For him she got clean. For the baby, when he was tiny, still inside her.
She’d tried before. Her mom went and got her. She tried. Went back. Tried again. Family in pieces around her. Love for that man a big pull, heroin a big pull too. You will lie, cheat and steal for both of them. They were something to hold on to in this world that hates Black women, I guess. Something.
Lucky for all of us, love for her son proved stronger than the others. Love for herself seemed to come with it, and that was beautiful to see.
He was born too early, so early, still in his birth sac, a miracle baby. A tiny, beautiful thing.
For him she stayed clean. Counting day by day as you do. Fighting week by week, month by month. Celebrating every anniversary. She stayed clean.
For him she got it together, got a job.
For him she ate better, celebrated filling out again, getting healthy. Had just gone vegetarian. Celebrated her skin clearing. Wore bright red lipstick and amazing great big green-framed glasses and they looked so damn good on her. She had the most beautiful smile.
Two years her family and friends had her back, with life and hope ahead of her.
All for him.
Now lost. The doctors told her something like stomach flu, sent her home. But night before last she died in hospital. Completely unexpected. Total shock.
Lost to her parents, lost to her son, lost to us.
My heart a little more broken.
This morning I woke up to the news because they couldn’t get hold of me yesterday, and I thought how the US just keeps taking and taking. Just keeps killing its children, young mothers and fathers — grandparents still raise our next generation. I am too far to be any help, I grieve at an immeasurable distance.
This morning too I woke to the news of the attack on London Bridge, the deaths in borough market. Just as two weeks ago I woke to the Manchester bombing. In our world torn apart by war and wracked by addiction I know every morning is this morning for so many. If only our love and solidarity could end this. I know we can only do our best, but I want to end this and I know I am not alone but I cannot see our way.