I’ve been friends with Paulie T for ten years. We worked together at Careerbuilder in Chicago for much of it; we remain ever closer since leaving. When I look up the words integrity, loyalty and friendship in the dictionary, his name is right there. Most of our adventures have been in Chicago, but we’ve also taken our good times to Cabo, Atlantis, Vegas, Los Angeles and Lawrence, KS (the proud home of the birthplace of basketball – the Kansas Jayhawks). I’m proud to have Paul be the first friend to write in my stead on this blog…
“I am honored that my friend Cecil has asked me to be a guest writer on his blog. If you are a follower, as I am, then I am sure you see his writings as an extension of Cecil. His messages of positivity are more than just words, it is how he lives life. I wanted to share something that would embody that same spirit.
My daughter Mikayla was born on May 1, 2014 and I have been writing her ever since. I intend to share what I have written with her someday, many years from now. It’s my hope that she can look back at my writings and it can be a part of her life long after I am gone.
The message below is a piece I wrote to her a few weeks after she was born and in the midst of a heartbreaking family tragedy; the death of my wife Lynn’s father, Dr. Jaime Hilao. Lynn and I were really sad that he never got to see or hold his first grandchild. A few days after he passed I was comforted in a way that I never could have expected and I immediately wrote Mikayla and took a video to share my experience with her.
Message from Papa Jimmy
It’s with a heavy heart that I tell you your Papa Jimmy has passed away. He passed on Friday, May 16 in LA at your Aunt Jamie’s place. He was with loved ones that said he passed away peacefully. Your mom and I have been struggling with the realization that we will never get to see him again. Even more heartbreaking, we are sadden by the fact that you never got to see him. This morning I was comforted by a dream:
I’m in a dimly lit auditorium, standing on an elevated stage, with a spotlight drawn on me. At the center of the stage there’s a beautiful, black, grand-piano. I realize the auditorium is filled with people. The faces are indiscernible but I come to the conclusion they’re all there to hear me play.
I ask the audience, “what would you like me to play?” I hear someone respond, “play whatever you’d like.” It’s your mom’s voice. I look in the direction the response came from and now I can see her face clearly. Like zooming in and out of focus with a camera.
I walk up to the piano and look around again. I zoom in and out of faces in the room. They’re all people I know with big smiles on their faces. Your Great Grandmother, Mama, who passed just a few months before you were born is the last face I focus on before I decide to start playing. I decide to play John Legend’s “All Of Me”.
I’m astounded because I know how to play the song. More surprising, I start to sing and I sound just like him! I finish playing and look at the keys of the piano still not able to comprehend how I did it. It’s then that I realize I’m dreaming. I think to myself, I need to learn to play that song.
I hear a voice from the audience respond to my thought, “you need to learn to play it for her”, it’s your Papa Jimmy’s voice! I look up to find him in the audience. He’s smiling at me and holding you.
I wake up and you’re with your mom. You two have been in and out of sleep all night. You’ve been really fussy. I ask her to give you to me so she can sleep. The dream that I had starts to really come together in my head now that I am awake. You’re in my arms crying and unable to sleep. I decide to take Papa Jimmy’s message to heart, and play you the song in my dream. You are comforted instantly. I look up towards the heavens to thank your Granddad.”
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