Time Has A Way...
As I sit here tonight, listening to the movements of my wall clocks, all I can think about is how time is slowly moving by each of us. I've found an absolute sense of peace in attempting to remain present and not dwelling too much in my past. You see, for me the past holds memories which are painful some which I haven't fully processed, even after much time has passed.
There are a few people who have passed during my lifetime that I wish I could've said a few more words to before their spirits left their bodies. I was probably a sophomore in high school when my buddy John Fitzgerald Fain passed away; he was the oldest brother of two of my closer childhood friends and he was such a polarizing figure. The times I was allowed to spend the night with those three was always the best, I still carry those moments so vividly in my mind. I mean let's be real, Nintendo, cereal, Nintendo, no sleep, and Super Bowl Saturdays in their backyard were always special! There was one night we played Ice Hockey on regular Nintendo and John told each of us, "You young-bloods are going to get whooped tonight". I still use the term from time to time and think of his face, smile, and laughter that night.
The room felt closed off when my parents told me he'd passed away and I couldn't bring myself to say goodbye; I've written lyrics, made a video, cried, and thought about him for over twenty years now. I suppose it's true that time doesn't heal all wounds.
This post isn't meant to be sad and I will not take you on a journey as we've all lost someone over the years; death is undefeated.
It was eight years ago this week that one of my favorites to ever walk this earth passed away, quietly, thousands of miles away from here. My uncle David was a glorious soul and one I think of far too often, especially around the holidays. It was always his family's tradition to send a video out to everyone at Christmas. I don't know, maybe it was their British accents which made them all seem far too cool or maybe it was the fact my uncle was a small man in stature who had the appearance of the nicest man on earth, next to (insert whoever you think is the nicest in your camp... Yep, my uncle was nicer).
This particular year, something was off and the family didn't seem as "fun". I remember telling my father that something didn't feel just right and my father who always keeps his cards close said they were going through some family issues. The issue which would eventually take his life, was present that day and I failed to push more to squeeze out a few more words, a little more time.
My uncle succumbed to an illness which has taken the lives of millions and instead of saying, "Eff cancer", I'll say, "Thank you, Lord for your mercy". I've only found this sense of peace within the last few years due to the fact I understand now that sometimes angels are sent to earth for a reason.
A few months before all of the sadness, there were moments of much laughter which filled my aunt and uncle's house in Sutton Coldfield, UK. My cousin was set to marry and somehow I coaxed my father into taking a trip to England with me for said event. Actually, to be completely fair, it was his favorite brother and there wasn't much coaxing; I actually left to Paris for a few days, almost as quickly as we'd landed in Birmingham, UK; I didn't want to be bothered with their talk of childhood and other things which didn't pertain to me.
My time was Paris was dope, my buddy and his wife, showed me a side of Paris I'd never seen and this gave me life for a few days. Well, I also pierced my ears in Paris too which wasn't the smartest thing given the fact I was due back in England within a couple days and I would face a parent that WAS against any body modifications. I'm laughing as I'm typing this because if you know my dad you know exactly how he is and if you don't know him, please understand that he was very old school, earrings and tattoos weren't ever taking place in his house. I digress...
I returned back to England just in time for my cousin's wedding, which was beautiful. My father and me sat next to each other and I remember hugging my dad at one point, telling him how happy I was to share this memory with him; crazy to think we sat in the same church a few months later remembering the life of his brother, my uncle.
For years, I've come back to this moment, the moment during my cousin's reception when my uncle walked up to me and said, "Thank you for bringing my brother to be a part of this", it was as though my dad was the guest of honor for that week and a half or so. My uncle viewed my dad in a way that many others haven't during my lifetime, he saw my father much like he did when they were younger, he held him in such high regard which made me pause and wish that I could attain that level of love with, anyone, my own life.
I sat with my dad and I was proud to be with a legend of sorts as many of the older Liberians, in attendance, remembered him from his time at the university or his time on the airwaves. It was within these trips, the wedding and the funeral, I saw his strength, I also felt his pain; my father has endured so much damn pain yet he still smiles at times.
The news of my uncle's passing shook my spirit! I was watching a movie with my then friend at her place of battle, when my sister phoned me crying, up to that point, I'd never heard my sister cry on the phone. I raced to my parent's home and looked into the eyes of my dad who was broken and all I could do was offer a hug and add more tears to the room. "Dad, I told you something was wrong", I said and my father who is always stoic, looked at me and said, "Your uncle said if he was dying he'd let me know".
The cancer took his voice, it took his motor skills, it took his life quickly yet through all of the pain which we felt around us, there were moments when I knew he was teaching us lessons. My father and me traveled back to Sutton Coldfield, in order to say goodbye one last time. We stayed in a house with friends of my aunt and uncle, on this particular visit. There weren't too many moments of laughter, only reflection but oh the memories of how TIME HAS A WAY of healing if we're aware of what is taking place.
To my uncle David, I miss, as I so often do, I know you probably shake your head at me but please understand I'm trying to make you proud, my dad proud too. Yes, I'll probably get one maybe two more tattoos, dad doesn't even say anything these days, look at how far he has come (haha). Love you uncle, save me some of that heavenly tea!