Grief Lives in The Bones

Grief Lives in The Bones

Grief lives in the bones. That’s what I know to be true almost twelve years after my best friend in high school passed away after a short battle with meningitis. Sometimes it still aches when I see anything reminiscent of the pain I felt that day whether on the big screen or in the news. It aches when I think of how one morning she told me she didn’t feel well and a few days later a friend of her family was knocking on my door telling me that Dena was gone.

See, I was at the dentist and she was dying. It was February 12th, 2007. The ailment she complained about that morning when my father drove us to school was the fast moving, extremely deadly bacterial meningitis. According to an article from the Cleveland Clinic, it’s an infection of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord and can be caused by a bacterial, viral, or fungal infection.

After Dena mentioned not feeling well in the morning, I searched for her after school as we would normally go home or head to our retail job at a mall clothing store on the outskirts of the city. She left early. The next day, I was trying to get in touch with her to go to school and figured she might be at her dad’s house which happened from time to time. By the third day, my doorbell rang.

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Making Friends After Thirty

Making Friends After Thirty

“You’re only as strong as the people you spend the most time with,” or so the adage goes and for many black women that includes a strong group of friends. Many of us watched as Joan, Maya, Lynn and Toni supported each other through breakups, career challenges, and general craziness in the hit show “Girlfriends” which debuted in the year 2000. It mirrored our own circles or those we aspired to have. The imperfections, the fights, the moments of reconciliation. But the older I get, the less those rifts seem to come back around and friend groups feel like a memory of the past as my circle gets smaller and smaller.   

My best friend and I were once a trifecta. It’s easy to forget now because it’s been so long since our third seemed to drift off and away. We all worked at the same retail store and quickly formed a bond based on proximity and an odd racial divide in the store between the black co-workers and the puerto rican co-workers. We had to stick together, look out for one another and in the midst found we had a lot in common. 

It started slow. We would get lunch together sometimes or go on an occasional shopping trip after work and it morphed into a true friendship. We knew each other’s families, we saw relationships bloom and some fall apart. We celebrated birthdays, which oddly enough became the point of our demise. 

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The Work of Marriage

The Work of Marriage

There are no guarantees in love. Nothing will keep you from waking up one morning and deciding you can’t take another day of dealing with your significant others’ shortcomings or vice versa. There’s no class for that in particular, but there are a whole lot of other measures and preparation one can make for marriage that many seem to skip over.

Nothing about marriage has ever seemed like a fairytale to me. I wasn’t a girl who dreamed of white dresses, maybe because my parents eloped. And I certainly never thought that somehow a husband was going to be some type of superhero that made my life all that it was supposed to be. But I did want to get married and somehow the example set before me prepared me for the fact that it was bigger than one day when emotions were high and the champagne was flowing, but that marriage was a partnership for which you should do your best to prepare.

Recently, it feels like I’ve been seeing people my age run into troubles in their marriages. From fights to separation to full on divorce and it’s troubling. I’m sure many of them were married before I was, which also makes me extremely grateful that I waited until 30. That I didn’t feel some weird pressure to be married by 25 and having my first babies. But it got me thinking about my own journey and the steps that we took before sashaying down the aisle.

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Family Ties

Family Ties

It was one of those really hot days in the summer when they said you should keep an eye out for the young and the elderly so I went to visit my grandmother. She was at my aunt’s house alone and my schedule was flexible, so I’d likely had a random day off during the week.

She was dressed in one of those nightgowns synonymous with aging, a mumu I think they’re called, watching TV and she seemed content. It wasn’t until we got back into the car to leave that my boyfriend, who was with me at the time, realized that she was inside without any type of air or fan. If you know anything about Black grandmothers they’re often not too keen on air conditioning.

So, we stopped into one of those bargain stores not too far from my aunt’s house, purchased an old school box fan and went to set it up for her back at the house. She talked about that day like she was happy that we’d thought about her in that way. Happy that we came back, happy we even stopped in, in the first place.

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The Black Happy Birthday

The Black Happy Birthday

I enjoy Washington D.C., but I hate the drive to Washington D.C. And my trip this weekend was no different. I rented a car, packed up myself and Momma Coleman and we made our way to Chocolate City, not for the Broccoli City Fest as everyone assumed but to visit family and friends.

On our trip, my mom was set to help my cousin with some finishing decorating touches to his home and I was headed to my good friend’s kid’s birthday party. It was an afternoon filled with joy and energetic kids. She pulled out all the stops for an amazing basketball themed party that included medals and competitions. I thoroughly enjoyed being the solo auntie who didn’t have to be responsible for anyone or anything just making my way around and enjoying the atmosphere.

When it was time to sing happy birthday, there was the usual chaos of getting everyone together and keeping tiny people still while they wait for the candles to be lit. And then there was the discussion over whether to sing the original happy birthday or the “black” happy birthday.

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