How has it been 21 years since you have been gone? Some of yall might not know this, but my father died when I was 10 years old. It’s been 21 years since he died. He died from having hernia surgery. I remember like it was yesterday, we were on spring break & I got up that morning in my yellow and red lady bug shirt and my mom was sitting in that brown Lazyboy chair just crying her eyes out. My grandmother was sitting right there with her & I had no idea what was going on. She had told me & my brother that my father had passed away & I had no idea what to think, I had no idea what that meant as a 10 year old or anything. Its a lot to process for a 10 year old and a 13 year old that their father will never be with them again or never talk or see them again. When I look back & i’ve had more time without him then with him, its hard to remember stories. I try to remember things but it gets harder as the year goes on but I ask my mom “hey do you remember that time Dad”…. and she jogs my memory of all the fun stories of my father. I remember a few short nights after he passed away, I was sleeping with my mom & something woke me up when I was dead asleep. It was my dad outside the window, he was flying outside of my window with a halo over his head and said i’m not gone, i’m just in a different place and i’ll be watching over you. Gosh, I remember that like it happened yesterday.
After my father died, it was not an easy road. Life was hard. Hard on my mom, raising two kids by herself on a teacher salary. It was not easy. The years & years of counseling I had to go through after my father died. It was a lot. Family & friends helped my mom when they could. My grandmother, she was their every single day for years to take me and my brother to school after my father died because my mom had to go teach. The years to come after my father died is something that is completely embedded in my brain. The hours I stood by his casket at his funeral is something that is embedded in my brain to this day & cannot go stand or walk up to another casket to this day. Flowers, the flower smell that lingered in out house that every one brought us, that smell lingers in my brain to this day & cannot have flowers sitting in my own house because it brings me back to that day. I went to counseling at my school at least 1-2 times a week for the next 5 years. I know some weeks I didn’t have to see the counselor but then it seemed like some weeks I was in the counselors office every single day. I was only in 4th grade when he died and I just could not comprehend him still not being there. I remember when I was going to counseling, I made this shoe box. It was a Birkenstock shoe box because my dad knew I love those shoes & I filled that shoe box with nothing but pictures and memories. We did small things like this to take my mind off “hes gone” and im never going to see him again.
I had a hard time processing my father death because I thought that meant, if my father died, my mom was going to die too. I never slept away from home until I was 15 years old because I was afraid that if I was away from home, then that meant my mom would die too. Friends didn’t understand why I would never spend the night away from home and I would cry at night wanting to go back home but this was why. I was afraid to leave my mom because I thought I would never see her again. She slowly told me, its okay to go spend the night at friends house because she was not going anywhere and slowly I did start going on trips with friends & spending the night away from home.
21 years later, I ask myself, how in the heck did my mom manage to hold our family together? Never re-married, struggling every single month because money was so tight, working full time, & raising two kids by herself? How? How did she make it? GOD. Yes he knew that was so tough on us but it only made this family more tough. Stronger. My brother & I went through something that I would never wish on anyone and especially a child. It only made us stronger as a family. To work together more. Love each other more & it forced us to grow up a little quicker. Although me & my brother had some pretty bad fights growing up, me, my mom & my brother are so close with each other now. We have this bound that was formed in those years that forced us too & now the 3 of us are so close. My mom was the glue that held our family together and I still don’t know how she did it all. Only GOD. God put a lot on us. He did & I don’t question him, why did you do this to our family? But I know for a fact we are the family we are today because of this tragic situation we were put in.
My father, his name was Jerry & I was named after him, My mom and dad decided to name me after my father but spell it Jeri & add Kay. And thats where I got my name JeriKay from! My dad was a big guy, he was the most friendliest & nicest person you would meet. He would help anyone & we would be struggling with money & give his last dollar away just to help someone else in need. He never met a stranger. He joked all the time & loved to give my mom a heart attack by scaring her all the time. My brother is just like him, looks like him, built like him. My brother never mets a stranger & will talk to anyone and that is how my dad was. Im like my dad because I will tell you like it is. You going to get an honest opinion whether you like it or not. So typically of my dad as well. But one thing my dad always taught us, always go out of your way to be nice to someone. If someone doesn’t treat you right, that doesn’t mean you treat them back they way they treated you. Always kill them with kindness. Also be friendly & have a bunch of friends. Always stand up for yourself & do what is right. He taught me such valuable lessons in the short time we had together. The time we had together was not long. If he was here today, man oh man. He would be so proud. He would love his grandchildren. But I know he is in a better place, he is no longer sick. He is watching over us & there is not a year goes by that I don’t think about him or have tears streaming down my face on the day he passed away.
Tell your loved ones that you love them, tomorrow is not promised.
As always, thanks for stopping by and reading the blog!