My one of a kind designer dress held my body in green and red. The glass of wine was delicious. The entertainment was rather enjoyable, and the company was great. Instead of performing on a Saturday night in December, I did something outrageous; I attended an event as a guest and enjoyed myself. Something happened to me this evening.
The musician was a jazz pianist. As the chord progression rang familiar to me, the songs were easy to recognize. They were songs that my father enjoyed playing himself. The vocalist began singing, and it was obvious that her repertoire spoke to yesteryear. The honorees for the evening were names that I heard before from my father’s mouth. Before I knew it, the sight of him flailing about in the coma resurfaced. The familiar faces of the people whom were complete strangers milled all around. It was like being in a world that was not far from the one person that will never appear again. A twinge of sadness gripped me and just as quickly, it was brushed away. It was an interesting moment to experience during a gala affair.
Life changed before my very eyes. My mother was devastated as she buried the love of her life. That was a year ago this last week. I wondered how I wanted to spend the day. Would I have a graveyard picnic? Would I hang around my mom for no apparent reason? What would I do? As the day began at midnight, the music of Cesora Evora streamed from my laptop while I danced. It was my decision to spend the day celebrating the life that my father had and the life that he now has; music, dance, and general merriment were all in order. However, I did not know if his widow would feel the same way. After my little dance party with my father that morning, I drove to a flower shop and spoke to the owner.
She made the most beautiful bouquet of lovely baby pink roses complete with Queen Anne’s Lace. Upon entering the house, my feet carried me to my father’s office where my mother had stashed herself going through papers. I entered with a big smile on my face and handed her the flowers. She was so happy that she jumped out of her chair and hugged me. She said that I knew how to make her day. I placed the roses in a giant vase and placed them in the living room. It soon crossed my mind that I could drive to South Miami and get Henna. It was a day of celebration and the lovely art would take it to the next level. I invited my mom and my English cousin to go with me. While my hand was painted, the ladies enjoyed a cup or two at the local Starbucks. Everyone was smiling as we walked through the streets littered with boutiques and eateries.
I received so many compliments on my hand that by Friday, I decided that the other hand should be painted too. It just so happened that the same artist would be present at the Wynwood ArtWalk. As the stage lit up with lights, she free handed a completely different design on my right hand. My family ate lamb while the art was executed. We soon crossed the street to gaze at the contemporary artwork in the galleries. The crowded streets soon proved to be too much, and my family bid me adieu.
The excitement of the crowd coupled with art and music felt decadent to me as my feet sauntered me down yet another pathway.
There were bracelets everywhere. All sorts of jewelry, clothing, art, bath salts. Business cards were exchanged in the hopes that people would attend future events. Just as the thought of my bed crossed my mind, a friend informed me of her presence on the scene. We walked through the galleries which had suddenly become night clubs with paintings, and admired the jewelry which was entirely too overpriced. The jazz trio was super cool in a back lot, and we talked about the finer things in life.
As I tiptoed into the office, an associate greeted me. I sat down and leaned in with a whisper: “I do not know where my father is buried”. She was very kind and responded that it is a very common occurrence. A map was presented which soon followed an escorted ride to the exact spot where my father was last seen in his body. There is no tombstone as of yet because my mother has yet to address it. On top of the place where the casket that held him descended into the earth is where my body planted itself for some time today. The sound of wind chimes were very pleasant. Other people were in other locations in the graveyard delivering flowers to their loved ones. My father would probably prefer a copy of Sports Illustrated or The Miami Herald.
There I sat simply having a conversation with him. His contributions to my life make me wonder if I am being effective with my life purpose. Am I making a difference? What is my legacy? The wind began to push me about as my feet carried me to my car. As I drove away, mental notes were taken regarding the spot of my father’s grave in the hopes that I could return with ease. It was time for me to return to Broward County so that I could further my knowledge about ancestors; there was a class on the subject. Because I have such a direct connection now, it is a topic of great interest to me.
Thanksgiving found me with a five hour performance at a familiar haunt. The opening of this holiday season would prove significant for me in that it would gauge the rest of the season. A first time happening popped its beautiful head in that I was also booked for the day after the dry bird for the first time ever. I wondered if there would be sadness over the missing presence of my father during this time. Fortunately, the sadness never came. Why, I found myself quite happy and rejoicing.
I think what helps me a great deal is that I do not think of my father in the past tense. My relationship with him continues. As sleep came after a terrible headache caused by a lack of meat, Daddy paid me a visit in a dream. He was happy as could be. I saw him in his home at the end of the hallway with a big smile on his face. It seems as if he was pleased with how I was caring for my mother and he encouraged me to continue along my way. My eyes opened the next day with great joy as the packing for the bris began.
As Fall rolled around, I knew that this time of introspection could possibly be chaotic for my newly widowed mother. It would be the first birthday without her husband. The thought of her having a nervous breakdown while I was at work was more than I could take. What could I do to avoid such a fate? Simple. I planned a surprise party.
Once this idea popped in my head, I contacted one of her main associates. She was thinking the same thing and jumped at the chance to be a part of the inside scoop. The amount of text messages that this woman received from me probably caused her to upgrade her cell phone plan. The Surprise Pajama Potluck was well under way with a guest list of 26 women. Cake, furniture, and entertainment were coordinated in between performances and readings. Instead of running to Publix for the common dessert standby, I decided to upgrade to a Cake Couture Specialist. After sending two sketches of what I thought would be a jaw dropper dessert, she created the most beautiful cake that I could imagine. Candles were designed and four shopping trips followed just to make certain that the gift bags were on point: fine chocolate, Sandalwood sachets, and the candles all made their way into the Fall themed gift bags. Tables and chairs were collected from various sources including a party center. Games were gathered as well as balloons, confetti, and orange cutlery.
In the middle of the day of madness, it occurred to me that nothing was going to occur on the actual date of my mother’s birthday. Would there be a feeling of a daily routine? I made my way to a local florist to order flowers for October 22nd. As my mother reveled in her party, she would have a visible reminder of all of the merriment that was made…..and there was merriment running amuck. As the ladies began to arrive at 7pm, my mother was enjoying a pedicure with the decoy. I sent word to her that neighbors wanted to use her yard for a party. When she returned to her own house, she still had no idea that it was filled with friends anxiously awaiting her pleasant shock. The joyous expression on my mother’s face at the sight of everyone gathered in her honor was more than a million dollars. She was caught by pleasant surprise.
The women prayed, danced, ate, sang, and played an intense game of bingo. Testimonials were given and presents were shared. The cake was cut and consumed. The guests left filled with happy memories while others yet stayed behind and created an after party. My mother reported to me that people did not leave until 2am. Well, it was a pajama party after all. One guest was even in town without her knowledge and surprised all of us late in the night with her colorful presence.
Here it is two days after the party, and I have done absolutely nothing besides get a massage and write thank you cards. A cleaning lady is coming to my home tomorrow to take care of its needs while I attend to the matters of the week. One of those matters include the planning of the next party. Now that my mother knows all of our tricks, I have to take it to the next level without alerting her suspicion.
At one point during the evening, I heard a male voice. It was very strange because my brother had informed me that he wasn’t attending the party. I even opened the door to see the face of the voice and no one was there. My ear soon rang which indicated a spiritual presence. I am certain that my father wanted me to know that he was pleased with what I had accomplished on behalf of his wife. I realize that it is my responsibility to do all that I can to make sure that she smiles as she adjusts to him being in the land of the ancestors. Happy Birthday Mommy. Many, Many happy returns.
As you live your life in the aftermath of a parental transition, you experience a shadow that you can not visually see. You feel it every day. A wide range of emotions occur. You find yourself crying without explanation and extreme joy in random situations. Everyone has to face this experience. When I look at my mother now, my feelings are quite different. It is a blessing that I have her; however, the feeling of the ticking clock is not one that shakes off me easily.
This is my third encounter with death on a personal level. It has been different each time with each man. The murder of my boyfriend was unbearable and left me in a state of shock for approximately six months. It was not long ago that I lost a friend to yet another murder. The transition of my father is bittersweet. My understanding of what happens after the spirit leaves the body is more solid now than it was before. What I am experiencing now is the concept of never speaking to my father in his physical body again in my life. The truth of the matter is that I speak to him every day. When I wake up, I say good morning Daddy. We share a breakfast beverage before my schedule gets underway. We share conversations throughout the day and then a prayer before bed.
Music in all of its forms gets me through the day; Performing, listening, composing, and advising. The radio is on throughout the day. It is switched to my IPHONE at night for meditation music for sleeping purposes. Do I have bad moments? Of course. That is simply the nature of the beast. An amazing thing that has happened is that new people have befriended me during all of this. We chat and make plans for merriment and fun. My heart wants to be happy which is what I shall strive to be.
The physical separation is difficult. My mind eases knowing that one day, I shall be in my father’s arms again. We shall watch a movie and eat popcorn. I will perform songs from Phantom of the Opera. Why, we can even compare our bald heads…
While June of this year will not go down as the best time in my life, it is not the worst time either. There have been great difficulties in every department of my journey but there have also been wonderful moments that would not have happened without the presence of the difficulty. Let us begin with my appointment with the ever popular gynecologist. Yes, you already know what time it is.
As I sat in the patient room awaiting the results from my ultrasound, I was prepared for bad news. My body had been exhibiting signs of distress for quite some time now. However, when she walked in with the nurse practitioner, the room seemed to blink for a moment. Two fibroids, two cysts, and a mass had taken up residence in my uterus. I remarked that there seemed to be a lot of occupants taking up space in there. My first question was about surgery; do you have to go in there? If so, now is the time due to my vacation. There isn’t any danger at this time and August shall find executing a second ultrasound. This whole scene could have gone another route.
Once I got myself home, my fingers started researching alternative approaches to this situation. The first thing that came to my attention was nutrition. A nice diet would assist with the process of trying to get rid of them. Everything that I enjoy on a daily basis had to be eliminated. While the idea of being a bunny rabbit is not necessarily appealing to me, the possible benefits are.
The boxes of microwave popcorn were tossed away. Kernels will now be popped on the stove in coconut oil. The alcohol was replaced with a very fine sparkling grape juice. Coffee will become tea…again. Spinach, onions, mushrooms, & garlic have been consumed since Monday. There isn’t a proper substitute for ice cream; not entirely certain what to do about that. There are also books and experts that I shall consult about the situation.
Between my health and the transition of my beloved father, perhaps tears could flow like a river. Instead, I have chosen to spend time in the company of fun loving friends, visit with my mother, and delight in the wonders of tea. Uplifting literature sustains me throughout the day. Doors are closing around me which means that new ones will open shortly. There are projects that are presenting themselves to keep me busy. July is filled with performances, and my new logo must go on the paperwork that clients need in order to book my services. Why, bellydance has even seen the return of its long lost daughter.
Life will always change. I figured that I can either sit still and let it pass me by, or flow with it. After all, existence is not the goal. Living a life is. How I live it is part of the journey.
It was my 16th year on this planet. My claim to fame was my job as the pianist at my church. It was a wonderful education for a future professional musician to have. The situations that I found myself in were priceless teachers. It was not long before the church acquired a youth minister.
Upon sight, my father did not like this man. My mother thought that people had to give him a chance to settle in. I was not too particular about him myself. When he called me one Sunday evening at 11pm, my father had some harsh words to say. The pastor’s wife was contacted. We found out that he had called all of the girls late at night. He was spoken to by the appropriate personnel. I still was not fond of the man. An uncomfortable feeling always came over me and his accent was rather aggravating. He was not a genuine individual and was hiding something.
One day after service, I was in the church lobby. I saw him coming down the hallway. In an effort to avoid him, I slipped into the kitchen. He was suddenly inside the kitchen with me slamming the door behind him. He said that if he did not know any better, that he would think that I was trying to avoid him. As a nervous smile crossed my face, I let myself out the door on the other side. I told the one person that would do something about it; my father.
When I told my beloved Daddy what had transpired after service, he was extremely upset. He explained to my mother that if she planned to remain in that church, she would have to fix this situation before he got involved. The youth minister was promptly told to marry his girlfriend which he did. It was not long before he mysteriously vanished. We never had another youth minister. I stopped working at that church just prior to my pastor leaving as a missionary to Africa.
I wrote this because I know women that were in this situation that did not fare as well as I did. There was someone that believed me and did something to protect me. Many women are raped as girls and it was allowed to happen by their mothers; rape victims themselves. When a child feels bad around someone, do not force them to be cordial around that person. There is something dark that the child senses and spirit is the one making the child feel bad as a protective measure. Thank God for my father.