It’s been 12 years to the day since you passed away and I miss you just as much today as I did then. You were my best friend and my confidant, my cheerleader and my checker. And as I look back over the last decade, there are certain lesson I’ve learned through moments I wished you had been there.
They say you never get over the passing of loved ones, but you learn to cope, which leads me to the first lesson: life goes on.
Life goes on.
There are moments in life when we feel down, defeated and done. In those moments, we struggle. Believing that nothing else matters and all is lost–our dreams, hopes and aspirations–we lose the strength to stay strong and go on. But I remember dad passing on your last words and wishes to me. I remember him telling me how much you wanted me to celebrate your life rather than mourn in a way that would make me stop living my own. Since then, even through dark and difficult episodes in life, love and everything in between, I always look and push forward.
Life can be hard, but accepting that it goes on and learning to push through has allowed me to become more self-aware—my strengths and weaknesses, hopes and aspirations are as clear to me as the sound of your voice when I imagine what advice you would give during a difficult time or moment. Self-realization is a power thing, and knowing who I am has allowed me to fully realize who I need to be as a son, a brother, a friend, a coworker, a romantic partner, and a citizen of this world.
You were a fearless self-directed and self-determining woman, and I now know what made you that way, you knew who you were.
Live for love.
Over 500 people showed up to your funeral. They even named a church after you. Even to this day, people I don’t even know reach out to me and say, “Are you Dolly’s son, Kwapi? Your mother was an amazing woman.”
You were loved. You touched people’s lives in ways that stayed with them. And even though they are thankful for everything you did for them, what they cherish most is the love and kindness you gave. And so through you, I’ve learned dedicate my life to the greater good of others and aspire to give more to this world than I will ever take from it.
Those are just three of many lessons I’ve learned since you’ve been gone. Lessons that remind of you. Lessons that remind me of how much I miss you, my first love, and although I sometimes struggle with what I believe spiritually, I sincerely hope that one day I will see you again.
Your loving son.
Kwapi Vengesayi is an Amazon bestselling author whose books explore captivating musings and thought-provoking conversations about love, relationships, life and our human experience. You can find his book on Amazon. You can also follow him on Twitter @kwapiv or subscribe to his blog at kwapiv.com