dealing with death

I ran to you…

I half opened my eyes and grunted… The sky outside my window was ominously dark. I scrambled to find my phone which had disrespectfully trod on my dreams.

Managing a thin smile at the doorman, I walked unsteadily towards the restaurant where the famous breakfast buffet was in full swing. 12 hours had passed since Uncle S had called and invited me to breakfast.

Uncle S, as I call him, is the father of my late love J S. It has been 5 years since we lost him to Leukemia and the wound is as raw today as it was back then.

I stood there amidst the invisible bustle of a 5-star breakfast buffet, my feet held ground and surely by slowly hardening industrial concrete.

Uncle S rose to greet me, built like a linebacker, he stood six feet two and gently ushered me into the chair he held out with all the grace of a 70’s gentleman, which only he can pull off.  He patiently answered my inquiries about his family and health and I offered excerpts from my life, which I was sure he held no care for.

Half way into buttering our toast , we stared at each other, small talk exhausted.

“How have you been?” he asked for the second time. I stared at my piece of toast noticing how thinly the butter was spread and yet the piece of toast seemed very heavy in my hands.

Placing the offensive piece of toast on my quarter plate, I assured him that I was fine.

Scooping some beans into his mouth he looked at me. His onyx eyes glistening, betraying the tempest within… I paused and listened to the kettle drums in my ears dreading his silence, the most eloquent herald of bitter tidings.

Fortunately he just sighed and we went back to pushing the food around in our plates for a decent time.

“Do you still miss him?” He asked, staring stiffly at his knees.

An imperceptible drop in room temperature led me to draw myself together. “Yes” I answered knowing what was to come. The chill would spread to my spine and I would go into that subliminal state of shock where I would want to escape into J S’ arms; the only place in this twisted universe and the next, where I would find the warmth to sustain me. It was how I have dealt with it all these years.

Men in crisp hotel garb walked back and forth in the periphery of my vision, in the distance Uncle J was asking me a question that didn’t carry over the table, my fingers were curled around the arms of the chair… I was battle ready.  A shiver passed through me and I fell back into the comfortable warmth of strong arms. Horrified I opened my eyes; those weren’t J S’ arms.

Excusing myself I ran to the powder room and looked at the mirror long and hard. Staring to my eyes, looking for guilt, betrayal… and they were as elusive as a sweet rain drop on a hot summers’ day. That instant I knew my answer.

With renewed strength of spirit, I walked back.

“I miss him every single day Uncle J. But, I also know that loving and caring for someone else does not mean that it is a betrayal to his memory. I love your son very much”

Choking up I stared at the man across the table. A single tear tracing the rivulets of the worry lines in his face. It wasn’t clear when the salty drop had escaped its confines or why. But the knowledge that we both crossed a barrier, which had held our hearts captive for a long time, restored every thread of hope in my weary mind.

Bidding good-bye I walked back to the parking lot, hitting the number 4 on my speed dial to see the contact picture pop up… “I ran to you” I whispered to the picture… “God help me”

Like a bridge over troubled water

For Rainbows and Dungeons
Jan 27,09
“How sad na, look at his fate ya” I cringe. I turn around to retort. His warm hand on the small of my back and his gentle voice “Let it go AJ”
“I wanted to tell her to shut her face” I complain. My limited understanding of the world and its workings does not help me rationalize this theory… Unexplainable things are always labeled as ‘the result of fate’, ‘in God’s hands’ and ‘God is testing us’
I beg to differ on each count…
Fate… Well, isn’t fate an excuse for when we find no other excuse?
God, now, I do not believe that the creator goes around picking out grand prize winners. And I’m sure big G can come up with more ‘God like’ ways to test man and not by way of slow, painful, heart wrenching, death. He isn’t an agony monger, is he?
Maybe all my frustration comes out of a sense of helplessness. True, I feel helpless, like a big chunk of nothing, saying nothing words of encouragement, bringing nothing flowers, reading out loud from nothing books, holding his hand and saying nothing prayers, wiping a stray tear with a nothing kiss… In the end, the only thing that is true is the agony everyone undergoes, leading to that fateful day.
That fateful day: ‘He’s in not in pain anymore’ {amazing grace how sweet the sound} ‘Dear Lord! Welcome your son into thy kingdom’ {that saved a wretch like me} ‘You have to be strong’, ‘God tests His children’ {I once was lost, but now am found} ‘I know how you feel’, ‘you still have your life’, ‘from ashes to ashes, dust to dust’, ‘Akka, when will maama come home?’{Was blind, but now I see} “You walked out of the service?”
Me: “Yeah I needed some air… I hate the song they are singing”
D: “Amazing Grace? You’re crying”
Me: “uhhuh”
D: “Well do you want to sing him another song?”
Me: “huh?”
D: “you said, you did not like amazing grace right? So sing him another song…”
Me: “Right here?”
D: “Yeah, here hold my hand… I’ll join you. No wait, let me finish this cigarette”
Me: “I can’t sing… I’ll cry”
D: “Here let me sing you a song ok?”

{When you’re weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I’m on your side. When times get rough
and friends just can’t be found,
like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.}
Me: I think I’ll go inside now D,{Like a bridge over troubled water…I will lay me down}