Monday, August 25, 2014

Grief and Las Lloronas

*I dictated these thoughts into my iPhone, which then transferred my speech into written text. I was seeking to jump into a running stream of thought by speaking these words aloud. I didn't want the added filter of my fingers typing, or considering grammar, structure, or style. The most involved I got in the writing of this was that I pasted these thoughts into my blog and divided it up into paragraphs. These are my spoken words. 

My grief is not solid. It is shifting tectonic clouds floating, dancing, rupturing, evaporating into thin air. A week ago my uncle was killed in a car accident. The accident happened at 6 AM. A van crashed into the driver side of the door crushing him, killing him instantly.  He was hit by a driver who had no regard for his car or his life. The driver was Latino and the police officer who showed up on the scene was also happened to be Latino. After a few minutes of discussing the dilemma amongst themselves, blame was put on the deceased. My uncle was accused of running a red light which he has never done in his life. There was no further investigation by the police. There was no video surveillance. They, the living witnesses to the accident, were satisfied with the pinning the vehicular homicide on the one person who could not defend himself. There is something unresolved to this situation. 

If this other driver did kill my uncle and he is still out on the street driving around. We don't know if he was drunk, on drugs, irresponsible, or what actually happened. What's most shocking is that he could do it again. I guess my uncle's life wasn't important enough to the police. It didn't matter that he was dead. What mattered was less paperwork for them. That is why I am walking into this grief with a lot of conflicting feelings. 

There is so much I want to know that will never be found out. I guess in America we don't expect that. We expect to have our murders solved, our lives counted and considered. I realize that in most of the world this does not happen. In most of the world murders are not solved or even bothered with by the local police. This also factors into my grief. It is my privileged assumption that lives do matter in our society. 

The other thing that haunts me is that I did not know my uncle that well. We had a handful of conversations throughout the course of my entire life. He was quiet and reserved but never mean. He was always respectful and kind. Benjamin Wesley Boston blended in, he fit into most situations.

I remember sitting in a parked car with him one time trying to explain what I do as a writer. I talked about memory in mythology and how everyone had stories that fit into the grand scoop of history and math. He seemed both amazed and skeptical. He said that he didn't have any stories in that it was people like me that made magic happen. I tried to explain that I thought match it was all around us, and each one of us had magic mystery mythology in memory intertwining in our souls to create a tapestry of our own ark. He looked at me skeptically in muttered something under his breath. I could tell that he did not believe me. He thought that he did not have that gift. And I realize that trying to convince my uncle would just upset him so I let the issue drop away into silence. We sat there in the car silently not saying the word for the rest of the trip. 

Then the holidays with my uncle: he would normally stop by the day after Christmas for the family get together. In the early part of my childhood this often happen at my parents house and in the backyard patio area. I was thinking about all this while I was at his funeral. I was asked to see if you words on his behalf and in memory of what he meant. I kicked around a few poems in my head but my mom turned down my suggestions inadequate. 

Finally found some Ralph Waldo Emerson that I thought would be appropriate. The poem I selected was to laugh and often. I read it simply and then explained that my uncle made the world a better place. He laughed often tended his garden patch gave the world children and let us all breathed easier because he was alive. I sometimes wish we had professional wailers at funerals like they do in other countries.

 In Mexico I believe they pay them a few pesos an old women will stop by in the wail over a body. The sound and feeling of their grief is what you folks tears in other people and so we are not only cry for the decease crying for all of humanity in the sadness in the inevitability of death. They are called Lloronas (*this sentence I did type out because I couldn't figure out the correct pronunciation) 

I feel like in the black community in America we need professional wailers. We need people to remind us of the depth of grief. We need people to around us in that pain so that we can move and transform it. Right now I don't feel grounded in anything. The clouds of questions, pain, anxiety, and frustrations keep shifting in my horizon. Occasionally some of these clouds will rub up against each other. And then I will find myself hit with this strange concoction known as grief. I was on the moving sidewalk in JFK airport when another cloud burst before my eyes. And didn't on the train from the airport to the subway another strange weather condition over took my face. And then it was gone.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I'm grateful for this glimpse into our grief, Aurin. Sending love out. Liz