2500 years ago, a philosopher once said: “To fear death gentlemen is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not; to think one knows a thing when one does not. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a man; yet men fear it as if they knew it was the greatest evil.”
I was brought into this cold and bitter world on July 25, 1997. Roughly three years later, my father would meet his fate with no last words, as a bullet with his name engraved on it punctured through his forehead, filling his mind with poisonous lead.
He died before my mother could drop down on her knees and beat his chest attempting to weep him back to life. The offender ran as far as his legs would carry him. Eventually he would run right into the hands of the District Attorney of whose grasp he would stay for ten years.
Nonetheless, according to me, justice was not served. Criminal Justice may have been served, but whether he served the rest of his day in jail or the rest of his life in a prison cell, it would not change our circumstances. My mother had officially become a single mother with four young children to raise alone. I can only imagine her grieving, and having to complete the difficult task of raising four fatherless children, and constantly forced to face the fact that her lover was gone. Gone and would never again return.
What Justice System was to repair the shattered heart of my mother? What judge has the authority to sentence the acidic tears that eternally flowed from her heart within and from her eyes without? What clerk would even attempt to muster the audacity to record the inconsolable moans and groans of a mother in grief? What attorney, be it defense or prosecuting, would be able to find the words to argue her case before an impartial jury of her peers? And where was the preacher, the true man of God, who would tell her that which she already knew, that my father was not going to heaven?
I honor my mother, for she did everything in her power to see to it that I would not meet death as soon as my father. But her grasp was not firm enough, for I would meet a worse fate than my father did. I would land in the lap of the Justice System; the very system that lacked the morality and conscience to console my grieving mother.
This pill was too hard for my fragile mother to swallow, but she courageously hid her pain for my sake, and for that I am grateful. I never grew to really love my father, I was too young to even remember him, but his love and memory lives on through the people who knew and loved him.
During my time enduring this ordeal, I have lost an aunt, an uncle, and an inseparably close friend of the family; and as they passed, so too, the memory and love of my father also passed with them. (It’s like my father is dying all over again, but this time more painful and slower.)
My father’s death is of supreme reverence to me, and it pains me to even speak of it, but this single event molded me into who I am today. It has taught me to name myself in my heart, and in spite of anyone’s opinion, know who I really am; and although I am confined by the walls of oppression, I am free. Free because early on my father put his life on the line so as to give me freedom no man has the power to take; a freedom that surpasses the understanding of all men. A freedom to cling to the neck of that shiny, gallant, black stallion we know as hope.
I dearly believe if the Lord granted my father a few second to exhale his last words, he would echo in the words of a philosopher, “now we part, dear family, I to die and you to continue to dwell among the living, only God knows which is best.”