When the death messenger pays one a visit, not even a repentant prayer can keep her away for she has been given authority to knock down without remorse every door of life. Without warning she will drain every vein bearing traces of life. Allowing no opposition she will take away the ones we care for. She is the home wrecker, the community mistress who pays no mind to gender or race, only for that do I salute her. She is a woman whose presence never goes unnoticed. She has led to the lunacy of others, running through their minds ruthlessly like lice on hair seeking embrace as if she were a friend. Memories will linger in every space, every thought, and every emotion. She will leave emptiness in the souls of those who have had the blessing of her encounter. I live to tell the tales of her ambush.
It’s been almost 4 years since my father passed away, have never fully mourned his departure and never will I. I merrily delight in the pain as it is the only thing that proves that he was once here, pain is the only connection I have with him. I still beat myself up for not having been there when he left, maybe had I been there, he would still be alive, maybe had I been there he would have been motivated to keep on the armour of faith. Maybe he needed me, maybe he called for me, maybe he wanted to say good-bye, maybe the angels would have spared his life if they saw me cry. Maybe he would have stayed a little longer, fought a little harder, or even make a pact with the heavens to breathe a little longer if he saw the void that would find homage in my soul if he left. It pains me that I wasn't there to encourage his last battle, and witness or even be the cause of his last smile and last laugh.
I avoided everything that reminded me of him, no pictures of him on my phone, no birthday reminders of him on my phone and no visits to his family. I purposely made myself forget the very day of his departure so I am not reminded of the anniversary of his death every year, maybe dwell in pain a little longer in remembrance of him to an extent that I stopped going home for a while, but the situation was bigger than me, my not going home affected my mother, she needed me, she needed to mourn her husband and it was selfish of me to deprive her of my presence just so I can deal with his absence. I found way to home again, to mend my mother’s heart and to be the friend and daughter she always appreciated me for.
I became a stranger to myself, my body felt heavy as if it needed release and I wasn't about to abide to such weakness but I knew something bigger than that was to come, sadly I didn't know how to prepare for it should it be a battle of some sort. That dreadful moment I dodged for the past 3 years finally came, the battle of a lifetime and my rival was myself. I had to do myself in for me to be alive, to let go of things I held on, things I deemed necessary for my keeping his spirit alive. Unexplained outburst of tears, constant snapping at people, withdrawal, feeling of aloofness, I was obviously dealing with something that was unknown even to myself. Truth is I was mourning my father's death and I hated every second of it, when you mourn someone's loss, you are indirectly coming to terms with the way things are, letting go of what was once perfect to you and I wasn't geared up for that yet, even the angels failed to warn me for this battle, life was unfair, I could never let my father go, I owed him that much, memories of him were all that I had left of him, so if feeling empty and scared came as a package of missing him, I was game.
My level of sanity quickly worsened, I had to choose between life and memories, somehow memories seemed more vital than life, but I knew people whose life depend on my very life and for me to delight in memories life was necessary. Seeking no release from the captivity of my father's memories but salvation was imperative. I had to make a choice to live both for those who love me and for life's sake. I had to finally come face to face with the demons that keep me from slumber, to release the emotions that I have successfully bottled up for my own release and to cry the tears I never wanted to cry for my own salvation, for my own sanity and revival, so I called my Mother, asking her to take me to the place that still holds the ashes of my legendary father.
Early Saturday morning we drove to the cemetery, my brother and sister also wanted to tag along so the trip became a family mini road trip, getting lost along the way, mom and brother fighting over directions and debating over who knows the shortest route to the cemetery. My sister and I never made a habit of stopping the arguments as they would kiss and make up, leaving you feeling stupid for playing the referee. So we let them yell and shout all they want until Mom's directions took us to a Cul de Sac, making my brother win the battle, for a while until he lost us again so we had to ask a stranger whose directions took us to the gate of the cemetery.
Another argument between mother and son exploded when we drove in the cemetery, it was as if they waited for me to pass the security guards, in seconds after passing the gate, they were at it again, trying to find the tomb, both of them screaming left, right, left, right, my head about to explode. I, clothed in as much fabrics of politeness, asked them to shut up and let me drive, I was the driver after all, and they obliged without a fight, shaken by my authority, my mother nearly choked. Slowly we drove, trying to locate my father's indefinite bed, such silence was intimidating almost unfriendly surely ghostly, only hearing the sounds of the birds and the lonely wind that came through the wide open windows, the piercing cold followed the wind, they must have been good friends, never have I seen such harmony, it was as if the cold danced to the wind as if the cold was the muse to the wind, never had I borne witness to such chemistry.
Still haunted by the silence that oozed loneliness, feeling a little uneasy and unsure, the wind and the cold still at the peak of their love making, I couldn't help but seek the face of my creator. The silence disturbed my already nearing to an end peace that I quickly sought heavenly interventions to at least preserve the little peace that still found dwelling in me. Finally we located the grounds that kept the remains of my father, in such poor state he laid but I have never felt such happiness within me, it was as if I was going to meet with him face to face but knowing he was there with me made me tap into my happy place, he became my happy place. We cleaned his tomb, made it look brand new, something about it felt biblical and therefore spiritual almost magical. I felt like he was around, listening to us reminisce about the good times we had while he still breathed the same air as us, those moments were priceless, never to be traded even for a mansion in the heart of New York City.
Time came when even denial couldn't aid my longing to see him, reality remained, he was gone to never return, only saw him in my dreams if I was lucky enough. Reality was here and she had authority and commanded me to listen, father was gone and what I had become would not be pleasing even to him who I always wanted to make proud, I had to snap out of it and fast. I had to say goodbye to father and hope that if the heavens be any fair, they lead me to him when my time on earth comes to an end. I hope he remembers me, if there is indeed life beyond death, I hope he again fathers me.
I sat on his tomb, for over an hour I sat there, in total silence, trying to connect with him if he was there, face deformed from all the tears, counting my loss, asking for his guidance, asking if he was proud, asking him for signs to show me that he hasn’t left me and cracking jokes with him hoping he laughs back in silence of course.
The visit had to be concluded, Mom had other commitments, so I cried the last tear, said the last words and shared the last epic story. The time I secretly feared had come, the time to go, the time to stop dancing to the rhymes of demons came, and I had to stop the music and take charge, I had to silent the voices that delighted in his loss. No longer will I stay victim to the things I had no control of, whose occurrence would have happened irrespective of my presence, it was time to stop questioning destiny and live my life as fated, treasuring moments worthy of such, crying tears of letting go and learning the lessons as destined.