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From Death to Life

Present

By DeePublished 2 months ago 3 min read
Top Story - January 2024
19
In honor of the iconic Mummy Bruce

We got the call on January 2nd, the day after finding out that my partner's cousin had tragically died trapped in a house fire leaving behind 4 kids. I watched from zoom as my dads face twisted in concern. He had stopped steps away from the burial ground where he would lay his brother to rest. The camera man had been canvassing my uncle's funeral and happened to sweep over my dad at the very moment that he said, “Mummy is in hospital”.

My heart sank. 'Too much', I thought.

In that moment, I already knew that I would not see my grandmother again. A week and a half later, I stood paralyzed, finger hovering over the answer button as call after call came and left.

“Hey. Call home whenever you get a chance”, the follow up text read. I slipped the phone in my pocket, packed my work laptop and snuck out of my office without saying a word. How could I call when I knew what they would say?

“Grandma’s gone, can you come home”, my cousin asked. Her subdued voice drifted over my car speakerphone as if it was made out of fairy dust. I had already started driving to my family's house when I finally allowed myself to answer the call.

‘Too much,’ I thought again.

It was too much. Too much hurt, too much pain and too much loss. We hadn’t even finished grieving my older sister’s brother and now here we were again losing our grandmother.

For those who have been keeping count, yes, that is 4 close family deaths in less than 2 months. So you could say…I’ve been thinking about death a lot lately; or more accurately the time spent on earth before death.

How did I want to live?

How did I want to be remembered?

The more I thought about these questions, the more the problem became alarmingly clear. I couldn’t actually remember who I was. The truth is the majority of my childhood memories are blank. Stretches of times that my siblings recall fondly, slip in and out of my recollection. I know I was there but the details are wiggly things that I can never seem to pin down.

After finally deeming my patchwork of a memory was concerning enough to tell someone, I now know my trauma sometimes has a wonderful way of putting my brain on autopilot. Usually whenever I feel overwhelmed, unsafe or sometimes even just bored. Convenient? Not so much when being effectively “offline” means my memories don’t always get stored correctly. If you grow up in an environment where you can’t actually be yourself, corrupted files are bound to make it into the memory bank.

Even now, I try so hard to recall, in some detail, the moments I spent with my grandmother and all I can hold onto is the smile on her face and the warmth she gave me as she welcomed me through her front gate. I know I loved her dearly but I wish I could tie the details in place. I feel like a fraud sometimes as though I have lived a life that was not mine though I have such strong emotional attachments to it that I know it must be mine.

I am tired of empty memories. I am determined to reduce the number of blank files stored on the memory drive of my life. Even by sparing these moments of dry millennial pandering from the wrath of my delete button. I’ve decided I’ll live, even if not a single person chuckles at my jokes. I am determined to discover and use my authentic voice. I want to be present in my daily life and fill my days with intentional memories. I refuse to stand behind the glass of my life.

These past few days have made it crystal clear to me. Even if life gets too much, I want to be present and say that I have actually lived my life according to me. I want to feel my grief and remember that this precious gift of my life is not guaranteed. My goal for Vocal this year is quite simple but perhaps one of the most intimidating things that I have ever done.

This year on vocal, I want to document my life.

Stream of ConsciousnessFamily
19

About the Creator

Dee

Black Queer Intersectional Feminist wrapped in poetry

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Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

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    Well-structured & engaging content

  1. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

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Comments (6)

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  • Anna 2 months ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳

  • Dee (Author)2 months ago

    This is so special. For everyone who has commented, liked, subscribed because they can or could relate at one point in time. I'm humbled to be reminded that I am not alone. For everything you have had to walk through in order to understand the beauty of transformation in the midst of pain, I honour you all. Thank you for sharing this space with me. *hides face*

  • Daniel J. Heck2 months ago

    Precious life is indeed not guaranteed. Kudos for expressing your pain so constructively and seeing the lesson of making the most of our time on earth. I related to your work very strongly.

  • Test2 months ago

    Well-deserved congratulations for your work—keep it up!

  • Hannah Moore2 months ago

    Ah, this point of change is a tough one, but if you protect yourself from the pain, you rob yourself of learning how to hold it so it doesnt break you.

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