Saying goodbye is never easy…

 

Hey all. For those of you that didn’t get around to grabbing my book(s)….as yet 😉 I thought I’d share with you a very special tribute to someone dear to me who I lost around this time.

It is my hope that this excerpt touches you and gives you comfort and empathy, especially at holiday time when those memories come flooding back. I know it can be very lonely, even when you have people around you because you want to be strong for them.

I’m so glad I chronicled those potent feelings and experiences with my parents over the years in my memoir How To Find Yourself & Claim What’s Yours. Never in a million years would I have dreamt that my father, who was once a very lively and spirited person, would suffer this reversal of health.

We recently commemorated the third anniversary of his death, so I think this is fitting that I share the epilogue which is an extension of the eulogy that I read at his funeral. I prodded on to complete the final chapter of the 6-year journey in the days following his death. 

I read it this morning when I awoke and it never fails to bring healing through my tears.

My story doesn’t end here, but rather it is a continuous journey. Dreams areTribute to Daddy 2017 materializing daily. I am grateful for second chances and opportunities.

Despite the challenges this year brought, I am happy to say that I never gave up or questioned the reasons why.

Instead I surmounted the obstacles as they came, dusted myself off, learnt the lessons and transformed the negatives into something meaningful.

Most of all, I am thankful for my inspiration – my Dad who is no longer with me as I write this.

God called him from this life in December 2014. He had a long, full life and I am glad that he was blessed to live to a ripe old age. This epilogue is a tribute to him.

In my eyes, my father was as close to perfection as man gets. He was the most beautiful, gentle, humble and loving soul I have ever encountered in my lifetime. The sacrifices and things he lovingly and patiently did for his family, places him in the echelons of the truly admirable.

He is irreplaceable and it is doubtful that I will ever find another human being with such a propensity to give and love. I love him dearly and I hope he is watching down on me with love and protection. I like to think of him as our own personal guardian angel.

I feel him everywhere and in everything I do. The morning after his passing, I could almost picture him laughing and smiling, saying to me:

“Caro, I’m alright.”

He was his old self again. No more pain, no more Alzheimer’s.

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Photo by JOHN TOWNER on Unsplash

As a child growing up, I often heard him talk about the year 2000 and what drastic changes in technology it would bring to the world. He often wondered if he would live to see all of the changes that came with it.

God not only granted him that honor, but also blessed him with more than three score and ten years in this world. He also lived to see the bus pass down his street daily and travel on the fast ferry to Tobago.

It was a delight to see him race to the front door of our home, to signal to us that the bus was on time at the various scheduled intervals throughout the day. He also loved Tobago and always spoke about our trip together.

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Photo by 广博 郝 on Unsplash

He marveled at technology and paid for my first internet service to ensure that I benefited from this privilege, especially as I enrolled at university that year. I remember him coming into my room on occasion and dancing to reggae and parang, as I tape recorded him with my camera phone.

To see his face light up with glee as he had a chance to experience technology first hand are golden memories I will surely return to for comfort. He was my personal ‘photo-take-outer’ whenever I was dressed up and ready to go out. Always patient with me, he handled that camera like a pro!

Although he insisted that his car was also mine, he went with me to test drive my first car at Toyota and convinced me to get a brand new one with my hard earned dollars.

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Photo by Davidson Luna on Unsplash

Now more than ever, I’m glad I made the decision to leave my job and move back home to spend what was to be my last year with him. Those memories are forever etched in my memory. It was a joy to hear him speak to me about wanting to go to Tobago again.

It made me happy to also hear him clap and say how much he enjoyed the Bible readings I read to him, especially when he was at the hospital. I’m sure he knows how much we all loved him. I made sure to tell him that several times a day.

To this he would always respond: “I love you too Caro, I love all my children.”

He said to me a few months ago: “You never left my side.”

Though he couldn’t say much in his final days, I will always treasure the fact that the last words he ever uttered were my name. 

My father said that he would be proud of me regardless of my accomplishments. But I feel that it is my duty to carry out his legacy, let his name live on and make him proud. Since I named my company after him and my mom, I feel that I need to give it my best and try to make it work.

I dedicated this book to him six years ago and I feel as though I am fulfilling his wishes to document my life and his memory through my eyes. He was glad that I was doing what I love and he loved to listen to me read and talk about my passion.

As memories trickle back, I am glad that he got the opportunity to witness the publication of my first book, Thinking out Loud and attend my First Time Author’s award ceremony back in 2012. When he listened to my audio book, I was delighted to see how he lit up when he heard my voice on the CD each time he heard it. He kept asking,

“Who is that talking on the tape?” 

When I said it was me, he responded with surprise and pride:

“Is so!?” he asked. (That’s trini for ‘is that so?’)

That feeling matches no other in this world.

Earlier this year, I also showed him my workshop and read to him the first eight chapters of this book. He never got tired of listening nor lost concentration, not even for a minute.

I would always remember his calm and pacifying nature, even the times when everyone around him (including me) was the exact opposite. He seldom raised his voice and always kept the peace. He was never demanding or hostile, but instead always giving, sharing stories, life experiences, advice, telling jokes and laughing.

He would hit you with these philosophical parables out of the blue that would just bring all the pieces of the puzzle together for whatever you were facing at the time.

He was very prayerful and God-fearing and taught us how to pray and say a lot of the psalms which are now our favorites. I felt honored to return those courtesies to him in his time of need.

When I was living in Tobago, I would talk to him and my mother on the phone almost every day. He said to me one day when I returned to my apartment after the ferry ride.

“Once you love the Lord and He bless you, everything is gonna be alright.”

It was just what I needed to hear on that November day. I know it was Sunday 24th November 2013 to be exact, because I sent an email to myself so I would remember it always. You can say it was a feeling I had.

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Photo by Ivan Karasev on Unsplash

As my other siblings living abroad came home for his funeral and we were all reunited in our childhood home again, I felt like this is what he would have wanted. We ate in silence after the service and reminisced on the memories he left us all.

For a few moments, it was nice being together again under one roof as we took turns cooking and catching up with each other in various parts of the house, which held significance for me.

As my mother, brother, sisters and I talked outside on the porch in the cool evening air that December; I could almost feel his presence looking on at us silently smiling and happy.

It’s funny how your mind can play tricks on you sometimes. Since his passing I’ve heard songs, seen people that reminded me of him and spoke to persons who share a story similar to mine. The stories of their dad, their own fears of their mortality and that of their loved ones reflect mine.

Today I’ve seen two movies about death and dying. Now at 3 a.m., days before Christmas, I caught a glimpse of another movie and something the pastor said (which I soon forgot) renews my faith that my father is in the place where he belongs: with God and all the angels and saints.

He often told me that he saw visions of angels as a boy whenever he was in danger. He described them vividly as towering figures with slender fingers, saying that they were the most beautiful beings he had ever seen. I’m sure he now feels at home.

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Photo by Jenelle Ball on Unsplash

Daddy we will  love you FOREVER.

Lord Jesus please guide his path, forgive him, bless him and lead him into the eternal light and life of your glorious kingdom. Daddy watch over us and protect us, be our own personal guardian angel as we wait to be reunited with you one day to spend an eternity of love, peace and joy. AMEN.

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Photo by Noah Silliman on Unsplash

Advice for families afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease

It was a long and rocky road, but I know my father is in a better place. For all the persons and families struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, I pray that God gives your family strength, courage and patience. Remember to shower your loved one with love and affection.

Do all the things they enjoyed and surround them with what they liked when they were well. Be extra cautious, but always remember the person for who they were and don’t blame their behavior on them. It is a very severe illness which is non-discriminatory and beyond their control. It comes in many stages with different degrees of severity.

It’s a gradual process that requires care, love and patience. Remember your love for them and never give up the fight. God will give you the patience and strength you need to face the storms. In the pockets of clarity, your loved one will realize and appreciate your kindness. That in itself is a priceless gift.

Advice for writers

I encourage you to find the courage to chronicle your thoughts. Small steps and perseverance are all you need. To see your work in print is another priceless gem. It brings to life your thoughts and passion. The knowledge that it may help someone else, provide inspiration or enjoyment is the reason we all become writers in the first place.

Never give up on your dream. Don’t think about the monetary reward. Once you do something for the love and to serve others, those things will come in the right timing when you least expect.

Look at all the world famous, bestselling authors and let that serve as your inspiration. Nothing happens overnight. My mother always repeated the old adage to me as a child: “Rome was not built in a day.”  It’s so apt and gives me faith, especially at this time.

Advice for entrepreneurs

You can do it! If you want freedom to live a limitless life, be your own boss and a game changer, take that first step and remain open to all the possibilities and guidance that exists. Let the right situations and people find you and therein you will find the keys to unlock the doors to new opportunities.

Your growing faith and confidence will guide your path. You have one life to live, so don’t be afraid to take a chance. Your reward lies in the smiles on your clients’ faces.

It’s the only reward you need. I know you have it within you to make a difference and succeed. Go forth and make yourself proud!

Thanks for joining me on my journey. I do hope that I was able to assist and make yours a little easier in some way. Stay committed to your goals and may your rewards be sweeter with time.

Whatever you do and wherever life takes you, remember to make it count!

Peace & Love,
Carolyn

For more, you can follow this blog, shop for my books or subscribe to my social media pages via www.carolyncorreia.com

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