All posts filed under: Columns

A Way Forward

My son Julian departed this dimension at 17 years old when restoration was not possible for his “irreparable injuries.” This was after four days of praying for supernatural intervention. Now, in the absence of what I wanted, I have a standing appointment with acceptance or acknowledging what remains. And even this acceptance can shift from resignation to resolution at times. Yet, as I journey into my fourth year as a child loss survivor, I marvel at the magnitude of what is still possible.  I know binaries are rarely satisfying, but if I cannot avoid the bad, I must also accept the good. While it may seem unlikely at times, good can still exist during grief. And goodness may show up on unexpected days and in unexpected ways: ranging from the kindness of strangers online supporting my work to the simple pleasure of ease-y breathing, air freely flowing through my lungs. I learned early in my deep grief to yield to the unexpected, which seemed completely unreasonable. How could I possibly feel anything other than deep …

How the Fuck Did I Get Here

Justice Involved Mothers is a column developed in partnership with Roots. Wounds. Words.: A Literary Arts Revolution. Devoted to real life, authentic narratives of criminalization, Justice Involved Mothers is curated and edited by Nicole Shawan Junior and penned by the Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Brown women who have suffered the white supremacist arm and misogynist fist of law enforcement. Through these creative nonfiction works of literary art, we aim to uplift liberation demands, amplify abolitionist urgings, and cast an even wider spotlight on the vice grip criminalization holds around the necks of women—MOTHERS—of color. Justice Involved Mothers centers Our stories because we are the ones who are most ignored. The ones with the most to tell. I devoured Donald Goines’ Dope Fiend right after I put the grilled cheese on top of the radiator, a griddle’s sizzle loudly absent. It had been 24 years since I last read those short chapters. The day before, I read Black Girl Lost. At this point, reading was my only escape from plentiful tears.  How the fuck did I get …

La Curacíon (The Healing)

To my angels, I carried you inside me for seven months, for two hundred and twelve days, for five thousand and eighty-eight hours. I felt you two grow as my body nourished you. I felt your feet dancing in my womb to the songs I’d sing. I loved you both more with each passing day. Your daddy may not have wanted you or cared for you in the same ways as me, but I know deep down he loved the idea of you, too.  It pained me to know I couldn’t bring you into this light. I prayed for you, for myself, for the answers to why this must be. I didn’t have all the monetary things to give you, but my heart had all that you would ever need. When your kicks became taps and your taps became none, I knew that our time was up. That I wouldn’t get the chance to hold you in my arms when you cry, to watch you crawl and take your first steps, to hear you call …

Lost Daughters, Losing Mothers

Justice Involved Mothers is a column developed in partnership with Roots. Wounds. Words.: A Literary Arts Revolution. Devoted to real life, authentic narratives of criminalization, Justice Involved Mothers is curated and edited by Nicole Shawan Junior and penned by the Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Brown women who have suffered the white supremacist arm and misogynist fist of law enforcement. Through these creative nonfiction works of literary art, we aim to uplift liberation demands, amplify abolitionist urgings, and cast an even wider spotlight on the vice grip criminalization holds around the necks of women—MOTHERS—of color. Justice Involved Mothers centers Our stories because we are the ones who are most ignored. The ones with the most to tell. Pulling my charcoal peacoat tighter around me, I trudge the short distance from the train to Ma’s house. January’s cold nips at my bare fingers. I shove my hands into the coat’s pockets, bow my head to the ground, quicken my pace as I near the brick elementary school that shares space with Ma’s housing complex. School has ended for …

Beautiful Dreams After Tiny Wings

I knew something was amiss. My intense craving for anything covered in tikka masala sauce had disappeared overnight, and my entire body felt…off. I stood in the mirror rubbing my tiny belly whispering, “Please don’t leave me. We can do this. I love you so much.” I was pleading with this little life to stick it out with me, trying my best to hide the panic in my voice from their tiny ears. After all, tomorrow we would celebrate our first Mother’s Day together.  That same night, I had a dream that my sweet nugget, who was a warm addition to my body, would leave me soon. I shared that heartbreaking dream with my husband, Jamie, and we began to pray for our baby to live while Jamie also tried his best to comfort me. But receiving comfort felt absolutely impossible. I wanted to believe God would answer our prayers but, in my gut, I knew my dream was, in a sense, God’s grace in preparing my heart for what was to come: an unbearable …