Grief

I’ll Miss You Uncle Dale

I never imagined I’d be faced with death again so soon; like, this life is mad.  Actually mad.  How can you see someone one night and then the next day they’ve dropped dead – with no warning at all?

When I learned that my Uncle Dale had died yesterday, shock hit me like a slap in the face and I didn’t know how to feel.  Why was this happening to me again?  Why was I being faced with another shock death in just under a year?  Why, why, why?  I mean, I could not understand it, as I’d just seen him last night at another one of my uncles’ houses.

My Uncle Dale was full of laughter, jokes and conversation, with eyes that twinkled like my beloved grandad, whose own death last year continues to feel surreal to me.  Like my grandad, he also told the famous “Burton jokes” and had a kind heart.

Each year, he was one of my uncles who regularly remembered my birthday and gave me a card, or just some money, because he wanted to give me something.  Unfortunately, I think I took that for granted, but I appreciate it so much now that he’s gone.

My uncle also had a special place in my life because he was my mum’s “twin”.  Although there were three years between them, they happened to be born on the same day.  Imagine, ten children and two of them just happen to be born on the same day – how weird and amazing is that?  I’m so grateful for the time we were able to spend with him at our house this year when he and my mum celebrated their birthdays together, which was something we had done for the first time.  That is going to be a memory I’ll now cherish forever.

I’ll miss my Uncle Dale greeting me with, “Hello Shani” and a kiss on the cheek, asking how I am and engaging in conversation at times.  I’ll miss his generosity and I’ll miss his presence at family gatherings – he truly was unique.

Although I don’t understand and struggle to comprehend why he was taken so suddenly and so soon, God knows what He’s doing and I’ve just got to trust in that.  Now my Uncle Dale is soundly asleep, resting away from this cruel world, but I hope to see him on that great day when my Jesus comes again and I can embrace him and my grandad together.

I don’t think I told you this Uncle Dale when you were alive, but I love you and always will.  May you rest in peace.

A Much Needed Release

I really want to write something today.  In fact, I feel like I need to write something today.  I guess that there are a lot of pent-up feelings inside that need to be released and my beloved writing is my best outlet for that.

There are a number of things going on in my mind these days – more than I even want or would care to mention.  Sometimes they keep me from sleeping, sometimes they make me feel sad, and sometimes they simply remind me of a worse time.  That is one of the last things I want.

In all honesty, it is mostly my crowdfunding campaign that is occupying my thoughts and draining my energy little by little.  I desperately want it to succeed and reach as many individuals as possible, but man is it hard work.  I knew it was going to be hard, but I could never have imagined just how difficult this task would be.  I’m putting it in God’s hands though and I know that with Him I will succeed – I mean, with God for me who can be against me.

I’m finding myself thinking about my late grandad and aunty a lot recently as well and I’m not sure why.  All I know is that I keep thinking about when I lost them or their funerals or how much I miss them, and it hurts my heart.  Tears spring to my eyes and emotion builds up inside of me, knowing that I have to live the rest of my life without them.  I don’t think I’ll ever fully get past that.

Then there is a situation with a certain friend of mine, which has been causing me a lot of frustration and sometimes upset.  Certain things need to be raised with him, but I don’t know how to do it and I don’t want to cause any unnecessary unrest in his life.  I keep putting it off, even though I know the conversation needs to be had and the whole situation has been bothering me without his knowledge.  I hate rocking the boat, but I don’t like unresolved issues in my relationships with those I am close to, especially when it makes me start feeling like a fake.  I also can’t have situations negatively effecting my emotional wellbeing and not doing anything about it, because that’s not healthy.  I just need to somehow have this conversation.

And then there is a certain someone who has made a surprise reappearance in my life and wants to pick up where they left off, but cannot be relied upon or trusted.  I’ve been here before with them and they’ve completely left my life, without warning or explanation.  I know this could easily happen again, which is why I don’t want any attachment to form, but this person unfortunately always finds a way of getting into my head and I hate it.  I am planning to keep my distance though and let them talk to me when they want, because I refuse to repeat the mistakes of my past and feel hurt, rejection and confusion.  I’m done with all of that.

There are many more things on my mind, but like I said, I don’t want or care to mention them all.  I’ve expressed what I’ve wanted to express, which feels like a burden lifted, although my head is still throbbing a little.  I think I just need a holiday.

Reflecting on 2016

This year has been a weird one, a real weird one.  I came into it with uncertainty, but optimism, ready to embrace the new paths in my life and actually make 2016 my year.  However, life is never what you expect and this year didn’t turn out to be my year.

What started out so positively, with a good turnout at my first youth forum and a new job that fitted my situation perfectly, soon turned into negative heartbreak.  Losing my grandad back in March hurt more than I could have ever imagined, then suddenly losing my aunty in June was another major blow to my heart.  The death of someone you love is never something you want to have on the agenda and I’m still struggling to come to terms with the fact that they’re gone – I don’t know when it will properly sink in.

The deaths of my grandad and aunty sent the first half of this year on a downward spiral, which wasn’t helped by the dwindling numbers at my youth forum or having to stop counselling when I needed my counsellor most.  Uncertainty, doubt and self-hate kicked in, with my self-worth at a major low and I didn’t know how to raise it up again.  My relationship with writing broke down with my broken heart, and I felt that I couldn’t turn to anyone.  I’m just glad that God was always there in my darkness, never leaving me or letting me down.

Nevertheless, weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.  Taking part in The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) in August was a huge saving grace for me, providing me with the time I needed to mourn and helping to mend my relationship with writing in the process.  Despite feeling lost, out-of-place and lonely during the beginning of the process, I found my way and felt a lot better by the end.  I loved having the opportunity to perform poetry again and organising the poetry night finally gave me the confidence to put on my own poetry nights in Croydon for my youth platform, Young People Insight.

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Being around the individuals from TCFT was also a great help.  My darling Rory was my superhero during those two weeks and I felt blessed to spend so much time with him.  The beautiful Tina, who has become my biggest champion, has given me so much confidence and support, which I am incredibly grateful for.  It was a pleasure to get to know Sandra better and develop a stronger relationship with her, as she gave me advice and support in some of my down times.  I just adore my partner in crime Ellie, I don’t know where I would have been without her.  And there are so many more names, which I don’t even want to mention in case I forget and offend someone.  The love I have for my TCFT family cannot even be expressed with words.

Me, Nomes and Sandra

Volunteering at the soup kitchen at the church I attend has also been a major high for me this year, as I got to know some truly lovely people and develop new, meaningful relationships, which I treasure.  Getting to know a group of individuals from Poland has given me greater understanding of Polish people and I have gained a new respect for them, as well as a deep love for Eastern Europeans.  It also gave me a renewed vigour to make a difference in this world, fight injustice and change it for the better.  God has given me a calling and although it’s tough to embrace at times, I do want to answer the call.

There have been a number of other highlights, including my holiday to Bosnia, having the opportunity to work with so many beautiful children and making new friends.  My youth forum has continued to grow and develop, with much more happening next year.  I just want to take this time to give a special mention to the young people who have come out and supported Young People Insight on a regular – Andrae, Alana, Randy, Jason, Kyle, Hakeem, Darnell and Rhi; I love you guys.

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Although 2016 hasn’t been what I wanted it to be or thought it would be, it has been special in a lot of ways, full of fun, love and laughter.  It may not seem like it a lot of the time, but I have achieved a lot and grown a lot.  I still have a long way to go in 2017, but I know that God will get me there and continue to bless me, because He is my rock and my constant.  I know He’ll never let me down.  I just hope that I continue to grow into the person He wants me to be and follow the path He’s set me on.  And besides, one more year means one step closer to seeing my grandad and aunty again.