Recently, a new rhythm was created for me when my father, Kenneth Allen, passed on May 2, 2015. While overjoyed by the release of my first published book, The Love Challenge: A 21 Day Guide to Love, that sense of accomplishment was quickly washed away as I began planning his final arrangements. I had often said that life was not black or white but lived in shades of gray. Never did I find that statement truer than I did in the week following his death. I should have been celebrating my book release but instead I was designing an order of service to celebrate his life and spirit. Honestly, I was on autopilot. Tackling the to-do list for his services gave me little time and space to process the reality that I would be burying my father. While there were moments when I would feel a deep sense of loss and abandonment, the weeping and wailing I expected to come still hadn’t.
With that, I decided to attend a book release event in Los Angeles I had previously scheduled. I thought that by keeping this appointment that not only would I appear the consummate professional, but that it would give me space to not think about what was happening back home. But, as I boarded my flight I quickly realized that this was not something I was going to be able to leave behind and deal with when I returned. I was not going to be able to compartmentalize the reality that I had lost father. In a sense, I wanted to file this matter away and deal with it later, much later. I wanted to file it away behind the book release and conference and deal with it when I felt like I was mentally and emotionally ready. Instead, it was present in every waking thought. I thought about our last conversation and how excited he was that he received his copy of the book. While I laughed when I recalled how he appointed himself as head of my (nonexistent) security team, I was saddened that he would not be present for any of the moments we dreamed about.
The Los Angeles experience, although productive, was nonetheless overshadowed by the reality that what awaited me when I returned home was a funeral and new normal.
More to come…
Follow the series:
A New Normal Continued - Part II
Walking Towards Great - Part III
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