Life is nothing if it is not about growth. Life makes us all put things into perspective whether we are prepared to do or not. Our human brains are never quite prepared for beyond life, but we can’t lose perspective of what life is all about; living, loving, laughing, change and growth. Growth is about moving forward and moving forward is ultimately about death.
In mid-November 2014 my biological father, a man who did not raise me, passed on. I will eventually lose my beloved mother who is at hospice care and has lived with Dementia and Parkinsons for 13 years so far. Doris, my mom, single-handily raised me and my younger half-brother (different dads) to the best of her ability. I was devoted to her and dutiful to her every need. My father Clyde was inconsistent in our “relationship” at best.
(L.D. and Clyde in the 1960s and 2005 at my half-sister’s wedding.)
One thing I like about life’s growth, life’s transition, is that at some point you get a bit of clarity. For instance, all my life my father never told me why he chose not to participate in my upbringing, yet before he passed on, he became attentive to me and talkative, as if he wanted to really speak to me. I knew something wasn’t right, he was never effusive with me. I told my father I had finally gone back to work in a job with the Government and he suddenly beamed, he had retired with the Government.
“Oh, I put out contracts for the twin Tower building in Oakland, California! I retired wearing $200 suits!” My father loved his money.
“But, dad you know I am kind of artsy, do you think I will be able to keep up with this type of job?” I asked. He answered with his typical no-nonsense gruff Southern flare.
“Well, you got a brain, dont’cha? You went to college, didn’cha? They wouldn’t of hired you if they didn’t want you! They don’t hire dumb people, not the Government!” That was Clyde’s way of paying me a compliment, I believe. :c) I remember he and my mother came to my graduation, I had returned to college in the 1990s. That picture is the ONLY one of them together that I have.
(Doris Banbury and Clyde Sargent, 1996 SF State University)
Clyde even gave me money recently to be finger-printed for my job and money to eat, I was completely strapped before I got that job. He had never before been so readily attentive to me. But, it is when he asked me to live with him, came out of the blue a few weeks before he died, I realized something was wrong. Perhaps I had a biological “connection” to Clyde, but I knew something was not right. Three weeks later he was gone.
I am happy to have learned that my Southerner father Clyde Lee was a smart college educated man with a plethora of accolades on his den wall, I remember seeing them. Clyde survived Typhoid fever as a child growing up on a cotton field, a tiny parish called Sicily Island in Catahoula, Louisiana; (I went there as a girl and saw his house and the cotton field). Clyde fought in the Korean war (1954-56); graduated with a B.S. in Vocational Agriculture from Southern University and in 1984 Clyde became the first black Director of Procurement and Contracts for the Federal Government.
The coolest part, Clyde gave me my younger sister Vickie, we grew up in separate houses with different moms, but we got to know each other over the years which is a good thing. At Clyde’s memorial, he and my sister’s mother are cremated and will reside at their old house to be close to Vickie, I spoke although, I did not want to. But, I was poised and funny and irreverent and I mentioned that if Clyde did nothing else for me as I learned he had done for so many others, he gave me pretty good genes to work with. And that is the best type of “growth” to have, good genes, especially as an adult.
I am of exemplary health and I am prepared to move forward in life knowing that my mom, Doris, and my father Clyde gave birth to a woman of courage, faith and strength with good skin, good teeth, those that are MINE, and a wicked sense of humor! I believe life moves forward and we all must move with it, no looking back, but move forward and accept growth as a blessing not a challenge. GROW is what I am prepared to do.
Have a great holiday and New Years Eve and a fulfilling and prosperous New Year in 2015, everyone! Lorrie