My mother died. Even writing that sentence is weird. I am not sure I am even living. My airway feels constricted. My chest is tight. At this moment, I am not sure of the last time I brushed my teeth. I caught a whiff of my underarms yesterday but I wasn't moved to disguise the odor. I have been surviving on boxes of cookies, chocolate and cookie butter. Some days I eat everything in sight and some days I am repulsed by food. I've cried but mostly I've been numb. I feel nothing. I feel empty. I feel alone. A motherless and fatherless child left to figure this life shit out. March 28, 2016 will forever be the day my heart broke into a million pieces. I was in Target when I got the call. I can't remember how I got out of the store and back to my car. I sat there wondering if what I heard was real. How could this be my life? I just spoke to my mother the day before on Easter. She was in great spirits. We spoke about her famous Cornish hens and she told me she would see me in a few weeks for her scheduled visit to LA. I had no idea that would be the last time I would hear her voice.
Mother/daughter relationships are often complex. Ours had definitely seen some darker days but through it all I knew my mother was for me and she knew I was for her. We were in a great space. Planning a trip to Dubai for my grad school graduation celebration and discussing riding camels in the desert was typical banter for us. She fueled me. I was able to achieve the success in my life because of her. At first, I wanted to prove her wrong when she said I was wasting my education becoming a makeup artist. Later, I realized that what she was really saying was that she was wanted me to be able to secure a future for myself. It took many years but I was able to do just that. Hearing her tell me she was proud of what I had accomplished meant more to me than any check.
Having the ability to create a stress-free life for her was my only goal. I had a rider! My mom was truly a mother. She taught me to pray, speak life into myself and my situations. She was down for me. There wasn't anything she wouldn't do to protect me. Our love was the greatest I'll ever experience. The definition of unconditional. And now I'm supposed to be able to put myself back together. I'm falling apart. Maybe not outwardly but inside I feel like my heart stopped with hers. The pain is virtually indescribable if you have not experienced it.
And then love came. The day before my mother died I had just ended my fast for Lent. I gave up interactions with men including flirting, talking on the phone, dating and even conversations with strangers that I found attractive. My desire was to emerge from my fast a stronger more faithful woman who would be ready and acceptable to be presented to my future husband whenever God decided I was ready. I didn't waste any time. At 12:01 AM I made an online dating profile. I noticed a profile that seemed like I wrote it but it wasn't mine. It was Edward's. It was written in such a way that I felt his words. I knew he was sincere. I was drawn to not only his looks (tall, dark and fine as hell) but mostly I was attracted to the authenticity that was oozing from his words. I hit the like button and didn't think of him again until he sent me a message. His message caught my attention right away. He was charming from the first sentence. It missed the usual "Hey beautiful! Check out my profile and hit me up if you like what you see," bullshit that guys usually try to pull online. He expressed his interest by saying he would be in "hot pursuit" but he was leaving California to got back home to Philly in a week! I quickly responded telling him that his plan sucked and that we still had a week to make it happen! We chatted throughout the day on Easter and I pressed him to schedule a time to meet me that night but he didn't comply. I learned my mother passed away the very next day. After coming back to LA from Sacramento to settle my mother's affairs I reached out to Edward. I didn't tell him what happened at first. I didn't want his pity. I wanted to be normal for just awhile. I asked if he was still in town. He told me he was leaving the next day. I pressed him again to see me but he blew me off yet again. That evening he called. We fell asleep on the phone together. In the morning, he invited me to a "meet and greet/goodbye" breakfast. I'm never nervous on first dates and I wasn't even sure if this was a date anyway. I was a bit self-conscious because I had just chopped off my hair and I hadn't even dated a man in all of 2016! I picked him up and we went to a diner nearby. The half an hour wait gave us more time to chat. I told him I liked his middle name and that I would be calling him "Raheem" from now on. He was delighted because he says he liked that name and went by Raheem until 3rd grade. As he spoke, I noticed his smile and his sweet eyes. He asked to see my eyes behind the sunglasses. I obliged the request once I made a quick bathroom run for a mirror check. By the time I got back we were seated.
We split a pancake breakfast because the pancakes were bigger than any I've seen. He noticed I needed more syrup and quickly beckoned the server. We finished each other's sentences more than once. He asked me if I knew why people cheers before drinking. I must have given him the answer he was looking for because he was so impressed that I knew the reason. That was the first time I heard him say "I'm going to marry you!" By the end of the breakfast we had gone even deeper. I opened up about how my mom's death has changed my perspective on time. He asked me a few questions about marriage and family. Again my answers must have satisfied him because he proposed right after! I said no because I wanted a better proposal. I went to the restroom and then we walked out. When we got outside, Raheem got down on one knee in the parking lot of the restaurant. He somehow made a ring out of sugar packets and asked me to marry him again! Before I could answer two ladies heading into the restaurant started screaming "congratulations!" I said yes. But he was still scheduled to leave at 6pm that night. We went to his house and tried to formulate a plan to keep him in LA but we came up short. He decided to follow through with the plan to go to Philly but only for a short stint. I was having a life conversation with my fiancé whom I just met a few hours ago! Was this really happening? I checked in with Spirit to see.
I've had a reoccurring dream since I was about 28 about my husband. I generally date light skin, curly hair guys but the man in my dream was chocolate, bald and taller than me. I couldn't see his face but I knew how I felt in his presence. This is him! Another confirmation from God is the way in which he was very decisive about marrying me. My prayer has always been that God tells my husband immediately who I am to him. I also felt confirmation from the timing of Raheem coming into my life. Here I am in shambles emotionally and God says here is the man you've been praying about for years! Like what?! Who does this happen to? Me apparently.
So now I'm engaged. I have told all of my inner circle. Most of whom are giving me well wishes while secretly praying I return to my right mind immediately! I can understand their concerns. If I wasn't the person in this situation I wouldn't understand either. I don't care what people think. I know life is precious. I'm choosing to believe that this new love is my blessing from God. My prayer is for his strength and ability to withstand the hurdles of each day. I know that together we can make it through anything even the unknown. My prayer for myself is to trust the process and know it is all for my good. I have to heal and love at the same time. I have to let him love and protect me. It's uncomfortable because I have been the one in the role for myself and others for so long. I'm willing to defer to him, to be his helpmate and constant companion. I pray we grow even closer as the days turn to months and years. I'm in it.
Dope Elope highlights stories of couples from all over the World who have decided to forgo traditional weddings. Share in the joy of these newlyweds as they recount their experiences of getting married on the fly.