The Dash In Between

10 09 2014

I was supposed to be working on a cute post about getting out of your black pump rut for work this week. I also probably would have written something about domestic violence in light of the Ray Rice video and the reactions to it. But I can’t even begin to put those words down onto paper or computer right now. I can’t think of anything really, except life and death. And I know that’s not uplifting or what anyone probably wants to read — but it’s true.

You see, for the past few months, death has been happening all around me. And I know that’s true for everyone, but it seems to have been more than the usual amount for me. Except it wasn’t any folks connected directly to me. It was family members of friends, best friends of my parents, best friends of my friends, loved ones of people I know. Death was all around me, but mostly directly affecting the people I love, not me. But it was never ending.

I even mentioned to a good friend one day that I was beginning to worry that every time a friend or family member called me at an odd hour, someone had died. And that I would go through the pain of wanting to be there for them, but not being able to physically be there for them. It’s what spawned my post about long distance relationships.

About a month ago, my mom called me during one of those odd hours to tell me that my great aunt had been rushed to the hospital for a possible stroke. She would eventually recover but still needs to go into physical therapy to regain most of her movement back. Still, I felt it getting closer.

A week ago, my mom called to tell me that my grandfather had been rushed to the hospital as well. He needed surgery and wasn’t doing very well.

I was spinning and sick to my stomach. This was it, I thought. Death was ready to take my grandfather (my second dad) away from me.

Thank God I was wrong. He made it through surgery with flying colors and was back telling me how I needed to watch over my sisters within a week’s time. He’s had a setback since then, but we’re hopeful the worst is over for now. He’s not back home from the hospital yet though.

At the time I heard he’d made it out of surgery, I was overjoyed with the news. I think I danced around my apartment for like 2 hours straight that day. Especially since Joan Rivers was a celebrity example of how surgery at an older age can be very dangerous. But it was one of those moments where even in the midst of happiness,  there was a foreboding feeling included.

This Sunday, one of my bosses was murdered.

Murdered. In her own home.

The only other person I’ve ever known to personally to be murdered was Montana. And I think right here in this post is probably the first time I’ve ever used that verbiage for what happened to him. I have to say, it’s a very surreal feeling. This same lady who’d just walked into my office on Friday, saying “Baby, how you doing today?” is gone.

This same lady who was one of the toughest, sweetest women I’d ever met. And I know that sounds odd — but that was her. You didn’t want to do anything stupid because she would get you in check real quick, but she’d also do everything in her power to help anyone who needed it.

She was one of the people I was planning to introduce a friend of mine to who’s looking to get into government communications, because she just had so many years in the field and so much respect from her peers and employees.

And now she’s dead.

Murdered.

In her own home.

From what seems like (as of now) a random person who decided to attack her.

How do you reconcile that within yourself? I certainly don’t know. I keep expecting her to walk into my office even though I know she’s not going to. So obviously, I’m not the person to tell anyone how to deal with things. I mean, I am the same person who didn’t go back to the restaurant where Montana and I met for three years after he died.

You can’t really do that with work though. Gotta go there.

I have to look at the special projects she and I started, but hadn’t finished, sitting in my office still. I have to work on tributes and memories and coordinate with the media. I have to try to shut down my feelings at work as much as possible, which means they come flooding in as soon as I walk out of those doors.

As soon as I get home and I’m in my quiet place.

One of those thoughts/feelings that comes rushing in at times has been around living the best dash in between possible. You know the dash, right? The one in between your born date and death date that they put up when you die? The dash that basically represents your life and what you did with it.

I’ve been contemplating my dash a lot lately. Even before this week, but especially this week. Wondering if I died tomorrow would my dash be one filled with adventure and stories of a life lived to the fullest. Or would people speak of my dash as one that hadn’t quite gotten started — one that they wish they could’ve seen me enjoy more.

I don’t really know, honestly. I know I have some great memories and travels to include in my dash so far, but I also know I’ve often lived a cautious life, been hesitant to take real risks, and had to push myself to get over my fears. And while that’s beginning to turn around — I also know very assuredly now that tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

And so we’ve got to cherish every moment of life that we have. I’ve got to cherish every moment of it. And do a better job of making sure that dash in between represents the best damn life possible — one filled with love and joy and courage and hope and adventure and excitement and goals achieved (silly and important). That it’s one I can be proud of.

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11 responses

10 09 2014
bpcharles

I am so so sorry for your loss and I can’t even imagine how you feel right now. And I am praying for your family members recovery. You really bring up a great point about the dash. I feel like I spend so much time just trying to survive, pay bills, do what is expected of us, its hard to go beyond that. But I would like to leave somewhat of a legacy behind.

10 09 2014
dbaham

Thanks for your prayers, Brenda. I really appreciate them.

And it’s so hard, right? To make yourself go beyond all that stuff. It’s not that we don’t want to, but it’s really easy to get caught up in a routine and look up one day and wonder, “but what have I really done?”

16 09 2014
JaneDoe

I agree. I get overwhelmed with work, bills, life, and forget to actually enjoy the day/life.

13 09 2014
JaneDoe

It’s upsetting that you have to experience this. Give yourself time to grieve. We’re all human. We all need time to process our feelings and emotions. No one knows when will be their last breath and that is why we must make each one of them count. Our lives affect other peoples around us. It’s not all about us. It’s the memories and lessons we leave with others well after we’re no longer in their lives, whether it’s because we’ve moved on or it’s the end of life. Cry if you need to, scream if you need to, continuously pray, and make each precious minute count. You touch lives with this blog alone. You’ve already made a mark and difference on this earth.

15 09 2014
dbaham

Thanks so much for your words. I have definitely been letting myself grieve this time around, but also making sure that I continue living my life. It’s a very hard balance to maintain, but I know what happened to me the last time I didn’t make sure I balanced it, and I don’t want to go to that place again.

It really means a lot what you said about the blog too. I have to admit, as much as I love writing and love writing for the blog in particular, sometimes it can feel like a chore and like the last thing I want to do after a long, hard day. But it’s comments like yours that remind me why I do it — because I’ve always wanted to touch people and make an impact in their lives with my writing. And I get the chance to do that every week on here. So thanks for that reminder. I needed it.

16 09 2014
JaneDoe

Thank you for being disciplined to write. It is appreciated. One day I randomly came across your blog while on Google and I’ve been hooked ever since. After reading, I leave the blog with a sense of relief and encouragement. Your sacrifice to write weekly is not in vain. Know that your words have changed and impacted at least one person, me.

18 09 2014
dbaham

Awww that’s absolutely amazing!! And it really warms my heart to read that my words have an impact on you.

Promise I’ll have something new up here soon!! 🙂

18 09 2014
T. Mack

So sorry to have read about your boss, As someone who has personally known someone who was murdered, I know how it is to deal with the whys. After it happened and I got out of the grief- and guilt because I did not keep in contact with the friend the way I should have- I can definitely say it made me a better friend to those who were still living.

Feel free to grieve and also don’t be surprised or feel bad for going through a second round of grief if there is justice in this situation. I hope you and her family do get justice in this situation.

18 09 2014
dbaham

I’m really sorry that you’ve experienced loss in this way as well. It’s definitely not something I would wish on anyone. But I really appreciate you writing in to give your perspective. And you’re right, it’s exactly like you said, the whys can definitely take over if you’re not mindful.

So yea, I’m trying to prepare myself for that second round of grief now actually (not that you can really do that, but I’m trying lol). Her memorial service is tomorrow, so I think that’s when everything is probably going to hit home again for everyone. One thing I will say is that they do have the person in custody at least (which is something that never happened for Montana), so it’s very likely there will be some type of justice. Although, one thing I’ve definitely learned from this is that even them catching him doesn’t feel like justice, you know? It’s just more like you’re glad to know this sick person isn’t on the street to terrorize others anymore, but that’s it.

1 10 2014
29tolife

Thinking of you. My heart goes out. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Prayers are up for you that you have some comfort and a little extra strength to get through it all.

2 10 2014
dbaham

Thanks love. I really appreciate it. Unfortunately, it’s caused a bit of writer’s block in me lately, but I’m trying to get back in the swing of things soon here lol.

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