Time after Time…


 990.714 weeks, 6,935 days,  and 9,986,400 minutes. 19 years.

When I was a kid, I was hella active. Always running, jumping, playing…whatever. My sister and I took tap, ballet and jazz dance classes. Saturday morning were for high buns and top knot afro puffs. There were multi hued little Black girls in pink leotards, black shiny tap shoes and black/pink ballet shoes. We danced to Chaka Khan, Louis Armstrong, and The Wiz. I loved all of this movement and you would think being this active would help me be more graceful, it didn’t. I was clutsy and clumsy as hell. If it was possible to get poked in the eye, I did. If there was a way for me to sprang a finger, knock a permanent tooth loose or break my foot, I found that way…over and over and over again.  My mother, who was a nurse, used to say “Billie, if you live to be 16, you will live forever”! That was to encourage me to watch my steps, slow down and be careful. I’ve tried and I also know I won’t live forever.

I have lived 18, 250 days. My mother lived 24,455 days.

I am the inescapable, the irresistable
The unnegotiable, the unchallenged 
I am time
I scroll in measurements, control the elements
I hold the evidence, I tell the story 
I am time
I know no prejudice, I bare no sentiments
For wealth or settlement, I move forward 
I am time

Hurricane, Common, Mos Def’s lyrics


Neru_Paul Lewin

Neru, Paul Lewin

I woke up at 3:33. That is the time of the ancestors. That is also the time that many people make their transition from this realm to the next. I rolled over on my side, looked at my phone in the dark and remember what time and day it was.        breathe omi 

6,935 days have passed. Why is it tender like an old bruise that has faded, but comes alive when you knock it? Not a searing pain, but a reminder that it is still there. Sometimes it washes over me like a hot flash, a wave a warm energy, building, then subsiding. Other times, it sits on my chest, weighing me down like hant of lore and children’s stories. Heavy, dark, taking my breath away and making it seemingly impossible to move…paralyzed.           why can’t i move?

There was music playing from the boom box I borrowed from the night nurse. It was soft and in harmony with the machine monitoring her heart rate, blood pressure and her breathing that was getting slower and more shallow. The room smelled of  frankincense oil. Our fingers lightly rubbing that oil into her skin and rubbing her head…preparing her for her journey. We hummed, prayed, sat, watched and waited. It’s been 9,986,400 minutes since she took her last long breath.  breathe breathe breathe 

I’m breathing thinking about weeks, days, minutes… her life. My life, the boys, my family and community. I am being gentle with the bruising that is 19 years old. I am missing her laugh, crooked smile, smell, hands and I feel her all around me. I am reminded that there are infinite numbers between 0 and 1 so I am inviting myself to live into the spaciousness of that truth while I allow myself to grieve and remembering my breath.

Plaintively, I wait to see what history will shape to be
Who’s hearts will never die inside the sake of me
Angel’s scribe the page for me
Keep a full account of all the names for me

Hurricane, Common, Mos Def’s lyrics

I had a dream about a month after my Mom transitioned. She was sitting in a pool lounge chair in her front yard CHILLINNNNNN! She had on shades and was drinking  cocktail. a cocktail! As I drove past her house in this dreamscape, she waved at me in a very relaxed luxurious kind of way. I pulled over and jumped out the car, “Mommy! do you know you died”? She smiled, sipping her dream cocktail, “yes, I know, but I feel so much better now. I promise”. I could feel her love for me, I could feel my emotions of sadness and I could feel that she just did something really powerful at the end of those 24,455 days and deserved her rest. Keep resting mommy… love you.