It’s interesting to me when I speak about the topic death.
I am typically an optimist. I’m the guy who really hates going to hospitals and funerals because they show a facet of life that I don’t like. When I think about my life, and death, I tell God that I want to live as full as I possibly can so that I can die empty with no more work to do or nothing left to give.
However, there were a series of deaths that I experienced that pretty much rocked me to my core.
The first one was my brother DeAnte’ Pierre Wilson, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Harlem.”
Our connection was immediate, and as brothers we stayed up all night talking about the greatness of God and destiny. Though his gift of encouragement only extended to those who loved him, and he never learned how to encourage and empower himself in the same way. So he embarked upon tons of journeys and associations that literally drained him over time and led to his untimely death. I always say when he died, part of me died. There was a belief in good people and that they will always be here, that died when he died.
But what began after his death was no longer needing a pep talk from him to do something great. I didn’t have to depend on him to remind me of who I was to do the damn thing. He used to always tel me, “Ulysses do you know who you are? You are a King!” Today DeAnte, I know that I am a king, so much so that I have “King” tattooed on my chest to remember this truth for an eternity.
The second impactful death I experienced was my mentor Mulgrew Miller, the man that I met after being in NYC for only 3 weeks. Mulgrew appeared like an angel, and was so committed to me becoming a great musician and really studying this craft of jazz. Mulgrew also taught me something that completely mesmerized me. He was one of the most respected jazz musicians, and he had qualities that were unique for that that are in that field. He lived with such integrity and loyalty to his family, and also believed in unselfishly speaking life into the next generation.
The 3rd death, was a spiritual one for me. Many who know me well, know that at one point I had a Bible study and used to be a minister. When the difficulty of my previous marriage was at its height, I felt that it was hard for me to minister to others, when my home was out of order. So, the plan was to pause weekly Bible studies and continue at a later date. When I paused that Bible study, there was a ripple affect within friendships and family relationships that essentially caused things to never be the same with that group. The impact has still affected me to this day, and felt like a death.
I was speaking to a friend who had a vase of dead rose petals. He talked about how he loves keeping roses beyond their “lifespan,” because they take on a new type of beauty. He state that death has a beauty, and it teaches us to see life from a different vantage point.
Death is the beginning. Even though I experienced those 3 impactful deaths, the “me” that emerged from those situations could not have emerged without death. So, I have started looking at death not as an engine, but yet the beginning of something that cannot begin without death taking place.