Looking in the Mirror

Spiritual Revelations for those seeking Humanity in Humans ~~CordieB.

Archive for death

Lessons from the Hood – Perhaps you can find it; I’m tired

Jamal

Jamal - RIP

It’s 5:15 in the morning and I’m turning over in a blissful dream; for which I forgot the second I was awakened by the evil one – the telephone.  It’s my daughter, Michelle, she calls me for the most trivial things. . . so I’m not really alarmed by the fact that it’s 5 in the morning . . . just slightly agitated.  I immediately notice, however, the urgency in her voice  . . . I sat up, realizing this is not another trivial call to ask is 100 a high temperature for her 1 year-old.

"Tu-Tu’s been shot," she’s crying in the phone.  "Aunt Sandra and Tan need a ride to the hospital."

I rub my eyes, trying desperately to get my self together.  A thousand memories come into my mind . . . like when my sister informed me that my other nephew, her son, was found dead near the house.  I was at work then. . . I remember the horror of the reality. . . I’m trying to focus back on what my daughter is muffling on the phone through her tears and sobbing. . .

"What do you mean, Tu-Tu’s been shot.  Where is he. . . what hospital?"

"He was found by a lady last night lying in the street.  The police came by Aunt Sandra’s house this morning to let her know that he’d been shot twice in the stomach.  No one knows his condition."

I’m trying to keep my composure.  I’m so sick of bad news; so sick of crying, grieving for my young.  After a bit of conversation, which I can no longer remember, I hang up to call my sister.

Tu-Tu is her Grandson.  She loves him, as she loves all of her children and grandchildren, but the worry we have for our young men is such . . . indescribable.

His other grandmother, Ms. Peggy, answers the telephone.  She informs me that Sandra has already left to go to the emergency room.  She’s in tears, crying. . . "why would someone want to shoot my baby . . . why they wanna hurt my baby . . .  "

I look up and realize it’s on the news.  A 15 year old boy was found around 11:15 last night shot, apparently twice in the stomach.  The victim remains in critical condition . . . anyone with information . . . please contact the police. . .

I’m feeling really scared now.  I feel so helpless.  I wonder how long he had lay there before he was found.  I say a prayer that God mend his wounds. . . heal his tissues –  bring them back together – please God – let him survive!  As I pray frantically in my mind for a miracle, others are praying too.

As I arrive at the hospital, I see my sister and my niece, Tu-Tu’s mother, Steph, sitting outside – with the look of somberness I’m become far too accustomed to seeing.  My heart drops . . . I’m trying hard to hold my weight up.  I’m strong . . . I can do this.

My niece is the first to speak.  She and I are the same age – actually she’s a year older than I.  We are like sisters.  We never had to experience the experiences our children face when we were growing up.  We had such good times in our youth.  It’s so sad that our children can’t have the fun we had. . .

"He’s in recovery.  They performed surgery.  He’s recovering from the surgery.  The doctor’s say that he’s a lucky young man. . . the bullet took a part of his liver off and the other bullet is still inside of him – it can’t be removed.  They say he can expect a full recovery, almost.  He’ll be able to function pretty normally.  No need for bags or anything like that. If either bullet would have been a fraction of an inch higher or lower, it would be a whole other picture."

I feel relieved.  "God still hears our prayers," I say to myself.  "Thank you God," . . I say out loud.  I visit my nephew for a short time.  He’s pretty doped up with morphine, but he acknowledges my presence. He tells me he loves me and to go home and rest.  He’s so brave.   I break down and cry when I look at his frailty.  He looks younger than 15 in the hospital clothes and bed.  I am reminded again how much danger our young men face each day in this neighborhood. . . city.  I cry, I sob at the miracle of survival and at the sadness of the existence we face each day.

In the aftermath . . we don’t know why Tu-Tu was shot.  It’s a suspected robbery; but he had nothing of value, other than a metal dog chain – which was snatched from around his neck.  He was riding a bike.  It was stolen too.

Now here is the kicker . . . the part that I don’t understand.  Tu-Tu knows the assailant.  Although he doesn’t know the motive, he knows who is responsible for leaving him for dead.   Yet, he refuses to identify the assailant to the police.  "That’s snitching," he tries to convince me, his mother, his grandmother, his sister and all of us who feel it is imperative that he identify this boy who shot him; leaving him for dead.

He becomes angry when we report the suspect to the police ourselves.  He believes that there will be retaliation against his family or something.  But what can you do.  Do you sit like a pawn awaiting the day when he may try again . . . do you fear to that degree what the street will label you if you let the police know who tried to kill you?  Are we putting Tu-Tu’s life in danger by reporting it ourselves; thus having the "street" labeling him as a "snitch."

The police are no help without Tu-Tu’s testimony.  All we say, they consider "hear say."  They can’t pick up this young man and take him off the street because his victim refuses to finger him.  Although many people, like his mother, sister, grandmother, and myself are not afraid of the punk or the consequences, Tu-Tu is sticking to the rule of the street – No snitching under any circumstances.  To do so will bring danger upon those you love.  We realize that this person is dangerous; and he will kill eventually.  But we are left with our hands in the air.  Our words hold no value to the law.  We are not eye-witnesses.  The police do not take our words at face value.  And yes, I know the law is meant to protect the innocent from false testimony – I have no answers.

Tu-Tu and his mother go to court.  No questions are asked of Tu-Tu; only of his mother.   She’s informed, matter-of-factly, that she can only answer the questions by saying yes or no.  Questions like:  Is Tu-Tu left unsupervised while you work?  Yes.   Has any of Tu-Tu’s friends been killed this past year.  Yes.   Is he part of a gang.  No.  It seems they are victimizing the victim even more.  A committee will decide what the next action will be.   Tu-Tu’s mother is informed that if anything happens to the suspect, Tu-Tu will be arrested.  So far, we have heard nothing more on the findings of the committee.  Inquiries only give us the run-around.

A month has passed and Tu-Tu goes back to school only to see, guess who, sitting in the front of the class.  The boy makes the gun gesture with his hands and point the gesture to his head and at Tu-Tu.  A fight ensues.  The boy’s uncle comes to the school and asks the police to please take him off his hands.  His parents are no where to be found. . . he has been nothing but trouble.  The police inform the boy’s uncle that the boy is a juvenile.  That they can’t lock him up for hear say.  They ask, what would we charge him with? The uncle says, I know he is a killer.  I can’t prove it by eye-sight; but I know.  The police say their hands are tied.  It is not enough.  The need an eye witness.  The only eye-witnesses refuse to testify or are dead already.

The police pick up the boy and some friends in Tu-Tu’s neighborhood on the same day.  Word on the street is they were looking for Tu-Tu.  They were found with a gun in the car.  The juvenile is again released – as the gun could not be proven to belong to anyone in particular.

So . . . I ask you . . . what is the lesson.  I’m too tired to figure it out.   Perhaps I should send this to the local news paper. . . because no one seems to care about young black men killing each other . . . as long it stays in the hood.   Would not the police and court response have been different if this had been in an affluent neighborhood?  Why are these two still in the same school.  Are not our kids suppose to be protected in school?  I just don’t know what to think. . .

It’s been two months since Tu-Tu was shot.  Each time I hear gun shots I’m reminded of the incident and call to assure he’s in the house.  I’m afraid to let my own son, who is also 15 out of my site.  Although he and Tu-Tu hang out, Tu-Tu won’t even allow Sam to walk with him to the corner store any more.  Sam often walks anyway.  Homecoming game is out of the question.  It’s scary.  It’s sad.

It’s yet another beautiful, yet deadly day in the hood.  Another young man was shot last night.  My daughter called me around 10 last night to let me know Jamal was shot.   This morning around 5:15, she called to confirm he didn’t make it.   This morning we mourn the loss; reflect upon the life.  Jamal was 19, married young.  He was trying to do the family thing.  There is always envy in the hood when one tries to do the right thing.   We do not know who did it.   .   .     We will most likely find out on the street today who it is.  It won’t make a difference though…

Written by CordieB.  I wish it were fiction; but it’s true.

The latest news article on Jamal is here

The Tables Turn, Turn, Turn

It’s not been the most pleasant of weeks.  Along with having a bad cold, I’m sadded that another young person was violently killed this weekend in Richmond.  . . . G’s cousin . . . beautiful person, Erica, only 21.  Although I’ve never met her, her smile and tributes from friends and love ones speak volumes of her soul.  The insanity of the violence among our youth is depressing to say the least. 

But today I simply want to share wise words from the Bible in memory of Erica . . . and all the young people who have lost their lives far too quickly in my human eyes. . . I also must remember . . .

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under the heavens:

A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck
up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a
time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a
time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to
refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence,
and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. . .

Ecclesiastes 3:1

I ask, when will the time come for Peace!  Do we simply wait for the tables to turn or do we do something to promote it?   I feel that we must shift the paradigm of war and violence; it is time we started making positive steps to ensuring peace in our homes, our neighborhoods, our communities, our world!   It all begins in the homes. . . we can control that little bit of our universe, don’t you think?  It will grow if enough seeds are planted.  Do the tables simply turn without our interference in any manner?  Will it all balance itself out in time?   Do we not have to sow in order to harvest?  Is not what we sow not what is harvested?  Continue being indifferent if we must, but one day our peace might be shattered . . .    Therefore, I must do something. . . .

Peace, Light and Love, CordieB.

In Memory of Ms. Deborah Jeane Palfrey (March 18, 1956 – May 1, 2008)

I know very little of Ms. Deborah Jeane Palfrey, other than what I have seen on the news.  However, as a woman, I feel a kindred  spirit with her.  Therefore, I dedicate the following three songs to her and to all woman who are “going through something” today or any day.  I invite you to take a moment of silence and listen to the first song – Little Girls. 

“I don’t know the ins and outs of this case any better than you do, frankly, but I can only imagine that Deborah Jeane Palfrey felt very much alone. That’s the part that gets to me. The government against her. The media shoving cameras in her face. All those men who once courted her services desperately scuttling away. She did, of course, have her mother. As reported in the San Francisco Chronicle last year, “‘All I can say is I love her dearly and everything is going to work out OK,’ said Palfrey’s mother, Blanche Palfrey, who, reached at her home in Florida, complained about the stress the whole thing has placed on her already bad heart. ‘I’ll put my trust in God.'” — Sarah Hepola

Remember, whatever is going on in life, it will BE alright.  We as woman need to stop judging each other and start being there for each other.  There is nothing so comforting sometimes than the unconditional love from one of your girl friends or even from a woman who is a stranger.  A peaceful and reassuring reminder to someone’s whose spirit seems lost that everything will be alright is so easy to give, yet we as humans often miss the opportunity.  Because, when all is said is done; it will be alright if we live through it. And, sometimes that gentle reminder is what keeps us going.  Unfortunately, Ms. Palfrey either chose to move on to another realm or someone made the choice for her.  I simply pray that she has found peace in heart heart ; light in her travels, and love in her spirit.  I also pray that God will send an extra dose of comfort to Palfrey’s dear mother.   I wish the same for all of you – from the bottom of my heart.

Peace, Light and Love, CordieB.

Little Girls – Patti Labelle . . . Little Girls sleep at night, safe inside our dreams, is it a scheme? we think we grow up into queens. . .

 

Almaz – Randy Crawford – “Almaz, pure an simple born in a world where love survives . . . so young and tender, but will life bend her?  I look around she’s every where. ”

 

Street Life – Randy Crawford – “Street life, there’s a million parts to play; Street life, until you play your life away;  . . . .Street life, but you better not get old; Street life, or you’re gonna feel the cold.”

Survival Produces Peace

 
Photo courtesty of dlemieux and is licensed under the Creative Commons License.

Like a child who has fallen from his bicycle needs to find a place out of the view of his peers where he can honestly say, “Ouch! That hurt more than I showed in thr front of other people,” we too need a private place of honesty.  We need a place where we can sit down, reflect and mourn.  However, we must be careful not to mourn over the past longer than is necessary.  After the funeral, there is always a burial.  The burial separates the survivor from the deceased, and it is as far as we can go.  So you must come to a place of separation and decide to live on. 

In spite of the pain and distaste of adversity, it is impossible not to notice that each adverse event leaves sweet nectar behind, which, in turn, can produce its own rich honey in the character of the survivor. I is this bittersweet honey that allows us to enrich the lives of others through our experiences and testimonies.  There is is absolutely no substitute for the syrupy nectar of human experiences.  It is these experiences that season the future relationships God has in store for us. 

Unfortunately, many people leave their situation bitter and not better.  Be careful to bring in the richness of the experience to the hurting, not the unresolved bitterness.  This kind of bitterness is a sign that the healing process in you is not over and, therefore, is not ready to be shared as a helping tool to other people.  When we have gone through the full cycle of survival, the situations and experiences in our lives will produce no pain, only peace.

~T. D. Jakes