Disclaimer: This is probably the longest blog post I’ve ever written.
Where I’ve Been
October 7, 2016. I was actually in the mood to clean and was tidying up my bedroom. I probably had Parks and Rec on in the background as I put up clothes and swore I need to get rid of them all and employ a capsule closet method. I got a call from my mom’s phone, but when I answered, it wasn’t her voice I was greeted with, but a family friend.
“Doyin, you need to come home.”
Something happened, and it was bad, but he was being very light on the details. I asked at least which parent I was to be concerned about but he wouldn’t tell me. I immediately burst into tears as I got off the phone, frustrated. My next move was to call my siblings. Of course, luck would have it, the 3 or 4 that I called did not answer the phone at that precise moment. I was pacing my tiny 550 sq. ft. apartment, sobbing uncontrollably. I’d never felt so alone. Soon, my sister that live in the Dallas area called me and things would begin to spring into action. We’d pack up, hop in the car and make an 8 hour drive with hopes for the best but fear of the worst. My little sister would be a boss and find out that our mother was fine, but our dad had been in an accident.
My (Dallas) sister would let me listen to Hamilton as many times as I needed to on the way home to try to feel okay. I’d try to make jokes intermittent with fearful tears on the way.
We’d get home, at midnight. Another sister would meet me in the foyer with words I’ll never forget.
“Doyin, Daddy died.”
It would take months for me to even be able to say those words in a sentence. “My dad…passed. My dad is gone.” I couldn’t say died. It was too final.
As I rethink these moments, I keep grabbing from the bedside tissue box to wipe away my tears. There are so many days and nights when I’ve had to comfort myself as sobs racked my not-so little body and the pain came in waves. It’s not that I’m alone in life, there are many people that love me and have supported me through this grief journey. It’s just that I’m actually alone. I live by myself, plus sometimes you just don’t want to deal with the pity.
I had a Facebook friend whose grandparent passed a few weeks ago. In her post, she was specific in saying she didn’t want condolences, she just wanted you to go hug your loved ones and tell them you love them. I laughed, because people don’t follow directions and there was a lady who gave her condolences anyways. I laughed even harder, because her friends came into her rescue on some “you can’t follow simple directions?!” flow.
I don’t know where I was going with sharing that story, except sometimes I just don’t like the condolences. If you ever have someone who you love go through grief, here’s my bit of advice. Don’t apologize every time they say something sad. Just be present. Be the good friend you have been before they were stricken with grief, or the friend you are when they aren’t talking about sad stuff. Maybe ask a question, tell a joke. Just don’t treat them like alien because they are grieving. Ok sidebar over. The offering plate will be at the end of this sermon.
I’m equally shocked that it’s been a year and that it’s been a year. A year seems so long to have not heard his voice (except for the few sadistic times that I’ll listen to his old voicemail). A year also seems so short compared to the lifetime I have to live without being able to share my triumphs with him, without being able to call him with questions, without being able to rejoice or commiserate about the Bulldogs. He would’ve been over the roof to see our girls in the Final Four. Trump’s antics might’ve sent his blood pressure to glory.
I can only imagine if he would’ve been here on election day. *shudders*
Needless to say, this past year has been an emotional blur. I clung to my feelings, my friends, my family, my poor boyfriend who has to deal with my random tears. I went to church sometimes but I was always seemed to have the most random breakdowns during praise and worship. While I wanted to be mad at God (because who else could I blame?), I also believe without the shadow of a doubt that my Father was a believe in Christ and I’ll see him again if I just get and keep some ackright.
Year 1 was a year of coping. Of feeling. Of day by day. Step by step.
Where I Am
As I sit, typing this post. I realize I’m still devastated. The pain is still raw. I still very much miss my dad. I still talk about him in regular conversation. I still say “my parents” in present tense. I haven’t done anything crazy, so I think I’m charting okay on the grief journey. We’ll just have to see.
Where I’m Going
I’ve decided Year 2 is going to be my year of actively trying to heal. I called my job’s EAP in hopes of finding a grief counselor. They came back with 6 options. I got scared and gave up. At some point, in year 2, I will call somebody. I will finish Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.
I will continue to try to figure out how to further my father’s legacy with my own gifts.
I’ll continue trying to simply be.
I also plan on going to church more. Not just church, but going back to reading my bible and spending more time with God.
I’ll journal, maybe.
And I’ll continue to love the heck out of my friends and family.