Caring

They are Inspiring and Supportive

TCFT has brought an abundance of amazing people into my life over the years, including the awesomeness who is Geraldine, who I met in Bournemouth back in 2016.  Geraldine is inspiring, incredibly knowledgeable and extremely experienced in the media field, as well as being caring, down to earth and very, very funny.  When I invited Geraldine to TCFT Croydon last year, she was more than willing to come and support, bringing her friend, Patricia, along with her.

I met Patricia for the first time that Sunday, but somehow, I managed to make a major impression on her.  Ever since then, she has been one of my biggest – and I mean biggest – champions.  She is genuinely one of the most supportive, kind and driven women I have ever met.  She is also a master networker, just like Geraldine.  It is that supportive nature and networking brain of hers that recommended me to become a scholar for the eiClub.

I was beyond shocked when I received the email, but extremely thankful for the opportunity.  I knew that it would be a blessing for me and provide me with the opportunity to not only expand my network, but continue to develop as a person.  I would probably say that the biggest honour was being named the first ei Khadija Saye Scholar, named after the amazingly, talented young woman who lost her life in the Grenfell Tower disaster and was one of the scholars who came before me – I really wish that I had gotten the chance to meet her.

Being a Khadija Saye Scholar opened the door to a wealth of opportunities this year and introduced me to a whole lot of wonderful, stellar people.  Julia immediately comes to mind, the force of nature behind ei and the queen of networking, who is also thoughtful, intelligent and most of all, has a very big heart .  Julia is an amazing conversationalist, with some of the best stories.  She is inclusive and caring, ensuring that no one is ever stood on their own and taking time to introduce you to others.  Throughout this year, Julia has made me feel nothing but welcome and supported, also asking me to read poetry at one of the trips away and present an award at the Comment Awards – both unique and great experiences.

The trips taken as part of Names Not Numbers, to the beautiful Waddesdon Manor and Oxford, were kind of surreal from me, but never failed to teach me a whole lot.  They were filled with great people, including Angela, Louise, Mr Gee, Simon, Mr Gee, Justine, Deborah, Steven, Shanice and so many more.  I’ve also loved getting to meet and speaking to other members of the Editorial Intelligence team, like Alice and Karen – they’re so funny.

I’ve met other beautiful, supportive individuals over suppers, like Kat, who I sat down with for great conversation over coffee.  I’ve learnt from truly talented veterans and legends in their fields at various events throughout the year, buying brilliant books along the way, like The Empathy Instinct by Peter Bazalgette, who personally signed it for me with his nickname after being majorly impressed by a question I asked (I was surprised too, I was simply speaking about what I know).

However, I think I’ve most enjoyed spending time with and developing friendships with fellow scholars, Mayur, Dami and Rae.  These are three brilliant young people, overflowing with talent and making a difference in the lives of young people in different ways.

Dami never fails to make me laugh, or make me smile with his bubbly energy – he is a master networker in his own light.  Rae is very easy to talk to and a fun presence to be around.  And I enjoyed spending plenty of time with Mayur during the weekend away at Oxford, engaging in conversations on a variety of subjects and having him by my side when I felt out of my depth.  Mayur also touched my heart majorly that weekend, when he had my back and gave me an unexpected gift – those little things mean the world to me.

I have already gained and learned so much during my time as a Khadija Saye Scholar, which has a whole lot to do with the people I have met.  I feel beyond blessed to have met them and I look forward to developing the connections in the new year and beyond.  To my champions and supporters, Patricia and Geraldine, you are the most amazing and wonderful women.  I love you all.

 

I’ll Miss You Uncle Clifford

Yesterday, one of my most treasured members of my church family was laid to rest.  When I learned of his death on an afternoon in December, I was devastated, mainly because I missed out on the opportunity to visit him when he was sick.  The fault was no one’s but mine.  I should have made the time to visit him and speak to him when I had the chance, but now I won’t have that chance again – not until Jesus returns that is.

Uncle Clifford was a very special individual.  He was one of the people I would always make an effort to seek out and say hello when I came to church on Sabbath.  If he didn’t see me, I know that he would ask my mum, “How are my daughters?” inquiring about both me and my sister.  He was someone who would always remember you and genuinely cared about how you were.

Seeing Uncle Clifford never failed to put a smile on my face.  I always looked forward to seeing him, greeted by his grin, warming presence and always a “Hello darling” in his distinct Jamaican tongue.  There was also always a hug and kiss on the cheek waiting for me.  Knowing that I’m not going to hear that treasured greeting again or see his smiling face on Sabbath brings great sadness to my heart, as I know that church will never feel the same again.  Having to see someone else sitting in his spot next to Uncle Jim will be a strange sight for me.

I also enjoyed seeing Uncle Clifford sitting with Uncle Jim at the church’s soup kitchen on Tuesday evenings.  Having the opportunity to see him there in the week made coming to the soup kitchen even better, as I was treated to his trademark greeting and some conversation.

His strength continued through and through, not complaining about any pain or illness he was in, which is a quality I truly admire.  He was always caring and considerate, offering me and my mum lifts home on a number of occasions.  Uncle Clifford would always want to ensure you were safe, well and happy, doing what he could to make it happen.

The moment I heard of his passing, I knew that I was going to miss him, but at his funeral yesterday, it hit me just how much I was going to miss his presence in my life.  Uncle Clifford was a simple, constant figure who brought joy to my days, but I don’t think he realised the impact he had on my life by just being who he was.  I’m glad he’s at peace now and I’m looking forward to seeing him again on that day when Jesus comes.  I love you always Uncle Clifford.

I’ll Miss You Aunty

DSC_0043My family means the world to me, so losing any one of them is one of the hardest things in the world to deal with, especially when the loss is completely unexpected.  After losing my grandad back in March, I never imagined that I’d have to say a final goodbye to another one of my family members this year, but just under three months later, that is what happened.

Yesterday, I was shocked to the core to the learn of the death of my Aunty Joce.  With my grandad, I at least had some time to prepare for his death after witnessing his battle with illness, but with my aunty it came out of the blue.  I keep on replaying the moment I was told that she died over and over again, because it doesn’t seem real to me.  It’s like we’re all in a bad dream and I just want us to wake up out of it.  Now, all we have is memories.

Some of my most treasured memories with my Aunty Joce are from my childhood.  I loved going round to her maisonette nearby and sleeping over.  I remember sitting down to watch TV with her or reading Cinderella on her sofa.  I also liked when she would do my hair, as it would always look really pretty and extremely neat.  I’ll never forget the time she plaited my hair when my mum was a way, and then put the plaits into two bunches with my favourite hairbands.

My aunty later moved further away, so I saw her less than before, which made every event spent with her a priceless experience.  You could always count on her being the funny one – I know that family gatherings will be missing a lot of laughs without her.  Her quick wit and dry comments never failed to make me laugh, and watching her interact with my grandma was a hilarious source of entertainment.

I also enjoyed going to my aunty’s house, because she was so hospitable.  She always did what she could to ensure you were comfortable, whether that was through giving you a blanket or a pair of slippers.  If my Aunty Joce knew you were coming, she made sure there was food prepared and you would not be disappointed, because she was a real good cook – I used to love her delicious macaroni pie.  I’ll always remember her offering me and my sister a hot drink when we were at her house one evening and saying that we should have a decaf cappuccino she bought at the pound shop, because she thought that they were “very nice”, and you know what, she was right.

Of course, you can’t be hospitable without being caring, which my Aunty Joce was.  When she heard about my grandad, she ensured that she messaged me to show her support.  And when my dad broke his foot, she took the greatest care of him, which I will forever be grateful for.

My aunty also had a real sense of style.  It was great to see the different hats she wore and the different handbags she carried to match her outfits, but more than anything, it was about her reading glasses.  I recall being at my Aunty Joce’s house one day and her showing me and my sister the collection of reading glasses that she had.  When I commented that she had so many, she told me that it was so they could go with different outfits.  Green, purple, black – the glasses came in numerous colours, usually with diamantes on the sides or along the rim.  There was also this very compact pair, which I was amused and a little confused by, but she simply said that they were good for carrying in a small handbag.

My aunty was a gem who will be greatly missed, but she will always be in my heart and I am grateful for all of the memories I have.  I love you always and forever, Aunty Joce, and I hope to see you on that great day when Jesus comes again.  May you rest in peace.