Updated: Feb 10
This is Cyril recognizing his shortcomings as a partner and addressing them, while delivering his side of the story too!
Die CD, this ain't back in the days, You don't need a alibi CD, Cry CD,We know the pain is real but you can't heal what you never revealed, Whats up CD, you know you owe the truth to all the youth, That fell in love with CD.
Jay-Z 4:44 album
Typed while listening to Agape by Nicholas Britell with Inspiration from Song Cry by Jay Z.
How was I to know that you were plain sick of me?
Last year I was instructed to hand write my wife a letter and mail it to her. I am embarrassed to say she never received that letter. I figured, I have time, I will write it one day. I did attempt to write the letter several times but usually it started or ended very negatively, and that's not something that I would've wanted her to have forever. One of the things I have learned about hurt or hurting people, hurt other people. Since my accident, (maybe a sane person would say even before the accident, but I concealed it better), I've been operating from a dark, empty space. I feel like an empty well, looking for the bottom so I can rise. Last year around this time, I was starting a blog, trying to complete nursing school, interviewing for jobs, and working at the hospital. I was trying to being a good husband, father, son, and friend but was failing at managing my mental and physical health tremendously. I found if I kept myself busy, I didn’t have time to think about my mental health issues. The problem is eventually I run out of gas and I remove myself from society. I haven't found the perfect tempo to run this lifelong marathon of living with mental issues without crawling into my rabbit hole. It is so exhaustive living with mental issues because you want to appear “normal” like everyone else. I know I have added more than a few grey hairs to my wife and doctor’s heads. They have been on this insane roller coaster since 2013. You know, I have always admired Kobe Bryant. His drive, passion for greatness, and love for his family is something I’ve tried to emulate. Like him, I put too much of my energy into things that I now wish I would've balanced better. I know will continue to run myself ragged but I will be more intentional with my time especially when it comes to my wife, family and friends.
Here is my letter.
Where do I start……
I didn't know that the woman coming to the precinct to pick up a cell phone charger would be the person to eventually show me what Agape love was. According to Christianity.com, “Agape could be defined as charity. However, we often think of charity nowadays as giving away money or things, which doesn’t encompass all of what agape is about. Agape love is unconcerned with the self and concerned with the greatest good of another. Agape isn’t born just out of emotions, feelings, familiarity, or attraction, but from the will and as a choice. Agape requires faithfulness, commitment, and sacrifice without expecting anything in return. This is the type of love the Bible speaks about the most. The New Testament references agape over 200 times.” You know all forms of my memory and emotions are jacked up. To give the world a picture inside of my life ( the life Rita sees everyday) , let's think about the Disney movie Inside Out.
The rest of the world sees the character Joy. My “Joy” spends every moment outside of my rabbit role, trying to convince the world that I am “normal.”The other day one of my coworkers said, “Cyril, you are the nicest person in the world, I don't even see how you were a police officer.” I smiled and walked away, thinking “Mission accomplished!”. Rita sees Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust. By the time I make it home to her, Joy is exhausted. Joy needs to recharge to show the rest of the world that living with a disability is doable. I wasn't born with a disability. I had a super awesome career that I could no longer do. I don't want social security. I want to fulfil my purpose on the planet, and that's to be a protector for his sheep. In fact, the first tattoo I got was the Archangel St. Michael, the healing angel, and protector and the leader of the army of God against the forces of evil. I can't even imagine being the wife to a type A, strong willed man that feels he no longer wants to reside on planet earth. In addition to serving as his caregiver, you still had to be a wife, mother, employee, friend and have time for yourself.
One day, my coworker called and said, “Hey, my friend is coming to pick up her cellphone charger, could you go up there to make sure she gets it and keeps the wolves off of her?” It is blasphemous to speak ill of first responders so I will say that the majority of our hearts and intentions are 100% pure.
Sometimes we develop unhealthy habits and behaviors to deal with the trauma we have experienced. We don't have healthy outlets. We don’t always feel empowered to talk to our employers in fear of losing our jobs. It’s easier to internalize our struggles than to seek help. So once the woman appeared to pick up the cellphone charger, I walked to the operation desk to meet her and was stopped dead in my tracks. I honestly didn't know how, when or why but I knew I was going to marry her one day. I kinda had a lot going on in my life at the time but that's for another blog (I know the way a dude was livin’ was wack). I remember I gave the look to my partners (E.)Ernest and (J.O)Jermaine and we initiated the “Triangle Offense '' trapping this anonymous woman in the middle leading her to the point of the triangle.
“Hi, My name is Cyril, I was told to make sure Rita gets her charger and back to her car safely”. She smiled. My life as I knew it was over.
To think that this was one of my core memories that I lost. To look you in the face and not know who you are. To not know my kids. I'm looking at pictures on the walls, like damn they are happy. Hell, I couldn't even tell who I was when I looked in the mirror. Those first couple of years after the accident was horrible. It felt like I was free falling and bringing you down with me which was a huge reason I no longer wanted to be here. I didn't deserve you when I met you and I damn sure didn't deserve you now.
Agape Love allowed you to see a broken man in his 20’s, wanting to do something different but not having the maturity, lacking the resources and confidence to stand alone. You know my story, I was brought into the world from trauma. I've been running my whole life. I grew up wanting to be this great husband and father from the ideal of what I watched with the Schefkes. I was little Randall before “This Is Us”. I knew I loved you but I didn't know how to properly love you. I am blessed and thankful that God placed good husbands that are trying to become great husbands and fathers around me. I can admit that I didn't know that getting married was the easy part (although I did ask you 6 times)
Agape Love allowed you to stay in another state and raise 6 kids alone, while I was chasing my dream, I was so proud to say I was making a 6 figures salary , seeing the world, training like a maniac and protecting my country. It's sad to say but I honestly didn't expect to live long as a child growing up. I figured it would be something tragic, but I was hoping for at least a bad ass story. Out of all of the insane things that I have done it was the smallest thing that stripped me of my invincibility. During this time you placed your life on hold for mine.
Agape Love had you drive 700 miles through the middle of the night with a 4 year old after I got hurt. In the report from the field office, it says: “Don't call my wife”. Even in a semi-conscious state, I knew that you would hop on the road, come hell or high water, to get to me.
Agape Love allowed you to stand by me as you watched as I went further into despair. Each day I fell deeper into the well, but you never gave up on me. We were sitting in the Neuropsychotherapist office and he informed us that 80% of TBI married couples divorce. I can remember how calmly he said it. I remember thinking it was just a matter of time before you left me.
Agape Love allowed you to work two jobs. This hurts me the most. One thing I was raised to be was a provider. At this point I didn't even feel like a man anymore. We were fighting the government, doctor’s offices, bills, kids, and each other. You were doing what you had to do for our family. You had to stop taking classes because we could no longer afford it.
Agape Love pushed you to get me the right services and to sign up for school. I remember I was going to try getting a job at the plant or something and you were completely against it. My true dream job was to work for Ford and drive a drop top black mustang to work. Of course I had the dreams of being a doctor but I figured that wasn't a true reality for someone from my background. It just sounded good to say to people. You told me to go for it. Swing for the fences. Remember how the nurses and doctors treated you. Be the difference. Be the change. You forced me into college and put me on the pathway to regain my independence. You supported me at my school events and the majority of my nursing school friends liked you more than me.
Agape Love allowed us to find each other again. We became intentional, we started to move as one, we surrounded ourselves with like minded people. We got back to traveling, taking time out for each other. When I searched for a job, I looked for a job that would benefit my family. Benefit you.
Agape Love allowed you to be there with me when I was driving through New Jersey and broke out into a huge panic attack. I remember the closer I got to the George Washington Bridge, it got worse. The George Washington Bridge is the second deadliest suicide bridge in the United States. I pulled over on the freeway and jumped out of the car. I looked to my left and I could see the cross from a church lit up in the night. Seeing that cross reminded me of the giant cross I can see at the end of my street. The place where I find hope again. You took the wheel ( thank you Jesus) and got us across that bridge and into Queens. I refused to go to a hospital in New York again, so you laid with me as I tried to get my panic attack under control. I woke up the next day and exploded and you were so even-tempered. As the night went on, we were fat, full and tired from all of the activities. The next day you jumped in the driver seat and held my hand as we drove out of the city I love.
These few short paragraphs highlight only a minuscule amount of the things you have done. We got baptized as a family, renewed our vows, watched 2 kids graduate high school, took a few trips, ran several 5ks, and made our inner circle stronger than ever. In two weeks, we are starting a group to help first responders deal with trauma. Then we will celebrate your 40th birthday party with friends and family. I promise to love you with the Agape Love that requires faithfulness, commitment, and sacrifice without expecting anything in return. You've paid more of your share of dues. I once asked a couple that was married 50 years what was something that you would tell your younger selves. They both said, don't wait until you are too old to start living. Nothing is promised. The husband asks, “Are you married son?” I said, “Yes, Sir!” He said, “ALWAYS REMEMBER HOW/WHY YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH HER”
“Hi, My name is Cyril, I was told to make sure Rita gets her charger and back to her car safely”. She smiled. My life as I knew it was forever changed.
I know, I've seen them coming down your eyes But I had to make this blog cry.
Love you Tinker Bell