i was resisting writing because i thought it would make things worse...but i think that getting some of this out is the only way to stop the visions in my mind.
i have not had a dramatic life by any stretch of the imagination. compared to many, my situation was idyllic. i never went hungry, i had a parents and family who loved me, my intellect and talents were supported and encouraged, etc.
but the traumas that made it through those filters have stayed with me.
for instance, my parents couldn't stop death--something i learned early, and well.
for several reasons, my mother's family is my family. i look like my father's people, but i was raised with my mother's, almost exclusively.
my father's family is large and always getting larger, but my mother's family is not. and people don't live into their 80s and 90s. being born into a somewhat sterile family full of older folks meant that i had several, loving aunts and uncles, but hardly any cousins or other relatives my age.
i've gone from knowing a house full of people and laughter at christmas to just a handful of us at any given time. we're still close, no beef (modupe olodumare)...just so many empty seats. voices that don't carry across the room anymore.
my maternal grandmother passed when i was three years old, and i can barely remember her face. i remember how much she loved me, and i know her through family stories. she has been an immense spiritual presence, and i know she helped me through one of the most difficult times of my life. thanks to her daughter, my aunt, i have a beautiful picture of her on my egun altar.
over the years i've adopted different grandmothers, but i've never stopped wondering what it would be like to have my own back with me.
both of my grandmother's brothers have also passed on. i was particularly close to my uncle brother. i couldn't attend his funeral because i had to move back into the dorm at school. i have never been able to bring myself to go to his grave...i preferred remembering him as he was: tall, thin, the 80s sunglasses, perpetual drink in one hand, cigarette in the other.
his wife, aunt eunice, treated me like i was her own child. she was one of the sweetest women i've ever known, skin like dark chocolate. she died suddenly of a heart attack, i believe. i couldn't look at her in a coffin, either.
six years ago, my pop pop passed away the day after xmas. we had to have the funeral on new year's eve. to this day, it hurts me to see the christmas lights go up around me, knowing i won't see his gift under the tree or see him at the table. my last visions of him at the hospital, intubated and unable to speak, are some of the harshest memories i have. and every year they come back.
i went to his funeral, but i drew the line at the burial. i couldn't watch them put him in the ground; i stayed in the limo. i cannot find his grave--he insisted on being buried beside my grandmother in one of the oldest but worst maintained cemeteries in the city. i've been there a few times, once with my mother, but neither of us can find them. i'm told my great grandmother is also there, somewhere. i left an ebo for them all, last year i think. the least i could do. maybe i should think about leaving another one...
even being an aborisha doesn't save me from my grief. i know they are still there, watching over me: my grandmother has never left us and often shows up in our dreams. she was with me when i received my owofakan. when i went for my first spiritual reading, my aunt eunice stood with me. two other angels, my aunt emily and uncle jimmy, are also close by, i'm sure.
maybe it's because i lost them (and others)--with the exception of my pop pop--so young that it hurts so much. it wasn't until later that i thought about the things i would have asked, the conversations we would have had, the fact that they missed my graduations from high school or college...
i am grateful that many of them did not linger or suffer.
i pay them homage.
i know that it is because of them that i have some of the gifts i do.
they have touched, blessed and guided me, well and often.
but...i still miss them.
then there are my other memories.
at age five i was violated. not by an adult; more like a game of house that went too far (and even that was, i'm sure, because someone had hurt him). i never forgot it, but it felt like a bad dream my body remembered. i had all kinds of misplaced emotions, urges, and heartbreak that just should not have been.
i think my parents found out soon after, but i downplayed it and hid my true feelings. i never wanted to get him in "trouble", and i didn't want to hurt anyone. i figured that i could get through it, that if i just stayed quiet it would save folks the trouble and keep everyone happier. besides, no one would understand what i was feeling anyway, right?
my mother knew what to look for and watched me, but...well, let's just say that i'm a fairly decent actress--apparently that was my first career choice as a young child, although i don't remember feeling that way.
i don't remember a lot of things. i'm beginning to understand why.
fast forward to age 16 when i slept with my first boyfriend and had to deal with it. even so, i hid it all from everyone until said boyfriend gave me an ultimatum: get help, or consider him gone. this led to a little over a year of therapy and the near constant spiritual intercession of my grandmother, iba t'orun. i'm sure that only she and god kept the knives off my arms and the thoughts of suicide away.
that said, for all intents and purposes, i'm "over" it.
but as anyone who's been here knows, it never goes away.
some days it floods back, and there's nothing you can do to stop it.
it's just winds up being one of those "bad" days. or weeks.
i can't remember the last time i had a relapse this bad, but i had a hell of a trifecta going: new job in a new city (i.e., sudden change), relationship issues, and the impending holiday season. i should have seen it coming...
my inner child is powerful, but sad. it's not often that i can face her.
i feel like i don't have the right to complain, to hurt, to suffer--not compared to some of the other childhoods my friends and lovers have endured.
on the other hand, i know my pain is my own, it's justified, and that we all have our crosses to bear, big, small, or in between.
just another way station in the journey.