In the last seven months or so I have been battling with so much but I wasn’t expecting to face a loss of a loved one. Life is mysterious and also scary. I remember sitting down and planning a surprise trip after seven and plus years without seeing my biological family. I couldn’t make it to every place I wanted to go too but I had promised each one of my relatives that I will go visit them one at a time; that was summer 2019.
I had a blast summer with a few of my relatives and had promised them to be back soon. Never in million ways have I thought that I was going to be coming back for a funeral. Today marks a month, the pain is unbearable. I have been trying to put my words together, but couldn’t find where to start. While I realize that God has the first and last say upon our lives, and understand that this is a phase that we all have to go through at some point, I felt like it was too soon. I feel like God robbed me!!!
I can’t go back through my entire childhood story but all I can say is that during this new decade I was looking forward to more fun father-daughter time so bad. I was hoping he would be part of my graduation, walk me down the aisle at some point in the future, I was hoping to hear his voice in my ears whispering how proud of me he is. I was looking forward to paying him back for all that he had sacrificed so that I would be where I am today!
When I heard the news about his health conditions and how things were getting complicated, I remember kneeling to God asking Him to not call PAA too soon. The connection between us was starting to get stronger and more fun than it was before. It was a Monday, I was doing a retreat. The night before I had heard that he was very sick. I woke up so early and called my sister. I had promised him that he was going to hear my voice more often than it used to be. I asked my sister to put her phone on his ear, and I spoke to him. It was hurtful to have such a conversation without hearing his gentle voice replying back. He couldn’t speak so he forced himself and mumbled to let me know that he had heard me. That same day at three in the afternoon(9 am EST) I received a lot of messages from my sister, I knew it was over. Surely, the time had stopped and he took his last breath! I didn’t know who to blame at that moment, God or the disease?! My faith dropped real quick!
I then started to feel like I should be strong for my mama and the rest of my relatives. I tried to hold my tears but I felt it coming down slowly as I opened my mouth to sing my dad’s favorite psalm which is Psalm 91 and I couldn’t! Thank God I wasn’t alone at that time; (There are always a few people we can count on every time, it doesn’t matter where we are. They always show up. Those are to be kept closer). I started to panic looking for a way I could travel and be part of the funeral with this pandemic. It was so scary to travel with all the craziness happening globally. Surely God never disappoints, in the midst of the pain and fear I was feeling in me at that moment, He made a way!
My father gave his entire time to God, all his life and God sent so many signs to confirm that he was His chosen groom. Was he perfect? No he wasn’t, but God made him pure and loved him with his imperfections. God called my dad sooner because He had to save him from this world’s pain and suffering. This gave me strength and peace, just to know that my DJ PAA (DJ as some of us called him because he loved to DJ and was so into music during his retirement) wasn’t suffering any longer.
Yes, it took me a while to figure out some of the things that he used to tell me as a little kid but it resonates with me now. We had our own disagreement but the connection as small as it might look like was good enough. He always said to me and my siblings,“ Bane murakunda gusenga, mukunde abantu, mufashanye, mufashe nabandi!” When it came to school season he always said, “mumashure naho nukuba udu koko, mukiga n’umutima wanyu wose niho muzoshika kure!” He said this out of experience because when he was a student, he had a full scholarship to study and become a pilot but it was stolen from him. So throughout our childhood, he wanted us to excel in every area of our lives and put us in good schools so we didn’t have to worry about school money. This never clicked in my head before but now it all makes sense. He was preparing me to become a better version than I was when I was 6 years old!
Accepting that he is gone, is still hard. His absence is surely felt day and night. I have to agree that grieving is a day by day thing. Sometimes I’m happy and some other times I feel like I don’t want to talk. It’s all part of the healing process… To hear my mother share with me and my siblings how my dad had been reading the book of John before he transitioned was a waking call. He knew his destination wasn’t earthly but heavenly! It gave me hope for the future. He is just a new seed in the garden of heaven that is going to bear tons of fruits which will be a manifestation of his love and memories through us and our children and their children!
I had stopped writing for a matter of time trying to rejuvenate my mind, and in this season I chose to accept my feelings, accept that I’m not capable of carrying it alone but to understand that what happened was for my good. For all the seasons of my life on earth, there will be days I will miss your smile and jokes, our chats or gentle understanding ways. Yet, the lessons of love, prayer, kindness, discipleship, etc… will be my weapon.
I know I won’t wait for that call every other week. I wonder what heaven is like? Does time exist there? Now you won’t have to set a time to wake up and pray at three in the morning because you get to worship 24/7. I carry you inside of me, you are never far from me, I see you in my smile and in who I grew to be. I’m sitting stuck and can’t travel back to my other home due to this pandemic. I at least get to go back to all the archives, go through all of our good and bad memories. I will carry on the baton, I might not do it as perfectly as you did but I will do my best. I will take care of mom as much as I can, bring the fun to everyone around me, I will play and call your grand babies as often as I can like you used to.
You fought hard, when cancer thought it was eating you and you won. You didn’t die in vain but you slept like an Angel after your prayer routine. As hard as it might get, as heavy as it might weigh on me, I won’t mourn for so long but I will celebrate your life and always remember the goodness of God through it all. I hope that there in heaven, you are smiling and dancing like no other. Now that we gained an Angel, pray for the rest of us so that we won’t forget the main reason why we are still on this earth; and that one day we can make you proud. Your legacy will live on forever.
WELL DONE PAA!