By now, you’ve all probably heard about Don Cornelius. Many people received the news with sadness as they reminisced on Saturday mornings spent in front of the TV. When I got the news, my whole morning seemed to pause.
Yes, I too remember Soul Train being a staple in my regular Saturday routine. I even fondly remember the enthusiasm shared with my best friend and fellow “followers” when B2K graced the infamous stage. But my sadness had nothing to do with that.
For me Don Cornelius’ death brought back memories of another death that was painstakingly hard to hear. That of my godbrother. News stations are reporting that it was a suicide-he shot himself in the head. (Visit http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/obit/story/2012-02-01/don-cornelius-soul-train-dies/52913978/1 for the full story.)
In April, it will be two years since my godbrother killed himself the exact same way. I’ll never forget when I heard the news. I’ll never forget how it changed my entire day, weekend, life. It creates a different kind of sadness.
His death wasn’t my first encounter with suicide and it wasn’t my last, but it’s the one that made it personal. When I was a freshman at BU, my granny died. A month later, her best friend shot herself because she couldn’t stand the thought of being alone. About 6 months later, my boyfriend at the time lost his best friend to suicide. He hung himself for reasons I never found out. Over the years, I watched how it broke him down. The word suicide was taboo in our conversations. Then one night he threatened to kill himself cuz we broke up. It took almost two hours and a sobbing convo with his dad to get in touch with him. The fear that kinda threat creates is beyond words. It’s surreal. The next time I’d feel that type of fear would be summer 2011, when I was good and pregnant. My best friend in Philly sent me a series of “I’m ending it” texts before he stopped responding. It took 90 minutes of runaround before I was able to get police to go to his house. Apparently 911 only works if you’re in the physical location of the emergency. My heart stopped during that whole ordeal. I was NOT ready to deal with another suicide so closely.
I’m still not. I don’t know what to do if someone says they’re thinking about it. I’ve been thru suicide prevention courses. I even sought therapy for a while after my godbrother died. The only thing I found was that I’m helpless. If someone has their mind made up, they’re gonna go thru with it. But I made the decision that I would always let my loved ones know they matter to me and I’m there for them. It’s the best I can do.
And tonight, I’m going to hug Temi extra tight because one day she may find herself in the same situation as Don Cornelius, my godbrother, my best friend and countless others. In those moments, if she’s thinking no one cares or she doesn’t matter, I want her to be able to remember my hugs and kisses. I want her to know Mommy cares.
I pray Don’s soul finds the peace he couldn’t find on Earth.
This video clip is one of my faves and the first thing that comes to mind when I think of Soul Train.
Love. Peace. And SOOOOOOUUUUUULLLLLL!!!!!