When the leaves fall – and summer gives way to autumn.
The melancholy beckons and I shut down.
My thoughts oscillate between the searing pangs of loss – and the realization that love is truly the segue to a better place than this.
I think of them everyday – the souls who are some of my greatest heroes.
My Elders and those who have gone on to their reward – the Ancients.
It used to be just Halloween that had the painful resonance – as it was the day that my Aunt Lillian left this place.
My Aunt Lillian was one of the most beautiful souls that I will ever encounter. She had this gift of planting a seed whenever I was in her orbit – it was as if she knew something that I didn’t.
I always likened her to a Guardian Angel. I remember playing baseball in the lot next to my Grandmother’s house when I was a boy accompanied by my brother and some neighborhood kids. Due to my not paying attention – in short order:
I got struck in the head, screamed out with pain and with blood spewing from my head I faded to black. I woke up with my head swaddled with a towel and my Aunt Lillian holding me, telling me it would be okay… and it was.
Years later… When I fathomed dropping out of college and figuring “whatever” out as I went along, I called my Auntie.
The leaves of the trees were like they are now – a kaleidoscope of colors and the air had the beginnings of the cold that was to come. We spoke about a host of things, but it was her telling me:
“Nephew… I hear to you studying to be a writer out there… that’s good son. Shit! If you got a story you better tell it. You don’t got no time to be sitting around like a bump on the log, we only here for a little bit!”Little did I know that her words would echo…
Her consistency spoke volumes – seemingly dropping a gem on me that she knew would echo when I needed it the most.
My Aunt passed shortly after we spoke and I remember crying myself into the void of what masqueraded as sleep for weeks afterward. I ended up completing my undergraduate studies, earning a degree in Journalism, powered in part by those words from my Auntie.
Years later, after earning my MBA, I had a rude awakening when I realized that I was one those people who derived their identity from their corporate parent – a faux love that could never be reciprocated.
Coming to terms that I was simply a commodity instead of a person was a tortuous process that happened in stages after a head on collision in 2012 during my return from a business trip.We were a butt in the seat – as one of the C-level Executives called us.
I accepted that I would die in my car on that day, but I remember my Auntie and Grandma pushing me out of the car… She told me “that I had work to do“, I struggled with what my survival meant in the aftermath of the accident. Before accepting the uncomfortable truth –
I had placed my faith and allegiance in the wrong places and when I hung my head in shame…
The words of my Auntie echoed with a force that would lead to one of the most humbling experiences of my life.
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