One of my most precious missions in life is to make certain people--especially kids and youth--know that grief is a process they CAN survive. I write about grief because it's a rite of passage (of sorts) that everyone should be allowed to go through when they lose a loved one.
I share a signature #NotAlone hashtag--my somewhat feeble attempt to make empathy trend. Admittedly, I'm nearly 40, I miss the 'good ole days' of quality over quantity, and I'm slowly embracing what it means to try to spread a message to young folks during the time in which we live.
What I'm unclear, about, however, is how I -or anyone else for that matter--is supposed to just sit down and write to those who grieve loved ones because of senseless acts.
#NotAlone really is an insult for these beloveds, as grieving those who may have been murdered, and those who have been neglected and left to die is totally different than grieving a passing associated with illness.
My heart has been aching for days about an 18 year old just trying to make it home on a train in Oakland. I listened to her father's wounded cry for justice as another heartbroken soul mourned in the distant background.
Someone "stood their ground"...to a kid with a beverage and some candy; the child, as a result, is now buried in the ground--his mother and father robbed of their chance to watch the seeds they planted in him as a young child, blossom into the strong man they for which they had hoped and prayed.
The nation watched a man die--one whose words, "I can't breathe" didn't move anyone on the scene to think twice. I'm unclear about what any of us could possibly say to a family in public mourning just because of a few single cigarettes sales.
I'm a teacher; in so many ways, so was Philando. There was a baby in the backseat. I'm just unclear. The #Howard and #Harvard degrees--together--can't seem to help me understand how any of this works. What book is an #author just trying to help build a better world, supposed to write for a child who may always see a beloved bloody black man in the front seat whenever she closes her little eyes to go to sleep?
We gave a hashtag to the #PulseNightClub in Orlando --just for a moment--as we watched the crime scene from near and far, only for many to act as though associating the phrase "hate crime" with the tragedy, was a travesty.
We were OK to hear of a Charleston, SC white supremacist get a value meal after murdering nine members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church--we even wasted time debating whether or not that was actually true. Some scoffed at our then president as he--recognizing it for what it was, I can only imagine--attended and spoke at the memorial services.
I'm a #HowardUniversity graduate, so pardon me, cause I still tear up thinking about the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing of 1963. What angers me today, however, is that with ease, I can only remember the murderer's name off the top of my head, as it was the first to be tagged and spread around social media--not the names of the victims. I barely remembered how many under the pastoral leadership of #ClementaCPinckney lost their lives during a prayer service in 2015.
There are others about which I'm unclear:
The lists. The hashtags. The unnecessary loss. The inconsolable grief. The injustice.
I'm just unclear.
One thing I am certain of, however is this: Our young people have the fire to push change! In spite of our sorrows, we have to guide, love, and nurture them to their purpose so that they will be bold enough to say, write, vote, and do their part.
I feel in my soul that #InjusticeIsOnBorrowedTime
So I'll just keep writing, singing, teaching, loving, and learning what my part is.
Cynae Punch Brown: A mother raising children who look like those whose memory has to now be spread using hashtags.
#HelpUsGrieveWithJustice #IMayNotUnderstandButYouAreNotAlone #ForThePeople #ForTheChildren
Grief can be more about the presence of a vacancy than anything else. We grow accustomed to a loved one simply being there. Even with those individuals we don't see often, knowing that they are accessible to us is a comfort. When such comfort is lost, a space for grief is opened.
Grief is what's left when that which we have grown accustomed to is no longer there. If not addressed, it can seemingly demolish portions of the pathway of life's journey--grief has the power to destroy the bridges that connect developmental phases of life.
This is often why-- I believe-- children who grieve sometimes get stuck. If we're not careful, this is where the grieving get stuck as well.
When a young person loses someone they love, the world that they once knew no longer makes sense. As the natural progression of growth and development occurs, if we fail to help a young person navigate away from the point at which they were prior to their loss , then that young child--that young person--is forced to find her own way. And quite honestly, the comfort of staying the place that makes sense, is more manageable than moving on in a healthy way.
Death, grief, and loss are things that we really don't want to think about; it is, however, a part of everyone's journey. If you love a young person who is experiencing grief, don't ignore their grief by simply offering thoughts and prayers. Engage them. Acknowledge their hurt. Facilitate--at their respective pace-- forward motion. Do what you can to help rebuild the pathways and bridges that they may have believed were gone forever.
#PineappleSugar #Death #Grief #Growth #Development #Loss #Bridge #Journey #Love #Parenting #Terminal #Illness #MentalHealth
If you're searching for a way to start a conversation about grief, death, terminal illness, or loss with a young person, check out my short novel, Pineapple Sugar--a labor of love: amzn.to/2LnScrL