Tuesday, May 29th, 2012
Blogs | Sociology of Sheena
Embodied Grief, 2 Yrs Later ~ Tinuola Olateju
Tinu, I need to tell you how my day has happened.
I woke up and I went about business. In a matter of two hours of paper filing, tweeting with excitement and realizing I was the only woman in a room full of a LOT of men, I managed to procure my Fire Guard certificate of fitness. I passed my test and received a 100%. I also tried to eye and snag a fireman because I have a fantasy about dating one.
I arrived at work on Wall Street and went about business. I went from one task to the next. I sent one email after another. I scheduled one meeting after another. I was busy and on it and doing my thing.
Things started to change quickly.
I assumed it was because of the pesto mozerella sandwich. Perhaps my stomach is over all the dairy. I even offered the rest of my lunch to someone else.
“I’m not feeling well,” I told them.
“What’s wrong?” my colleague asked.
“I’m not sure. My throat feels like its closing up and my stomach is in knots. I think it was my sandwich,” I said trying to assess my body. I had been doing so well.
“Do you want to go home?” my colleague asked.
“No. No. I’m fine. Whatever this is, its not dibellitating. Perhaps it will pass. My body just feels really weird right now,” I said.
There was a pause.
“What did you do over the weekend?” my colleague asked.
“My friend Sam came into town,” I explained and then I went into the details of everything Sam and I did.
Then, something happened.
“So yes, that’s Sam. And its so great to spend time with her right now. Actually, the last time she was in New York was……” AND I PAUSED.
Because I remembered the last time Sam was in New York! She came for Memorial Day weekend. We were supposed to take pictures in the park and go to parties and have awesome dinners and do artist things and be awesome and sexy and watch the new Sex and The City movie.
But earlier that morning before the sun had risen, LOLAÂ called me and my life had changed.
“Tinu’s gone!” she screamed.
My colleague sat watching me because I simply paused mid sentence. I realize as I told her all about Sam, Sam’s last visit was EXACTLY two years ago, when I found out you were gone. It all started to click. I turned back to my colleague.
“The last time Sam was in New York was two years ago and we had plans to spend time together but Tinu died and I saw Sam for a moment but then I had to go be with Lola in Minnesota,” I said.
“Tinu was the 15 year old?” my colleague asked.
“Yes…and now this makes sense. My throat closing in on itself. My stomach knotting and churning. My body remembered before it even registered with me. Tinu died two years ago,” I said.
My colleague sat in silence with me. Then she said, “Isn’t it interesting how our bodies work like that?”
“Yes,” I nodded.
But by that time I was somewhere else Tinu. And now that’s I’ve named this strange feeling which is embodied grief, I’m not interested in functioning and check list and meeting request and getting all these things done.
I’d like to crawl in my bed and cry.
I’d like to be with Lola.
I’d like to be strong.
I’d like to lash out.
I’d like to look at all your old photos.
I’d like to do away with civility.
I’d like to hold my family close to me.
I’d like to listen to my grief playlist.
I’d like to write a play.
Tinu, I wrote a play once about a young woman who took her life. How the fuck was I to know I’d one day know a little girl who’d go on to do the same thing?
What I’d really like is to unwrite all my plays. As if that would give me solace or change the world or bring you back or help the pain.
I’d like to say hello and goodbye to you.
I’d like so many things right now.
Two years ago feels like forever ago and it feels like RIGHT NOW. I’ve learn to move and heal with grief but even still two years later and my body is in pain. My heart remembers you even when my mind hasn’t registered it yet.
Tinu, sweet child, you are ALWAYS in my heart.
February 15, 1995 â€“ May 29, 2010