First thing’s first, this is a horrible birthday. My daddy, Rev. Dr. E. Conrad Howell, is dead. And I don’t know how to take that. How am I supposed to take it? What am I supposed to say? I am horrible with personal feelings, and the only way I know how to deal with things is to write it out. So here I am writing this out.
My daddy was a lot of things to a lot of people, and nothing made that more obvious than the outpouring of love that my family has received from the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. My daddy was a very well respected man. He championed education and the advancement of the Turks and Caicos Islands, he preached the good word, and he could make you feel like you mattered. My daddy was loved. I hope he knew that he was so loved.
I don’t know how to feel right now. I’m not quite sure how to deal with this. My father was my encouragement. Any moment that I felt that I could not take, I knew I could call him and he’d talk me through it. When I lost my job, I called him. I knew that my being a teacher was a source of pride for both him and my grandmother, but he comforted me when I felt like a failure and a disappointment.
I love my daddy. I didn’t always show it, but I’d like to think he knew it. I hope he knew it. I had started making plans to go home, but I didn’t want to tell him because I wanted to be sure. Now, I wish that I would have told him. We could have shared in that excitement at least.
I don’t know how I’ll feel about being back home without my dad. He represented everything that was right and familiar about being in Turks and Caicos for me. To go back now, and not have him there, would be devastating. Still, I have siblings who have lost a father, and they’re probably taking it a lot worse than I am.
You know what kills me? I know so many people that have lost their daddy. I never thought that I would be someone that lost their daddy. Not at 25! My youngest brother is 9, and he will live the rest of his life without his father. That’s so unfair. That’s so fucking unfair! I don’t understand. All I can do is ask God to comfort my stepmother and my younger siblings. To keep them in his care, and carry them through this. 15, 13, and 9, and their father’s dead. What can anyone say to soothe that pain?
My daddy would have been 53 this year, and I always thought that we were so special because our birthdays were on the same day, 3 months apart. September 12th and December 12th; they’re always on the same weekday every year. My father was 27 and 3 quarters when I was born. I was also two weeks late, so excuse me if I want to believe that that was divine intervention.
I don’t know, this doesn’t even feel real. I always thought I’d have more time with my daddy. I figured he’d have been much older, and able to have enjoyed some grandchildren before he passed. I’ll never hear his voice on the phone again. My daddy used to always tell me that he was proud of me, and that made me feel so good about myself even during the worst of my depression. I wish I had talked to him about that. I don’t know what he would have said, but he always gave me encouragement. I needed that.
I guess I should end right here, but how should I end? Rev. Dr. Evan Conrad Howell was an accomplished musician, a celebrated pastor, and a staunch supporter of the advancement of the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. He was a beloved husband, father, brother, and friend. He encouraged and motivated many, and he championed a system for tertiary education in the Turks and Caicos. He was my daddy, and I loved him. I can’t help feeling that he was taken from us too soon, but I will not deny that he has lived a life full of accomplishments. I can only hope that he knew how much he was loved before he died, and I am eternally grateful to the many who offered their support and encouragement.
Rest in Peace, daddy.