Monday, July 13, 2009

Death be Not Proud...and Other Stuff

Hello Meltingpot Readers,

Thank you so much for your kind thoughts and patience. I really do appreciate it. I was kind of surprised myself as to how much the death of my uncle unraveled me. My uncle was the one boy in a family of 10 girls and was legendary in the family. With all of those sisters he kind of had to be.

Going home for the funeral included a healthy helping of drama. Big surprise, right? Why is it people have to act a fool when a loved one dies? In our family the drama erupted over the type of funeral my uncle would have. Coincidentally, my uncle's wife of 17 years is White and she belongs to a church that is "different" than the majority of the rest of my Black family. And that just didn't sit well with some of my aunties. At the end of the day, everything was worked out, with a few ruffled feathers and some "no she didn'ts." From my perspective, the biggest difference between the "White" funeral my uncle's wife planned, and the typical ones I've attended in Black churches, was the absence of weeping and wailing and a whole lot of carrying on over the dearly departed's dead body.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm a big fan of weeping and wailing at funerals. I feel like it serves a purpose. In fact, one of the reasons I feel like I had to grieve some more at home is because I feel like I didn't have a chance to get the bulk of my sadness out during the funeral. Does that sound crazy? I actually missed the shared expression of crying our eyes out together. Even though it's horrifically painful to see your mother and other elders who you look up to for guidance, wracked by grief, there's something about going through it together. What about you dear readers? How do the people in your family and/or culture deal with death? What are your rituals and do they help you process your grief? I'd like to hear your stories. Thank you.



And P.S.

If anyone is going to be in New York City tomorrow, July 14, I will be at the NACCP Author Pavilion as part of the 100th Annual Convention. The Author Pavilion is at the Hilton Hotel at 1335 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York, United States 10019

I will be there all day, but signing from 12-2pm. There are going to be some great authors there, and the entire Author Pavilion is free and open to the public today, tomorrow and Wednesday (July 13-15). Yeah Colored People!


And P.P.S.

The Meltingpot is heading to Spain next week and will be posting from her in-laws lovely seaside home for an entire month. Any questions you want to ask about Spain, things you'd like for me to investigate, post them here and I'll try to look into it.


Dee said...

Sorry to hear about your uncle and how deeply affected you were over his death. I have three aunts and one uncle on my mother's side and several aunts and uncles on my father's side. I'm not close to any of them. Some are reclusive, but for the most part, they want nothing to do with me or my immediate family. My dad's brothers resent the fact that he married a black American rather than a Nigerian woman. Ironic, considering the fact that one of the aunts on my father's side married a White British man and another uncle also married a black American woman. Figure that one out!

Anyway, I wish I could be in New York tomorrow...unfortunately I'm stuck at home, even though New York is close to where I live. My pockets have run dry so I'm flat out broke and have no one to take me since I can't drive. Even though I can't see you tomorrow, I do hope I can meet you someday. I hope you have more book signings in New York and New Jersey if you can manage.

Enjoy your stay in paradise. Seaside home to me sounds better than crowded noisy cities and junky not-so-quit suburbs--if you saw where I live you'd know. I've been wanting to know: Do the Spainiards treat black Americans different than black Africans and what do they think about President Obama? Does Spain love opera as much as Italy? Totally random question, I know, but I'm curious!

JBH said...

First of all, my sympathies for your uncle's passing.
Secondly, I'm glad you're back!
Thirdly - oh, man, you've really opened up a can of worms in how I/my family deals with death:-)
My family tends to have typical "white" family funerals; viewings, quiet memorial services at a church, proceed to the cemetery. But how I personally deal with death (as an adoptee) is a whole other issue. Whether I get to cry my eyes out with others or sit in silence, dealing with death (separation) is a rough thing for an adoptee. Perhaps I'll elaborate on my blog.

Have a great time in NYC and Spain! (P.S. Saw you were slated to visit Borders last Friday...did that happen despite the family drama?)

glamah16 said...

Everyone grieves in their own way. Unfortunatley funerals are always filled with drama and our prejudices , agendas,and issues come to light. I was thinking of cultures and funerals watching MJ's memorial( which was very black, ironicaly). I think African Americans are more expressive in church, but sometimes I like that quiet , more key service as well.
Have a safe trip and enjoy the sun and sea.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

again, sorry to hear about your uncle. LIke Glamah said, everyone needs to grieve in their own way. I wish people would respect and understand that.

I hope you have a great time in Spain and look forward to hearing about it.

buon viaggio.

SweetKinks said...

In my
family what we did for my grandmother, was a celebration of her life.

We had a "Thanksgiving" for her. There were dancers, singers, and clowns. I was not able to be in Ghana for this but the whole thing was on a DVD. After the thanksgiving there was a memorial at the church. There were hundreds of people at both. It was nice to see everyone my grandmother new as friends or the children she helped bring into the world.

LT said...

First of all thank you everyone for your kind thoughts. It feels good to be loved by my cyberfriends :)

I will keep your questions in mind. All good ones.

Please do elaborate. I'd like to hear about it. And I did do the Border's thing.

Glamah & Ragazza,
Thank you y Gracias!

I love that. A Thanksgiving. Sounds wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

Carleen Brice said...

Sorry to hear of your loss. Hope your trip to Spain helps. How was the NAACP? I'm so sad I wasn't able to be there!

ieishah said...

my uncle's funeral two years ago was legendary. suffice it to say, there was a blind keyboardist wearing a top hat and more gold than 5 southern rappers and flavor flav combined, who played a rocking, but slightly inappropriate calypso version of 'abide with me jesus'. my brother and i were laughing and crying in equal measure, which, according to my aunt are cousins... family... my condolences, cyber-sis!