East Of Eden
Me, on my 3rd birthday, and Jos, 6 months, in 1985.
"A sister is both your mirror - and your opposite." - Elizabeth Fishel
It's the sixth year since she left, quietly, in her sleep. Joscelyne- loud, and laughing, and singing, in lip gloss and heels and body mist- closed her eyes, and then... silence....
It's Holy Week; Lent is almost over. Unlike last year, I did not write daily Lenten posts. I'm in a weird place when it come to producing work- blogs, sketches, paintings. First, I'm extremely busy with Zoe. Homeschooling, getting her to activities, and the daily demands of parenting leave me with less free time than when she was 2.
Second, January and February were stuffed with medical appointments: a port removal/ new port placement/ six rounds of plasmapheresis, blood work, an EKG, and a 12 hour stint at the ER after an anaphylactic...
My palms from Sunday, twisted into a cross. Please note, I have no idea how to do this and just kept bending until I got this.
On Sunday at church, we read from Matthew 27. Verse 46 always breaks my heart:
About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").
(Image source: YouTube)
My home infusion nurse Charlie was over on Wednesday, administering IVIG. While the Gamunex dripped into my vein through my accessed PowerPort, he spoke about visiting a very rich patient upstate some years ago. She lived in a mansion that was staffed with white-gloved maids, personal chef, and a driver to chauffeur her to shopping trips in Manhattan and back. He set up her infusion while she reclined in a giant bed, swathed in high count sheets. After finishing, he was escorted to the front entry by a stern faced Black maid wearing a highly starched black uniform. It was undoubtedly the most expensive place he had ever stepped foot.
Immediately after, he drove to the markedly-not-so-tony city of Patterson...
(Image Source: KJ Design)
I had a convo with a friend earlier this week about life and death. At some point, I asked, "Why on Earth would anyone want to live forever?" She responded by talking about accomplishing life goals, building relationships and making memories. "Oh no, I'm not saying 'Why not just die and get it over with'", I paused and continued, "I mean, I think most people desire a long, healthy life. But to never die? Never? While the people you love most do die? The world you know fades away? Like, live just to not die?"
I thought of my grandmother who has buried her mom, husband, siblings, three of her kids, and a grandchild. To be clear, Grandma doesn't have a deathwish, and is quite active at 86...
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." -Proverbs 13:12
I've been reading a spate of articles for over a year now about the sudden increase in the rate of morbidity amongst middle- aged White Americans, and Vox published yet another earlier today:...
I was listening to the John F. Kennedy episode of The Washington Post's Presidential Podcast while chopping mushrooms to go with some leftover pasta for dinner a few hours ago, and the host, Lillian Cunningham, read excerpt from one of JFK's favorite poems. Like so much of his life, this poem is centered on death. From the Poetry Foundation:
I Have a Rendezvous with Death
BY ALAN SEEGER
Kelly, played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw, left, and Yorkie, played by Mackenzie Davis, in "San Junipero", episode 4, season 3 of "Black Mirror".( Image Source: Nerdist)
I cried when I watched the "San Junipero" episode of Netflix's "Black Mirror". Whenever someone tells me they're going to watch the series, I tell them to look out for it in the midst of their streaming binge. I can't quite articulate what gets to me so much about it, and I don't want to ramble on trying to here. So if I'd have to make a quick statement, it's the treatment of death and the afterlife... and the deepest hopes we have for it. I cry similarly at parts of "Inception", watching Marion Cotillard's Mal become so engrossed with the dream world- a place of love...
Christopher Wallace, A.K.A., Biggie Smalls (Image Source)
Today marks the twentieth anniversary of the death of rapper Biggie Smalls, the Notorious B.I.G. It's bizarre to me that it's been two decades already. Perhaps even more jarring is the fact I've outlived him by over a decade since he was only 24 when killed. His murder remains unsolved, and continues to generate controversy. From Complex:
The identity of the person who murdered Notorious B.I.G. is one of hip-hop’s greatest unsolved mysteries. Christopher Wallace was gunned down in a Los Angeles drive-by March 9, 1997 while sitting in a Chevy Suburban. He had performed earlier that night at the Soul Train Awards....
Friday marked the third anniversary of my sister Joscelyne's death.
Around 8AM, I pulled the black and white photo of her, ensconced in a shiny, mirrored frame, off the bookshelf, and placed it in the center of the piano. I set out a couple of candles, and searched through a closet for the least tacky plastic flowers I could find. I wanted fresh lilies, but due to a sprained ankle I've been nursing for three weeks, that didn't happen.
I found some pink and purple ones, part of a bouquet that she had purchased in 2011 for our mom that wound up in my possession. They surrounded the candles, which I lit and watched flicker. Their light could barely be seen because it was bright in the living room. November 20th...
I was visited again today by Friend 2 from last week. Repeatedly throughout her visit, the conversation veered into some of the more difficult areas of life- illness, breakups and death. I kept responding to her frustrated statements with, "But I can't control that" and "I cannot make people do what they do not want to do". She would agree, only to turn right around and then go into complaints. Exasperated (and my voice going screechily high pitched), I finally declared, "Don't you get it? We aren't really in control of many things in life!"
I said control so many times I started to hear the Janet Jackson classic in my head.
Last week, as Kanye West's post-Grammy rant went viral, my brother Joe sent me a simple text:...
After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus....
Joscelyne's Facebook profile.
Yesterday morning, I nearly choked on my coffee. The near-choke came while reading "She's Still Dying on Facebook" at The Atlantic by Julie Binton. The story recounts the last days of Binton's former BFF Leah which is on display in perpetuity on Facebook.
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