Mariah Carey had already left the Time Square stage. Snoop was strolling along the stage with Pitbull. You were wherever you were and I was in my living room with my brother and sisters and some of their families. As the clock wound down I was hit by two things. The first is, and this happens every year, I’m amazed at the fact that you cannot stop time. I’m not claiming this to be new but it hits me as the countdown stops for no one. It doesn’t stop at 7, or 5, or 2…it goes down to zero and starts all over again. As much as we/I might think that we have some control…the reality is that we have very little.
The second thing that I experienced was that each year, for as long as I can remember (not just the last three years since Trey died), I get momentarily sad as we hit the new year. I’m not sure if it predates Trey being diagnosed or not. That would be something to peruse I suppose. However, one could argue that I have other things going on that might be causing that melancholy moment. My father has been experiencing health problems for the better part of a year. Healthy for almost all of his life up to this point, his health has really taken a turn in the last three months.
He went into the hospital in mid October. I remember sitting in the emergency room with him thinking, “Whoa…too soon. Way too soon.” There were reminders of the Trey days all over the place. Yes, a few weeks after Trey died we had to take Joe to the doctor as he was having a terrible time breathing and that was WAY WAY too soon but this was too soon…too. In and out of the hospital, moving in to my brothers, doctor visit here and there, stays in rehab nursing facilities, the ordeal became a part of our lives. I sat in the waiting room of my dad’s Hematologist which was in a cancer center. “Too soon” I thought again. I kept waiting for them to call me into the back to hear them say, “Your father has cancer.” They didn’t say that. Instead they said, “Blabbity gook, boobity bop, copay copay, next appointment, confusion confusion.”
Then, something else hit me. Another familiar feeling. People were flooding me with care, concern, and love. In very similar, not exact but similar, fashion I handled this situation the same as Trey’s. Granted, he’s my father and not my son and he means the same to several others as he does to me but in general I’ve handled it the same. While the first component of successful relationships is putting your trust in God to meet your needs. The second, however, is to be open, honest, and vulnerable with your communication (the third is to mutually give to meet others needs, just in case you were wondering. That’s exactly what I was, what I did. Both during the Trey days and now with my dad I have been open, honest, and vulnerable. As I have relayed my/our/his situation through social media and in person something very familiar has happened. People have said to me, “What can I do?”
Not just a couple people…many people. Some haven’t asked and just did things. Many more check in with me and see how we are doing. So many people have shared their hearts with me and I am so very grateful. My sister read a bunch of comments from my page to my dad. He was moved to near tears at how many people who he doesn’t even know would send their love and well wishes. I cannot encourage you enough to let people in during times like these. I know why you don’t (if you’re one who doesn’t). You probably have in the past and got hurt, felt let down, didn’t get the support you were looking for. I am very sorry. However, not communicating needs ensures they won’t get met.
I am so very grateful. When people say, “What can I do?” I know that they care. I know that they love. I know that I’m not alone. Another beauty of it is that THEY are blessed. They get to know that THEY matter. That THEIR love has an impact, that THEY are not alone. I have actually sat next to my dad thinking, “Man, people are really pouring their heart out to me…should I feel worse?” I then shared that with someone and they said, “Jay, you’ve experienced worse…much worse, your feelings are fine.” Again, blessed.
My heart goes out to you who are sad, hurt, and lonely. What can I do? I can join you in your mourning…even during mine. I’m here with and for you. I encourage all of you to do the same. “What can I do?” is a powerful thing to say.