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Rayford Ennis Cook

Yesterday, May 17, 2012, marked a year on the calendar since my Dad, Rayford Cook, passed away in his sleep.

If you are reading this post, you most likely have noticed that it’s been a little quiet on these pages for months.  I haven’t felt like writing, something has been preventing me from releasing the words that have been swirling in my head or giving air to the emotions that somehow still exist despite my heart being cracked and broken. I would guess that my siblings feel the same way. Yes?

Teresa said that grief is self-indulgent and I totally agree and understand…but grief is also powerful and manipulative and unreasonable. Grief is definitely not a quitter. It raises its ugly head and sticks out its tongue sporadically without any forewarning.

In the past, people would wear black garb for a year to signify to the world that they were grieving.  I think that it was probably a good idea. It gave them some latitude and breathing room. People saw their black outfits and knew that they should handle with care and not to expect too much. In this enlightened age, we pull up our big girl panties and go out and face the world. We don’t expect people to give us a wide berth, to acknowledge that we have been damaged, and to tread lightly with their comments.  Instead we paint on our “Public Face”, paste on a smile and pretend that we are whole; however, inside we are doing our best to keep our emotions in check, act properly and make no one uncomfortable. Suffer in silence and just keep moving forward. Maybe we should bring back the tradition of wearing black. It might be easier. Is a year long enough? Is grieving supposed to be gone by now?

Dad has been gone for 365 days. 8760 hours. A Year.  Day by day has passed.

I struggle with writing this…it feels all wrong. I have deleted it several times now…but for some reason…I feel like I cannot let this mark on the calendar go by without acknowledging it here after everything else that has been written on this blog. I must write.  This is not a cry for attention. I truly want none. This all seems in vain…what’s the use? What’s the purpose? I write and Dad is still gone. I write and there is still grief. I write and my Mom is still without her soulmate.What is the use? Why write?

Okay, that being said, thanks for letting me wallow…if Dad were reading this, he would scold me. Dad was anything but self-indulgent. He had such a down-to-earth attitude about absolutely everything, including his own death. So instead of counting all the ways and reasons I hurt from missing him and the void that he has left. I will honor his legacy by letting the memory of my Dad warm my heart. This is my feeble attempt, because, truth be told….there are no words to define him, no words adequate enough to sum up this man, so wonderfully complex and faceted. There just are no words elegant enough to capture his essence or sufficient enough to convey his legacy in its entirety.


I close my eyes and I see him.

He is a regular visitor in my dreams.

I can hear his voice.

I can still smell him.

I can feel his love.

Sophia Remembering Poppy

I can play back hours upon hours of home movies in my mind. I see Dad playing with us, working in his garden, teaching us, and taking us to worship. I see him kissing my mother and touching her arm tenderly as he passes by. I see his head bent in prayer before our family dinners (yes, my eyes were open), and see his legs sticking out from underneath the Ford as he tweaks with the mechanics. I see him carrying his grand-children, teasing his wife, and holding our hands. I can feel his hand in mine as we stand side by side singing praises to our God at the Kingdom Hall. I see him sitting and doing crosswords, reading his Bible and napping on the couch. I see him at the beach and walking on the boardwalk, looking and coveting those fine boats in the harbor. I feel his silence as we sit in the boat and wait for that first bite. I smell his cooking. I hear him singing in the shower. I hear his laugh. I hear his laugh. Thank God, I can still hear his laugh.

This man died and yet he is so alive in my heart and my head and in my hopes.

I will love you always Dad. I will try to live my life in honor of all you believed and taught me. I will Remember. I will hope and I will have faith that I will have you back.

I will Remember.

Dad…One month has passed and I am still in disbelief that he is gone. I watched Dad die and still I do not believe. How is it possible that someone who was larger than life should not be here…here where I can talk to him, touch him, hug him and kiss his forehead? How could this have happened?

I miss him so much. I miss knowing that he was just a call away. I miss the reassurance that he was there with Mom, loving her and teasing her and taking care of her. My foundation is shaken and I cannot find my footing. My heart is shattered and nothing feels normal anymore. Grief is ugly and messy and so very inconvenient. I can find no place to set it down and walk away from it. Grief follows me and grabs my heart and squeezes so hard that I cannot breathe. Grief hangs over my head and rains on me if I experience any sort of joy, jerking me back to the fact that I cannot share those moments with Dad and making me feel guilty…how can I enjoy anything knowing that my father is not here? Grief invades my dreams and wakes me every morning and socks me in the face with the reality that Dad is gone…every single morning. So many things remind me of him…I see him everywhere and then gasp when I realize that there is no way that I could see him…he is gone and I cannot stand that fact.

And….what makes this ugly grief thing even more distressing is that while I get doused in it everyday…so does my Mother and my Brother and my Sisters, our Spouses and our Children and Grand-children and all of our family and friends too. So much pain. So much grief…So many hearts that need healing. So many of us who miss Dad. So many of us whose hearts are aching and broken. I wish I could wipe away my family’s pain…I wish I could rewind time and kiss him and hold on to him. I know we will see him again, but until then…we have this grief thing stomping on our hearts…and it just seems so wrong, so hurtful and so very, very ugly.

We miss you so much Dad!

August 2020

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