Grief, guilt and really cheap therapy


I had my day “planned” out. I was supposed to be with my mother, see the phenomenal opening of Crown Heights Gold and then see my lovely friend from Rwanda. It was supposed to be very easy and chill. Somehow, thoughts are extremely powerful things and my dead friends spirit could not be contained.  In an art gallery, I bumped into someone who was at my friends funeral.  And, I think, I said all the right things, except, I finally realized that I had not acknowledged that my friend passed away.

My mom could not stay and I really did want to see how creative people could articulate the 20th anniversary of the Crown Heights Riots. I went to the Skylight Gallery where memories of David Dinkins, racial divide, childhood and hope seemed to flood my senses. I was appreciating the work of Elizabeth Colomba and in walked in a familiar face. I thought “I really know that face”, not your New York celebrity spotting, but your funeral spotting. This person, knew where I was a few months ago.  I was right, they were there too. My friends neighbor and good friend was at the opening reception for Crown Heights Gold. We chatted, we were pleasant and maybe for a second in all the art and people, maybe we both wanted to cry and  try to understand why someone we knew would not be on earth on the eve of their birthday weekend.

Instead of crying, this woman gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I didn’t know that I needed it.  I thought I had accepted that my friend died, but when I saw her friend I felt so guilty for not visiting her parents.  What could I possibly tell the mother of an only child? What could I and my passport stamps tell her parents? I am guilty of not keeping in touch and was so arrogant to think that more  BBQs and parties were in our future. What do I say to parents on the birthday of their only daughter?  Instead, my friend and all her greatness made sure that her two friends connected in an art gallery. And for today, I had to acknowledge that  she would not turn 32 and have an awesome party. For today, I am just happy that someone else gets it.  Somehow acknowledging your death means that we are living for another day and while we are extremely happy to have another day on this earth, we are sad that you won’t be planning our weddings, baby showers or any other events. I wish I had sent a line, just a bit more. I feel really guilty for not seeing your parents, and I realize that tonight was the cheapest amount that I had ever spent on therapy. Thank you SD.  I really do miss you and am finally acknowledging that you are gone.

Another amazing work from Elizabeth Colomba

Yes, check out Crown Heights Gold

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~ by travelling womanists on July 29, 2011.

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