Over the weekend, I went to a celebration that was partially a reality check that has just set in.
Al and Margo Seabrook simultaneously celebrated 50 years of marriage, a 75th birthday and a 70th birthday all in one fell swoop. It was a glorious affair that took place in Christiana, DE. While it was glorious, there was a somber undercurrent for me.
I grew up knowing Mr. Seabrook and his family, because he was one of my father’s best friends. We all had a lot of great, funny memories until my father died suddenly in the early 1990’s. At our table was Mrs. Privot, who was the widow of their other best friend, Mr. Privot. He died suddenly a month before my father died. It was a terrible time for the family. They didn’t make it to 50.
Now, we are starting to see it again.
Sean Price, a legendary rapper, father and husband, was laid to rest this week after dying in his sleep from an undiagnosed illness. A friend of mine, Brook Stephenson, died from a heart complications over the weekend like Sean Price. Another rapper, PH, also passed suddenly. He too was a great dude that was a beloved family man. All of them were under 50, easily. All of them were supermen in their own way.
I happen to think that women are the key to men living longer and more fulfilling lives.
We simply don’t innately go to the doctor. We are invincible by nature and then our humanity creeps up on us unannounced. We deal with symptoms and pain. We try diagnosing ourselves. That’s what happened to my Dad. He began having healthy ailments stemming from his job as an industrial arts teacher. And when he was in the hospital, he realized he should have listened to my mother all along.
When I was married, my then-wife saw a weird red mark on me and forced me to go to the doctor. It was nothing. Another instance, I had continued migraines and I was forced to go get some kind of MRI-type treatment to make sure I wasn’t about to have an aneurysm. Eventually, as my will to live increased, I began to go to the doctor regularly. My key to life is my daughter, to be perfectly honest.
In death, my dad gave me the heads up, though.
Even though I loved him dearly, I knew I was taught a valuable lesson about health and mortality. According to the CDC, the leading cause of death (as of 2013) for all Black men is heart disease with cancer coming in at a close second. Now, to keep it real, ages 15-34 die more readily to homicide, but as soon as we examine beyond that (ages 35 and up), it goes back to health. Now, we know all isn’t right and environmental racism is real, but things are changing. Men are aware. Keenly aware.
My friends and I are training for a marathon. I’ve gotten deeper into veganism, vegetarianism and just eating right. I see many of my comrades living a decidedly “clean” life in general. I am not a fool. I know everybody is not living this way, but I feel the tide is changing quickly in grown men. I still see young dudes playing around with high-powered drugs and reckless lifestyles. Women are going to need to change the standard since they are the rulers of the world. Men do what their wives/partners/lovers say do, being fully transparent.
Mrs. Margo Seabrook doted over her husband Al – we happens to be a chief in Ghana. It was clear that she was his watchtower, warding off danger at every turn. Similarly, he looked out for her, but in different ways, based on what I observed. As business owners in Wilmington, Delaware, they have had a partnership of epic proportions. I was proud to be there, watching their kids and grands lovingly commemorate their milestone. Truth be told, they are clearly the standard. I am praying that they are not the exceptions for long.
Long live The Seabrooks!