Today, I cried.
The reason why I wept is rooted in a sense of loss. Trauma, if you will. You see, I had a moment today to reflect, which led to thoughts of all of the loved ones that I’ve lost.
For years, I chose to cope with pain and loss with one simple rule: Move on to the task at hand. Each day is my focus. What has occurred yesterday or the day before, or even years prior to that, is often pushed to the side. But today, I cried.
My uncle Amos passed last week, the third brother my dad has lost in recent years. I intentionally avoided the funeral services for my other two uncles, Marvin and Jerry. I simply did not want to see my dad cry.
I saw my mother’s father, a man of men, cry once at another uncle’s funeral back in the 1990s. The sight of my big, tough, hard-working grandpa broken down shook me to the core. When my family buried my first-born son in 2009, I promised myself my other children would not be privy to that.
For 10 years, I have held it in. But today, I cried.
I thought of Amos and his pending funeral. My dad’s family is a close bunch. My paternal grandmother - we call her Big - had eight children. I have a host of uncles, aunts and cousins. We roll deep. The last funeral me and my dad attended was the homegoing celebration for Toriano II. Ten years ago, my baby boy was shot and killed in north St. Louis at age 16.
I hated that day. I did not want to be there. Anywhere but here, I thought as my son was laid to rest. Anywhere but here.
Today, I cried as thoughts of my best friend Rory L. Watkins overcame me. We called him Big Nose Rory. He was murdered in north St. Louis as well. Shot dead at age 33. A little over one year prior to the death of Toriano II.
Today, the emotion was too much to avoid. Somewhere in the middle of Missouri, I pulled to the side of Interstate 70 and let it all go. Nearly 12 years after Nose died, and a decade after my son’s death, I finally cried.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had moments over the years. I often think of those two in tandem. My best friend and son. Both of whom lived with me at one point or another years ago. We were a real life Two-and-a-Half Men.
I had never really cried over their deaths. I didn’t want their assailants to have that power over me.
But today, I cried.
And let me tell you, it was therapeutic, cathartic, and much needed.
I’ve tried to teach my children that it is okay to cry. Especially my boys. Emotion is a good thing. It is what connects us as humans. I want my children to be able to express themselves no matter the circumstance.
But how can I teach them when I don't use or take my own advice?
So today, I cried. And it felt good as hell.