10 years ago today, one of the greatest women I've had the pleasure to know died. She was a friend to all who crossed her path, and held great expectations in her heart for all her progeny. Grandma, I hope that I've begun to become as great as you thought I could be, and I hope you know that whenever I have grits and cheese, I'm gonna think of you (and know that I couldn't ever make it better than you). I'll continue to try to make your name a proud one, through my achievements and even through my failures. Rest in Peace, Tomannie Walker. Your work is done. Ours has only begun.
I had that up as my Facebook status today, but I wanted to use this space to talk a little bit more about it (and take a break from writing this PowerPoint Presentation).
I've been talking about this with my lifelong friends today, and I actually made a comment continuing my thought process for the day on that status. In reply to "You are a good grandson. But I already know that you are a good man!":
Am I either though? I'm not saying I'm not, I'm just generally questioning it. And further I wonder if I'm the type of person my ancestors (in general) would approve of being in their lineage. If they were to see me on a daily basis interacting with people, working, during my leisure hours, would they think "seeing this makes all that struggle, all that sweat blood and tears, worth it"I still wonder that, you know? Not that I'm trying to fulfill the dreams of anyone else—no no, I live my life for me. However, I come from a long long line of people (as do we all, no?) and many of those people (I presume?) went through some high atrocities. Every generation before mine had to face varying degrees of racism and discrimination, whether it was the racial tension of the 50's - 70's, or suffering through Jim Crow, or on a plantation somewhere in the South or in Barbados. Would they look at myself and my brother, the current torch bearers for our lineage, and smile? I would hope so. Granted, I know that I could do better with my life. And I know my grandmother enough to know that she'd push me to do better as well, but she'd also acknowledge my journey and be happy that I've managed to find happiness.
My other grandmother would be proud too, but to a point. She'd definitely hate (I'm sorry, strongly dislike) that I'm atheist, and that I curse as much as I do. But, even with that, she'd like that I'm pursuing my passions, or at least I'd like to think so.
This brings me to my next thought, another point that I was discussing with my boys: when it comes right down to it I really don't know all that much about my family, or how they'd feel about the choices I've made. I've only been able to guess at what their opinions would be. If they were all to tragically die in a fire right now that also managed to burn all the records we have, I'd only be able to piece together bits of their lives that I've managed to remember. I know a fair bit about my father's struggles in his younger days (i.e., my current age), but there was a lot that was glossed over that I know nothing about. I know even less about my mother's early life. I think I might add a couple things to the ol' resolutions list:
• Talk to family members about their lives in detail, so that you can carry the torch properly. Get a feel for their likes, their dislikes, their triumphs, and more importantly their failures. Learn as much as they have to offer, because they won't be around forever.
And neither will I, so maybe I should get my story straight too. Maybe I should first make sure it's a story worth telling.
I think it is.
More on this at another time.