Those were the last words I told my Uncle as his lifeless body lay on the hospital bed. It was New Years Eve and I came home from New York to celebrate with my parents. What was supposed to be one of the best nights of my life quickly became the worst when we received a call that my uncle had been rushed to the hospital. On the ride to the hospital, I said a silent prayer for God’s will to be done. I never thought in a million years that God’s will would be to take my uncle away from us. My parents let me out the car. I went into the hospital to asked for his room, but this time was different.
They sent me into a room where my aunt, uncle’s girlfriend, and pastor were gathered. Without saying a word, I knew he was gone. The sequence of events that followed felt like a dream to me. One by one, family members came to find out that my uncle didn’t make it. While they all went to the room where my uncle’s body was, I stayed with his girlfriend. I couldn’t bear seeing my uncle like that. How could this be happening? Things got even tougher when my grandparents came into the room. No one was there (or was able) to tell them what happened, which left me facing the hardest conversation of my life. “He didn’t make it…” was the only thing I could get out. The way they looked at me shook me to the core. It was as if my words took a piece of their heart out. I literally saw their hearts breaking right in front of me. That was painful.
While the family when in the room with my Uncle I still stayed outside of the room still confused and scared to see him. Finally, I went in there and we all just stood around him, some crying, some praying, and there I was quiet and staring at him praying this was a dream. Finally, my Grandmother looked at me and said “Life is like a vapor…” and looked back down at him rubbing his hand. While people began to leave I still couldn’t move. I asked the members of the family who were still in the room to give me a minute with him alone. When they stepped out, I stepped closer to him with so many thoughts going through my head. I touched his hand and he was still warm which sent me into a state of denial and all I could say is “Move… Please Move… Please… Please Uncle Arnold… Move… Please…” Tears streaming down my face I realize that he would not move. It was at that point I thought about coming home from my first year back in school, after getting kicked out (I’ll share that story at a later date). I saw my Uncle during Christmas break and he asked me “How are your grades this semester?” I replied, “I got a 3.6 GPA!” He gave me this look of such pride and shook his fist and nodded his head. That reaction spoke volumes to me and is a constant motivator for me. As I stood by the hospital bed and looked at his lifeless body I leaned over and whispered in his ear, “I Promise You, I will set the bar for our family, I Promise I will get the highest degree attainable and make you proud… I Promise You… I Love You… I Promise…” That was 8 years ago, and so far I have kept part of my promise. I’ve attained my Master’s degree and I’m proud to say that I got accepted into the Doctoral Program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and will be graduating soon. I have learned so many things along the way and I excited to share this journey with you. Every month will cover areas that will be encouraging, informative, and downright hilarious. So whether you’re getting your Doctorate or considering it; welcome!