i remember the day she was born. it was during summer vacation before 8th grade, and i was excited to lay eyes on my best friend’s baby. no camera phones or social media meant i had to wait over a month to see the baby’s full head of jet black hair and infectious smile.
once i laid eyes on her, i quickly understood why her mother had fallen in love. she was perfect.
at only 14, my best friend’s fragile frame had brought beauty into this world. over twenty years later, i received a call last week that brought my adolescent memories flashing back like lightening.
my friend’s precious baby, the one she was judged for having, the one she sacrificed so much to raise, the one she loved beyond words was dead. her brief life was taken in a car accident that devastated the entire community.
i cried for days. my friend and i grew a part after high school, and it had been years since we spoke. however, some bonds are never broken and thinking of her suffering the loss of her first child broke my heart. no mother should have to bear that pain.
i grieved not only for the loss of my friend’s daughter, but also for our lost friendship. during the deepest pain that she may ever experience, i didn’t even have her number to simply say “i love you.”
so i prayed.
during my prayer, i affirmed the life of my friend’s daughter. i promised to tell her story through my efforts to document black girlhood and womanhood. i affirmed to fight every system that ever oppressed her and lift up everything that ever brought her joy. i sent positive energy to my friend, letting her know she wasn’t alone.
meditation, mindfulness and prayer are deposits in a savings account that allow us to withdraw a sense of peace. we save in order to overcome emotional roadblocks and obstacles when they arise.
two days later my phone rang with a call from a familiar area code.
to my surprise, my friend still had my number and called to share the tragic news. we cried together while she told me details about the accident and her daughter’s amazing spirit. then she said something i’ll always remember, “i was only meant to have my baby for twenty years. she was a gift.”
hearing my friend’s voice reminded me that grieving shouldn’t be done alone. i needed to see my friend. i needed my people. i needed to go home.
i arrived in florida on a humid day with a rainbow in the sky. even in the mist of pain, i resolved to find happiness. during my brief stay, i made time for the people who matter most, ate delicious meals with my grandparents, played with my little sister, chilled with my cousins, had an impromptu fashion show with my fly grandma and allowed love to wash all over me.
what you’re seeking you need. grant yourself permission to receive it.
when my friend fell into my arms at her daughter’s funeral, i withdrew a little peace to hold her grief close to my heart. when she cried uncontrollably, i withdrew a little peace to praise the creator for tears because they cleanse our souls. through our embrace, i saw clearly how every deposit towards my well-being allows me to serve others. it was a reminder of my aunt’s wise words that “you can’t keep it, if you don’t give it away.”
while i would give anything to bring my friend’s daughter back, this past week of my 21 day happiness project made me grateful for grief. without it, how could we truly appreciate joy?
drop a comment or tweet @politicsandfshn to let us know how you’ve found happiness during painful times.
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