I feel trapped inside this body. The first time I remember it happening was when I was five years old. My family and I had just moved into our new house and I for the first time no longer had to share my space with my older sister. My mom painted my bedroom my favorite color pink. I had a white canopy bed that was neatly made and the skirt of my bed had yellow and pink flowers lining the border. My bed faced east which allowed me to look directly out my window and enjoy the sky that was filled with it seemed like a million stars. It was a perfect ending to the day. I seen Micheal Jackson on soul train singing “One day in your life” for the first time. The fresh breeze cascaded into my bedroom and I could hear the steady sound of crickets chirping as I fell asleep. That night I had a dream about my great grandmother who was born of this land. I had never seen her before except for the picture that was on the brick mantle above the fireplace. She came into my room, took my hand and we began flying in a place that had tall mountains made of red rock. We flew into a waterfall that was spinning in mid-air. Inside this waterfall was a bright light that took over our flight. As we gravitated closer to the light I could see in the distance a figure of a man floating in midair whose face had no color, it was filled with the light and it was so bright you could not look directly into his face. His feet were golden bronze and he wore a beautiful white robe. Just as we were approaching this man I could hear my mothers alarm clock going off. When I opened my eyes my body felt numb and paralyzed. I was wide awake but could not move. I screamed “mama” but nothing would come out. As I began panicking I could fell warm tears rolling down my cheek and onto my neck. My heart began to beat faster than normal. I wanted my mama and daddy and couldn’t get to them.
Thirty days had passed since Morn had the visit from the death angel. That morning, she awoke to the sound of Susie gasping to catch her next breath. She entered the room and went to cover Jane but she had no more life in her. Susie could barely breath, she went to her side and grabbed her cold hand. She kissed her babies forehead and said “it’s alright, you don’t have to fight no mo”. Tears began to pour down her face and she began singing the lullaby that had been passed down from generation to generation “mama’s baby and I love you”, “mama’s baby and I love you”. Morn felt a calm presence enter the room, there was a bright light hovering in the corner of her oldest daughters make shift bed. Susie looked into her mothers eyes and smiled, inhaled her last breath and gravitated out of her shell and through the bright funnel she had been lingering around for the past few days.
The room suddenly got cold and Morn began to wail. Her cry awoke the rooster from his slumber. Morn’s Aunt Bee entered the room and lit a white sage leaf. She was carrying shroud clothing and 2 ears of corn that will stay in the room for four days. She washed both of her nieces hair with yucca shampoo. They will be buried on the fourth day near the time of their death. Their names will not be mentioned for one year to ensure a peaceful journey onto the spirit world with no hesitation.
Morns grandchildren came into the room and began lifting her from her slouched position on the floor, walked her to the room and gently placed her in bed. My mother who was three at the time climbed into bed with Morn and wiped every tear that dropped that day. In death and life her children’s, children would give her strength to live to the ripe age of 102.
Since her children had taken ill, Morn’s entire family began treating her different, it was as if she no longer existed. She had twelve siblings and her mother lived down the road. She knew that her babies would be leaving the universe soon and returning to Jah.
Morn start reading psalms around two am in the morning. Her mother had taught her the best time to communicate with the spirit is in solitude and when those who move around you were sleeping. She felt a strong urge to be near water. It was a chilly spring night with a full moon that was shining bright. Morn got out of her bed and put on her house coat. She walked past the other bed in the room to see ten little toes sticking out from underneath the covers. She could hear Susie coughing in the other room. When she went to check on her she had fallen back to sleep. Morn stepped on the porch and took a deep breath she began walking down the old wooden stairs and onto the dirt path that lead to the front of her rickety wooden gate. She could smell her collard greens that lined the wooden fence. The heaviness of the world was circulating in her heart and she had to let it go. When she got to the edge of the pond she dropped down to her knees she cried out
“Yeshua, lift this suffering from my heart”. “I know they gone be leaving here soon”. “Why are my babies leaving here before me?” “Each breath I take gives me a pain in my chest”. “Lighten this heavy load I’m carrying, I need you”.
Her eyes were closed yet the light shines bright, she heard his voice “you will not suffer my child”. A peaceful calm flows through her body as she whispers “thank you”.
I spoke to great grandmother today and she told me how and when my grandmother died.
As great grandma (Morn) sat her wide hips on the edge of the bed her head hung low she knew It didn’t look good for her beautiful daughters. She had fours girls and the year was 1945. Both of her daughters had fallen ill with the deadly disease TB. She had been taking care of her six grandchildren ranging in age from 6 weeks old to 16 for the past 2 months. Morn was growing worried and began to pray. She lived on the same plantation her ancestors were slaves. Susie and Jane both had lost a significant amount of weight in the past few weeks and were weak. They continuously coughed up excessive amounts of blood with infected mucus that rattled there chest and made them curl up in pain. My mother was three years old and her baby sister Lilly was six weeks old. As Morn sat in her two room house with her fire blazing, tears began streaming down her face like the river her mother would follow as seasons changed and the migration was routine and the land still pure. With the bible in her hands and the comforting words of psalms melting over her lips she felt a sudden peace in her presence. As she raised her head she looked up to see the death angel kneeling before her with black long beautiful wings. He whispered in her ear “take them to the doctor, and I will not come back in 30 days” She yelled “no, I’m not takin my babies for dem to speriment on” Viola had seen many evil things done in her day and could not trust anyone.