Today makes the second year anniversary of my father losing his battle to prostate cancer. In the two years he has been gone, I have been in a theoretical cocoon – a really deep depression marked by an aching quest to find myself again. Losing a parent is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced and not something you can explain to anyone who has not felt the wound. When he passed, I had not seen him for ten years – he moved to Ghana and died there. I couldn’t afford to go to the funeral. I won’t ever get over my father being gone. But as promised by my ancestors, his death became my rebirth.
The realest thing someone told me after his passing was that it would become lonely after the funeral. Which became true. All of the immediate calls and check – ins stopped. People had to go on with their lives – after all – it was not their father who had just died. The loneliness of grief pulls you into your self. I wanted to understand who I was now that my father was gone – a gaping hole eager to be filled again. I tried to fill it with loving men who triggered me alive – the toxicity of the relationships revealing all the things in me I needed to heal. All the ways my intricate relationship with my father molded me as a woman. I drank, I went out, I fought – I did everything but sit with my grief. Until I began teaching and found something that poured into me.
I suppose I am now in the acceptance stage of grief – though I still cannot believe the death. In this quasi-acceptance – I have been reflecting on why I started documenting Black definitions of love. I understand now that as a young twenty – something year old woman – finding outside definitions of love was easier than defining it for myself. I was twenty – five when I began Black Love Project and now at thirty – one I know what love looks and feels and acts like – which is me.
For so long I have told the stories of others – avoiding centering myself because in truth I did not know who that was. My father’s death forced me into finding and loving myself enough to tell my own story. In this way – love and death are the same – both allowed my rebirth and awakening.
I am excited to share all of the amazing things coming from Black Love Project and my newest venture with House of the Young, Ent.
All my wins are for you daddy. me lo wo.