I've never been good with good-byes. Actually I guess I should say I'm horrible with good-byes. That would be far more accurate. I don't mean good-byes like death. I'm actually quite good with those. I attribute that to the fact that I was exposed to death at such an early age. When I was 6, my sister's best friend Cara got hit by a car. She was supposed to wait in the car for her father. But she chased after him instead. She was four years old.
When I was 6, my uncle died. He had had a kidney transplant about 10 years earlier. In those days, that was an extraordinarily long time to live with a transplanted organ. He used to call me "James-Ellen" because he said I looked exactly like both of my parents. I hated it then, but when he died, I was sad because he wouldn't be there to call me that anymore. That was October 1988. December 24, 1989, his mother, my grandmother died. I still have the last Christmas gift she gave me. It was a yellow sweater I loved. Now one of my bears at my mom's house wears it. I actually got the gift the night she died. She'd had one of my aunts take her to pick out gifts for her 20+ grandchildren. September the next year, days after his birthday, my grandfather followed his wife of 50 years in death. August of the same year, my softball coach was driving a tractor trailer back home from a long haul. He fell asleep from the wheel five miles from his home and was killed.
After that it was a while before someone I felt a strong attachment to died. I went to a lot of funerals. I even went to funerals of a guy I didn't know to support a friend. I cherished being able to say good-bye. I had to watch the casket lowered to the ground. If they would've let me, for every funeral I would've watched them completely cover it with dirt. When my parents die, it will be my request. Wait, nevermind, both of them insist on being cremated. I talk about death a lot. It scares everyone around me. Its not like I'm suicidal. I'm controlling. So I want things to be the way I want them, even in death. I have threatened to haunt people. Hahaha. But I was serious. If it was possible and they purposely ignored my wishes, I would do it.
My organs must be donated. Obviously. Organ donation saved my uncle for 10 years. And the organ of a relative just saved my cousin's life as well. Another uncle on the other side has had his donated kidney for about 4 years. You can't take them with you. Well, you can, but they'll do you no good. You can give life to someone else. That's amazing. Part of you can live on for years. And if that person has a baby, just think, you've helped bring another life into this world. Okay this is one of my (once) private obsessions. I could go on for quite a while. But I'm probably scaring you, so I'll get to the point. I'll blog about Kenny's death another time.
I'm going to have to say good-bye to Pittsburgh at some point. As much as I hate to admit it, the city is growing on me a little. (I don't want to hear it dp or duck). But I'd actually like to visit more than I'd like to live here. Which is very strange. I actually also like showing people around the city. As much as I can with these crazy streets that end and pick up and curve and wind and go down hills and have no street signs and turn into the blue belt or yellow or purple or orange and go over a bridge or 20 into Homestead, the South Side, Wilkinsburg, the Hill, McKeesport, Mount Lebanon, Moon, Cranberry, Ross Township, and on the parkway north, east or west (no south), also known as 376, 279, 22-30, or Rt. 60. But that's how I feel about Atlanta, too. I love to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. But I'm used to my life and I really hate starting over. But alas, I must. So if you want to offer me a job in my field, in a major city with upwardly mobile Black people.... I'll take it! (Be reasonable folks).
The tangents!! I was also supposed to be adding something in here about saying good-bye at Hampton and when I graduated from high school, but this post took over itself. So alas, you will have to wait.
********LIGHTBULB. I just realized why this post came to me today. I couldn't figure it out. And it was kind of disturbing. Katherine Dunham died yesterday. If you don't know who she is, let me help you. She was the woman credited with bringing African and Carribean dances to the mainstream. She began the first black modern dance troupe. It traveled to 57 countries on 6 continents. Ms. Dunham, an American icon, was 96 years old. I love dance. This sista even had a style of dance named after her. FIERCE. I wish I'd had more formal training. But you wait. When I get a little more money, I will dance again!!!! May the spirit of Katherine Dunham forever reign in the world of modern dance.