My "off day" also known as my day off.
Late last night my father passed away, and I was here in Haiti. These last couple weeks/months have really put a toll on me. I have been tired and stressed. I have been overwhelmed, but mostly I'm tired.
Today I can't even describe how I feel. Maybe I feel all those emotions wrapped up in one, but I'm also feeling a little content.
Last week I took a short trip home to see my family. My Mimi (grandmother) and my dad have been really sick these last couple months. I figured it was a good time to jump on a plane while there were no visitors, projects, or any pressing grants I needed to write. My trip was a week long. It was spent spending as much time with my family as possible.
This week was the first and last time I have seen my dad. Well, it was the first time I have seen him in a very long time. I didn't necessarily have the "ideal" family life growing up. My dad wasn't the "ideal" dad. It is what it is. I think I now realize that most of my life I didn't know my dad, but instead knew of his addictions. His addictions caused him to lose a family. I don't think he ever wished that upon himself. In the last year or so I was contacted by my dad to make amends. I was asked to see and if I would forgive him. Unfortunately, my time to the States is always short and usually organization related.
This time was different. I took time away from work. I didn't even try to raise funds, and if you know me well then you know it's not an easy thing.
I saw my dad last Thursday in a hospital room. It was roughly 9 hours before I was supposed to board for my flight back to Haiti. I walked in the room and his look on his face was like an ghost just as I walked in. Everything felt normal. For an hour it felt like I had a dad. My dad was barely able to speak, very uncomfortable, and in a lot of pain. He asked me things about my work, relationships, and if I was happy. I fed him a turkey sandwich while he continued to apologize and stroke my hair. I'll never forget how Big Bang Theory played in the background and how he had a fohawk hair cut. (nurse gave it to him). The hour was one of the most peaceful hours I have had in a long time and it's when I realized he was absolutely beautiful. He was made in his image. I leaned over and I gave him a kiss goodbye, and said I'll be back soon. I knew as I was walking out of the room that it was the very last time I was going to see my dad.
I don't for a second regret how I grew up or wish it was different. I wouldn't want to trade it in for anything in the world.
My dad makes me who I am today. I am 100% confident in this statement.
Our organization is based on loving people no matter what. Some of these cases are not easy.
I needed a break because it was getting hard to love over and over. It was getting hard to not get hurt or feel used.
We are lied to on a daily basis. We are lied to because they have never had people that have give them the chance and they aren't sure how to respond. Over time we see people stand on their own two feet. The lies disappear. Addictions disappear.
This all happens because they were loved, and they are loved over and over.
Sure it's hard on us mentally and physically, but everyone needs chances.
Not just one chance, but multiple.
It took me a long time to realize it was the "addictions" and not the man.
So in honor of my dad I will do my very best to look past the addictions and get
to the heart of these women we serve. I will understand how they were shaped and molded from their
previous life experiences. I will understand and be patient, and most of all I will keep on loving them.
And one night while having dinner with a glass of wine and feeling a little defeated over a particular day, I will give cheers to ones that are standing on their own feet because of an endless amount of love and a few second chances.