It’s been a whole year! Thank you for sticking by UBG & engaging with my blog an entire year later. This blog is my baby, my safe space & I plan to utilize it more in the new year. 2023 was a hard year to navigate and in 2024 I plan to be more transparent about what’s going on. I forgot that I created this blog to support people and I fit into the category as well. I am excited to navigate this new chapter of adulthood and healing with all that will engage. And hopefully I can inspire someone, or help them along the way.
In my life, I have had four father figures. I’m talking about the men that acted in that role and that put in effort to fill a role that was not theirs to fill. These were the men that would pick me up from school, teach me things, help me develop my interests, took care of me whether it was helping provide food, shelter, or clothing, and most importantly, provided me emotional support. All four of these men loved me unconditionally. This year I lost the last one, and my inner child has not stopped screaming since.
The first man that I want to recognize, the first one I lost, was my maternal grandfather. He passed away when I was in elementary school. I remember him as a protector. I can still smell him when I think about him, but I feel guilty for no longer remembering his voice. He lived with me and my mom for a while. He used to make me chocolate milk in a little black mug, which might be part of the reason why I have so many mugs that I barely even use but continue to buy. He used to take me to feed the ducks. I remember the way he would smirk at me while I was enjoying my simple pleasures. He taught me how to use a computer. It was one of those old, white, boxy computers. He had it sitting on a cooler and would make me practice simple commands over and over again. Losing him was hard. Watching my mom lose her father was harder.
The second man was my maternal step grandfather, but he was around way before I was born so that was still my grandpa. He might’ve been a little cranky, but he kept me spoiled and I always wanted to be right under him. My grandpa was a musician, and he would play his guitar in the basement. No matter where you are in the house, you can hear what’s happening in the basement. He would play My Girl by The Temptations & one by one, we would head to the basement. I loved our at-home concerts. Watching him dance with his guitar, and my grandma dancing with him, smiling. Me and my aunt joining in, because of course we knew all the words – this was a tradition. To this day, that home is where I feel the safest in this entire world.
The third one was a man my mom dated for most of my childhood. He didn’t pass, but their breakup meant ours too. I don’t think I realized how life changing that was for me until I lost my cousin this year. I was transitioning into adulthood at the time of their breakup, so it didn’t seem like a big change then but being older now and seeing women my age with their father figures has made me realize it really was.
The most recent one, who I lost this year was my cousin Brian. He was my cousin by blood, but uncle by bond. His loss has easily been the most painful thing I have ever experienced. I was warming up some leftovers the other night and ended up hyperventilating in my kitchen because I thought of him. There’s at least one deep wave of sadness that comes over me a day. And part of me wants to fix it, but when I stop crying about it, I know I’ll feel guilty.
Brian's death happened so quickly. He went to the hospital one day, was in a coma the next, and gone the day after - at least that's what it felt like. I remember him being groggy and the family was taking turns to go see him before he was transferred to a hospital in Indy. He was barely opening his eyes, and his speech was hard to understand. I came in the room and was immediately emotional. His wife announced that I was there, and he opened his eyes and said my name. Oh my goodness, the amount of love and gratitude I felt when he said my name cannot even be put into words. I told him I loved him and he told me he loved me too. I just held his hand crying, watching a tear fall down his cheek. I had no idea that would be our final conversation but I am so grateful that we had that moment together before he transitioned.
I’m not sure how to describe how I feel now. Empty is a good word. I would say failure, but I know it’s not my fault. Every man that has shown me unconditional love has passed. The men that I grew up with, that cared about my being, are gone. My inner child is pissed. How dare this world take away the greatest love I didn’t even know I needed! And what am I supposed to do now?
They said that grief is proof of love & now I understand that on a entirely new level.
I am so grateful to have experienced loved from all of these men. They all taught me so many valuable lessons. They helped me develop my morals, values, and interests.
The little girl that found pieces of a father in other people has finally reached a dead end. So as this chapter comes to an end, a chapter of healing begins. Come on 2024, let’s heal.