ReDEFINING Strength: It’s Okay to Grieve

This article is the second piece in the ReDEFINING Blog Series. ReDEFINING aims to dismantle the dominant, destructive, and inaccurate perceptions of people by crafting a new narrative for ourselves and defining who we are and who we want to be. For more information about the series and how you can participate > 

Guest post: Irna Landrum

I’m sitting next to my mother. She is quiet and her breathing is labored. I’m holding her left hand, and I catch a glimpse of her right hand. It’s balled into a tight fist, resting furtively on her thigh. She clenches her fist tighter and lets out a weak breath. Her cousin Betty, who I call Auntie, whisks her out of the packed room. I dutifully follow.

My mother sits in a folding chair, now clutching her chest. Her fist is still clenched. Auntie Betty tells me to go fetch my mother’s purse. We exited so quickly that we left all our belongings where they were. I slip back into the somber crowd and retrieve Mama’s purse. Auntie digs around in it until she finds something to make this moment better–nitroglycerin tablets.

Almost two years ago, my mother had a cardiac arrest. When she feels extreme tightness in her chest, she reaches for nitroglycerin for some relief, trying to stave off another heart attack. She was now taking this pill, struggling to steady her hand enough to get water into her mouth. My mother was dousing herself with pain meds instead of releasing some of the pain and grief she trapped in her body. Mama didn’t want to make a public show of mourning the death of her older brother. She was trying to be strong.

Read the remainder of the post over at >


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