Happy Birthday Tinuola Olateju

Tinu was supposed to turn 18 years old today. Honestly, I’m at a loss for words. I want to be inspirational and talk about healing and hope. I want to focus on her life. She played basketball and soccer and the violin and she got to travel to Greece and she was so beautiful. I want to celebrate her life. I want to say I’m grateful that we got 15 years with her. That her memory lives on. That no matter what this precious child will NEVER be forgotten. She stays etched in my heart. Her memories are seeped in the scars that have formed where once I was broken. I want to be positive and uplifting. It’s Tinu’s 18th birthday today.

But Tinu died. She died almost three years ago and I’m no closer to understanding it. I still cry for her. I still cry for my best friend Lola. Her little sister died. Bianca, my sister turns 19 this year. It doesn’t seem fair. That the world experiences joy and sorrow at the same time. That today I can think of both things.

Again, I’m telling myself that i should be focusing on Tinu’s life. This is Tinu’s day. This is TINU’s day. Tinu is always. She’s gone in a way that we physically knew her but her energy lives on. Tinu is always.

I’m having a hard time finding comfort and solace in that. And I don’t want to let Lola down. I want to write something so inspiring and motivational and so true and full of joy but LOLA, I feel so sad. I don’t want to do anything today. I want to be with you. I want to hug you and sit with you and tell you over and over again that I love you.

I feel false to. Someone so dear to me, my heart, one of my deepest loves is going through such a tough time right now. Their struggles frightens me. I’m scared of losing them. I’ve lost sleep these last few weeks. I’ve taken to nightmares again. Weeping again. I feel weak and exposed and raw and vulnerable and helpless. I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. I am Sheena in retrograde. Am I regressing?

This wasn’t supposed to be the way I wrote Tinu’s post.

Maybe tomorrow I can write a poem?

You need to know this. That person beside you or in front of you or getting on the bus behind you…. or that person that cut you off in traffic and that asshole at work or that little girl in the neighborhood who always wears polka dots. They are people. Living, breathing, blood spilling people who are tender and sacred and important. And we are to LOVE. We must love or die. And even if we love with everything, some things we just can’t help.

And that’s what hurts the most. That we all loved Tinu and still. Tinu’s not here for her birthday. I have to come to accept that. I have to honestly come to accept that. I can acknowledge it but I haven’t taken it in. I am heart broken.

OKAY. As I’ve been wallowing, a wise man just wrote me and said, “celebrate her life, don’t mourn her death.” UGH. Sometimes its so hard.

I also just read something I knew I’d need to reference on days like this. Please read A Letter to The Living, Whenever You Miss Tinu. That just helped me a bit as well. Okay, and I just had a reality check by reading what I wrote Tinu for her 16th birthday.

I don’t know. I don’t know what to say.

Today is for every little girl.

Today is for every person hurting. There is hope.

Today is for every Tinu.

It’s for every 18 year old.

Its for innocence and love.

That’s what I wish for you.

Healing. Hope. Purity. Love.

I wish this all in honor of Tinu.

 

Tinuola Olateju

My Words Through Grief

February 15, 1995 – May 29, 2010

A Poem

I wonder where do the lost children go?

Who holds them and assures them at night?

Where do they find their hope?

Who sings their lullaby?

Where do the lost children go?

written for Tinu

 

 

 

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Comments
  • Sunflowergurl
    Reply

    Sheena,

    I also feel your pain, our family lost a loved one 4 years ago and it still hurts so bad. I found that this blessing helps me during the trying times…I hope it helps you too:

    May you have the strength
    Of eagles’ wings,
    The faith and courage to
    Fly to new heights,
    And the wisdom
    Of the universe
    To carry you there.
    ~Native American Blessing

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