Ann passed away 3 years ago on September 5, 2016.
We dated in junior high school -yes, junior high school-and high school. She was a member of the Jacksonville Youth Council NAACP, back in the day, with me. After my 4 years in the Air Force, our paths crossed again, and we married in December 1966. We would have celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in December of 2016.
Losing a mate/spouse/partner/significant other is different than losing a child, a parent, a grandparent, a sibling, and a family member. The Love is different. When you lose that person, you lose a part of yourself. You lose someone you went to sleep with every night and spent most of your waking moments with. You mourn, you grieve, you cry, and you remember those moments that only the two of you could remember.When I called Bishop Rudolph W. McKissick Sr. – Bishop Sr.—to tell him Ann had passed, and to ask him to “give” Words of Comfort at her service, he of course, said he would. Bishop Sr. has been a friend of both of our families, and eulogized several of my family members and Ann’s family members. After praying with me, he said to me, “Rodney grieve and mourn whatever way you want. Don’t let anyone take that away from you. And in the middle of your grieving, thank God for the more than 50 years he gave you and Ann together.”
I remember those words every day. Mourning does not get any easier. After Ann passed, several friends and family members suggested I "take a vacation" or “get-away” for a while. They meant well, and the suggestion was made in Love, but you cannot “get-way from” or “take a vacation from” a life of memories and experiences. You carry them with you. A song, a favorite place, a food dish, a movie, celebrating the holidays.No one really knows how you feel when you lose a wife and a partner and a soulmate and a best friend, all rolled into one magnificent person. They think they do...they don’t.
I am learning to “manage” grieving, just like many must learn to manage pain. And I always remember the great experiences and the great memories and the great times God gave me with Ann.
Ann was an Old School Music person too, and one of our favorite songs was written by Paul Williams entitled, “You and Me Against The World.” We particularly liked Jerry Butler’s version. A few of the lyrics...
“You and me against the world
Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world
And for all the tears we cried
I always felt God was on our side
And when one of us is gone
And one is left alone to carry on
Then remembering will have to do
Our memories alone will get us through.
Think about the days of me and you
Of you and me against the world.”
Ann was not here for the birth of our first Great Grand, Everly Ann, "presented" by our granddaughter and grandson-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Kyle (Marquiette) Dorrell, but thanks to Kita and Kyle, she carries Ann's name.
I am not through crying, nor will I ever be. I am not through grieving, nor will I ever be. What a great 50+ years. I Love Ya Baby, and I Really Miss You. -- Me.
Blacks fighting against Racism today is NOT a NEW Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Movement never ended. Blacks fighting for human dignity and respect today is Not New. There is no difference in Blacks fighting for human dignity and respect today and how they fought during the days of the American Christian Holocaust called Slavery. The Civil Rights Movement of the Forties, Fifties, and Sixties and decades before, was an extension of the fight. And the fight today is an extension of the fight. Same Fight--Different Time--Different Day.
Martin Luther King and John Lewis and Thurgood Marshall and Ella Baker and Medgar Evers and A. Philip Randolph and Ruby Hurley and Daisy Bates and Malcolm X, and Rutledge Pearson...extensive list...fought the same fight that Ida Wells-Barnett and James Weldon Johnson and Walter White and William Trotter and W.E.B.DuBois and Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass and Richard Allen and Denmark Vesey...extensive list...fought.
Young people today are fighting the same fight thousands before them fought. Being enslaved and kept in chains is the history of America. Lynching Blacks is the history of America. Racism is the history of America. Being judged by the color of your skin is the history of America. Being denied the right to vote is the history of America. Being denied Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness as a Black person is the history of America.
Blacks fighting for all of these "things" ...these Freedoms...is the history of America. That has not changed. The fight FOR Civil Rights IS the fight AGAINST The American Institution of Racism. The day is different ...the names are different...but the issues are the same and the skin color is the same; and in the final analysis, THE STRUGGLE is the Same. And THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES.
Boycotting the NFL because of its Racism, is like boycotting any establishment because of its Racism, and it works for ME. I do not try to get anyone to necessarily see my point of view.
Back in the day, we boycotted ALL of downtown, because of the rampant Racism by stores wanting Blacks to spend money in their establishments but only where THEY wanted us to spend OUR money. That was an Insult. Many of you respond by saying, "That was then, today is different." The question is, Is It Really?
Fighting Racism and its subtleties, if you are Black, and the sacrifices you must make, if you are Black, are more important than balancing your conveniences, if you are Black.