The Ramblings Inside My Creative Mind: I Am He and He is Me

         It's that time of year again. That time that I dread. Every June 17th since 2016 I'm forced to relive the day that changed my life forever. The day I lost my dad. I'll never get over the universe's sick joke of taking him two days before Father's Day. Every year I get gut punched twice. "Hello, Asia here's the day your father died. Oh, and here's the day set aside to celebrate him." Thanks, universe! Thank you so much for that precious memory.
       This year it feels slightly heightened with everything that's happening in the world. Thinking of George Floyd's daughter spending her first father's day without one. Knowing that Rayshard Brooks' daughters are about to feel the same as I do. I wonder if they were daddy's girls like me. That's the hardest. I crumbled at the age of 33 losing mine. I couldn't imagine him being ripped from me before even reaching high school age. That's why this year it hits different.
        My dad was the one who tried to educate me about the injustices we face. I heard, but never listened. I was a kid. None of that had to do with me. That was all in the past, right? That's what naive innocent me thought. My dad knew better and he made sure I knew better. Like him I use my voice. I speak out and I stand up. In that he lives in me. He stood up for what he believed in. He said it with heart and he said it with force. I try to channel that in when I speak. The strength to fight for what's right.
        My father taught me about my ancestors. That started my love for autobiographies and history books. While every other kid wanted to read ghost stories or fiction I was in the library every week picking out books of black icons from Ida B. Wells to Marian Anderson to Jackie Robinson. I was forever learning. That thirst for knowledge didn't come from school. That came from William Anderson.
        He is the first black man I have ever loved and he was a great example of a caring, creative, knowledgeable, strong individual. I happy to be a part of him. I am more than happy to carry on his voice. I will be elated the day that I can have a child and pass on everything he ever was and everything that I am to the next generation of Andersons'. That would be my greatest honor.
         Still every June 17th I hurt and shut down. I still find myself trying to make sense of something that is and will always be a part of life. Still... Still I can't help but ask why. Four year later I still grieve. Time does heal some wounds but never all. I wish he could've made it this year to see me graduate. I wish he had made it to 2018 to know that there was a possibility that he'd be a grandfather. All of these milestones and the ones to come have an empty spot there. I know he's there for all those moments. I know that the grandchild that almost was is there with him now. The could've, should've, would'ves are all empty because that's not how life was supposed to go, unfortunately. No matter the hurt this is what the universe had planned. It's awful and it sucks, but this is what it is. That's the way life is. I'm thankful to have had him as long as I did.
         My father is gone, but never ever forgotten. I am he.

- Asia Aneka Anderson, 2020(c)

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