Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Daddy's girl

Each year I think that it would get easier but it hasn't been the case. How do you fill a father's role in 24 long years? I've had strong role models but it hasn't made missing him any easier. Today marks 24 years since his passing. Yes, it's been 24 long years since I kissed him gently on his forehead after his physicians pulled the plug. I remember that day so vividly at 7 years of age as if nothing else mattered. Not my collection of stickers or  miniature tea set and kitchen gadgets. Nor did my homework or the orphans that we were supposed to visit that Saturday with the Mother Theresa nuns walking about. NONE of that. Just being in that moment at that instant. The walls were closing in on me and I had suddenly forgotten to breathe. In, OUT...IN, OUT. OUT...IN..wait. What??? How do I do this again? I went back to that same fear I had when I got lost following someone whom I thought was my papa when we moved from our house to an apartment and I ended up following a TOTAL stranger. F*@K!!! I was scared. I overheard my half-siblings talking to my mom and the doctors but before I could make out their plan, we were quickly sent down to the cafeteria and grab some ice cream. 

My mother begged his doctors for my brothers and I to be nearby as soon as the decision was made to take him off life support.  It was a military-based hospital and minors weren't allowed in ICU. Well, that and my parents were never married so we weren't considered his children. In a country where Catholicism is the predominant religion practiced, bastard children were very much frowned upon. It actually states on my birth certificate that I am an 'Illegitimate' child. For real. I will have to retrieve it from my safe deposit box and photograph it to show you but it has no relevance now. I am my father's child whether a religious group deems it or not.  I had a little over 7 years of my life to share with him but a lifetime of getting to know the siblings that I share through his legacy.

To this day, I often wonder how much NOT having him in my life has affected my life. Some things I can definitely make the connection with his loss, others I try and take responsibility for and the rest of the time the lines get blurred and I end up praying to God that "this too, shall pass." I miss my papa dearly and no matter how many years go by without him, I know that he'll always be in my heart. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Jayna Murray: May You Rest In Peace Part 3

As I read the headline, "Life-Sentence Without Parole," I am comforted to know that Jayna can finally rest in peace. The last 10 months have been full of amazing things, except for the news that a dear friend had been violently taken away. From the first few news breaks about suspected killers to evidence pointing to the culprit being her co-worker, I was astonished about how Jayna's life was taken away. Instead of focusing on the negative, I immediately contacted fellow SASers who knew Jayna and emailed the headquarters of Lululemon.

In my 31 years, I had not expected to get so involved in a friend's death but felt the need to do something MORE than just cry and read details of how it all went down. I was highly motivated by anger and faith that there had to be a reason that all this was happening. Was it so that I can reconnect with my fellow classmates where I met Jayna (Semester at Sea)? (grateful for getting back in touch with a handful of friends) Or, maybe see how I can utilize my resources to commemorate her beautiful life? (held a candle vigil in her honor, help with the foundation, run a 5K) Maybe it's so I can revisit my love of writing and contribute to the world in that way? (picking up writing again) Maybe connect deeper with God? (my faith has grown even more) SO many things ran through my brain in the following week after my friend Leah broke the news.  A lot of AMAZING things have happened since March 11th, 2011. My love for travel, which I shared with Jayna, suddenly flared and my desire to leave the US became an obsession. I had no idea that I would meet someone that would challenge that obsession but I am grateful that he collided with my first one. I have picked up writing again, something that I had put on the shelf for a year; These are just a few of what has transpired over the course of 10 months.

The impact of Jayna's death made me anxious about growing up and achieving my dreams. Her St. Vincent Millay quote in my book still reverberates in my head. "The world stands out on either side no wider than the heart is wide; above the world is stretched the sky-no higher than the soul is high. The heart can push the SEA and LAND farther away on either hand; The soul can split the sky in two, and let the face of God shine through." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

I am not sure what the next day, month, or even year will hold but I owe a lot of my motivation to Jayna. Of all the things that have come out of this experience, I am proud to sit on the board of the Jayna Troxel Foundation and will spend the rest of my life with the motto," What Would Jayna Do?" She brought her exuberance into numerous lives in her studies, work and travels and I am proud to call her my friend. May you rest in peace my dear friend. <3

For the Washington Post article on the sentencing of Brittany Norwood, click below.

Life -Sentence Without Parole