Monday, May 30, 2016

Daughter of a Slain “G” - A Dad Remembered

There are many memorable moments in life or milestones that cause us to celebrate, laugh and be merry. Conversely, there are times that cause us to mourn, cry and grieve. Then there are those moments, those defining moments, that are so gut wrenching that they bring us to our knees, altering our very existence as we know it. Those moments are the ones that develop character but beyond that, change us to our core almost to the point that we become unrecognizable to ourselves. 

That rare defining moment for me was April 15, 2009 when I received a phone call from my Mom informing me that my Dad, Harold L. Able Sr., was gone. Somewhere deep within myself still lies a childish innocence that refuses to face those adult things in life head-on. So when my Mom told me that my Dad was gone my first thought was ‘gone where?’. Then just like that, I blinked and I became an adult again and into full awareness that my father, the strong one, the invincible one was gone; really gone. 

In a matter of seconds I wrapped my head around the concept of ‘gone’ until the wrecking ball was thrust directly into my gut causing me to lose breath for what seemed like an eternity but was only seconds. In my confusion I managed to ask, “What happened?” The three words that followed were three words you can never be prepared for: 

“He was murdered”

I lost all feeling in my body and in all one very slow motion, my arm dropped lifeless causing my cell phone to fall to floor. I stood motionless, numb, and for a minute or so: dead.  

My heart stopped beating in that moment and as I would soon discover, it took years to restore it back to a false sense of normalcy. The reality is things will never be like they were so the goal, I was told, is to create a new normal where you can exist. So I did. I existed. Neglecting to live because a piece of me died on April 15, 2009. Only I didn’t hold a viewing for that dead part of me or have a funeral, burial or repast. I left her open, wounded and exposed to the elements until she began to decompose physically leaving only her spirit lingering in limbo with nowhere to go. She would manifest herself on occasion in the form of anger. Sometimes she would show up bruised and hurt. After time went on however, she began to manifest as bitterness; sweet bitterness, sometimes happy and sometimes sad. This may be the greatest oxymoron known to someone who has ever grieved. It is a very low place. 

That low place existed for me because on April 13, 2009, someone decided to do the unthinkable, the unimaginable, and the inconceivable: murdering my father, my rock, my personality twin, my Dad. As I’m penning this piece on this blistery, cold day of what would have been his 70th birthday, April 5th, I’m reminded of how cold it was on April 13th and 14th of 2009. I remember walking to my office near the Metro Center train station in Washington, DC complaining about how it was too cold for April. My Dad was murdered in Baltimore, MD on April 13, 2009 but his body was not found until April 15, 2009, a whole two days later. After some years of reflection I recognized that even in the midst of tragedy, God was still right there. It was the cold, blistery air that preserved my father’s body during those two days so that we could have an open casket funeral. 

No matter what happens in our lives, God is still in control. I’m thankful that God has resurrected that piece of me that died that day. Through his loving kindness and tender mercy he has allowed anger to be replaced with love, hurt to be replaced with wholeness, and caused sweet bitterness to evaporate leaving only the sweetness of His love behind. This was a journey ordained for me to take and by the grace of God I’m still walking. 

Gun violence brings immense hurt and pain to the families of the victims. Its grip is so tight that many never fully recover. In fact, I haven’t fully recovered but rather with Christ I am covered. Gun violence on the streets of Baltimore must end. It erodes the very fabric of our community to a point where people begin to lose hope. Like my Dad’s murder, many of the homicides in Baltimore go unsolved and the number of homicides continue to pile up. Although it is easier said than done we, as a community, can not lose hope. 

I personally will never lose hope that justice will be served. I pray for it daily. I’m the daughter of a slain “G” and no, the “G” is not for gangster but it is for Giver because that’s what my Dad was at his core, a giver. He would help anybody and my guess is at some point in time, he also helped the very person who took his life. This mistreatment of people and disregard for human life in general has to stop, the violence must end.  

Please Stop the Violence! 

Remember those persons on today who have impacted your life in a positive way!

Happy Memorial Day!

R.I.P. Dad, Granny & Grandaddy, Aunt Bummie, Uncle Donald, Cousin Tim, Cousin Erica and Cousin Lorrie 

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Puffer and the Poofer!

In the last post we talked about ‘the puffer’, you know the guy who blows smoke but never follows through! I believe we resolved to Puff, Puff, Pass on him! In this post I want to introduce yet another type to steer clear of and he’s better known as ‘The Poofer’ and offer some tips to recognize both of them early and run for your life!! 

The Poofer (sometimes referred to as 'ghosting') is the guy that goes ‘poof!’ and vanishes into thin air. We may as well call this dude Casper, the not so friendly ghost!! We’ve all encountered him at one point or another he may have poofed early or may have waited until he was months in but before you could blink your eyes good - Poof! He was gone. 

Here’s a scenario: you go out on a date with this handsome suitor, you enjoy dinner, music, the park or whatever and you have great conversation and a great time in general. The night ends and you’re smitten, secretly fantasizing about the second date. Then out of nowhere your handsome suitor date goes POOF! 

Here’s another: you begin dating this guy and things are going really well, 3 months in he’s introducing you to family members, you’re doing holidays together and taking weekend excursions (with accountability partners of course - go ahead, roll your eyes!). Suddenly you begin to notice him becoming distant. You scratch your head and wonder why and then just like that he goes POOF!

I gave the two scenarios because the POOF can come at any stage in the game. There are many reasons why a man goes poof such as: 

-He may have some serious emotional issues
-He may actually be extremely interested in you which terrifies the man who has serious emotional issues
-Conversely, he just may not be that in to you
-He could be a womanizer and not want to do you wrong
-He could be dating other women and you didn’t make the cut
-He could just be a jackass (sorry I told you I was a cussin’ Christian!)

The list of why could go on and on to eternity. The reality is, many puffers and poofers are not bad people but you certainly can conclude they are just not for you. 

Here are some tips to recognize a Puffer: 
  1. He never follows through on what he says he’s going to do. A man’s word is still his bond right?
  2. He always sounds too good to be true. If it quacks like a duck then…
  3. He’s full of empty excuses. He has to be right? He has to have something to say when he doesn’t show up for the 3rd time!
  4. They are usually distant but will say just enough to appear close; they always claim to be overly busy with something

Puffers are very recognizable because their words and actions are unaligned. The Poofer is a bit more ambiguous and is not as recognizable as the other. 

Here are some tips to recognize a Poofer: 
  1. Pay close attention to what they say; the poofer always plans the poof and sometimes gives you clues along the way (i.e. never mentions the future with you)
  2. (Not Applicable to All) Mental illness is sometimes present here. If he exhibits signs of mental illness, then he could poof at any time
  3. He Poofs at certain times during the relationship; he frequently performs disappearing acts and regards them as normal while disregarding your feelings about them. 
  4. He puts on the “smooth” a bit too hard. The poofer does not want you to catch wind of his upcoming poof so he throws you off track by being overly charming. (Don’t shun the charming guy in general just be watchful)

This is not to say be leery of the super, overly nice guy because quite frankly that’s what you want! This is to say pray for some discernment because many times this is what it takes to recognize a Poofer! 

When the poof happens it can be painful, hurtful and ego-bruising. However, this too shall pass! 
You will be alright as many of you can attest. Just know the poof was for your own good, let him be someone else’s issue. 

We’ll pass of the Poofer too!!

Do the Work in 2024!

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