Monday, September 26, 2005

I Miss My Lil' Brotha Da'Kari!!!


I miss my brother Da'Kari, a.k.a,"Ralph"...

He's in Basic Training right now...

He ran off and joined the doggone United States Army straight out of high school. He was only seventeen at the time. I have no damn idea what on earth possessed our Mama to just sign him over to Uncle Sam like that. It really pissed me off something terrible.


But you know how mothers can be with their sons... Still I don't know what substance she was smoking when she signed the papers for him to join.

For some reason, he has wanted to go into the military since he was a little boy. I told him last year, "Your tax money is supporting this war, and that's enough!!!You can join the damn military when President Bush allows Jenna and Barbara [Bush's twin daughters] to join!!" (Hell will freeze over before that happens, right?) I thought that was the end of the conversation. Apparently it wasn't.

He came over to my house one Sunday morning (in the month of April, I think), as he always does so that we could go to Church together. He asked me if I would help him with some stuff for the ASVAB. I looked at him like he was crazy. He said he needed help because he wanted to join the Army.

He said it would make a man out of him...

I just wanted to grab him and shake some sense into him. I was pissed...

Right after he told me that, I went into my bedroom, shed a couple of tears, and then called my friend and co-worker Hen-Dog on the phone. Hen-Dog had been in the military. Maybe Hen-Dog could talk him out of this insane idea of going into the army...

I didn't say much to Da'Kari that morning, for fear of breaking out crying and wailing beyond control... I wouldn't even look him directly in the eyes. We went to Hen-Dog's house after Church, and I sat and listened to Da'Kari and Hen-Dog talk for an hour. After listening in on their discussion, I got a small amount of understanding of why he wanted to join the army.

I obtained a little understanding, but I still don't accept it... Not one bit...

I thought Da'Kari and I had an understanding. He asked if he could come live with me. He was going to live with me, once I bought my house. He would have his own room, and he would not have to give me any rent. He had already been accepted into the Aviation Mechanics program at Atlanta Area Tech. He would pay for school with his Hope Scholarship. (I was going to buy his tools, or whatever else he needed.) He had a nice little job at Red Lobster. I just wanted him to work and go to school and not have to worry about rent, bills etc. (My sister Kay has latched on to this idea REAL tight!). I just wanted him to save up his money so he could go out and get his own home, etc., without having to struggle like I did at that age. I wasn't trying to be controlling or anything. But I just wish I had the oppportunity to stay somewhere rent free and have a few years to pay off any school debt, or go to school without having to work two jobs, or even to save up a little money so that I could go get the car I wanted, etc....

I mean, I REALLY thought we had it all planned out...

I guess I was wrong...

Like I said earlier, I have gone through so many many emotions: rage, sadness, fear...

But most of all, I feel like a failure... Let's not even talk about the guilt I feel when people accuse me of not doing anything to stop him from going into the army.

I feel like I have failed him. If only I could have been making more money, married somebody making good money or had a better job, or something. If only I could have been doing SOMETHING more useful for myself so I could help him a little more...

Maybe he wouldn't have had to sell his damn soul to Uncle Sam...

I really don't want him laying in a foxhole over in Iraq dodging bombs and bullets, wondering why nobody stopped him from making such a stupid decision.

I went down to Fort Gilliem and sat with him a few hours before he shipped off for basic training. I grabbed him tight, and cried into his neck right before he got on the bus for basic training and told him I was so sorry that he felt like this was his only alternative in life. I was so sorry that he had to make this choice, and that I didn't do more for him...

He didn't say anything. Just ran to the bus...

So I haven't seen him in three months. And what's worse, he has to repeat his basic training due to a knee injury. So I won't see him until the holidays, I guess...

But I do get a call from him every week...

And there's nothing like picking up the phone on Sunday afternoons and hearing him scream...

"Hey, Shawty!!!!"

So, Da'Kari, aka, Ralph, I just wanted to know that I love you and miss you. You were born when I was 17 years old, so you might as well be my child. It sure has felt like it, hasn't it, since our mama has a tendency to do her own "thang", and move to the beat of her own drum (by the way, I heard she got rid of your stepdaddy --that drunk good-for-nothing IDIOT-- yeah I said it!!!--and you know I thought that was the real reason you joined the army!). You have been my running partner since I moved back to Atlanta from New Orleans four years ago, and I sure do miss riding around in your truck listening to the classic oldies (LOL!!) I miss our Playstation marathons, and our movie time. I just hope that you will be safe, and know that we are praying for you. I know it is your life and you must live it. And like I said, if you prayed about this and you have some peace in your heart about it, don't worry about what the rest of us say...

Just do your thizzle, shawty!!

So until then, your playstation controller is waiting for you. And I'll be right here waiting for you, so that I can whip your tail (as usual) in NBA 2K5 basketball.

I'll Holla!!!

Ladylee

21 comments:

  1. Awwww, I hope you will be ok. Here is a hug *hugs*

    Feel better?

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  2. Thanks for the hug, ECHO. That makes everything better.(LOL)

    But seriously, I've been holding in these feelings for awhile. It felt good to finally release them...

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  3. Those were such beautiful words to your brother. The whole post was just so special. Thanks for sharing that feeling.

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  4. I spent 5 years in the Army and am glad that I did, even though I participated in 2 conflicts. I made it home because it was God's will.Note that I wanted to go since I was a kid.

    Your lil' bruh has become a man with the decision he made. I know it hurts for you, but know this. It has always been his decision. The best thing you can do is respect that.

    I never got that respect from my family and was still ridiculed and challanged for serving until I cut them off. That's right. I no longer have a relationship with my mother, sister and brothers because they actually think that my decision to join the Army derailed and destroyed my life. Maybe for them they had plans for me, but I had my own. I feel no remorse or guilt in me detatching from my family. I no longer carry the family name and no longer acknowledge them as family. I know that this is extreme, but it all started with conversations with uncles and family friends attempting to talk me out of joining, tearful phone calls after I enlisted and rude comments and unecessary arguments after I got out.

    I never knew that enlisting would make them feel the way they did. I enjoyed the hell out of myself and literally travelled the world. I earned a degree while serving and had a chance to visit Africa. Now THAT changed my life. I never expected the resistance once I got home. I did all the things I planned once I returned, went back to school and earned another degree, started a couple of businesses, found a church home and damn near got married. I just couldn't shake the critisisms dished out by family. Even my younger sibs came at me and challenged my motives and belief that the military helped me be what I wanted to be. I don't know where it came from. Know this. People are going to do what they WANT to do. Just love your brother and respect him as a man. I know that it's not what you want, but sometimes some of us go against the grain. Let him go. God willing, he has chosen a job that will not put him in harms way (I was a A/C mechanic). God willing, he eill be back to spank you in NBA Live 06 when he comes home during the holidays.

    There is always X Box Live.
    The Internet
    VoIP

    He won't be that far from your side. Let go the feelings of hurt, anger and worry he'll be okay and please don't be like my family. He's still your brother.

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  5. Simply Diva...

    Glad you like my post, and thanks for stopping by my neck of the woods...


    Hassan...

    That's pretty brutal, having to cut your family off like that... I can imagine that it was a hardship taking such criticism from your own family. We all tried to make sure Da'Kari talked about it and made sure that he was making the right decision for himself...

    I think my brother Da'Kari has had the support of the whole family from the very beginning, except from myself. I was, and still am, a little shocked at it all. (I think I look at too much news...)

    Da'Kari knows that I didn't agree with his decision, because I thought he was trying to run away from his terrible home life. But I told him that it is his life, and his decision alone. If he is not happy with his choice, he should not, under ANY circumstances, come back and whine about it. It is his decision...

    I would never have a prolonged attitude with him about doing what he wants to do with his life. That would constitute severe selfishness on my part... I just want him to know that when he's done, if he needs me, I am here for him...

    The only thing that bothers me is my own personal guilt and failure to do more for him. But I guess I have to understand that it is not all about me. It's about him doing what HE wants to do with his life...

    Thanks Hassan for your thoughts, and thanks for stopping by...

    Ladylee

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  6. Quit feeling guilty...

    You know you did all you can.

    Your still are doing.

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  7. Anonymous3:04:00 PM

    Your lil' brotha is a man now. Eventhough you are old enough to be his mama (my mom was 17 when she had me), just like all parents, we do all we can for our kids or younger siblings, but they have to make their own way in this world, no matter how easy we try to make it for them. My mom didn't cut the apron strings 'til I was 30 and married with kids. I listen to her say her piece, and if my decision is the same as hers, she's happy, but if not, she just has to deal. Trusting that what's for me is for me. Same with Da'kari. You did all you could, expressed how you felt, had your buddy talk to him, but he still made the opposite decision. He knows you love him and want all the best for him, but somethings we can't say, they just have to experience for themselves. You can't live his life and yours too. With 2 older sisters, he probably needed to get away from y'all for a while :). I'll pray for his safe return so you can pick up that playstation game where you left off. I'll pray for your heart not to be so sad and missing your baby boy, oops, I mean brother.

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  8. My heart really goes out to you. Keep praying and keep your head up.

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  9. Hassan...

    Yes, Daddy, I mean, um, Hassan... That's the point these days. I must stop feeling guilty. This takes a little time, and I am getting better by the hour...


    Anonymous....
    I totally agree with you. My number one hope is that this will be a good expereince for him, especially since it is something he wanted to do... And you're probably right... He needs to get away from his 2 older sisters (LOL)

    Thanks for stopping by...


    Tweet...

    Thank's girl!! I'll be just fine...
    And so will Da'Kari!

    Ladylee

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  10. The Enfamous Hendog5:49:00 PM

    After speaking with Da'kari, as I told you before, he made his choice because he wanted to find his own direction and motivation. Everyone thought my life was great because I always made good grades, played sports, and took advice. However, like Dakari expressed, I found that I really never had my own opinion or advice for myself. I graduated at 17 and went to college with no motivation just the "you can do it" speeches. Well, after two years, lost scholarship, 11 transferable credits, and a baby on the way it was time to find life (cause it sure found my ass). I also joined during a conflict (declared war on iraq when I was on the plane, that was bullshit!). After working on my own and seeing life here and in other countries somehow it clicked. Hence, I proudly transfered those 11 credits, paid my child support, struggled through years of baby mama drama and finally grew up. I said all that because it seems Dakari's decision may actually guide him to manhood with so many bumps in the road. Continue to use the "force"

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  11. Aww..that was so sweet! I'm sure he's just glad you continue to have his back no matter what. I can't really say anything about him joining, because I've been in the military eight years; majority of the time Reserves, the rest Active. I'm sure it had nothing to do with you or anyone else, he just wants to do something for him. You know? Thanks for stopping by my place. Come again!

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  12. damn girl. the part where you said that he felt this would nake a man outta him....in my mind i was wondering where his father was.

    i dont mean to dip in your fam business.

    u dont have to answer the question...*thinking if it was even a question at all*

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  13. Hen-Dog,

    You know, sitting in your living room listening to you and Da'Kari talk was helpful in helping me somewhat understand that he had a REASON for joining up. Da'Kari has always seem to have himself together: was in school, had transportation, had a good after school job, never ran the streets, and was even taking a night class at Atlanta Area Tech... Looked to me like he had it together... But somehow, I just didn't see how laying in a ditch in the middle of Iraq dodging bullets is suppose to make a man out of you. I think that you help me realize that it wasn't all about that, and I had been looking at too much media...

    When we first came over there, I wanted to take you to the side and say "Get him Henry, make him not want to go... Tell him how terrible it is!!" But I'm glad you talked to him man-to-man and allowed me to be a fly on the wall.


    So thanks a lot for talking to him, making sure his head was straight. I think Da'Kari and I were somewhat back to normal after you talked to him.

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  14. Kayla,

    I keep playing that tape over and over in my head: It has nothing to do with me, this is something he's doing for himself. I've talked to him several times since he has been in basic training, and he seems pretty excited and content. And that makes things a lot easier, just to hear him talk about his basic training with such glee:)

    I dug around in your site for a little while today. I thought it was real nice. Thanks for coming by my neck of the woods...


    Doc Holiday,

    I think that was part of Da'Kari's problem: no real father figure. Let's just say he has spent a lot of time being our mother's protector, which is NOT right. He's a real sweet, mannerable, helpful kid, not all hot-headed and ass-crazy like myself. He's had to deal with some B.S. that a child should not have to deal with (Mother prefers her men over her children, at times), things that he will problably never discuss with me. (I've had to hear it elsewhere...) I thought that was why he was running to join the army, but it wasn't... He wanted to find his own direction and motivation. My boy Hen-Dog help me realize that. And that will continue to be my focus...

    From one Doc to another, thanks for visiting my blog, Doc.

    Ladylee

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  15. Cowgirl Cre1:37:00 PM

    LadyLee,

    You are not a failure!!! You have had Da'Kari's back since he was a kid singing "Whip Appeal" on command with a bright smile on his face. I do not see how you having more money and would change his decision. Especially since you said he admitted to wanting to join for a long time. He knows you love him and you know he loves you. That to me is what is important. You also were honest with him about your feelings concerning him joining....Why would he expect anything less? You guys were always honest with each other. Even though all that he knew you love him.

    If you need a hug I am sitting right by ya ... or If you need someone to smack you for think yourself a failure... I still got ya!!!!

    Just let me know!!

    LOVE
    CowgirlCre

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  16. Alright, alright cubicle partner
    Cowgirl Cre, all is good...

    You are bringing back some seriously old memories! Da'Kari sure could sang some "Whip Appeal" and "Secret Garden" at the age of two years old (You're gonna make me cry!!)...

    Thanks for letting me know that I'm not a failure. That was just what I was feeling for a few months there. Once I stopped taking it personally, i.e., once I saw that Da'Kari got to Fort Benning and is having a great adventure (minus the knee injury), then I could exhale...

    And no, I don't need you to slap me;)

    Ladylee!

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  17. Ladylee -- what a cute name. Thanks for visiting my blog and wishing me a happy b-day.

    I am impressed as to how much you love your brother. I will add him to my prayers. One thing though, many of us who allow our loved ones to live with us after they have become young adults and don't make them pay rent are doing more harm than good. When we call ourselves helping them out; we are in fact, making them dependent and they will never take responsiblity for them selves. I think it is awesome that you love your brother that much and would share that love with all of us on the blog.

    Love and Prayers, Ms. Gig

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  18. Hi Ms. Gig, thanks for stopping by, and happy birthday again...

    No, I don't want them to pay rent. I want them to save up their money, and get the heck on when they feel like. And my brother and sister are very responsible, and if they don't have a money plan, they both KNOW that they can't live with me... Out of the question... My sister, who lives with me, has a plan, and is paying off student loans etc... Just want to give them a fighting chance for a quick minute. (They can't stay with me forever. There's a definite time limit...) Now I had a trifling ex-brother-in-law that lived with me once. Because he was messing up his money something terrible, I MADE him pay rent. (LOL)

    Again thanks for coming by, Ms. Gig!

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  19. Anonymous6:57:00 PM

    Something that you have always preached to me to do is definitely what you need to practice--Speak blessings even when the situation is not favorable. No fear here!! Da'Kari will always be blessed living his life in abundance, to the full, 'til it overflows, just like you will live your life. Hey, I pay attention. Follow your own advice, it helps.

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  20. Thanks a whole lot for the verbal slap and a little preachin' too, my lil' sister Kay! (You can't fool me by posting anonymous, homegirl...)

    You've been the calm one through this whole ordeal. I'm getting better now, especially since Da'Kari has hi-jacked somebody's cell phone, and we get to giggle on the phone about his basic training antics! (LOL)

    he sounds so happy!

    You're right, honey!! Oh so right!

    your sister Ladylee

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  21. oldgirl #212:41:00 PM

    Hey Oldgirl!
    I read this when you originally posted it. I just don't have much time to reply. Anyway, last night when I couldn't sleep, I was thinking about you and this post and then I remembered back in the day when Da'Kari turned 4 ( I think) and you told me it was his birthday. I asked you what you got him for his birthday and you told me a bag of "Doritos" (ha ha ha ha ha ha!). Girl, after all these years I still crack up about it! I know he liked it, but even after all these years you still have the no-nonsense approach to life that I really like. My oldest will be turning 5 pretty soon and I don't think she'd stand for the Doritos. You're lucky!
    By the way, thanks for the shout out earlier. I had forgotten half of the things you wrote. They really made me laugh since so much has changed since then. Take care, and all my best to Da'Kari

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Slap the *crickets* out the way, kindly step up to the mike, and SAY something!!