General Population Series: Distant Grievance

I have been meaning to write a post about grieving from a distance, especially after the Memorial Day Weekend when my Uncle’s funeral was held back in my hometown Chicago.

Due to COVD-19 and quarantine enforcements, it was more of a viewing and I also did not attend. Since this time, over 100, 000 people have died in the United States due to COVID-19, which means that funeral and burial arrangements have been impacted and many families and loved ones are forced to grieve from a distance.

I can tell you as someone that has lived outside of my hometown for the last 11 years, that it has not always been easy. Many friends, family members, family members of friends have died since I have moved away.

In my opinion, funeral and homegoing services are really for the living. It is necessary and important for your own mental health to be allowed to grieve the loss of a friend or loved one, while within a community that supports you. It allows some closure, because there will always be a void. It is also a time to show support for others that need it during their time of loss.

What happens if you can not always conveniently show up across the state lines or countries to attend a funeral?

I have felt helpless or guilty at times. It was a healing process for me to learn to overcome those feelings. Over the years, I had to find ways to channel my own grief…being honest with myself and getting creative, hosting my own personal rituals and ceremonies to honor the deceased.

As I was reading emails in my inbox, I received a newsletter from the BGirl Clique and the caption that stood out most was

“Lets be real because grief is real and it must be addressed.”

I could not have agreed more and I took that as a sign to write about grieving from a distance. I know everyone grieves differently, so I will not judge.

For instance, I remember My Mother once told me that if anything ever happened to her, that she wanted me to watch funny movies and laugh. She knew that fun and laughter was my medicine. I did not realize that for myself…and in the same space, she recommended retail therapy for my Sister lol.

So now my social media timeline begins to flood with video footage of George Floyd, A black man inappropriately restrained and killed in broad daylight by Minnesota Police.

Pause…Take A Deep Breathe right here.

I felt just as infuriated as the witnesses that did their best to protect him. He called out his Mother’s name ya’ll !!!

Since the beginning of time, Mothers have been the nurturers and represented safety (all species) for their families, Calling out for his Mother, was Mr. Floyd’s distress signal.

My God. I am for certain that he was dead on the scene, although he was “pronounced,” dead at the hospital. That was only to soften the blow and trick us into believing that we are not being tricked…Systemic operations to “COVD-19 mask” the situation. Sorry, you can’t unsee this.

I thought of my own Father while I watched the video. He too, was unable to attend his Mother’s funeral service, due to his situation with the law. I felt bad for him and all I could think about was how much my Grandmother tried to see if she could get him closer to the family in Chicago, while serving his time. Ironically, this was in Minnesota.

What’s next?

We must continue to practice our breathing rights, amid the many lives lost due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, African Americans aka Black People are not quarantined from the injustices and racial health disparities.

We must allow ourselves to grieve and be ready to SHOW UP in the world, unapologetically, yet prepared…for ourselves…our families…for the people who have perished.

Breath (verb) : To draw air into and expel it from the lung; to inhale and exhale freely.

Source: Merriam-Webster Dictionary