A personal letter addressed to one of my sons, Andre
Life is a full circle with many trials, tribulations and chances to be all that are intended for good purposes. And because we’re human, God has allowed all of us reprieves and second chances to right wrongs and stay focused enough to be countable. With this in mind, I write this short letter to you as a gesture to make this circle the shortest distance I can between us. I endeavor to step outside of margins, step over lines, and break down any barriers that may have been erected since the last time I held you in my arms. Join me psychological and spiritually as I attempt to do this. It should be natural and expected – that is, reaching you, and allowing paternal love to be the breach for all things familial between us.
First and foremost, I shall not start this correspondence without first offering my deepest apologies…and in doing so, I extend my hand as a man first, and father second. You MUST know that I’ve waited for this chance all of my adult life, for I recognized long ago the pangs and pain of unrequited love, and love unresolved. I really don’t know where to start, but I will honestly say that I truly regret a lot of the early decisions I made as it affected you and your mother. It wasn’t supposed to happen the way it did, but I’ve long ago came to grips with God in asking His forgiveness…and with that firmly entrenched innately within my soul, it made it easier for me to pick up any pieces necessary to refit the puzzles that have allowed me to be disconnected and disenfranchised. You were NOT a mistake. You were conceived with a perfect plan for your mother in us starting a life together. The time I spent in Augusta, GA specifically, and in the armed services in general, helped to shape my need to belong….but it didn’t prepare me to take responsibility for my actions. I grew up in a fractured family setting that didn’t give me all I needed to be discernable in making good decisions and having the maturity to stick and stay.
Your mother deserved better, and more than anything, I want to someday make peace with her…but how can one do this when so much time, pain, and hurt has been rendered. I remember once attempting to do just that, and I got the response of “It’s too late, too little”. I’ll always remember those words that Betty, your mom sent my way, but I understood and hung my head with shame and remorse. I’ve thought about you every chance I got, and diligently prayed to the Lord that you’d come back into my life. I’ve often remarked and have involved my other children about this, and they’ve supported me wholeheartedly. You have brothers that you’ve never seen, a grandmother who loves you tenderly herself, a sister who’s dying to see you, and a father with a new lease on life. I’m grateful that this blessing has come so late in life, but not too late enough for me to take advantage and bring closure to the missing link in my life!
Through the years, my health hasn’t been good. I make no excuses for my negligence on being the best father to you. It’s all about standing up and being that man you EXPECT me to be. I made my peace with God, and now I’m coming to you. But let me tell you how the Lord has been good to me: I’ve had several operations to combat, eradicate, and triumph over cancer that has wracked my body. In the process, my back has rendered me susceptible to excruciating pain that comes and goes, but the 54 years that the Lord has allowed me to languish on this earth, gave me more insight to turn my life around by making my election and calling true . I’m a ‘born again’ Christian and have accepted the shortcomings, but have made amends to live the type of life I envision for all of my children. After many failed relationships, I finally met a woman who believes in me and have given me chances that no one else has done. You have Kimberly, Jevon, and Ari-Dominique all waiting to be inclusive in your mindset. We have a lot of common ground to cover, and quite a bit of catching up to do. I had a chance to talk to your wife and I like her spirit and outgoing personality. Without her tenaciousness, all of this wouldn’t be possible. She refused to give up and we owe her a great big hug for persevering and staying the course!
Andre, I’m grateful too, that you didn’t harden your heart, for you easily could have taken the tact that your mother did by showing the same angst and ill will. I owe her a lot, and cannot possibly repay her, or expect her to accept me with open arms without being a Christian. It’s good that you’ve had a good support system all of these years. Your auntie, Annette has done a lot and has always been there for Betty…so has other friends such as Clarice when times were hard. I was young and didn’t have the stability that I’m armed with now, and certainly didn’t know how visible 20-20 vision is now with me being able to see much clearly. And what I see and fathom now for my new family is to be in place anew to reap what was sown. I would like to make a visit to see you and the rest of the family as soon as possible, but with your permission first. Also, I’d like for you, Candace and the baby to come to Miami for a visit. I know you’ve never been here before. This would be a great vacation for you and yours, and would be the culmination of a dream I’ve had for years – and that is having all of my kids together for dinner! I’m writing this to you with a heavy heart and with much pain, but feel ever so happy that you are within reach!
It’s hard to close this letter with so much more I want to share, say, and focus on. But there’s a lot I want for you. I want you to go back to school one day; I want you to add a spiritual-based mindset to know that God has a plan for you…but you can only do this by getting closer to Him. I can’t rush this for you, and neither can anyone else. This is something that you have to want for yourself. When you get a chance to talk to your brother, Jevon he will give you a lot of insight. He has turned his life around and is a joy to be around. I’ve given him your address; so don’t be surprised should you get a letter from him! I’ve given you feelings that have been pent up within me for years. I needed to get them out, and I’m glad you’re giving me an audience. Perhaps if you feel it necessary, you will want to respond in any way you feel with more questions that I’d be glad to answer. I miss the son I should have been aligned with, and miss the camaraderie that is evident when the bond is thick enough that no matter what is said you’d know that there’s a father that would give anything for vindication – and a second chance. You can call me anytime. Let’s keep the lines of communication open as I bestow on you to love your wife, be the fence around your family, never forsake your mother, dispense knowledge to your children, and KNOW that your father cares. Continue doing those things that mean the most to you, and most importantly of all – Keep your head to the sky! Give my blessings to your mother for allow you to happen. Please forgive me as I remain….The father you never had, but the friend that is yours forever!