May 22, 2010

The Loss, The Pain, The Aftermath

Sunday, 12:20am EST
I received a call. It had been storming pretty bad in Georgia and I was staying up to keep track of what was going on... to see if I'd need to take cover due to a tornado watch. So seeing the number on the caller-id was no surprise. Because I just knew that it was a check-up call... to see how I was doing... to see if I was okay and taking the necessary precautions.

The caller on the phone told me my father was dead.

There was a strange silence because I just knew that it couldn't be true. So I said the first thing that came into my head. "That's a lie." and I kept repeating it. And then I started to cry hysterically. I couldn't stop... my movements somehow saw me from my bed to the floor. I couldn't believe it. How could my father be dead. There was nothing wrong with him. I asked how he died but the reason didn't matter. I didn't want to believe it.

I called my mom, one of my siblings.... I begged them not to tell my family around me because I knew everyone would want to come around and I just didn't think I could take it. Those instructions were ignored. People were worried about me... the phone rang off the hook..

I decided I would try to act normal because I wasn't sure how to act. I decided I would go to church... maybe even go to work that Sunday and do some hours. I knew once I heard the news of my father's passing, that there was no tornado that would come my way. I just knew there was no way that God would let anything happen to me. So I slept for about an hour, woke up and got ready for church.

Driving down the interstate, my aunt and cousins called me and I became hysterical once again. Everyone urged and pleaded with me to pull over before I got myself in a wreck. I did. I turned my car around and drove back home. The car I was in, was my first ever car purchase and it was my dad that was there with me and negotiated everything and got the insurance and all. I went home and my family came around and for a while it was all good. They helped keep me sane... brought me food to eat... just kept me company...

I went to work the next day and for the remainder of the week. Only one person knew and I told her not to say anything. I had to keep a tight reign on my emotions and I didnt want anyone to know and tell me how sorry they were and blah blah blah. I was trying to be the strong me that I know to be

Tuesday, 11:30am PST
I flew in from ATL in preparation for my father's funeral. A couple days before, with much tears, I had written my tribute to my dad and set it aside. I had basically written about some fun memories. How my dad would never walk me down the aisle, or know my children and how I didn't know if this pain would ever go away. I am not even 30. I feel I'm too young to have lost my father, especially one who was so normal... healthy.... so alive... He had left a voicemail about a month before to check on me and I had saved it... He just basically said, "This is daddy. Just calling to check on you. I love you"... and I listened to it over and over again. Unfortunately I didn't know how to save my voicemail so when 30days rolled around, it was automatically deleted. I even called his phone just to hear him speak and left him a message... just in case from Heaven, he's still checking it.

My father's funeral wasn't always the easiest thing. My siblings went to check out my dad to make sure he looked okay for the viewing. I didnt go. But they later urged me to go. I caught a glimpse of my dad and had so sit down for a minute. I was shaking because I didnt know that I wanted to remember my dad like that. I wasn't sure how he was going to look but I was assured he was okay. So I approached his open casket, tentatively, one foot infront of the other, and then finally I was infront of him. He looked great... as great as a dead person can look I guess. He looked like he was sleeping. He was cold. I touched his face... his body adorned in native wear... I wondered if I could somehow jolt him to life. Clearly not.

After my father's funeral service, there was so much family politics going on that disgusted me. Why the people who dishonored my father, considered it their right to be involved in his personal business was beyond me. I stated as much in the supposed family meeting that we had. The nerve of these people to think that outside of his nuclear family that they had a say in my father's affairs really upset me... People who don't even have their own houses in order. What's worse, they wanted to make it seem that as his children, we had no rights or that we had ulterior motives. Even if we did, it was not and is not their business. The person who wailed the loudest at my father's funeral was the worst culprit. I was disgusted. Was she wailing in guilt? Was it all a show? Pretty much, I was ignored my most of my father's 'beloved' hypocritical family. I clung to my siblings and soon I was headed back home to Atlanta. Most of what we were hoping to accomplish, we did. We prayed for peace and there was. We prayed the ceremony would be free of drama, and it was. I knew a person who came thinking there would be drama but to the glory of God, none of that took place.

A friend of mine told me, weddings and funerals, that is when a lot of people's true emotions come out. That is when people want to show their true colors.

What I found out through this process was that I had a wonderful network of friends... blog friends... real friends... even my fiance's family was very supportive... and my mother's family has always been and will continue to be the best! I received so much love from so many places, a few that were unexpected and I thank God for that. People would call me, send me messages... even till today... and I am thankful!

It's hard some times. I returned to work, although it's been recommended that I take some time off to heal. I'm not sure how long that is supposed to be. I have this new normal now... I am okay in front of everyone but when I'm by myself I break down... I try to block some thoughts that come in just so I can be okay... and not be a blubbering crying mess infront of people. I miss my dad. I was daddy's girl... his baby... and I wish I could have him back just to hold him, talk to him, laugh with him, even argue with him.. everywhere I look, I am reminded of him... such was our closeness and his influence in my life...

There is a reason for everything.... There is a time for everything... It was daddy's time... I have not questioned God about it because there is no need... it's just a little painful... maybe a lot painful...

But what I will say is this... Get your stuff in order... your will... your finances.... get it all in order... we always think we have time... but truly... we don't know how much time we have and trust me you don't want stupid family getting all up in your business and please don't think you are too young to have these things in order... you are not too young. Death isn't something that should be feared... it is something that will happen to everyone. I'm glad my dad had certain things in order because no matter how much the family twists and turns, they can't change what he set. Everything else that has to be dealt with, I know that God will handle it! (Isaiah 54:15)

This is important: Please love the people around you... every chance you get... because once they die... there are no do overs.

May 2, 2010

Welcome to Lagos: The Series

After the first episode, I had high hopes for what the series would bring but I soon became a bit disappointed that the whole Welcome to Lagos series only seemed focus on one aspect of Lagos. Truly the human stories stuck out in all of this but I think they could have made the reporting more balanced by highlighting other parts of Lagos. It was very enlightening to watch the way some people live, make a living and in general enjoy life. Sometimes, it makes you grateful for what you have. When you see someone saving up to get their own place made of a few wood planks, you shouldn't complain about your two-story home being too small. I would probably say having gratitude and appreciating your life, is all about having the right perspective.

For those who havent had a chance to watch any of it, I have embedded them below. Enjoy and have a blessed start to your week.