Friday, November 18, 2011

A Peaceful Journey

This past week the world lost some truly iconic men in the areas of sports and entertainment; former boxing heavyweight champion Smokin’ Joe Frazier and rapper/actor Heavy D passed away.

Joe Frazier notably had one of the most dangerous left hooks in boxing. He used it to propel him to the top of the ranks culminating in his epic battles against Muhammad Ali. In their 3 bouts Ali won 2 of the 3 but their matches are still ranked amongst the greatest in boxing history. He reached the pinnacle of his career by winning the heavyweight championship in 1970. Joe died at the age of 67 of liver cancer.

Heavy D was a pioneer in the rap game in the early 90’s with a series of hits like “Nuttin’ But Love” & “Now That We’ve Found Love”. Heavy released 9 albums, had 4 Grammy Award nominations, appeared in multiple films and television shows and was responsible for originally hiring Sean “Diddy” Combs as an intern who later set the tone for 90’s hip hop and r&b. Heavy D died at the age of 44 from medical complications including pneumonia.

Since their deaths millions of people have come out to share personal stories and feelings about these men. They have both had tributes given and countless accolades received posthumous. The question is, why do we wait for someone to die to share how we really feel about them?

Once someone dies people come out of the woodwork to share a tender moment or defining event that forever changed their lives. We like to believe that it is important to remember the feats of that individual and to make sure their legacy lives on through stories and praise. Now I agree with this in theory, it does however bother me a little.

Why does it take death? Why do we need to wait until they’re no longer here to express our real feelings, thoughts and emotions? I’ve seen so many older men and women whose final years would have been greatly enriched if they would have been able to hear the things that were said about them by their loved ones after they died. They spent their last years often alone but were buried to a packed house.

Some people wait to bury grudges when they finally bury the individual, really? Is the pain, hurt or anger we hold on to so great that it can only be trumped by the passing of life? It’s really that serious? I know people who are angry with individuals that they haven’t seen in decades. They have no idea how that person even acts anymore but primarily out of habit, they can’t let go of their need to hate.

There is one more piece to this “irks” me puzzle…the liars. We all know them, the ones that come out after someone has passed away to profess how much they loved and respected them when we all know it’s not true. The liars, the ones that spoke badly of them, wished them ill will, and basically despised their existence in life, but are the first ones to throw themselves on the casket or lead the toast in their honor after death. Oh the liars…we hate you.

Why can’t we keep it real? If you love someone tell them. If you value or cherish them for what they have or do bring to your life let them know. It shouldn’t be a secret that you literally take to the grave. You never know when that could be the difference in someone making it another day, month or even year.

While we’re keeping it real…I understand making peace and letting go of anger when someone passes away is difficult. If you haven’t truly come to terms and are “good” in your heart with someone don’t come around praising under false pretense. You disrespect that person, their loved ones and their memory that is being honored. I know it’s not politically correct to pass on funerals or to speak badly of the dead but if that’s how you’ve felt and still feel…be honest. I can respect that, I may think you’re petty, but I can respect it.

We’ve all lost someone, in fact we just celebrated Veteran’s Day, the acknowledgement of those who have and are willing to sacrifice everything for others. We need to be real with ourselves and those in our lives. Let’s not wait until it’s too late.

Rest In Peace Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Heavy D & Warren G. Morris.
Heavy D…take us out.

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