A letter to my lost father, Wilbert Blair
By BOMANI IKEMBA MAYASA | 8/21/2014, 2:09 p.m.
The last time I saw you, I was 14 years old. That was also the last time we said “I love you” to one another. Then you vanished from my life. I lost contact with you for 10 years. And I haven’t laid eyes on you in over 20 years now. How do you mend a bond that has been broken for so long?
As a young boy, spending time with you (no matter how brief) was a highlight, and I looked forward to seeing you. I have fond memories of you kissing my head and pulling my nose, telling me how much you loved me, asking me in your Jamaican accent, “Do you love your daddy?” To which I always responded excitedly with a “Yes!” You never dropped any wisdom on me. Never taught me how to tie my shoes, ride a bike or anything like that. But as a child, that didn’t matter to me. I was happy and content just being in your presence. As a boy, I adored you. I don’t remember having a negative thought in regards to you. What a difference 20 years makes, huh?
I can’t believe my dad committed suicide
I still can’t believe my dad committed suicide. He put a .38 to his head and pulled the trigger. I don’t know if I’ll ever get over that.
Peace, family. I appreciate everyone for your condolences. I’m still attempting to process all that happened and the manner in which my father passed. It’s all very painful for me.
I wrote this letter to my dad, which I would appreciate if everyone took the time to read. He’s not here in the physical anymore for us to have this conversation, so I hope this energy reaches him in the next realm through your reading this letter. These are just some feelings I had sitting in my chest that I needed to purge. It was difficult to write, and I shed plenty tears writing it. Again, I appreciate all of you. Peace and love.
Now, here we are, 20-plus years later. You weren’t around to guide me through mistakes I made as boy. You missed when I was thrown out of high school and had to go get a GED diploma. You weren’t around to give me sound advice when I started college. Nor were you around to make sure I stayed focused enough to finish college.
You missed the birth of my first child. I was 22. A young man in need of some fatherly guidance and wisdom. You had no idea that at 2 weeks old, your granddaughter contracted meningitis and was on the brink of death. That was one of the toughest moments in my life. During this period of my life, I had no idea where you were, if you were alive or dead. Sometimes I tried to convince myself that you were dead because that reality was easier to deal with, more so than you just being gone out of my life, just living yours.
I now have two daughters who will never know their grandfather, partly because you and I don’t know each other anymore. I feel cheated. I was robbed of my birthright. That father/son bond was stolen from me, forcefully stripped from me, and I had to deal with that loss for more than half my life. There’s a void that can never be filled. That’s a pain I’ve become used to. But a pain that I felt every day of my adult life. You are to blame for that.
Over the past 20-plus years, I’ve grown bitter toward you. The way you abandoned me was the act of a coward.
With all that said, over the past year or so we attempted to mend our broken bond. We’ve had numerous conversations that really amounted to nothing. Still received no wisdom from you, but like when I was a child, that didn’t matter to me. Just hearing your voice and knowing that you were there was enough for me.
You decided to take your own life. For reasons I’ll never know. But I have this deep feeling of pain and guilt. You were made aware of my bitterness toward you. But there was something left out of all of our recent conversations, something that I’ve felt in my heart about you throughout my life, something I didn’t get to say to you, something I regret not saying to you in your last days. And that is, I love you, Dad. Over the years, I’ve grown bitter but I still love you, and all I ever wanted was for you to be there for me. Now I’m forced to write this letter to you. I took for granted that one day we would have this conversation face-to-face. But now you’re gone, and I’ll never have the opportunity to tell you that I forgive you. And despite everything, I love you. I can’t help but wonder if I had the courage to tell you that I loved you, would that have given you the strength to keep living? Just like I was robbed of that bond 20-plus years ago, you robbed me of it again—this time forever. I didn’t know it would hurt this much. I hope whatever pain you were dealing with in life is over now. But now I have to live with the pain I’ve been living with my whole adult life, until I meet the grave.
Rest in peace, Wilbert Blair.
For what it’s worth to you now ... I love you, Dad.