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  • Writer's pictureTeena Marie

Dear God.....

I had a long talk with God, but I think he is ignoring me. God’s probably thinking, “I’ll wait until she calms down before I engage with her.” I remember the pastor at Justin’s funeral stated to talk with God, be angry, get it all out; God is able to take it, he will understand. Silence has been the response. I have been struggling trying to make sense of what happened with my cousin. What I have been hearing is…. Trust God, God knows what to do and he has a plan, God takes the good souls early, God will get you through, it’s not for us to understand. My question is why can’t we understand? Clue me in…or something. It reminds me of a child being at the mercy of their parent’s decisions. They have no idea what is going on, but they know that things are changing, but no one is explaining anything to them, but they are expected to go along with it and trust their parent’s have their best interest in mind. I guess that is what you call faith. It’s definitely blind. It is also scary and confusing.

I miss my cousin. This is the first tragic event that has happened to our family. Others have been sick, but none has left so quickly and so young. I knew if we kept on living, things would happen, and it has always been in the back of my mind, but it’s different when it’s your own. Justin had a helpful, caring, pure soul. His laugh and bright smile was and is always genuine. Justin and I are both in the helping profession, social work; he worked with children in foster care. He is the type of person that because you know him, it makes it easier to live. He inspires others to be honest and true because he has no hidden agenda. It is SO hard trying to find people with pure intentions now-a-days. He really loved the Lord and you can tell it wasn’t just talk, he lived it. He had a loving energy. He also had a silly side too. When I was younger and lived down south, we used to come up for visits and I remember being at Jeremy and Justin’s house all the time. My Aunt Zaundra and Uncle Jerry took me on a lot of trips with them and treated me like a daughter/sister, more so than a niece or cousin. Our granddad, Nathaniel, took Jeremy, Justin and I on fishing trips in his station wagon at the crack of dawn. I forget where we were, but Justin and I had a special moment trying to dissect this fish that was lying dead on the pavement. For some reason, we were both intrigued. We had lots of adventures playing in the park and making horror movies in our grandparent’s basement. Our grandparent’s basement had lots of nooks and crannies and we played countless hours of hide and go seek. Fun times.

As I look back on these memories, I can’t help but feel a pang of guilt. Once we hit junior high and more so high school, we didn’t talk or hang out as much. I saw Justin at some family events and we would talk over the phone sometimes. He would send me bible scriptures and songs every so often and he invited me to bible study at one point, but I wasn’t into that, so I declined, or I probably said yes, but never followed through. When I found out he was married, I called him fussing in a joking way because no one knew. He laughed his laugh and said, “We planning on having something for the family, Cuz.” He was true to his word and him and Nya had a wedding ceremony November of 2017. That was the last time I saw him besides the texts, last time I texted him was at the end of January 2018. He passed in February of 2018. I haven’t erased that text yet. I’m not going to anytime soon.

In my talks with God, I brazenly said, “You made the wrong decision.” I’m not gonna lie, sometimes I wish it was me, it would make more sense, Why him? He just got married, has a child on the way he will never meet, he inspires people by the way he lives and has touched so many people’s lives, he is an asset to this world. That is why I do not understand the concept of: he takes the good people early. It would make more sense to leave the good people here because there is still a lot of work to do. The good people can help the bad people change and provide hope and love. We need a balance. In my head, I’m thinking, “God, don’t leave me with all these trifling ass niggas!” Or…maybe it’s like Jesus, through sacrificing, through death, everyone can be saved. There is a lesson in death as well. I do not know. I’m trying to figure it out. All I know is that I am restless, rules are arbitrary, I’m even more sensitive and my bluntness has gotten bolder.

But what I have comfort in, is knowing that Justin prepared for this by the way he lived his life. He talked about it in his Facebook posts about preparing for death and what are you going to do when that day comes. He believed strongly in his faith, so I have to trust that since he can’t be here with us, he is where he needs to be. In his faith, death is not the last stop, the body is gone, but your spirit still lives on and that does provide some comfort for me. My childhood wouldn’t have been my childhood without the trio, Jeremy, Justin, and I. Now there is a gaping hole and a sense of loneliness feels in. But, I love you Justin and I love my family.

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