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Dealing With My Father’s Death

Red rose on gravestone in cemetery

The past 2 and a half weeks have been such a difficult time in my life. As my father recently passed away unexpectedly, it’s been difficult dealing with his funeral and all that comes with it, along with overcoming the grief and enduring the pain associated with the recent deaths in my hometown community of Baton Rouge, LA involving Alton Sterling and police officers, plus consoling my stepmother as she learned of her brother’s death the day before my father died, and doing my best to make wise decisions for my future while dealing with my own life’s issues.

I suppose the death of someone close to you in general is something you can never truly prepare for. It has been suffocating dealing with everything; from my own emotions over the loss of my Dad, to the conversations between friends and family about it, planning and executing the funeral arrangements, dealing with all the legal issues that came along with it, etc… all of these things are necessary, time consuming, and so draining. And, in my situation, since I didn’t have the best relationship with my father, it somehow makes everything just a little worse for some reason.

This morning I went to speak to my father’s lawyer about his will and my inheritance with my brother and my father’s wife (my stepmother). Walking into the lawyer’s office, I had no idea what my father’s will stated. My father wasn’t extremely wealthy but did have assets that would make him a millionaire, which caused him to be one of the wealthiest African-Americans in his community. So I didn’t know what Dad left me and my brother, but I did expect to receive some type of inheritance as we were his only children.

In reading my father’s will that he wrote 5 years ago, I learned today that he left neither my brother nor I one penny… or any inheritance for that matter. As he left everything in his possession to his wife.

Boom! A bomb dropped in my spirit after reading his will. So, what now? I honestly don’t know how to feel, except hurt. Questions about life loom in my mind, like: Did I just spend 36 years of my life honoring and respecting a man who didn’t value me enough to leave me an inheritance? Did I just spend the last 22 years of my life respecting a woman (my Dad’s wife) who doesn’t even regard me as a real family member? Was all the stress I felt and time that I spent in an effort to please him done in vain?

At my father’s funeral I tried my best to put him in the best light and celebrate his life. Because that’s what I felt God would want me to do. When I learned of my father’s death, in my heart I made the decision to cast down my current life goals and quit pursuing my dreams in order to continue our family legacy by being the third generation Perry to work on the family property if I was given the opportunity, because I value family legacy. Well… now I know that I don’t have that opportunity. It feels so weird to realize that even those who love you as family (and I believe my father loved me), may not truly consider you as family.

In life, it’s a difficult task to respect and honor someone who doesn’t respect and honor you. And, it’s a hard thing when you realize that your father doesn’t value you as a son. Right here and right now, my heart is hurting because I value family. But, when I think about it all, I can’t help but love my mother more than ever. I see clearer than ever that the love from a parent is not guaranteed, and my mom’s love for me was her decision. She chose to love me… and I have so much gratitude and appreciation for her and all my friends, spiritual family, and anyone else who have shown me love.

I have no room in my heart for bitterness, hate, or resentment towards anyone. I choose to live my life where I love others regardless of their love for me or how they treat me, because I have amazing spiritual mentors in my life and I know deep inside my heart that Jesus loves me. The power of love is so great. So what do I have to worry about… nothing. I just need to find my smile again.

“What’s for you is for you, and no one but God can give it to you or take it away.” – Jason

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