Today, June 7th means everything and nothing.
Makes no sense right? I agree. Two years ago today made no sense to me either. It is, itself, a day of contradictions. It was not a surprise, but I was stunned. It is one day, and yet it was a lifetime. It has been two years, and it was yesterday.
I truly am wrestling with how I am suppose to feel, think and act today. The one who gave me life lost her life on this day. And as I write this, I realize I hate that terminology... lost her life. What does that even mean? To me, its use implies being able to be found or retrieved (think lost and found) and is therefore a misnomer in the context of death. I digress.
Should I think of her more today? Impossible. Everyday for the past two years, I have at some point in a 24 hour span not NOT thought of her. That's a fact. I look in the mirror and see her (more than ever lately) or I say something she always said or I retreat into memory.
Everything: On June 7, 2016, an extremely intelligent and insightful mother, wife, daughter, sister, grandmother, aunt, cousin and friend closed her eyes to this world. And as a result, there is a gaping hole in my universe.
Nothing: One day dare not define Beverly Ann Bradley-Flanagan. Were I to dwell on June 7, 2016. I would miss some June days on Prospect Ave in Chicago on the deck or in the pool splashing and talking as she picked some vegetables from her illustrious garden or helping her roll out a blanket and grab the footballs for an impromptu lakefront barbecue off 67th & South Shore Drive or on Danas Path sitting with our feet in the pool admiring the backdrop of gorgeous flowers forever in bloom on Cape Cod or watching the deer retreat from the forest preserve into the backyard from the sunroom as one of her grandchildren rode around the room on a tricycle on Notre Dame Street or sitting on the back porch on Kingston Avenue with her arms around me and our heads leaned back looking at the sky with no words, only love flowing between us.
Surely, June 7 will always be a paradox of my everything and nothing.
Absurd you say? Really consider it. Omniscient. Omnipotent. Omnipresent. Savior. And that's just Oprah.
Who saved Alabama from Roy Moore?
Who is leading the charge to seek justice for their dead sons and changing the trajectory of what it means to mourn while birthing activism?
Who is calling the President out on his bull at every turn and every time?
Who started a movement to uncover pervasive misogyny?
Who stares in the face of those who refuse to acknowledge her greatness and blatantly question her beauty?
These brave black women persisted and continue to persist in the face of fear and doubt. Like any deity, they understand their power and know the outcome of their efforts is for the greater good. Sacrificing. Taking the lashes. They are saving us. All of us. That is nothing but God. Nothing absurd about it.
How can I harness my own goddess energy (the energy of Serena, Tarana, Maxine, Sybrina, etc.)? What am I brave enough to do in spite of fear and doubt for the greater good?
Those are tough questions; the type of questions I typically run from or like a friend told me today, those are ones I cover with a band-aid instead of addressing.
A Goddess, product of the divine, doesn't cower. She stands alone with herself and listens to her heart. She dreams big and then bigger because like Liberia's former President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, once said "The size of your dreams must always exceed your current capacity to achieve them. If your dreams do not scare you, they are not big enough.”
It is time to bravely stand and walk boldly knowing the Gods have paved the way.
This post is inspired by this line from Angie Thomas' young adult masterpiece The Hate U Give: "Brave does not mean you're not scared. I means you go on even though you're scared." This is my 8th day of writing as part of 100 Days of Summer Writing.
Documenting my evolution by filling in space and matter one word at a time.