Wednesday, October 7, 2015

'Blessed are they that mourn...'

Hey, can I share something with you?

Sometimes, in the middle of the night, I wake up and I cry (like I did minutes before I write this post). I'm man enough to admit that.

Sometimes, I lie in the bed as the tears stream down my face and other times, I sit on the edge of the bed and weep, almost uncontrollably. But, I fight to quickly get myself under control before I wake up my wife. I even get up periodically, go to the bathroom and look in the mirror, tell myself to get it together and just when I nearly do, I see his father's eyes...and the tears start flowing again.

It's been nearly ten months since my dad passed (it's hard to say the "d" word when someone you love is no longer on this earth) and almost a year (Nov. 2) since my wife's dad passed.

We talk about our fathers sometimes, but I try my best not to cry around my wife or bring up her dad, out of fear of making her sad and bringing her to tears. And I do the same with my mom and baby sister, who my dad asked me to take care of if he didn't make it, for the same reason.

People tell you it's okay to mourn your loved one and that it will take time to find the new normal, but no one ever tells you how much or how little you should talk about that loved one. I worry so much about how others are doing that I usually do my mourning or remembering alone.

Everyone grieves differently, and I know that. That's why I try not to talk about my dad too often around my loved ones (and now, after reading this, they will know) because I don't want to bring anyone down. I know they are hurting just like I am and my dad doesn't want us to be sad or crying all the time.

If my dad were here, he would tell me to "cut that out" and to keep living my life. He would tell me he loves me, he's proud of me and that he wants me to continue being a good man. Sometimes, I wonder how I can do that without him, but then I remember what he, my mom and so many others have taught me throughout my 33 years on this earth.

Dad would tell me to "do right and right will follow you" and "stick with God." It's funny how so many things I thought were long forgotten have been brought back to my remembrance.

It's only by God's love and comfort and the love of my family that I've made it this far. And it's that love and support that caused me to share this post with all of you.

I know others are going through the same thing. Some of you have just lost a loved one, while others are still mourning over loved ones who passed some time ago. But, we are all mourning and I want to let you know you are not alone.

So, when you get up in the middle of the night or even during the daytime, and you begin to miss that loved one and want to talk about that loved one, remember that someone else does too. Don't mourn alone.

Matthew 5:4 says: "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." The Message version says: “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you."

God cares about us so much that he will comfort us when we mourn. I know this for a fact. Yes, I still get sad and cry from time to time, but I'm no longer crying every day or sad all day long like I was after my dad passed. I didn't think that would ever happen.

Earlier this year, I thought I would never write again, but my earthly and heavenly dads didn't want me to sit on my gift. I'm happy to say that I've completed my second novel (which hopefully will be released at the end of the month) and I'm working on my third and fourth novels now. It hasn't been easy, but again, God, my family and friends have helped, comforted and loved me every step of the way.

I know my dad is proud and as much as I miss him, he wants me to live the life God gave me until it's time for us to be reunited in Heaven.

I'll end this post with this: don't let sadness take away the joyful memories. Grieve, but continue to live and keep moving forward. You honor your loved ones by using your God-given gifts and never giving up. And remember, not only are God and your loved ones cheering you on, I am too.

God bless and keep moving forward,

Tyrone Tony Reed Jr.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Very Different World

Some days, I feel like I'm on a parallel world. Like in the sci-fi  television show "Sliders", I feel like  I've landed on another world, one in which my dad has passed and try as I might, I can't get back to my world.

I  know that's not true, but many days, that's what it feels like.

I've dreamt about my dad several  times since he passed. The first two times I saw him in my dreams broke my heart because he looked to be suffering, the way he looked hours before he passed.
I would sit at the edge of the bed and cry when I  woke up from those dreams, praying to never have those kinds of dreams again.

And I haven't so far. The last couple of times I've dreamt about my dad, he was he normal, playful self. In the most recent dream, which I had earlier this week, my dad and I were in his old silver car, which I haven't seen since I started junior high school in 1994.

We were both smiling and laughing and getting ready to go on an adventure together. In that dream, it was like the past couple of months had never happened and were never going to happen.

I didn't want to wake up from that dream. Just seeing his face again and seeing him driving and walking around brought joy to my heart. To wake up from a dream like that and realize it wasn't real seemed cruel, at first, but then I smiled as I got up out of bed and reflected on the dream.

In those dreams, Dad was in peak condition, full of life and our future was full of hope and adventures that the two of us would have together.

Those dreams comfort me and thinking on them have helped me make it through most days. Not being able to talk to him every day is hard, very hard. But, knowing that I might see him in dreams and get to hang out with once again makes me happy.

It reminds me of a video tape  of about 100 cartoons that I had as a child. Mom or Dad had bought it for my sister and me when we were sick.  One of the cartoons was called "Somewhere in Dreamland" and I loved the song that played during a dream sequence a sister and brother had. The lyrics go:

"I'll see you somewhere in dreamland
Somewhere in dreamland tonight
Over a bridge made of moonbeams
We'll find our clouds are silver lined
Each little star in the cosmos
Shining our welcome so bright
Dreams will come true for me and you
Somewhere in dreamland tonight"

The cartoon, about two poor, hungry children during the Great Depression, dreaming about food they wanted and could not have, and waking up to find that their dreams have come true made me happy as a child and still does.

I wish that could work for me. I wish that one day when I had one of those great dreams about dad, when I awakened, he would really be back, healthy, happy and full of life.

It hasn't happened yet and if it doesn't happen until the day I go to Heaven, that's alright. I know he's already there, healthy, happy and celebrating, looking forward to being reunited with his family.

Some days, I ache from the sorrow I feel not being able to see or talk to him. But, each day I remember something about him or something we did together that makes me smile.

I know he doesn't want me to spend my life being sad and no chasing after my God-given dreams. So, I'm doing my best to move forward, to continue writing and to continue making him proud.

And if you have lost a loved one, I'm sure they would want you to move forward and be the person they always believed you could be come.

So become that person, not only for them, but also for yourself.

I'll end this post with the poem that was inside the registry from my dad's homegoing service:

The Path in the Forest

In your dreams, we’ll meet and take special walks.
As tall trees from the breeze gently sway
Morning sun will break through in shadowed streams
Wildflowers will line the way.

The path through the forest which we will be on
Will have no destination, no beginning nor end.
So each time you dream, you will hear a voice
Leading you back to the same place again.

If by chance you turn away from the voice’s call
Because the pain of loss has become to great
I’ll walk further down the path a bit on my own
And find a rock on which to sit and wait.

Until the time comes, where we will walk hand in hand
Once more...

-Russell Scott Steven Anderson

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Official S.O.L.A.D.™: Soldiers of Light Against Darkness™ book trailer

Check out the official S.O.L.A.D.™: Soldiers of Light Against Darkness™ book trailer and spread the word.

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

48 Days Later: Paging Dr. David Bruce Banner!

Sometimes, I want to "Hulk" out. 

I don't want to hurt anyone, but sometimes, the anger, frustration and sadness I feel over the passing of my dad, Tyrone Reed Sr., seems so overwhelming that I need to scream. But, my mere mortal screams aren't strong enough to release everything that's inside.

It's hard to believe it's been 48 days since my dad shed his mortal coil for a perfect, healthy, peak-conditioned, everlasting, heavenly body.

Some days, it feels like he passed long ago. Other days, it feels like I'm just learning he has passed.

Memories I thought that were long forgotten have recently surfaced and makes the longing for my father even stronger.

One of my fondest memories is the memory of watching reruns of "The Incredible Hulk", starring Lou Ferrigno as "The Hulk" , Bill Bixby as "Dr. David Bruce Banner" and Jack Colvin as reporter "Jack McGee".

Out of all the Hulks there have been, Lou was my dad's favorite and he loved seeing Bixby portray David.

Whenever someone would hurt David, I can recall my dad saying, "Uh-oh!  They done messed up now!". Seconds later, the Hulk would emerge and beat up the bad guys.

A few weeks ago, while at my parents' house in Memphis, Esquire Channel had a marathon of "The Incredible Hulk." It was hard to watch episodes I had watched with dad and at the same time, it warmed my heart that I had memories of watching that show with him.

The hardest part of watching the episodes was seeing David wave goodbye to the people he had saved and whose lives he had changed and begin walking down the road to his next journey.

When "The Lonely Man" began playing (you can hear it by clicking the clip below), I nearly broke down into tears. 

The photo below of my father, taken while he was eating at Lambert's Cafe ("Home of the Throwed Rolls") in Sikeston, Missouri,  with my mom and two of my sisters, following the funeral of his adoptive mother: reminds me of David leaving and that haunting theme playing in the background.  It feels like my dad is saying goodbye and that he will see me later. He's reminding me to be good, do what's right and keep moving forward as the theme plays in my mind.

See, I know my life has changed. It will never be the same because my father is no longer physically present on this earth. But, he is always in my heart.

I miss my dad more than words can express and even now I'm on the verge of breaking down into tears. 

But, I know my dad is safe in God's arms and when the day comes for me to begin my next "journey", as I make my way to my heavenly home, I'll be running, joyously to see both my heavenly father and my earthly father.

Monday, January 19, 2015

29 Days Later: The Quest for Peace

I can't believe it's been a month since my father passed and two months since my father-in-law passed.

It still feels unbelievable that either events happened, but, unfortunately,  they did.

I still have to remind myself at least once a day that I can't call or go see my dad. It's during those times that the sadness I feel is the strongest.

It is also during those times that my faith has been tested. I don't know why, but it has.

It feels like I was stronger the week of my father's home-going service than the weeks following.

I've wondered if I didn't have enough faith, if that was why my dad didn't make it. He had come through so many times before from different ailments and situations that I believed,  even though it looked bad, that God would heal my dad and he would make it through.

Then I wondered that if my dad had made it through, how long would it be before something else happened? What if the next thing had left him paralyzed or with memory loss or brain dead? My dad would not have wanted to live like that.

Even though I know he's in a better place, I still miss him.

As I said before, I feel I was so much stronger after he passed than I am now. My faith has been shaken and I don't know what I should do next.

I've had a hard time getting back to my career in creative writing. It's so hard to concentrate some times,  my mind constantly flooded with either memories of my dad, sadness or both.

I know he would want me to keep writing, especially since he always asked me how my second book was coming.

So, I've been praying for peace, understanding and that God will remove any doubt that I currently have.

Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day and I can remember how my dad once saw a photo ok Dr. King and told me we looked like him. I smile at the thought of that memory even as my heart continues to grieve.

Like Dr. King said, I have to keep moving forward.  It's what my dad would tell me to do and it's what I know I have to do.

Please continue to pray for me and my family and thanks for reading.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Three Weeks Later: Holding on to Hope After Dad's Passing

I always feared the death of loved ones when I was growing up. That fear came from nightmares that I would have, that seemed so real that they would torment me.

It wasn't until 1994 that I experienced the first death of a loved one that hurt and upset me and that was the death of my Uncle Jerry. Then my paternal grandparents died in 1999, within months of each other, followed by my maternal grandmother in 2000 (during my senior year in high school), my dad's adoptive mother (also my grandmother who lived next door) in 2001 (during my sophomore year in college) and my maternal grandfather in 2003 (during my junior year in college). 

Those were very hard years, especially since I wanted my grandparents to be around to see my children (which have not been born yet), their great-grandchildren, and for my children to get to know them. 

People always expect older people to go first and while you don't want it to happen, you know that one day, we all have to pass from this life to get to our eternal life.

But, that's something I didn't want to face and I became convinced that my loved ones would live to be older people well into their 80s or higher.

Then four of my uncles passed between 2005-2011. 

Three years later, my wife's father passed on Sunday, November 2, 2014. It was hard to believe he had passed and it was even harder to see my wife in pain and anguish and know that there was nothing I could do but pray and be there for her.

And while I wasn't prepared for any of those deaths (who is ever truly prepared), the news I got on Sunday, December 21, 2014, that my dad, Tyrone Reed Sr., had passed away, exactly seven weeks after my wife's dad had passed, devastated me, crushed me inside and threatened to eat away my hopes and dreams.

It broke my heart and even as I type this, I can feel the pain all over again as if I was hearing the news anew once again. It's still hard to accept that he is no longer here and that I can't pick up the phone to hear him say, "Hey, son!"

While I know my dad is no longer in pain, that he gave his life to Christ and that I'll see him again in Heaven one day, I still long for my dad. I still wish I could see him and sit with him. I wish I could hear him laugh and sit up and talk about the news with him. I wish I could hug him and tell him I love him one more time.

But, the things that really broke my heart, were the "what could have beens". I dreamed of my dad seeing me become a successful author, actor, screenwriter, philanthropist and businessman. I dreamed of him and my father-in-law sitting on the couch together watching westerns, while I cooked dinner inside a very nice home that I was able to purchase. I dreamed of them playing with their grandchildren and becoming old men.

But, sadly, that didn't happen and I began to get lost in the "what could have beens", to the point that I questioned how I was going to live the rest of my life.

It was rough for  a while, with me having some very low days, but through God, prayer, my wife, my mom and my sister and many others giving me encouraging words, I'm fighting to live and press on. 
I know my dad would want me to go on and continue making him proud. I believe God has shown him the man I will be and the things I will accomplish and I can't let either of them down. 

I know my dad was tired, having been in and out of the hospital for some time and having gone through a lot. I prayed for God to heal him and God did just that, better than I could ever imagine. Dad is free and healed, healthy and at peace. Even though he is no longer in this earthly realm, he will forever be in my heart, thoughts and memory.

He was and is the Jonathan Kent to my Clark Kent and I know that he is still rooting for me.

This blog is my first step to continuing my destiny of being a successful writer and also helping others. 

I will be periodically sharing memories of my dad and lessons he taught and how he helped me and still helps me to be a good man.

So, please feel free to subscribe to this blog below and share it with others. Also, feel free to share your stories in the comments below. You never know who you might encourage,

This posts isn't about sadness, but about hope, peace, joy, inspiration, the courage to keep moving forward and honor those we love.

As my dad always said, "If you do right, right will follow you."