“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage” – Lao Tzu
I was not prepared for the phone call at 1:30 am August 3rd, where my sis Michelle told me that you had just flatlined. When I found out that you weren’t feeling well days prior, I started to make plans to travel to Texas. I spoke with my sis Monique and I text my brother Freddy but I thought that you would need some days to recover and all would be well. The picture above is the last time we were together at 1140 in The Bronx. I didn’t know that would be my last time hugging you and talking with you. Hearing my mom tell me that the diagnosis is Stage 4 Lung/Liver Cancer was a sharp blow and I tried my best to make sense of it all. When did this start? Would chemotherapy help or hurt? Why, God? I was heartbroken when I received the news that you had transitioned. It felt unreal. I was shocked and numb. I just sat upright in my bedroom and kept thinking to myself “What do I say/do now?” I drove down to Texas the next day but didn’t arrive until 26 hours later. I had to be with mom. I am afraid of planes but I am working on it 🙂 I needed to make sure she would be OK, at least as best as she can be emotionally. We all spent time together, went out to eat, got in the pool and bonded during this difficult time. Going to the funeral home to view you was mandatory for me. I had to put my hands on your arms, your hair and head, just to tell myself that this was reality. You looked so peaceful and your hair had fully grown, we have the same hair texture and I could not stop touching you. Your wishes were to be cremated and we made sure that all arrangements were in place. Fast forward, I’m back home in New York and still feel numb. Fall semester started @DCC and I tried to attend but my heart and mind was elsewhere. I found myself spending more time in bed just listening to music. I could not attend the memorial in Texas and I was so disappointed. I was not feeling well physically or emotionally so I made a decision to stay home. I started to view the tribute video my sis Michelle posted and I felt all these emotions come to the surface. I started to shed tears and slowly accept that you are in a better place.
Growing up, you were like a superhero to me, always present, showing love, providing for us and making us laugh. Holidays were wonderful occasions and when you were busy with work, you always made time to show how much you care. We always sat down together as a family to eat meals. You and mom were strict in a sense but it was only for our protection. Of course, we didn’t see it at the time lol but I am grateful for the watch over us as we matured. One of my favorite memories is the pinball machine! I was ecstatic, Freddy couldn’t stop smiling as you brought the game in our room. An actual old school pinball machine where we could play for hours, no quarters needed. You guys gave us the best of everything, from slumber parties, rollerskates, Remember Freddys electric truck? He was one of the first kids on the block to have one; trips to City Island, Rye Playland and the list goes on. I remember my blue thriller jacket that I wore daily with my karate shoes. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t stylin’, I’d walk around with my long pigtails with Freddy following behind me. I love my sisters but Freddy and I were thick as thieves. We’d sit and listen to old records on the record player, Prince, Michael Jackson, watched Hot Traxx and we shared the same love of cartoons like The Chipmunks, He-Man, She-Ra, Pacman and lets not forget The ThunderCats! Dad, I know you weren’t perfect but you tried your best to give us all a sense of stability and security. To know that we could come to you or mom with any issue and it would be resolved. You would always say ” We do things as a family” and it always stayed with me. You had an impressive work ethic, whatever you set out to do, it was at 100 percent. I admired your skills as a tractor trailer operator, driving those big rigs around takes precision and I can say that I am a driver and love it, because of you.
When we headed to Baltimore for the Lawson family reunion in 2013, we were both sitting in the car and you told me that this was my chance to meet all the successful people in your family, like the lawyers, doctors and so on. I remember looking at you and saying “You’re successful too Daddy” and you just smiled at me. It was a moment that expressed just how much I loved you. You didn’t get the chance to finish school but you were so intelligent and witty, no one could get over on you and you were quick to tell someone exactly what was on your mind. Nothing was ever easy for you. I realize this now and all of the anger from dealing with racism, the economy, hatred may have been alot to handle but somehow you kept pressing on.
It rained yesterday, pouring for awhile and I was in here sorting our clothes for the laundry. When we decided to open the door, there was this rainbow that extended from one side of the sky towards the other. I had seen rainbows before but this one was complete and intense. I had Nia take pics/video and a guy stopped in his car to tell me he had never seen a rainbow like this before either. I smiled to myself and thought about you.
You are my father and I will always hold you dear to my heart. I know that grief comes in waves and I have to learn how to cope so that I can be my best self for Nia and I. I am also dedicated to be a source of comfort and support for Mom, you guys were the best of friends. Rest in perfect peace Dad and I smile through the tears because I recognize that little by little, we let go of loss but never of love.