I wrote this poem for my mother a few weeks ago. She passed away on January 9, 2020, and I have written many words with her in mind. However, to celebrate Mother’s Day, I wanted to share the words I wrote in her honor that did not come from a place of sadness. I’m a mother myself, so I want to have more smiles than tears today. Also, for your enjoyment, I’m sharing a song by Lenny Kravitz called Thinking of You that he wrote in honor of his mother.
Where have I been? Where am I now? Those are very good, potentially philosophical, questions.I have been away from my blogs for quite some time, but I have still been writing. As of the writing of this little personal essay, I was touring Paisley Park yesterday and I am leaving my hair behind in a hotel trash can outside of Minneapolis after I decided on a spur of the moment big chop.
My job as an expediter literally takes me across the lower 48 states of the USA and most mornings when I awake I have no clue where I will be by the end of the day. It is a fairly decent-paying job that has allowed me the opportunity to see many landmarks and beautiful scenery, but it comes with its fair share of stress and I lose the ability to be the hands-on mother that I was before I started driving. However, my daughter is part of my reason for working this position.
I’m looking towards more entrepreneurial endeavors in the near future. This post is the first I’ve been able to bring myself to write in months. I haven’t been able to commit myself to pulling out my laptop and putting in the work of updating my blogs. There was just no room in my head. Today there is. I don’t know if it is courtesy of the wellness planner I bought for myself, the budget planner, the new vehicle I just purchased for myself, the tour of Prince’s house or the fact that I took a pair of scissors to my hair, but I feel good. I have been writing a few poems and thoughts in both my digital and physical notebooks, but I think I’m finally in the mood and mindset to begin posting them again. I think that’s where I am. I’m in a place that feels good. The good place.
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Today I stood still for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. It was a long 8 minutes and 46 seconds. I committed to the 8 minutes and 46 seconds in honor of a man that I did not know. I did it in honor of many men and women whom I did not know, but who have perished in similar ways. During those 8 minutes and 46 seconds I thought about how terrifying it must be to spend at least half of that time pleading for the most basic necessity and seemingly human right, the ability to breathe.
A few days ago, I couldn’t breathe. It wasn’t because someone had a knee on my neck, but it was because I was in a group discussion about someone else having a knee on their neck, which led to the discussion of several men and women, specifically black men and women, black like me, who have died at the hands of the very people who are supposed to protect. It has been happening for years.
Many of us thought that 2020 would be much better than it has been so far. Coronavirus, murder hornets, threats of war had us all rethinking that. Now the blatant reminders of the undying racism in this country are here to further rub salt in the wounds that the other traumas have left. It has got to get better.
We can pretend to be blind to the fact that in 2020 racism still exists, but I’d only be lying to myself if I did that because I have experienced it firsthand on numerous occasions. It has got to get better.
Police brutality, even if one were to factor out race, is a huge problem that needs to be fixed. A lot of people have died at the hands of police when death wasn’t necessary. The 8 minutes and 46 seconds that an officer had his knee on the neck of a man lying face down on the ground with his hands handcuffed behind his back was more than excessive. It has got to get better. There are too many names to name, however I will name one of the men who have been the topic of many conversations recently, Mr. George Floyd. My heart aches for you and your family.
The past several months have been very trying. I’m very close to my mother and now the doctors have lost all faith that she has longer than a few weeks left to live. I’m holding on, reaching, grasping for anything that might prove them wrong. My mother is a fighter. In the meantime, my sister and I have to fight for her until she is well enough to fight for herself. Unfortunately, my already shaky finances have suffered even more because it is difficult to physically care for someone who can’t care for themselves and go to work at the same time. To add insult to injury, I woke up this morning to see that my car had been repossessed in the middle of the night. It’s rough.
Back in August, I wrote a post about staying motivated during hard times. I need my own words now more than ever. To all the caregivers out there, just know that you’ll make it. I know how hard it is.
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Update: On January 9, 2020 just before dawn, my mother took her last breath. It is still hard for me to breathe sometimes knowing that she is gone. I will carry on.
Times are tough sometimes. Mental illness is no joke and I only recently began to seek treatment for mine. I got to a really dark place mentally and this poem was the result.
It is so important to take care of your mental health. It was literally a life and death situation for me, which was why I finally got help. So many people have told me that I am brave for being proactive in seeking treatment for myself. I didn’t feel brave. I still don’t. However, as I piece my life back together once again, I keep moving forward. I take my small victories, even those that others may view as insignificant. I’ll live.