Prepared

The Inevitable

funeralflower
Tushar Adhikari|Unsplash

Today, I prepared my Living Will & Testament. I had been meaning to draft this up for years, started it, and never finished, but today–it is done. I have all of the necessary mentions, made one of my best friends the Executor and both she and my mom as primary and secondary beneficiaries. Why one of my best friends and not my mom? We have discussed this, my Mom and I. Should I go before her, she is not what one would call a stable person emotionally. She would be too overwhelmed with sadness and grief and probably not the one to execute things accordingly. As grim as death is, in the event of the death of your child, plans still have to be made, funeral arrangements need to be completed, the gathering of souls and notifying them as well must be carried out and well… to be frank, she would not be able to get this done.

My best friend, on the other hand, handles things efficiently and does so in a way that many cannot. Plus, it will not be her first time dealing with death and dying and head-mastering the arrangements. I hate tasking either of them with this, but it must be done. Although I am what most would call young in age, death does not care about that. When I am called by God, I will be called and age will be the last thing on God’s mind. While diligently compiling the list of belongings and making sure Jernee will be cared for and loved when I am gone, I became a bit emotional myself. To think of one’s own death is quite macabre, however, as I stated earlier, this is necessary. I have had a number of peers die “untimely deaths,” and I am certain there will be more. It is not my intention to leave my family wondering what my wishes are nor is it my intention to leave them solely responsible for funding my homegoing.

The nearly three-page document lacks nothing. I went through it with a fine-toothed comb and I am pleased with every item bullet-pointed, including the want to be cremated and have my ashes relegated to my mother who may do what she likes with them at her discretion. I requested a small funeral–family and close friends only. I do not see a reason to have a mass gathering for the purpose of me leaving this earth. The more people at this event, the more my mom and best friend will have to deal with and I intend for their burdens to be light. They will have enough on their plates. Should my Mom go before me, I am the Executor and her primary beneficiary and I will adhere to her wishes as she has laid them out for me. The same goes for my best friend. We talk about these matters, better to do so than not be somewhat prepared.

The only thing left to do now is to obtain signatures and get the Notary Public at my credit union to notarize the document. I will try to accomplish this in the next week or two. I can let out a sigh of relief because after the fall in the shower, nearly two years ago, the one thing bleating in the back of my mind like an untamed billygoat is, “you need a Living Will. Get it done, Tre.”

And now, it is.

The Walk

An Experiment

Jernee, The Little Monster: Becoming familiar with nature. Photo Credit/Tremaine L. Loadholt

nicknames aren’t what most aspire to.
we’re often saddled with descriptions
that lessen our personality,
but “the little Monster” suits Jernee.
on walks, she sets her eyes
curiously on nature’s green gifts,
sniffing out the elite versus the subpar.
she has a system.
I am watchful, yet patient.
I admire her investigative process, her
obsession with marking her territory.

I give her space to explore
crumbled earth between her toes,
the dust settling on her paws
becomes a lickable treat after two miles.
we break for hydration and deep breaths,
neither of us — as young as we feel.
during Winter, the dew-drenched grass
is slick and tricky but doesn’t trip
the quick pace of a four-legged athlete.
she glides through the sea of green
without stopping.

life is less difficult with her around.
the walks we take, they are glue
for pieces of me prone to breaking and
in need of constant repair.
she senses my love for them, for her.
in every step, I witness a pet
who is confident in her role as
caregiver, as companion.

I don’t have to be anyone else.
she gives me space to adapt
whenever adaptation is necessary.
I favor the weekend morning walk.
we stroll and strut and spend
our time wisely.
just us, the wind, God, and the clouds…

and the knowledge of a connection
between a woman and her dog.


My little dog — a heartbeat at my feet. ©Edith Wharton

This is my eleventh year with Jernee by my side. You may hear people say, “I don’t know who rescued who,” but I do know and I can say without one shadow of doubt, that with her — I am much better. With her, I am alive.

unconditional 

To know the gift of unconditional love is to become one’s true self without fear. This is a milestone and my heart is happy.

My dad called last night. We had that talk about me being bisexual. I had wanted to be able to sit with him and discuss things in person, but according to him last night, he had something “weighing on his heart.” He just came out and asked me after prefacing it with how much he loves me and how he’d never stop, also stating that no matter who I am, I am his child first and his love for me will never change. 

Him being an Episcopalian preacher has no hierarchy over his love for his child. He also said that he’d known for years but didn’t know how to approach the subject, but he’s glad that I was open with him last night, that I shared myself at my full capacity. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be, it was like a casual conversation. I’m grateful for that. I believe, this will open up new doors for us. Expressing how this makes me feel has no words. I don’t think they have even been invented yet.

We all have our skeletons. I am happy mine are out of the closet. 

Centered

My Great-Grandmother Lucille Tiggs pictured at the far left. I have no clue of when this was, but I love this picture. Not sure who the other people are, but I aim to find out.

I remember my Great-Grandmother being more than sure of herself, she was confident and she had a presence about her that demanded your attention. I was close to her, undeniably and inexplicably close. Her passing more than sixteen years ago now gutted me. I felt as though my world would crumble. Her mind decided to give up on her. She had a form of dementia that beat her to a pulp and shrunk her overwhelming presence to one that we needn’t cower from. 

I do not want to ever know what it feels like to lose your mind, your sanity, your ability to make vital decisions for both yourself and others. When my Great-Grandmother’s condition worsened, her children agreed to have her placed under the watchful eyes of an appointed caregiver. There, in someone else’s home, she was monitored and cared for accordingly by professionals. It was there on my visits to her, that I noticed how aggressive this illness was. She didn’t know me anymore. Oh, she knew that I was family, but she kept referring to me as my older cousin. It pained me to watch her wither, to witness her become someone I did not know. 

Even though she was no longer as smart as a whip and her memory began shifting and leaving her day by day, there was still a sense of groundedness in her. I looked at her and she appeared centered. Was it the fact that she was in her eighties and had been the epitome of strength and tenacity for our family for decades? Was it because I still saw the confident and self-assured reckoning of a woman that she was? I am certain that it was a combination of these things, but now, when I feel as though I may fall or am falling, I think of her. I remember who she was and…

I tell myself that I am of her blood and I am centered, grounded, confident, and sure. 

I am hers even if she’s gone. 

Happy Days

My oldest nephew Jeremiah. My youngest niece Sarai.
My baby cousin Caison and I. Christmas Eve, 2018.
And again.
My niece, the dimpled dream, Kali.
My nephew Jr., always frowning. Lol.
My oldest niece Tierney, the eldest of them all. This young one is so incredibly intelligent, it truly renders me speechless.

The two things that I am sincerely proud of is being an Auntie and a big cousin. If I could divvy out my heart equally to each of these wondrous beings, I would. Time and distance keeps us apart more than I believe that it should, but I am most grateful for photos, the phone, and the US Postal service.

through pictures, we share

an undeniable love,

one that will not die