Torn, but holding on

In this phase of life…

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding,”

Proverbs 3:5 NIV

Can I share this with you?

After my uncle Yaw died, my world shook…

Whatever forces were at work, it was more than a life they took

Rumors, stories, lies

Secrecy, confusion, cries

From the beginning till the end,

it was as if no one could mourn with me

It was as if I was the only one trying to understand death…

I was trying to reconcile the fleshy inclination to hate the person who had something to do with my uncle’s death and the spiritual strive to not bear false witness against my neighbor or even to love my enemy as myself

Why was no one around me trying to embrace what they were feeling?

Why did people expect me to take the burdens of the world back upon my shoulders and drop my process of healing?

at least that is what it seemed like…

Taking time off school  was just not an option

Leaving the places I was needed only created a bitter concoction–

of frustration, annoyance, impatience

I lashed out at times because I didn’t know how to explain my inconsistencies to people who were trying to work with me

I grew angry at those who were too busy to keep up and check in on me

I began to obsess over every potential opportunity

to have this sorrow overridden with any bit of euphoria

There was a rush of confusion during my first trip back home after the death

like a punch to the gut, the news hit me even more deeply

As if I never heard it before

this time seeing my sisters cry…pierced me

to the core…

I felt betrayed by a family I called my in-laws

to the core

I felt deceived by people who I thought loved the Lord so much, they too would endure

and my uncle would never fall short of the Lord’s promises

Wrong.

But at this 1 week post-death mourning service,  traditional drums and flutes filled my ears with a music that reminded me of the inevitability of my Ghanaian roots

The process of going about my uncle’s death had to go the traditional route, whether we liked it or not

But the disconnect was as clear as day, here

Questions raced through my mind, and I was afraid I would be silenced if I asked

So I let those questions gnaw away at

my core…

The second time I returned, I was bent in ways I didn’t think I could be

While my sisters and I read our eulogy

to my beloved uncle

I remember only focusing on the words that were brought to life off that piece of paper

We truly believe our voices ascended those words to my uncle’s spirit,

wherever it was–Ghanaians would say

in Heaven– my sisters and I would say

But after barely being able to finish those words and returning to our seats, we were met with bewildered stares

Faces of all sorts-grimacing, frowning, smirking

Grown women expected me to greet them first

People asked me was I enjoying my time

and with reckless attitude, I responded

Little did I realize how a small instance of disrespect would bring me a bad name

These people did not care about the hole in my heart which caused me to ache within

They did not care about my endless tears, evident through the stream marks left on my face

They cared about

the respect

the admiration between young person and full adult

the humble, hush-toned approach from a girl

the culture.

I was furious.

Thoughts raced through my mind again

“Why couldn’t anyone understand me?”

I explained a bit to my friends

but did they truly grasp my frustration?

Being a young adult yet still a child in the eyes of my culture

Being a woman yet still a girl in the eyes of my culture

Being human yet still having “no necessary  reason” to cry or to be upset or to be depressed

in the eyes of my culture…

I isolated myself

That crowded room was toxic for me

A room filled with people who just wanted to party…

“What a strange culture…” I thought

strangers showed up drunk and careless

“Was this just an all-black affair?” I wondered

The next day, I was a mess–again

Forced smiles to greet my dad’s friends

Forced dances while giving thanks at church–again

Forced smiles to take pictures with everyone’s black and white attire,

for my late uncle who we will never enjoy Christmas with again

“What’s wrong?” people asked

“Are you serious? Did y’all forget that my uncle died?!” I silently responded in my head

The effortless smile turned into an endless frown

The dreamy eyes turned into dreamless eyes, which generated hopeless cries

Little did others know  my uncle was a second dad to my sisters and I

Little did others know my uncle never judged me, like many do

Little did others know my uncle was the most gentle, loving human alive

As I’m writing this my face stings with pain

pain from being misunderstood, under-valued, used, lied-on…

It’s funny how all these other irrelevant feelings arise as I think about my uncle being gone

But nothing in life is disconnected

–at least not in mine

God knew what I would endure and He said I could handle it

I wish God could just hug me and kiss me on the cheek, nose, and forehead

I long for that consistently comforting certainty, you know?

that forever feeling that everything will be alright

to feel that every single day…

I don’t know how long this mental recovery will take

I don’t know how long I’m going to keep returning to this dark space

this place

that makes me feel alone

this place

that makes me feel delusional

this place

that makes me consider giving up on dreams

I do a great job at pretending

to be positive

to be content

to be hopeful

Ironically, I also do a great job at clinging on

to His promise to prosper me

Jeremiah 28:11 NIV…

I don’t understand anything that is happening to me in this phase of life

quite frankly, it drives me insane

every time I try

so I’ll stop, even if it means

I must cry

the saltiest tears

each and every day.

 

I am my Father’s daughter before I am Ghanaian

This, I wish someone told me a long time ago

My sense of self-worth would be much different

if and only if

I wasn’t torn between conforming to cultural expectations and allowing myself to be the mere human God created

© 2016 Lucy Yeboah All Rights Reserved

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