Next month will be the anniversaries of my brothers deaths. Both of my brothers died in the month of February three days apart, one on the 7th which is ironically his birthday and the other one on the 10th. How morbid is that? Quite actually so I’m not in a good space right now but somehow, someway I manage to persevere. Despite of the pain, the sorrow, the never ending grief.
Some days are better than most. When I FaceTime my grandson and see his happy, smiling face alight with the joy of seeing his granny.
When I’m curled up in the bed with my cat and I can feel him purring loudly in contentment on my lap while I read one of my many books.
When I’m on the phone cackling with my best friend and we reminisce of days past, when we were young and carefree running wild.
When I’m talking to my children and listening to their hopes, dreams, and aspirations for the future, feeling blessed that they feel comfortable enough to confine in me.
But even with being surrounded by so much love, I feel so lost. It’s not an easy burden being the last one alive from your original family. At times, it feels like a horrible dream that I’m eventually going to wake up from and then it hits me that this is my new reality. And I have to deal with it whether I like it or not. So I wake up every morning grateful to see another day and at the same time filled with sadness. As time goes on, I know that it’s going to get easier but right now, it’s rough.
This summer was supposed to have been a great one but unfortunately, I lost two childhood friends that I loved like sisters in two months. Most people lose contact with their childhood friends as they get older but I have been fortunate that I’m still in contact with the majority.
I spent my teens, 20s, 30s, and 40s with these ladies and was hoping that we would grow old together, sitting on the porch with our canes cussing folks out but it wasn’t meant to be. But as I write this, I’m sitting here smiling through my tears, grateful that I had the privilege of knowing them at all.
So many sisters complain about the lack of friendship amongst Black women but I was truly blessed to have known these ladies. I hope that the ancestors greeted Genial and Mikki with love and I promise to keep them alive with my memories. Because what memories they were❤️❤️❤️❤️
In the months since my brother’s death, my emotions have been a kaleidoscope, ranging from the deepest of grief to fear. My mother gave birth to three children and I am the only one left. That’s real deep isn’t it? I have no one to grieve with: most people don’t know how to deal with emotions, particularly the emotions that come with death and at times, I have felt so alone. Even with being a mother who has children living in her house.
Back in December, I learned that my brother was missing. Then he was in the hospital and then put in a nursing home. In January, I learned that he was dying and on February 10, 2020, he crossed over. Just like that. That quickly, that quietly, and with that, my brother became an ancestor.
Randy, my second oldest brother died February 7, 1994 and February 10, 2020, Larry died. Our mother died back in December of 2006 and now it’s just me. Notice I did not mention a father and I will not. At this point, it doesn’t matter but many would disagree.
My little family is gone and all I have is memories and pictures. Like the time Larry came over drunk and rowdy and my mother and I beat his ass. Or the time Randy had some Sea-Monkeys and I poured a cup of sugar in the fish bowl to see what would happened (they died naturally and he was mad as hell). Or memories of going to work with my mother during school breaks. Memories that have made an indention on my brain that I cling to. The memories that keep my people alive in spirit if not in body.
Currently, the world is experiencing a pandemic and for 2 ½ months, Chicago was under quarantine. During that time, I had nothing to do but think and grieve. And that it is what I am currently doing now and will continue to do so. Only a demon will pretend to be blowing sunshine out of their asses when deep down in their heart, they are hurting and I’m not a demon. Will I be showing my entire ass, no, but if you see me lost in thought, smiling or teary eyed, I am thinking about my people.
Several years ago, I read the autobiography of Ava Gardner, an actress from the Golden Era of Hollywood and a really cool ass lady. I can’t remember right off hand the exact quote but in one of the earlier chapters, she discussed the death of her mother who died of uterine cancer and she said “You can get over a lot of things. Love, broken relationships but grief last forever.” “And lord she was telling the truth.
Because the grief of losing someone to death that you loved will never go away. You will learn to cope but you will never get over the lost. I don’t give care about how many grief books or articles you read. It doesn’t matter how many well meaning twits, I mean friends and relatives give you advice on how to deal with your grief, you will be dealing with grief for the rest of your life.
Are you supposed to dwell in your grief and waste away? No but it is not healthy to pretend that you are not devastated by the death of a loved one. In American culture, people are supposed to pretend that they are not bothered by death. That death is a natural part of life and that you should be happy that your loved one is no longer suffering and not of this world. And while that sounds good in perspective, no one is happy to lose someone to death that they loved. In the past two months, I have lost my brother and a woman that I loved like a sister. With the death of my brother was the end of my childhood family, the people that I had formed my earliest childhood memories with. At one time, it was myself, my mother and my brothers and now it is just me and that has been a bitter pill to swallow. I have come to the realization that I won’t get over it and that is okay.
And with the death of my friend was the lost of a friendship that meant so much to me. A woman I had known since 1992, who I lived with and who had welcomed me into her home with no hesitation. I cannot believe that I will never see my friend or hear her voice again. We were supposed to be old ladies with canes, cussing people out, telling them to get off our porches, but it wasn’t meant to be. And I know now that I won’t get over her death either and it is cool and normal to feel this way.
So for those who are grieving, whether you have been grieving for a day or for over 40 years, do not let anyone shame about how you decide to grieve. If necessary, tell those busybodies to kiss your ass and keep moving on with your life. You do not own an explanation to anyone on this planet about shit. Nothing. Nada. No Buenos. Just wipe away your tears and continue to remember your people. The longer we keep the dead alive, the better it is because they live forever in our hearts.