Tag Archives: Life

Death to Silence

18 Jun

I’ve been quiet for a while for so many reasons. I worked a lot of hours. I was tired when I got home. I lost my voice. I didn’t have anything interesting to talk about. I lost interest in myself. It didn’t matter that I would talk to my friends and say something quirky or cute and they would tell me that would be a great topic to talk about. It just didn’t stick. Nothing stuck

And then a visitor knocked on my family’s door.

My Uncle had been suffering with brain cancer since 2009. Here’s the backstory: My Dad had leukemia. He needed a bone marrow transplant and his youngest brother donated his and it was a success. That was September 2009. New Years Eve of that year, I received a call from my Aunt that Uncle was not doing well and she was taking him to the ER. Shortly after that, brain cancer was the diagnosis. While my Uncle started undergoing treatment, my Dad’s health was slowly deteriorating. March 6, 2010, my Dad passed away. It was the first time I heard that flat line sound for someone I loved. It was the first time I held a body until it turned cold. My Uncle could not attend Dad’s funeral due to his health issues, but sent a soulful letter to be read describing their relationship and sadly saying his goodbye. It was heartbreakingly beautiful.

Fast forward to 2014. Through the years, I visited with my Uncle as often as I could. I sometimes wrote letters and called until the only response I heard over the phone was his breath. It was hard to see again another man in my family deteriorating before my very eyes. If you know me, you know about my Uncle and his family and what they mean to me so when I received the call on Sunday, April 27, 2014 that he only had 24-48 hours to live, I jumped in a car and drove the 5.5 hours from Atlanta, GA to Biloxi, MS. I was going to be with my second family – my second Dad. April 28, 2014, we witnessed my Uncle take his last breath and the old wound from my Dad’s death felt fresh once again. I couldn’t escape my grief and I couldn’t capture my peace. He had a well-deserved military burial later that week and we did what we should do – we moved on.

Once more, that visitor knocked on our door.

My cousin called me June 11, 2014 to tell me our Grandmother was ill and that she was taken to the ER. The doctor diagnosed her with having diabetes at the age of 94 and sent her home with medication to rest. Then my cousin called me back one minute later to tell me that she passed away. My Grandmother – mother to my Dad and Uncle. The Matriarch of our family – is now gone. My anger was speechless. My shock was loud. I couldn’t release any grief or tears at work because I was numb. My Mom told me to keep it together and pull from my Grandmother’s strength until I got home. She was right.

When I finally arrived home, I opened a bottle of red wine, drank four glasses, and cried myself to sleep. I allowed all of my grief and other emotions to have their place and space and I let it all out. Here’s the thing: I’m not dating anyone. I’m not even casually dating but I’ve always had a vision for my wedding day. I always wanted to get married in Jamaica so my Grandmother could be in attendance. Another one of my Uncles (who is a Priest) was going to marry my betrothed and I, and my Dad walk me down the aisle. Once Dad passed, I immediately placed my Uncle in my Dad’s position. I still thought I had time and that it was still a great plan. But within a month, I’ve lost my other two major components of my plan. I was devastated. While I wailed in grief for them, I grieved for myself because I’m not where I want to be. My plan will not come to fruition with them gone. Where is my husband? Where are my kids? Where is my house? Where is this life I envisioned? Will it ever happen?

The next morning I woke up with a hangover, crusty eyes, and cotton-mouth. No tears were left. I was at peace. I said my prayers and left it with God. In 9 days, I travel to Jamaica to bury my Grandmother. After it is all over, my life will be what it will be. I will strive to live it to the fullest. I will do what I was born to do. I finally broke the silence and here I am today. Writing again. Another chance to do what I love. Another moment to share my heart with you. How many times do we receive chances? Each time a chance appears, do we take it or shy away from it? My angels are talking to me and I’m listening. I’m not getting any younger and I have to live my life. What will it take for you to live yours?

Rest in Peace to my Angels: Raphael McIntyre (Dad), Rhoan McIntyre (Uncle), and Mary McIntyre (Grandmother). Thank you for your life, your love, and your legacy.

dad and i                                        uncle and i                                                    mama and i

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Core Lessons From A Seven Year Old

22 Feb

heart

I do not have children but I have a very dear child in my life that I affectionately call my favorite seven year old. And when his birthday comes around in a few weeks, he will then be my favorite eight year old and so on and so forth until he tells me to stop. Maybe I’ll stop when he’s in college but for now, it’s our thing.

I salute and admire his mother for the way she is raising him.  She has made great sacrifices to ensure the best for his future.  They share profound and mentally stimulating discussions that can perplex even the most educated person on Earth.  This young person has an old man living inside of him. He is intelligent beyond his years, a logical thinker, a giver, and the “mayor” of his school.

He also loves Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers, and Bey Blades.

Any time I spend with him, I always leave with morsels to chew on. When I babysit him, I constantly texti his mother of things he said or did. I don’t know why. She lives with him. She knows. Yet, I am always amused how my favorite seven year old brings me back to reality and he has no idea the incredible impact he has had on my life. Here are a few lessons:

Loyalty and Love

This kid is fiercely loyal and protective of his Mama. He should be. Being raised in a single home, they only have each other and they protect each other equally. His love for her is tender, strong, open, uninhibited, and unconditional. He’s not selfish either. He shares these qualities on different levels with people in his circle and I’m fortunate to be one of them.  When he is around, I am not afraid or embarrassed to tell him I love him. I feel a natural protective instinct arise within when we are in public. I don’t even want to play the radio when he is around because I don’t want to corrupt his ears. His youth and innocence is so pure that I want to shield it from the elements called life but I know it is a gift and I cannot be selfish with it. Now if I could do this with adults…

Slow Down

Children do not have a sense of time except bedtime. Any time before that is their time. If I look like I am distracted with work or anything else, he makes suggestions. “You know, you’re more than welcome to watch TV with me.” “You know, I know how to do a cartwheel and you can watch me do them.” “You know, you’re more than welcome to eat food from our fridge.” (Guess I have been looking thin). I will stop what I’m doing to pay attention. I want him to know he is important to me and what he has to say or wants to do is important to me…even the current events of Bey Blade (Lord help me).

Manners

Please, excuse me; thank you, and no thank you go a long way. Period.

Laugh and Dance

This kid has me watching Disney, Nickelodeon, and The Cartoon Network. I admit, they have some funny stuff.  Quite a few of these shows are on On Demand therefore they are on repeat and memorized. After we laugh at them for the third time, he proceeds to show off his moves in the dance routine from the shows and then I’m invited to learn the routine with him. Endorphins are released and all is right in the world.

Hanging with my little homie definitely brings balance to my life and when too much time goes by, my little heart misses him.  With so much bad in the world, am I wrong to hold on fiercely to this little good? I’m looking forward to our next fruitful moments to see what new seeds he will plant in me.

 

What life lessons have you learned from that special child in your life?