This year was filled with some highs but mostly lows. The highs were the birth of my second grandson and attending a Duran Duran concert. And getting one of those “good” government jobs that Black folks aspired to for decades. But it was a rough year for me again because I lost more people I loved and other folks I know lost people that they loved too. Grief is a motherfucker.
Since October, I’ve lost a cousin and five friends. My social media friends have lost family and friends. It’s been a season of tears for so many of us and it seems like we are drowning in sorrow.
This aspect of aging is something I wasn’t ready for. As a child, you worry about losing your parents but you never think about losing your siblings, cousins, and friends. Childishly, you think that you and your crew are going to grow up and old together but that’s not true and it’s a bitter pill to swallow.
I’ve cried so many tears in the past three years and just when I think my tear tank has officially dried up, I lose someone else and the tears start flowing again. I’m so tired of losing people I love.
Two weeks ago, a very special lady crossed over into eternity and her name was Rosemary. She was my first cousin and she was loved by many. As a child, she was the most glamorous woman in the world to me and she brought excitement with her presence whenever she showed up.
She was this blazing comet who came to earth to fill us with joy and laughter, brimming over with passion and fire. Now her job is done and while here, she lived her life with gusto and pizazz. It’s going to take a long, long time for me to deal with the reality that she is no longer amongst us in the human form but some people are unique like that, their essence so powerful yet at the same time, so fragile. Those who loved her should be grateful that we had her at all. Rest In Power Rosemary. You was the big sister I never had and I will always love you.
It’s Sunday afternoon and I’m sitting here watching a marathon of the television show “Snapped” and crying. As usual because I’m thinking about my lost ones and is filled with sadness, anxiety, and anger.
Earlier this year I read an article about Caroline Kennedy and it was written right after her brother John died in that plane crash along with his wife and sister in law. The topic was about being the sole survivor of your immediate family and what a terrible burden that had to be. As everyone knows, her father was murdered in 1963, her mother died of cancer in 1994 and then her little brother died in 1999.
I broke down after reading the article because it explained what I couldn’t articulate what I was feeling and is still feeling at the time of my brother’s death two years ago. American culture doesn’t like to ponder on painful thoughts so it really hasn’t been any research done on this topic. The impact of being the sole survivor of your family is overwhelming. At times, I thought I would end up in the psych ward but I’m still here, holding on to my sanity by sheer grace and will power.
I find myself clinging to my memories tighter and tighter as the days go pass. I listen to the music of my youth and young adulthood because my family were still alive when that music was created. I take a longer route to go home from work because I like to ride through the Bronzeville neighborhood I lived in from 1988 to 1992 because my mother and brothers were alive then and we all lived together.
I’m still coming to terms with the realization that the people with whom I had formed my earliest memories with are all gone and it’s nothing I can do about it. I’m not a religious person but I’m hoping that it’s a place where our souls go when we die and I will see my people again. Everyone will be restored to their full glory and they will greet me with love and joy.
Two years has passed since my brother died, and I’ve experienced a multiple of emotions ranging from the deepest despair to raging anger and anxiety. But lately, I feel myself turning into someone who doesn’t give a fuck about too much of anything.
I mean I love my children, grandchild, and my future grandchild to be. My friends and other family members but I’m not getting any enjoyment from life and it scares me at times. Because you can’t walk around not giving a fuck about anything. Or can you?
Honestly it’s easy to not give a fuck about stuff because the vast majority of people in America are dumb as a box of hair. Consumed with celebrities and other superficial mess while their way of life is burning to the ground. I just be sitting back watching these ninnies fight and argue with strangers online about celebrities who wouldn’t piss on them if they were on fire.
But I’m not going to lie. It scares me to be so apathetic about life now because by nature, I’m a passionate woman filled with fire. And I want that fire back instead of being the ice queen I’ve become. I’m praying for that day when my sense of optimism and joy about living comes back. Pray for me too.
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.
Depression is a terrible thing because it creeps up when you least expect it. You could be having a perfectly good day and memories from the past will swarm your brain and you will feel like crawling up in a corner and hiding. Hiding from the pain, the confusion, the chaos of your feelings.
My feelings are in turmoil these days because I have lost so many people in the last few years to death. My brother, the last of my original family. My boos Trena, Genial, and Mikki, my around the way girls from around the way. So many people I loved and cherished that I loved with all my fiery soul and now they are gone and its nothing I can do about it. Because you can fight many things in life, certain illnesses, job losses, relationships that should ended eons ago but death? You can’t fight that bitch. You just learn to cope and move on with your life the best you can but depression will always plague you.
And even if death hasn’t plagued your life, depression can slap you in the face and fuck up your life. American culture is a perfect example of the ills of depression.
I know that we live in America, the place of Horatio Alger tales where people come from humble backgrounds and somehow, someway through hard work and perseverance, manage to ride off into the sunset and that’s a beautiful tale. Unfortunately, for most people, their lives will be filled with obstacles on the path to greatness, and for some that greatness will never come. So they find themselves falling into the depths of hell which is called depression.
Americans are supposed to constantly happy and blowing sunshine out of their asses or they aren’t considered real “patriots.” So they walk around with fake smiles and harass complete strangers at grocery stores, parks, gas stations and various other public places. Looking like complete maniacs but hey its America though.
Please don’t think I am making fun of people suffering from depression because I am not but I am tired of people taking out their issues on complete strangers. I have been through the bowels of hell in the past few years of my life but it never occurred to me to go outside of my home and show my entire ass to the world. I just coped and got some therapy.
Did it help? Yes it did. Did the depression go away? Not yet but I am hopeful because walking up sad and mad daily is not a good thing. And all I want is to be happy at least 98% of the time and that is I want for other folks. Just be happy, eat good every day and live their lives. Life is too short and precious to dwell in misery. Be happy my people.
My mama left this world 15 years ago today and it hasn’t been a day in those 15 years that I haven’t thought about her. Especially now since I’m getting older, going through perimenopause and it’s many questions I would love to ask her.
Like did she cry like a broken hearted woman one minute and then be ready to beat someone’s ass the next minute? And after crying and raging, find herself giggling madly like a teenager? Because that’s me on a regular basis and I wish she was here so we could giggle together.
Like how did she feel when she became a grandmother? Did she look at her grandchildren with so much love and awe that her heart literally jumped for joy every time she saw their faces? Because that’s how I feel about my grandson. I wish she was here to see his face because I know she would have loved him to pieces.
And how did she feel about aging as a woman in a culture that hates all women but has a particular vicious venom for older women? All these questions I can’t ask her because she’s no longer here. That reality has saddened me for 15 years. That reality has left a bitter taste in my mouth, in my heart, in my soul.
I have so much to live for. My children, my grandchild and the new one who’s scheduled to be born on my mother’s 90th birthday in May but it’s a piece of me that was lost on December 6, 2006 when she became an ancestor. And that’s okay. We live in culture that shames people for grieving if it goes beyond the allotted timeframe that’s deemed acceptable. But I don’t give a fuck. I have the right to grieve for my mother forever. And I will.
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.