• Jerry L. Burrell

Goodbye


I don’t jump as high or run as fast. I have hip, knee and back issues that flare up. Recovery after intense physical activity takes longer. I spent 6 days on a liquid diet laying in a hospital bed a few months ago due to pancreatitis and lost 10lbs and a gall bladder.


These are not complaints. They are facts.


I know my body is going to die.


I don’t know when or how.

Parts of my body die every day and I don’t get to say goodbye to them….at least not consciously.


Death is just part of life.


And maybe death really is just transformation.


If there is any truth to it, the first law of thermodynamics states that energy can’t be created or destroyed. It can only change forms.

But how do you say goodbye to someone whose form has already changed?


I have been wrestling with that question ever since I got the phone call telling me Sadiki Fuller was dead.


Death can be a wake-up call for those of us left alive.


Sadiki’s death has been more like an alarm clock that I can’t turn off.


In January of this year, I wrote about Sadiki in the first installment of a 21 part writing challenge. I shared the story of how I initially missed what Sadiki had to offer as I was building the High “Impact” Squad because I was looking for something he did not have. Later, when I came to understand what his unique gifts were, he claimed a spot on the Squad and left his mark on the team and he left his mark on me.


He went on to inspire others in the Bay Area and Los Angeles as he pursued his dreams. Sadiki’s mother Brenda is a big part of who he became. These past few weeks I have wanted to hold her and not let go. Publicly, she has shown such grace. Her private moments, I simply cannot imagine.


We lost my father a few years ago. My family was gathered together during my father’s last days and we got a chance to love on him. It was a sort of head start in the marathon that is the grieving process. I don’t know if anyone got that head start with Sadiki. The lesson here is to love on people while they can receive your love.


Love on them!


These last few weeks, I have been unable to do much of the creative stuff that nourishes my soul.

I’ve been doing lots of busy work so not to wallow in my grief, but questions continue to surface about Sadiki and for me.


Would Sadiki have done things differently if he knew death would come so soon?


Was Sadiki living life to the fullest?


Did Sadiki complete what he set out to do?


These are questions that we can answer for ourselves based on our knowledge of who Sadiki was but really they are questions that Sadiki would be best qualified to answer and he’s gone.


I’ve inserted my name into those same questions and the answers aren’t easy for me. I’ve come to realize that my pain is a combination of many things:


-Not being able to say goodbye to Sadiki Fuller

-Knowing the hole in my heart is tiny compared to the hole in his mom and his sisters’ hearts

-The mystery of why he had to die

-The mystery of what this is all for if 1 day you’re here and the next you’re gone


I went to the Houston and LA memorials to celebrate Sadiki’s life and I am so grateful I did because I got to hug his mom and be reminded of the beautiful human life he lived. A life with ups and downs, victories and defeats, joys and sorrows, friends, family and lots of laughter.


It says a lot about a person whose life’s work is to make others laugh.

If laughter is the best medicine, Dr. Sadiki saved a lot of lives. He not only made people laugh but he shared inspirational quotes as prescriptions for wisdom and was an example of living life on purpose which is probably his greatest gift to those who knew him.


Sadiki changed the trajectory of so many lives for the good and thus made the world a better, happier place.


Maybe I’ve got it all wrong with saying goodbye.


I’m going to start saying hello to all of the things that remind me of Sadiki and allow that energy to transform my pain of losing a friend into my joy of finding him again and again and again…

Sadiki Fuller







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