Happy Tuesday #Jontourage,
Welcome back to the “Classy Gent Chronicles”, where staying classy is the only way to be. Let's jump right into it....
Sometimes life sends us messages through people so I would like to send you a message about pride and proper healing using a recent situation. It will be almost six months since I lost my grandfather. I was raised to be strong, resilient and focused. Whenever bad things happened or things didn't go the way I expected , I have always been encouraged to move forward and don't spend too much time on the ground. When I first got the call my grandfather passed, it was five minutes before I was heading to a second job, keys in my hand and all. Instead of calling out and healing, I moved forward with day and went to work because there were others depending on me. I didn't take off the next day either because it was a big day at work. I always saw grieving as a sign of regret of how your relationship was with the person when they were alive.
I didn't think grief could hit me because my grandfather and I were really close and we talked everyday. I figured, why be sad I knew this day was coming and we maximized the time we had together. At his funeral, I never cried because I thought strong men put on their best face at all times, never showing weakness. Except crying doesn't mean weak because sadness is an emotion men and women have. This is why both men and women have tears. I didn't express much sadness because I knew my family needed me to be strong for them. I am usually the strongest willed of my friends and family so I do my best to fulfill my purpose and be there for everyone else. That's what I do best, be there for others. As a result, I decided to put my own grieving process to the side.
A few days after his funeral, I started having really bad stomach pains that lasted three months. Pains to the point where there were times I couldn't drive, sleep, eat or focus. It wasn't until I went to the doctors three months later that my recent loss triggered this pains. When you are person everyone depends on, you tend to put your own needs to the side for the sake of the group. Being that I work at a school and the fact I'm an author among other things, I am constantly in the spotlight. Not just the spotlight of recognition and admiration but the spotlight of all mistakes being multiplied because it's me. Some might say this is the life I asked for and I would agree so I'm not complaining, simply making an observation. I teach my students the hardest part about being great is that you don't get off days from greatness. You are always expected to be great.
Back to the issue at hand, because I never properly grieved and thought I could skips steps because I have other stuff to focus on, God made me stop and revisit my feeling of grief through my sickness. People who chase their dreams have to be the most careful because we are so focused on making it career-wise, we can easily ignore our health and emotions. We stay up all night and up at sunrise to grind. The moment I lost my grandfather, Jonathan the emotional being should have kicked in and I should have taken the necessary time to heal. That was not the decision I chose. I took the "I will be alright approach" even when I wasn't alright. Being strong all the time has its drawbacks. Vulnerability can be scary especially for those of us who are always seen as well put together. You may feel like you have let everyone down to express a moment of sadness.
The beauty of what I learned through this situation of losing my grandfather is that people who truly love you won't judge you for your tears, they will help wipe them away. They won't judge you for the time you take to grieve, they will help you during the process. They won't judge for your confusion as to why this happened to you, they pray with you and restore your faith. It's important to let people be there for you especially when you are always there for them. Those who care about you don't care about your career, your salary, or your worldly possessions. They care about you as a person... so this is my reality I own it.
I acknowledge this post will touch everyone differently so process it however you need to. I am not writing this for sympathy or praise. I'm writing this because I want people are dealing with loss, pain or sadness to actually deal with it. Don't sweep it under your bed, deal with it regardless of how painful or complex. My grandfather was a wonderful man and will be proud I shared this because he often used his belief in Christianity and his personal story to reach others... this is me doing the same. Love you granddad
Moral of the story: Take care of yourself first. Don’t be embarrassed of your healing process. Tears were invented for a reason…..
Remember, in order to live out your dreams, you have to think it, feel it, live it! Until next time, stay classy...
Jonathan C. Harris is no stranger to leadership, hard work, or success. At the age of ten years old, he earned the right to be a guest weatherman for a day on Fox 5 DC News. He has already received over 100 honors and awards including Forty Under 40 for Prince George’s County, MD, TEDx Talk speaker, American College Personnel Association (ACPA) Outstanding Men’s Program, high school Valedictorian and the Kiwanis Club Citizenship Award. Raised in Fort Washington, Maryland, he has served in leadership positions his entire life, from being the manager of the school store in elementary school to the president of the Homelessness Awareness Club in middle school to the president of the National Honor Society in high school.