerie, I commend you for finding your strength and piece in the Lord and being able to withstand so many trials in such a short period of time. It is truly a choice whether we will allow this life to make us bitter or better and I can see just from part 1 that you continue to choose to be better:-)

    • YGladney says:

      Tiffany, I too commend Valerie for her strength as we grew up together and I knew her mom and her brother was one of my favorite people. Thing is, my hurt of their loss cannot even compare to what she must have felt/feel. Yet, she continues to smile. See you Friday my love!

  • Mari says:

    Wow! Can’t wait for the conclusion so sad to read of such heart breaking struggles.

    • YGladney says:

      Hello My Friend. Life can truly be heavy but even in all of that, God gives us strength. See you Friday and Happy Wednesday!

  • Mariah says:

    My goodness, I cannot even imagine having to deal with the loss of my mom and brother and husband’s cancer all at the same time. Wow.

    Can’t wait to read the conclusion.

    • YGladney says:

      Hi Mariah and thank you for stopping by. Yeah, talk about a serious life test that so many fail. I continue to pray for the strength of the people.
      Enjoy your day XOXO

  • Kimberly Bennett says:

    The strength you exemplify is a testament of your faith. May God continue to bless you richly. Love you…..Go team Reed!

  • April says:

    You have truly been through a lot, may God continue to hold you in his arms.

  • tonja says:

    God has truly been with you through your life; i can’t imagine the emotions you were going through, but like i say But God, may he continue to bless you and your family.


    • YGladney says:

      Hey! Yes, God had to be carrying Val during this as that is the only way one can make it. Though we don’t understand, He has an ultimate plan and will use it for the Good. She’s certainly a soldier. Thanks for stopping by XOXO 😉

  • Cocoa says:

    Words can’t explain how reading this has touched my heart once again. I’ve watched my sorority sister live out all that she’s placed on paper. Watching her press through life displays and confirms our God will never leave nor forsake us. It takes a strong and even a stronger woman to press through life in a situation as such. If she didn’t share her story, you honestly would never know. I thank God for her loyalty and commitment to anything she touches. She is definitely one awesome chic!

    Extended love to “TEAM REED”

    • YGladney says:

      Hello Cocoa! I’m grateful that Valerie was so willing to share her story as a part of this Series as people must know that with God, all things are possible and we can make it. Thank you for blessing my blog with your words of encouragement for all. XOXO

  • Emma says:

    Hey Val I just wanted to let you know. I’ve always admired you as a mother and friend. I love the strength, the smile,the joy and peace that you have. I love and miss you and the kids.

    A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you , so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
    John 13:34-35
    New International Version

  • phyllis darden-caldwell says:

    wow … i didn’t realize how close in time this all happened. i admired your strength through Chris’ season and afterwards. i knew about your brother because you told me a little bit about it when we discussed you purchasing a brick in his honor for the stadium, i was totally unaware about your mother and again about the time factor for the three life-changing events. my admiration for you, your strength and endurance increased tenfold. my prayers continue for you and your family. whenever i see ernest and clarice reed on sunday mornings, i’m reminded to say extra prayer for the reed family.

    i’m praising God for the strength and resilience that he has given to you and continuing to pray for His continued grace and mercy and sustained strength and peace surrounding you,

    Ephesians 3:20-21

    in Christ’s love, Phyllis D-C

  • Angela Hill says:

    All I can say is Better! I remember your mom and how everytime she had the strength to move and speak, she praised God and continuously thanked him. She was so strong and I see that in you. She told me how proud she was of you and your brother. She loved your husband and was grateful to have all of you. You have truly inspired me as a single mother battling with life’s trials and tribulations. Your strength is amazing and this story is perfect! I can’t wait for the rest of it! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us! I pray God’s continuous blessings for you and your family. You know I’m here for you and your family!

    • YGladney says:

      Blessings Angela!

      First, I have forwarded your sentiments to Val and she shared with me that you attended PVU with her and helped to take care of her mother in her last days. How blessed and wonderful you are to have such a giving and caring spirit.

      Second, Thank you for reading this story with open eyes and a willingness to share and grow in a way that only God knows. Your words of encouragement have blessed my soul.

      God’s blessings Sis,

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