My family has a tradition of taking pictures. Pictures, as my grandmother once told me, are the perfect way to capture a moment that time will rob the memory of. Visit the home of any one of my relatives, you will see pictures of the living and the dead. Whether realized or not, there isn’t one house (mine included) that places pictures of the living with the dead unless it is a group photo in which the deceased happens to be a part of.
Recently, I was in bed reading and my other half was asleep, nothing out of the ordinary except that his son “dropped in” to check on his father. I respectfully remained quiet so that the visit between a son and his father could happen. When my better half woke up he was in a semi-somber mood. Rather than ask what was wrong, I gave him a long hug filled with as much love as I could. Later on that day, I went to my Aunt and Uncle’s house for dinner. As is my habit, I passed each picture in the hallway and greeted my departed family members silently. It wasn’t until I got to my cousin’s picture did I begin to think about my uncle.
My cousin was murdered for walking on the wrong side of the street. My family was devastated by this loss and in some ways we are all still grieving his passing. When a child passes, no matter what the circumstance, most people tend to think about the grieving mother. As I stood in front of my cousin’s picture I tried to recall if anyone went to my uncle or my grandfather to comfort them. My cousin was named after my grandfather and uncle, was born on my grandfather’s birthday and died the night before his father’s birthday. I remembered the look of deep anguish on my grandfather’s face the day of the funeral. My grandpa’s silent love was intertwined with his grief. As I stood in front of my cousin’s picture, it had occurred to me that I could not recall one time in 30 years that I ever checked to see how the men in my family were coping with their grief when a loved one passed.
I stood in front of that picture for quite sometime thinking about my grandfather, uncle, lover, male friends, men whose names I only know from media accounts, etc. who probably grieved in silence, found healthy and not so healthy ways to cope with burying a child. We live in a society that penalizes our men for displaying emotions that are deemed too feminine and for crying. Many good men, and probably the bad ones too, suffer in silence because of societal stigmas. This needs to change.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a reader and a medium is getting to tell someone that their loved one is okay and loves them dearly. The majority of the time, I get to tell this to women but hopefully one day I can begin to tell more men that they were/are loved beyond measure by the child that they helped raise.
This morning I pray and cry for all of the father and father figures that have publicly kept up appearances while trying to keep themselves from crumbling inside after they have had to bury a child.
If you by chance are reading this, call your father/father-figure and let them know that they are loved and appreciated. AW/ALC 2017