Thursday was the 1 month mark (day wise) of my Father’s passing. Saturday will be the date mark as he passed on Nov 8, 2018. I can’t believe how 1 month has come around so quickly. Time is something we usually take for granted until a significant event happens that makes us become aware of each passing second, minute, hour, day, week, month and year.
Every morning since my father left us, my first thought in my head as I wake up is: “My dads gone…” Everyday I go through a range of emotions but I’m happy to say that fairly soon after he passed I reached the “Happy” stage of grief. Strange I know…. I was/ still am a bit concerned about it, but at the same time I accept it and go through it because it feels good to be happy. Maybe I’ll have another breakdown in future and that’s ok too. I’ve learned to accept whatever emotion comes and to not hide them. If I am happy I will BE happy in the moment, for as long as it lasts. If sadness comes, I’ll ride out the wave of tears. I’m not embarrassed to cry in public. Real emotions are rarely ever seen and that’s a shame. Sure I avoid my triggers if I can but if I can’t so be it.
When people tell me that I’m so strong having gone this all this ordeal, (you’ll learn just how much in a paragraph further down) I respond by saying: “I don’t know how.” because honestly I didn’t know. A friend of mine said: “It’s cuz you HAD to be,” and I realized she is right. I had to be strong for my family. For my mom and my Step mom. When I wondered to myself as to how comes I am being strong through it all I realized that it feels as if my dads love for life, happy, jovial and always smiling spirit infiltrated mine. And that is such a wonderful thing to feel!!! You see, I struggle with depression and have for many, many years. As far back as childhood. But it’s funny how sometimes things happen unexpectedly and without explanation like me feeling at peace after my fathers passing. Sure there are days where I feel distraught and tears just pour out until I’m hiccuping like a 5yr old (lol) but over all I can safely say I have not had a seriously depressive thought since my dad passed. I literally look forward to EVERY NEW DAY! When I see signs of him around I smile. I look at pictures and I smile. Sometimes I tear up and that’s ok, but I smile through it all.
The day after he passed my husband and I went to my favorite spot in Kingston, Jamaica: Cafe Dolce, Normally I walk in all bright and cheery and shouting “Hi guys!” to everyone. But that morning I was distraught and clung to my husband (David). I barely smiled to my favorite people but they knew EXACTLY how to cheer me up! I ordered my usual chai tea latte and they asked if I wanted a Grande…. I shook my head rapidly and gave a little smile. I then went upstairs ahead of David and chose our seat.
Shortly after we were both seated, Marvin came up and when he placed the latte in front of me….. I started to bawl!! They had done latte art to say: “This too shall pass.” They had no clue as to what happened but it didn’t matter to them. They wanted to make me feel better and even though I bawled my eyes out it honestly DID make me feel better. It was one of the most simple yet nicest gestures I have ever gotten. I hugged him and told him thank you. It was so sweet of them and something I will always cherish.
After dad passed, I was on my way in convoy with my step mom and her fam. to deal with funeral arrangements as things needed to be done quickly. As I was driving, I noticed the car in front of me had the license plate: 2170 GF (or some other letters) The numbers: 2 & 17 struck me as I realized it was my dads birthday: Feb 17. My dad was saying Hi! I was sooo moved by this! You see I’m a firm believer in signs and things having deep meanings. If anyone knows me they know that I LOVE Dragonflies and one of the things that they represent is loved ones lost. (At my nana’s funeral where we laid both nana and grampa’s ashes to rest, 2 dragonflies circled the ashes on the alter during the funeral and flew right in front of the entire first row of family)
For my 31st birthday in 2017, I decided to get a dragonfly tattoo on my wrist. While the reason was mainly because they symbolize change, transformation, adaptability, and self-realization. The change that is often referred to has its source in mental and emotional maturity and understanding the deeper meaning of life. As I said before, they also represent loved ones lost and when I got that tattoo I knew that I would lose 2 family members this year. The universe just gave me this feeling. I tried to ignore it…. but little did I know that it would be true. Everything happens for a reason and sometimes we don’t know of the true reason until it has passed.
The back story is this: I have a lot of sickness in my family and it started back in 2017. First my mom was diagnosed with stage 4 colon Cancer that has spread to her lungs. Then my 92yo Nana had surgery to put in a stoma bag and soon after had to be moved into a nursing facility. Following that my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer that had spread almost everywhere throughout his body. Somewhere in between, my paternal grandmother had her cancer return, she has Multiple Myeloma. On June 20th 2018, we said good bye to my moms mom, my nana. All was ok for a while and then in September my dads cancer spread to the brain and he had to undergo radiation. Nov 2, 2018 my dad stopped speaking, at least anything we could comprehend. That same day we found out that my uncle had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, stage 4. On Nov 8, 2018 my dad passed away. That same day too, we found out that my mom has more tumors on her lungs. She is now back on intravenous chemo and it is more potent. To say that I have been through a lot this year….. is well… TRUE!
Dads Funeral was to take place that following friday: Nov 16, 2018. It was really hard that week. I could not look at pictures until I HAD to. My stepmom (Sanchia), my cousin (Scott) and a close family friend worked on the program. I overlooked and gave some input but honestly they did an AMAZING JOB! Sadly I cannot disclose who made the program, as this was a family favour, but it is THE BEST funeral program I have ever seen.. if there can be such a thing. Everything down to the placing of the sailing photos to match the lyrics of the Sailing hymn was perfection. Everything had a reason behind it and it suited my dad perfectly, down to the photo on the back of my dad with his back turned to the camera walking to the property line of their land in the hills (Peter’s Rock). It looked exactly as if dad was walking away into the heavens. It was his departing photo, one my step mom took candidly on a trip up and one that she kept all this time! Everything happens for a reason. Who would have ever thought that that photo had that purpose.
Surprisingly, the days/nights leading up to my dads funeral I was pretty O.K. I was even able to add a few lines (specifically about my dad) to a poem that I had planned to read at the service (I have written it out further below.) The morning of was a bit frantic as I had a bit of a wardrobe miss hap but all worked out ok. We left early, or so we thought, to arrive at the chapel for 10 am as it was set to start with a musical tribute at 10:30am. WELL!! We were lucky to even get a parking spot around the back!!! Di church did RAM UP! Some people had their cars towed as they parked out on the road. Some had to park at the school across the street and some even had to park at the plaza UP THE ROAD! (Sovereign) Some even ended up not even being able to attend due to parking issues! It was a bit overwhelming but it was also wonderful to see that so many people came out to support my family and for my dad.
The service was absolutely amazing, as amazing as funerals can be anyway. The musical tribute was so emotional. I had insisted that the song: “Sailing” by Christopher Cross was played as many years ago dad had told me, only once, that he wanted this song to play at his funeral. It was/is absolutely the most perfect song for my dad. That and “Always Around” by Third World also reminds me of my dad too. I bawled when those two songs played. But once the tears were out.. I was ok. Sure I cried again during the funeral but that is only natural. For the 2nd time in my life, and in the same year, I was the one who carried up a loved ones ashes to the alter. First it was my Nana’s and then my dads. Lordy those times were tough! But I some how did it and didn’t fall on my face either in front of all those people.
The service was rather long because speeches were longer than they should have been but the memories that were spoken of and the jokes that were told were great. I got through my speech surprisingly well and my goal was to really move everyone with my words as well as to give a nice short tribute to my dad. (The poem and speech are written below.)
One thing that I loved about that service was that at one point in time a beautiful stream of sunshine came through the top right window and was shinning so brightly down on us in the first row. So brightly in fact David had to put back on his shades! hahahaha I knew instantly that that was my dad. One of the things he said at times was: “Mek yuh light shine!” even though most times it was when he wanted me to fix him a drink hahaha! That was my dad watching over us and making HIS light shine.
While this is all I have for now guys. In another post I will talk more about that day. There is A LOT left to say and amazing stuff at that! Maybe I’ll write again on Dec 8, 2018 but I have a busy weekend; it being my “BIRFDAY” WEEKEND AND ALL!!!! (ACTUAL BDAY IS ON DEC 10TH if anyone wants to give me a shout out! hahaha
To close, here is the poem (followed by my speech) a good friend shared with me on FB (Big up to my bestie Jess!!!! ) just days after dad passed. I added a few lines (the one with the *) to specifically be about my dad. I hope you enjoy reading it:
Poem entitled “My Dad”:
A father’s touch a Daddy’s Kiss, a grieving Daughter.
The Dad I will always miss.
An empty house, an empty chair.
A father’s love no longer there.
A broken heart, a tear filled eye,
Another soul lost in the sky.
The times we shared, the laughs we had,
Sipping the A.P.I in his hand.*
Stretched across his face, a big bright smile,*
Encouraging folks to stay a while.*
His unique laugh when he was up to no good,*
Giving trouble like we knew he would.*
The Special Bond that we always had,
These are the things I will miss,
When I think about My Dad.
A.P.I* (Appleton rum, Pepsi & Ice) was my dads signature drink.
I’m not sure who wrote this poem so if anyone knows please let me know as I would like to give credit.
My Speech: (with some addition)
Looking back now, one of the things my dad taught me indirectly was to always have fun and live in the moment. It was who he was. He was a fighter too right till the very end but he never lost his sense of humor either and he was still provoking (mischievous) at times.
I remember one day when Sanchia and I went to help him stand up with one of us on either side ready to take on his weight. We counted: “1-2-3 go” but Sanchia and I were pulled back down under his weight and both of us confused as to what happened. With some concern, because he is never usually this heavy to lift with 2 people to help, we both look at him in wonder only to see him laughing uncontrollably because he had PURPOSELY put ALL of his weight on us when we were ready to lift! hahaha. As provoking as he was to many we all loved him and he will never be forgotten.
While I have you here, there is one thing more I want to tell you about a practice that I started back on January 1 2018. Since that day I have written on post-it note at least one (1) GOOD THING that happened that day. Whether it was that someone let me through in traffic or that I got a job offer I wrote it down on a post-it note. I now have 2 containers filled with little post-it notes that, come Dec 31 2018, I am sure I have way more than 365! What I am going to do with all of them? I’ve thought of it and I will be making a scrap book (or 2) with ever single one of those notes!
Because of this practice I am able to hold on to the last day that dad said to me: “I love you 3.” He sometimes said this instead of “I love you 2.” It was our little thing. I also am able to hold on to the bright smile he gave me as his eyes met mine as well as the 2 kisses I got the day before he died, Nov 7, 2018.
So guys, I’m strongly encouraging you all to please find the good in each new day. Write down every little GOOD thing that happens each day, in a journal, in a notebook, on your phone, in an app, or on post-it notes like did, which ever! Just write it down!
Everyday may not be good, but there IS GOOD in everyday. –
Bye for now my readers.