Mourning turns to memories

Since 2004, this week has represented the longest week of my year. Yeah, it sounds strange but bear with me, 8 years ago today my mother celebrated her 50th birthday and then left this world 4 days later. For the first few years after her death I would spend this week holding back the tears and trying to stay sane. Yet in the past year I have noticed a slow change, no longer do the tears flow quite so steadily during this time period, don’t get me wrong they still show up but the pain at the core of my being has loosened. To quote a friend of mine last night who knew my mother, mourning turns to memories.


I realize as cliché as it sounds while time doesn’t necessarily heal wounds, it does indeed lessen them. The world and my world have both moved on in the past 8 years but my Mom’s spirit still resides in me and even more in my kids. I am learning that while death closes many doors, it opens others. My daughter will never know her Grandma (actually she knows no Grandma’s since they all checked out before she arrived) but her ways of being are so reminiscent of my own Mom that as I shared with my brother last night, it’s as if Ma came back as my daughter….who knows.

Anyway I will do what I have done since her 50th birthday when she was not well enough to do it herself, I will open a bottle of red and raise a glass to my Mom….the best mother, friend and confidant a girl could have. Instead of tears, I will look back on all the good times and a few of the not so good ones too.  Death does not stop love nor does it end the parent-child relationship as I have learned, it merely changes it. One of the last lucid things my Mom said to me was in response to a question I asked her, I suspect she knew her time was coming to a close and she told me to think and find the answer. It seemed harsh at the time, but it now makes sense, when I am in a jam, I do just that and generally the answer will find me.

To quote my brother, our clan flag is at half-mast this week but there is no sorrow, death is simply part of the journey. Some of us are blessed with long years, others not, but the number of years is irrelevant because love is more than time or even a physical body.



Someone’s child, someone’s mama

Unless you have been under a rock for the past 48 hours, surely you have heard the news of Whitney Houston’s untimely demise at the tragically young age of 48. I have to admit that I was not much of a fan of Houston’s music, it was more that her music served as the soundtrack of my life from my early teen years on.  I remember when she burst onto the music scene, she had an amazing voice but I think more importantly to me as a young Black girl, a woman who was my color who people clearly saw as gorgeous. So while I can’t tell you all her songs aside from the one that I swear for a number of years were sung at every graduation. I did admire the hell out of her.

Sadly, as time went on Houston made some choices that may or may not have been great. She was pretty upfront over the years in admitting she battled drug addiction and I will speculate like many that her marriage to Bobby Brown probably was not the best choice, but it’s not my place to judge.

Interesting thing though once news broke of her death and it was clear this was the real deal, media reaction has been interesting to say the least. Many feel justified in calling her a “crack head” or having no pity because she made the choices she did. For starters it’s too early to know if her addictions played a role in her passing and if they did the reality is addiction is an illness, just like cancer or diabetes. Yet for some reason when we learn someone’s “choices” did them in, we feel like there is no need for compassion.

I admit as a non-fan fan, I had no intention of writing anything about her passing until I read a report that her 18 year old daughter collapsed and needed to be rushed to the hospital less than 24 hours of finding out her Mom died. That broke my heart, see Bobbi Kristina is a member of the club I joined almost 8 years ago. It’s called the motherless daughter club and while if natures plays out the way it should, eventually all of us will lose our mothers before we die, the fact is our relationships to our mothers are often one of the longest ones we will ever have. Owing to the fact that women typically outlive men. Most of us if we are fortunate don’t even have to start imaging a life without our mom until we are damn near middle aged or older.

Losing your Mom early though fucks with you, see Moms whether they are loving and our best friends or evil hags that we loathe, serve as a compass in our own development. For women, Moms are either a mirror image we strive to be like or an image we run far the hell away from. Yet when your Mom is gone and you are still learning yourself, it’s a hard road without that compass. So when I heard that Bobbi Kristina collapsed I thought, of course she did, fuck, I nearly lost my shit when my Mom died and I didn’t have news reports blasting it 24/7….poor girl, I can only imagine.

Add in the fact that Whitney’s own Mom is still alive, I know from seeing my own Grandma when my Mom passed, that to lose your child, fucks with the natural order of things. When you bring a child in this world, provided you are well adjusted mentally and emotionally, you typically want the best for them. That would include said child living longer than you. Burying your child breaks you.

So think whatever we want of the choices Whitney may or may have not made despite her fame and wealth, she was more than a pop star. Hell, she was someone’s child and someone’s mama and while her passing may be fodder to us to pass the time away, I can assure you that to her mother and daughter, what they feel is a pain that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.