Grief

Camping in the Rubble

A cyclone threatened.  We knew the devastation it would leave in its wake would be enormous. As it began, we had no idea what the consequential damage would be, but we knew that it could not be stopped, and we had to wait until it had blown through before we’d know whether repair was going to be […]

Free Fall

  May 27, 2009. This is the day I learn I have cancer. Weird. I never thought I’d hear those words. I am still drowsy from anesthesia. The doctor just comes in, and she says, “Well, we thought it was hemorrhoids, but it’s not. It’s a tumor. It’s cancer.” Just like that. Now I am […]

Into the Storm

What happens when you vow to live awake and alive? What happens when you open yourself to the stir of Spirit symphony? What happens when you become an active participant in your own destiny? What happens? Excitement. Fear. A massive upheaval. In a word: Storm. I was going to keep a secret about this. My […]

Surviving the Storm

I recently watched (read: sobbed through) an interview of a woman whose children were killed in the Tornado that savagely tore through Arkansas last year. One minute their hands were clasped together in the living room, the next she was face down, pantless, and severely injured, lying in a field of nothingness. But when she […]

Meet the Princess of the Press: Ida B. Wells

Southern trees bear strange fruit Blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees Before Billie Holiday sang the lyrics above at Cafe Society, the first integrated nightclub in New York, another icon of history, sat nightly, frantically documenting every lynching […]

Why I’ll Never Put A Lily At My Mother’s Grave

When I was married, I gifted with great ceremony white lilies to three older women that I loved. My blood mother. My stepmother. My mother-in-law. I carried the long and elegant stems across the pebbles toward their wooden folding chairs. All three of them died young. Cancer, cancer, and a freakish surprise sort of thing […]

Minnie Vautrin: Staring Down Death

“The city is strangely silent—after all the bombing and shelling. Three dangers are past—that of looting [Chinese] soldiers, bombing from aeroplanes and shelling from big guns, but the fourth is still before us—our fate at the hands of a victorious army. People are very anxious tonight and do not know what to expect . . […]

Motherhood on the Head of a Pin

 Jill Lepore wrote a book about a woman we know hardly anything about. A thick book, a love letter, a weighty tome about a woman of whom the slimmest of evidence exists—letters, a single hand-stitched notebook, ghostly things that others said of her. She was a poor woman from Boston right before and after the […]

A Legacy of Love

She loved. Not with an everyday lovey-dovey sort of love, but with agape. A love that keeps no record of wrong. A love that hopes. A love that never fails. I’m still trying to figure out that sort of love. My own love is imperfect. People aren’t always trustworthy. Those I love don’t always follow […]

When We Find Life in Leaving

Standing over the stove, you can tell she’s in her element. The woman can cook. She may not be able to recite the recipe exactly, and may have to tell you in three separate phone calls the revisions to the recipe, but cooking is her love language. That and waking up at 5 am to […]

Recycled

“White woman, why water full of sorrow flow from face?” The young woman’s Chenglish needed no translation and neither did my tears as she poured rosewater into a wooden bucket to soak my feet. She was wearing a Louis Vuitton jacket, sequined sweater and rice hat: a fashion style as common in Kunming, China as […]

Wedged

I never thought I’d still be breathing at 45, painted skulls on tiny coffins to distract my broken mind. But now I’ve tasted worth and felt confidence creeping up my spine. I know you had a lot of problems, always told me you were trying. And I have felt deep purple blood flow from your […]