You don’t know me. You’ve probably never even heard the name Ennis Smith cross the lips or roll through the voice of your dad. That’s because he and I never hung out together. Despite that fact, I think there was respect between the two of us because we were friends. Whenever we did see each other, in or outside of school, there was nothing but love: a pound; maybe a fist bump; a, “What up, Ennis?” in that trademark voice of his, followed by my own, “What up, Whimp?”. There was never any animosity between your dad and I. He was one of the coolest, most down-to-earth cats I ever knew. A testament to that will be the shear number of friends who will–and have already–paid their respects to your family, in his honor.
One memory that comes to mind is my senior prom. On the night of prom, your dad and I–along with our dates for the evening– shared a white limousine, to the Pontchartrain in Downtown Detroit, where legendary DJ Waxtax-N Dre would cut the Ones-N-Twos all night long. The four of us were all decked out in white and ready to celebrate. As soon as we arrived, the two couples split up to enjoy the atmosphere and the music. It was a good night. I can also remember bumping into him one or twice in Downtown nightclubs, back in my 20’s, when I would come home from college to party. He was a good brother, and judging by the many photos I’ve seen of you two together, he must’ve been an awesome dad.
Cancer is no respecter of persons, Pryce. It doesn’t discriminate. There was nothing your dad did to bring this beast into his life. It does what it does, and leaves a hole in our hearts after its damage is complete. I know personally, because 10 years ago I watched it take my Mom away from me. Eight months between diagnosis and death. There are no words of true comfort that can ease the pain of your loss, young brother. Folks will try their best. You have to understand they will genuinely want to help you through the difficult time. They will mean well, so try not to get angry at any of the well-wishers that pass through your life in these following days. I tell you that, because I really do understand what you’re going to face. I know about the different emotions you’ll struggle with.
I can promise you this, Pryce: the brokeness; that hole in your heart will mend in time. For me personally, I cursed God for allowing my Mom to die at a young age. But, somehow, in spite of my anger and rage at him, he walked me through that pain and actually drew me near to him for healing. I would probably still be mad today, if not for his love and patience. I don’t know if you’re ready to hear or process that, but what I want you to understand is that in time, the pain of loss will dull. You’ll have that one piece of your heart that will forever belong to your dad, but it just won’t hurt so much. We never forget our parents, when we lose them, but in time the pain goes away and is replaced by all the great moments, laughs and memories we shared with them.
My bible teaches me that Fathers are the spiritual heads of the household, so I’d like to think that you and your Mom are going to be okay, young brother. Pryce, I’d be willing to bet that your dad prayed for you and your Mom while he was with us. And men don’t pray unless they believe in God. So, I’d like to think he’s living peacefully with the Lord. The bible teaches that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. It also teaches that Jesus wipes away every tear, in heaven. I hope the day will come when you realize that he’s not gone forever. He’s waiting, young brother. That’s the encouragement I want to leave with you. He’s waiting, Pryce; waiting to see you again.
Pryce, on behalf of the Smith family, you have my condolences and my deepest sympathy for your loss. Your dad was a good man, who has my respect to this day.