Do not go gentle…

| March 23, 2011

Death is all around me and I cannot get it from under my skin – it absorbs me and ensourcels me – enfolds me in it mangy arms and grips…and holds…and squeezes the tears from my body, so that is feels they will pop from the skin on my fore-arms…my head…my legs and bleed into the soiled ground around me.

My maternal grandfather died 2 weeks ago – back in South Africa – and I was here in NYC, not able to go and pay my respects and show my love with my family back home – it hurts. Where I am from, there are many rituals and practices associated with death and the process of burial – and it brings calm and relief to those of us left behind and I feel like I have not been gifted with that as I was not a part of the process…

Professor Hope Leichter here at TC has a class called “The Family as Educator” – I took it one semester and she teaches in a very academic, yet compassionate way, for us to examine our family structure and the value we get from engaging with ourselves and our familial structure and how that shapes and molds and dictates who we are – especially when we think of ourselves in our roles as educators or working within institutions of education.

Today my mom called from South Africa to tell me that my cousin who is 5 years older than me has been diagnosed with cancer of the womb- and that it has spread to her liver – The doctors won’t operate as they are not sure that it will help any – so aggresive chemo-therapy starts on Thursday…and such is life – and we are close, I am  here and she is there – and how do I navigate this?

I feel like there is my academic self and then there is me, the real – flesh and bones and emotional self –  and I know I am not alone in this feeling of isolation – graduate school is lonely and when life hits us and we are far away from home- or when we feel far away…rage rage against the dying of the light, the light in us, the lights of our purpose…rage rage.