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Discovering Dad…Again

Last week I had the opportunity to go on a journey of discovering my dad again. My uncle Daniel came in town from Philly for 2 days. He was my dad’s younger brother.

While my uncle was in town, we got to visit my dad’s grave on what would have have been his 72nd birthday. I heard the first hand account about the day my father died because my uncle Daniel was the one who got the call about the fatal motorcycle accident he had been in. 

It was ironic that last week during my uncle’s visit, the shootings in Tulsa and Charlotte had saturated the news.  I was pleasantly surprised to hear how much of an activist my dad was. My uncle spoke of how he would have been so active in the movement and would have fought for social and racial justice.  He said, in case you ever wondered where you get your passion from about social issues…it’s part of your DNA.  I never knew.

A mind blowing surprise is that my uncle brought me a momentous from my dad that he had kept for 43 years waiting for the right time…alone time with me to give it to me.  So this autograph book was given to my dad when left Haiti in 1969 for Chicago and many friends wrote in it and then Family wrote in it in 1972 one year after my Mom died when he was leaving Chicago for Holland to do his medical residency. When his belongings were returned after he died in 1973, this was with them.

What started off as a promise a few years ago to take me to a football game when Chicago and Philly played at Soldier Field, turned into the most in depth, impactful and moving conversation I’ve ever had about my dad from his younger brother, my uncle Daniel. 

I’ve never had anything that physically belonged to my mom or dad besides a photo album, which sadly was thrown away in a state to state move years.  I’ll forever cherish our time together and the priceless gift he saved for me all these years.  It’s amazing do discover so many new things about my dad that essentially gives me a greater understanding of who I am. 
Dad, I miss you more than ever. Rest eternally.


Christmas Comfort

On this day, December 23rd, 1973, my life as I would know it and the life of my family would forever change. They received the devastating news that my father, Rony Phaeton, a son, brother, uncle, friend and as of 2 years prior, a widower, was killed in a motorcycle accident.

    Today as I started writing this blog, I was reminded of the all the joys of this Christmas season.  It’s a time where people are extra giving, are extra forgiving and are looking to restore relationships. 

    It’s also a time of sorrow for many who have lost loved ones, who are facing illness, who are lonely and simply need comfort this Christmas.

    This season, I’ve had several people connected to me that have lost loved ones or are facing illness.

    – 3 siblings I was in college ministry with 24 years ago have both of their parents in the hospital fighting for their lives the past 2 weeks. Their parents were the college students mom & dad. They loved us and welcomed us into their family.

    – 2 loved ones lost their dogs. 1 hit by a car and 1 from sudden illness. I have a dog and know the joy they bring, so I feel their loss.

    – a family from my church lost their 2.5 month son suddenly in his sleep last week.

    – a sister from my church is facing cancer for the 2nd time.

    – a friend of the family was just admitted to the hospital last week for mental illness.

    – a 2nd cousin whose father had 2 back to back stokes last week, died this morning. So we now share this special day that we lost our fathers.

    In times like these, people look for the right words to say…but there are no words that are the right words…there are only gestures…a hug, a shoulder, an ear, shared tears and prayers.

    Today and the days gone by, I have held on to the following scripture as my source of comfort. If you are in need or know someone in need, I hope you find some comfort in this scripture as well.  

    40 years later…miss you, dad.



    The saying goes, things get easier over time.  I don’t know that I feel that way today.  I kept saying to myself at the cemetery today thinking, “i can’t believe it’s been 40 years.”

    My heart always hurts during the season for those who have lost family around the holidays.  Not that there is ever an ideal time to lose a loved one, but the holidays has an extra sting because suddenly it is not ” the most wonderful time of the year.”

    We hold on to the good memories of those we have lost and the impact that they have left on out lives.  Though I don’t have any personal memories of my father, I hold on to the stories that I have been shared from my aunts and uncles.  We only had 2 years together and I have only images from photographs that will forever be imbedded in my heart.

    RIP, Dad.  Forever Loved, Forever Missed.





    Happy Birthday Dad…Honoring You

    Today would have been my dad’s 69th birthday.  He passed away 30 years ago, 3 months short of his 30th birthday.  He was in Holland, Europe,  doing a medical residency and while riding a motorcycle, got into an accident.


    I often wonder if there was a moment when he was conscious enough to think about me, his only child, his baby girl, who was 2 years old and had lost her mom, his wife, 2 years earlier and was now about to be orphaned.

    As each year goes by without him, it doesn’t get any easier.  There is something about a little princess girl needing her king of a dad in her life, even if the little girl is now a 42 year old woman.

    Every year on the day of my dad and my mom’s birthday, I set a goal of something I want that would bring them honor. This birthday observance brings with it a major goal.  From the time I was in my early 20’s, I have always wanted to adopt whether or not I had natural children of my own.  So far the husband has not come along and I am not getting any younger.  About 3 years ago I had a late a-ha moment in life and realized having lost both of my parents and being an only child, my parents DNA legacy ends with me.  So 1 year later I looked into having a child naturally and went through some testing and found out I have a blockage in my tubes. It’s not a deal breaker, it just makes it a bit more challenging.

    I recently came to the decision to leave the natural option alone and if it should happen if a husband comes along soon, then it’s all good.  So I shift my attention totally to adoption of older siblings at least 10 years old, boy and girl, preferably.  I have always wanted to adopt older siblings in the foster care system because they often get left in the system until they age out at 18 and often times don’t have the tools to make it in the real world.

    So today, in honoring my dad’s 69th birthday, I officially start the journey to adoption.  As with any journey, preparation is necessary, which somethings means adding and subtracting elements.  There will be some major changes within the next year for me, but I am ready to embrace them.

    Though I have no memory of my dad, I feel his spirit in me.  I’ve heard the many stories of the man he was and I hope to find that in a husband and hope to raise that in a son.


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