June 28, 2016, 9:47 am. A year ago at this time I was just arriving home from Virginia. After waking up at 4 am for a full day’s work, I took an hour nap, packed up Cydney, and left New York on the 26th at around 1:30 am. Just about every trip to the Hampton Roads area was hell; so I didn’t need to be there very long.
I was returning to a place that I said I would never revisit. I didn’t feel the need to. I had been told on countless occasions by many people I need to make it my business to finally see Timile’s grave. In theory, this makes sense. However, if you know me or how I operate, you’d know I didn’t need to for the reasons people said that I would. I’ll come back to this.
The purpose of this trip was to finally see Timile’s grave. For those who are new, I found out that my girlfriend of five years and mother of my child died via Twitter and wasn’t invited to the funeral…her parents never reached out because they were building a court case to obtain custody of Cydney. Going back to the darkest time in my life was to remind myself where I have been to give proper context to where I’m headed. We all need this from time to time.
With the exception of driving around and seeing the places I still have flashbacks of, almost nothing went according to plan. While I made it to the cemetery, no one wanted to help me, so I wound up not visiting Timile’s grave site.
That was perfectly fine. The trip wound up not about visiting the dead; but to see the living. I stopped by Chesapeake to visit Timie’s godmother, I saw one of her friends from high school, I called an audible and stopped by my in-laws for an hour. That made the trip worthwhile because revisiting that house was confronting a lot of my darkness.
While I had been flirting with the idea of going to Virginia for months, I needed a catalyst to push me into actually doing it. Last year, I got into arguments with the girl I was currently dating and my ex. That wasn’t the first time. But once I noticed this pattern of ultimately having this tense discussions, I felt like it was time to assess how and why I wound up dealing with the people that I did. I was in a place of not wanting commitment and from the first date, I’d be planning my way out.
The girl I was dating at the time had said something to me that really rubbed me the wrong way. After calling me arrogant and making a few judgments (one of the worst things you can do in my book), she said “I feel like you post pictures of Timile for attention.” I wasn’t mad. Five minutes after hanging up from the call, everything registered, and then I laughed. I wasn’t hurt or angry at what she said; I was offended. Had she asked me I wouldn’t have been; but that was something else and exactly what I needed.
Logged off from the world, I needed some time to prepare myself for what was coming. I found myself reliving those three weeks in 2011. I never had regrets about moving there. It was the right thing to do. Before she passed, Timile got to spend quality time with my family in New York as well as hers in Buffalo and Virginia. If anything else, it was a goodbye tour. Maybe the reason I needed this was because moving every other time was about Timile; so I needed to make one for myself.
A year later, I still stand by my statement that this trip wasn’t about making closure. I already had peace with the loss. If the purpose was for that reason, God would have allowed a sequence of events in which Cydney and I actually made it to Timile’s grave site and not just the yard.
This was about opening doors. Less than a month later, I would be receiving a call that my good friend, Donnell was no longer with us on earth. Having visited Virginia made getting and accepting this news a lot easier. The events that transpired for some reason made me quit smoking. I didn’t need it anymore as a means to relieve the stress that made me feel as if someone was sitting on my chest.
To Cydney, her mother was just stories and anecdotes she’s her about through pictures and limited video. Something within her changed. Leaving Timile’s high school home with toys and a t-shirt with her picture on it gave Cyd a connection. My daughter began using her imagination and injecting herself into these stories. If she saw a video, Cydney would say “I remember that” and give her interpretation of the events that occurred. It’s part of her own healing and acceptance.
Since this is getting kind of long, I will end this here and continue tomorrow.