I was working at Kids Across America, a summer camp in Missouri, when I received the news that my friend Sandra Bland had passed away. Those close to me know that I don’t take death very well, so for her death to be so unexpected and sudden, it was really tough some days. I was led to write a few poems about her, but this by far was the hardest. Originally I had intended on doing a spoken word piece [a shortened version] to perform while at camp but it just didn’t work out that way. So, I decided I would eventually share it once I finished editing it, but since it was so painful to write it I just kept putting it off. I was inspired to finally finish it due to a friend going through a time of loss.
Today, for those who don’t know, is the first day of trial for Sandra Bland’s family in their pursuit to seek answers for her death. #WhatHappenedToSandraBland I pray that no matter what the verdict is, that God’s favor go forward and that He will continue to give them peace and understanding through an extremely difficult time. I have said it before, Sandra Bland is not a movement–she was a person. For a lot of us, including myself, it’s hard to speak of her in past tense. People need to be mindful of that before they start trying to treat her name and her cause #SandySpeaks as some sort of fad.
With all that being said, it is my honest prayer that by sharing my pain I am able to help others through their time of loss as well. You never know how difficult it is for someone to lose a person they deeply care about until you have to go through it yourself. Certain days and special times have a whole new meaning, and suddenly, you have a whole new anniversary to remember for the rest of your life. The ladies of Sigma Gamma Rho were founded November 12, 1922. The sorority started a campaign that every 22nd of the month we wear blue and gold, however since Sandy passed we now honor her memory on that day. My hope is that one day, while I am slowly working through my grief, that I go from recognizing the 22nd of each month as the remembrance of Sandy’s death to seeing the 22nd of each month as the celebration of her life. I haven’t gotten there yet, but I know with Jesus I will be there someday, when I’m ready.
(You can read the poem here: When the Strong Get Weak)