On Febuary 21st, seventeen years ago, my father passed away. I still remember that day vividly. Only a few days before, I left my father’s side to be with another friend who just lost her mother. Before I left, my father grabbed my hand and told me, “Always listen to your mother, know that she is always right and will always have the last word. Go and be with your friend, because I know in your time, she will be there for you.”
This was the last time i saw him before he passed.
The night before he passed, I tossed and turned and had a very peculiar dream that all started with a devastating phone call.
I woke up that morning to an early phone call that my mom answered. I was still uncertain of the message, but i knew it was concerning my father. My mom dropped me off to school and went to the hospital.
I don’t remember a single moment of my day until around noon. I remember walking down the Y hall, excited to go to Mr. Guidry’s 9th grade Civics class, which I always looked forward to. I remember the look on his face and the tone in his voice when he told me I had been called down to the front office to go home.
My heart dropped, my face flooded with warmth, and everything became a blur. I knew in that moment, the first man I ever loved was gone. As I walked down the hall, I kept repeating in my head, “your father is dead,” so that when I received the news I wouldn’t hit the floor. I attended the same high school where my father taught for many years, and many of his close colleagues already knew the news I had yet to receive. As I turned into the attendance office, I saw my mom sitting in a chair. I saw her mouth moving, but don’t remember hearing a single word she said. She was so composed and yet in her eyes all I saw was loss.
I never left my mom’s side. She was transparent in all the preparation needed for final care of a loved one. I learned so much and will always appreciate my parents for making sure I was well educated on handling business throughout life.
I can only imagine what my mom was going through in these same moments. She’d lost the love of her life, who she affectionately called Bobby. My mom lived out her vows, “…in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” She is the epitome of grace, professionalism, resilience, love, and loyalty. She advocated for my dad ever step of his illness and fought for his benefits as a veteran of the country. Thank you for never missing a beat Delzora Stringfield. 😘 You have and continue to teach me so much.
There’s not a day that goes by that I dont miss my dad. I look just like him, so I still see him everyday. I know he knew he wouldn’t live to see me age into adulthood, because he tried to pack twenty years of life into me. My parents made sure I knew how to hunt, drive, change a tire, balance a checkbook, vote, do laundry, deposit and withdraw funds, call 911 for assistance, and most importantly how to advocate and care for my loved ones, all by the age of seven.
Everyday, I honor and remember the life of Robert S. Stringfield. A man who fought for this country, educated and prepared many souls for the real world they faced, provided and cared for his family, and lived his life with a God given purpose to serve.
Continue to rest in peace and contentment my love. 🙏🏾🌹❤🌹🙏🏾
Grief is not something that consumes our lives for only a short moment. Grief can be felt every moment past an event causing loss. If you or a loved one are suffering from complicated grief or need assistance with adapting and using healthy coping mechanisms, please reach out for help. You are not alone.