My beloved father Randy Wilkerson died March 22, 2010, 13 years ago at the age of 61.
My father’s love was unconditional, and he always wanted the best for me. He encouraged my dreams, my passions, and when I would suffer through the darkest nights of my soul in the grips of my mental illness, that the doctors diagnosed in my childhood, there was never a time where he gave up on me.
Others (and myself) would give up on me. Dad never did, not once.
I would never have made it as a professional dancer and enjoyed all the wonderful opportunities he provided me with without his love and belief in me. Even though I did not believe in myself, even though I went through full blown episodes with psychotic and psychosis features which required hospitalization. He was there 100%. His main concern for me was always for me to take my medications and relieve the suffering in my mind.
I only saw my father cry only two times in my entire life. My father did not cry. Both times he did it were over me and my noncompliance with my medications leading me to suffer with what I call “brilliant madness.” My mental illness was so severe at times he would have to argue with me to go to the emergency room to get the help I needed. He knew over time that my medications would help, but I did not want to come down from my full-blown manic state. I detested the medications that made me feel like a zombie and I did not want to go back to the hospital. He cried and felt hopeless with despair. When I refused to go to the hospital, he said he could not bear the fact that I was suffering so very much.
He always waited me out and eventually when things hit rock bottom I would go to the hospital when it came to a life-or-death situation. The sacrifices that he made to keep me well were immeasurable.
My dad’s last words to me when he was dying were, “Shane, keep taking your medications and don’t hurt yourself.”
My worst nightmare had come true, my dad had passed.
My dad touched so many lives and was a brilliant man at anything he did. There was nothing he could not accomplish. My dad understood the dangers of mental illness because he lived with my grandfather who was a paranoid schizophrenic.
I would like to share the lyrics of a song by Elton John that makes me think of my dad when I hear it. Dad, I love and miss you every single day of my life. Christ so blessed me to have you in my life. I try every day to live my life as best I can in memory of you. I hope I can be half the man that you were to me. I look forward to the time we meet again.[Verse 1]
Yesterday you came to lift me up As light as straw and brittle as a bird
Today I weigh less than a shadow on the wall Just one more whisper of a voice unheard Tomorrow leave the windows open As fear grows please hold me in your arms
Won’t you help me if you can to shake this anger I need your gentle hands to keep me calm [Chorus]
Because I never thought I’d lose I only thought I’d win I never dreamed I’d feel This fire beneath my skin I can’t believe you love me I never thought you’d come I guess I misjudged love between a father and his son[Verse 2]
Things we never said come together The hidden truth no longer haunting me
Tonight we touched on the things that were never spoken That kind of understanding sets me free[Chorus]
Because I never thought I’d lose I only thought I’d win I never dreamed I’d feel This fire beneath my skin I can’t believe you love me I never thought you’d come I guess I misjudged love between a father and his son