An Open Letter to the Dead ~ Tinuola Olateju

The earth cries for you Tinu!

I’ve shared this story before. Many times. So much so that even Lola referenced it as we walked to your grave. “It’s raining,” she said with a sad smile, “Like on your blog. I’m glad its raining.” I smiled back as much as I could in that moment. “Yea, I was just telling them in the car and my mom texted me too. Every funeral I’ve been too, it has rained. It must rain for the really special people.” I said to her. We both smiled and then we continued on towards your grave.

Why is rain on a funeral so special?

First, we must begin with a story that I’ve told before but I will tell again. As a young child I had an active imagination. I loved fairy tales, I loved fables and stories and I believed some of the aspects of these stories to be true. Such as the connection between nature and humans.  I mean, I know it to be true now. We are intimately connected to the earth and the universe as a whole.

But when I was younger this is what I believed about rain and tears. I knew that water did not just disappear. Some science teacher had mentioned something about evaporation once. Therefore, I deduced that when we humans cry all those tears are absorbed by the earth. The earth just holds every single person’s pain as we let it out. The earth absorbs our screams and whimpers. It absorbs the weight we carry. And it absorbs all of our tears.

Imagine all that pain. I’m glad we can let it out and something beyond us takes it for awhile.

Being the dramatic kid that I was, the only explanation I could think of regarding rain was that once the earth had so many tears from people all over the world, the earth would need to let go of some of that pain. So the earth cried too. And we absorbed the earth’s tears. And when we couldn’t hold the pain anymore, we cried and the earth absorbed our tears again.

Thus this cycle of  sharing the weight of pain between humans and nature. As a kid and even still now, it makes perfect sense to me.

When it would rain, I would run outside and exclaim, “Look at all those tears!” and sometimes I’d spread my arms wide open and take them back for the earth. My Aunt who would walk me to school would just nod at my exclamation. “Yes baby, look at all those tears!” she said in agreement.

Every single time I saw my Aunt Minnie at family functions as I grew up, she’d remind me of this. “Remember Sheena when you were little and I walked you to school and it would rain. You’d tell me to look at all the tears?” she’s say. I’d nod and smile, “Yeah, I remember Auntie.”

My Aunt passed years and years ago. I believe I was in junior high. It rained on her funeral. It rained during my Uncle Jack’s burial. It rained at Uncle John Henry’s funeral. Also at Uncle Robert Lee’s. It had just rained the day of my grandma’s funeral. During James funeral in Canada there was a tornado warning and horrible storm in the suburbs of Chicago. The earth not only cried then, it let out a roar from deep in its belly. On Maura’s funeral it rained everywhere. Friends were emailing me telling me it was raining where they were too. And Tinu, throughout the entire week as we prepared for your funeral, there was good weather. Hot weather. I wore dresses all week. And then as we proceeded from the funeral to your burial, the earth couldn’t hold it anymore. The earth wept like a child for you.

I wrote this for Maura but its for you too now!

Maura and now Tinu, you will not believe this…but it rained! I swear. I thought it was so beautiful that the earth did this. That the earth was telling me, “Sheena, I’m hurting too!” It made me know there was a god. And that god, and earth, and me…we were all connected, all affected.! It rained today. The earth was telling me, “Sheena, I know you and so many other people are so sad that Maura and now Tinu are no longer physically here in the body that you knew. And I am sad too. At this very moment, she is being laid inside my soul. I’m taking her into my core. I feel it. And I am saddened too. I am crying for Maura and now Tinu too!”

The rain was beautiful.  I wanted to open my arms wide up, lay my head back and take all the tears. Take the tears, so that I don’t have to see your dad and your mom cry. Take them so that Lydia and Lola/Peju/Joke/Kola/Sola doesn’t have a breakdown. I wanted everyone to stop and acknowledge that a shift had occurred in the universe. I wanted people to know we had lost a divine goddess. Lost ~ I use that loosely. We lost you in the way that we were most comfortable encountering you. In this human body. I know your spirit, your energy is still here. But still the world changed and even though I couldn’t make every single human know that…at least the earth knew and cried with me too.

Maura and Tinu, you were so wonderful, so phenomenal, so amazing that the very earth cried for you today. That’s when you know your life is magical, when even nature calls out for you.

Maura. Beautiful Maura.

Tinu. Precious Baby Girl Tinu.

Tinuola Olateju

February 15, 1995 – May 29, 2010

Facebook Group: In Loving Memory of Tinuola Olateju

Facebook Group: R.I.P Tinu

Relevant issues, sites, & topics….

Out of Darkness Overnight Walk

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Awareness Voices Education

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Showing 3 comments
  • olateju oladayo

    i must say sheena this is a nice piece, at first i thought i was reading a piece by a great writer, then i remembered its u. nice one

  • SLY

    Thank you so much!

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  • […] old. That’s a lot of deaths. It started with my Aunt Minnie, who is the person behind my ” Rain equals Nature is Crying for you” beliefs. Actually, to be quite honest, it started with the murder of my grandmother Barbara […]

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