Aunt Phyll passed away June 15 this year. She was living in a retirement home. She was to be 97 years in 2 months. Aunt Phyll didn’t have children of her own, and at the age of 97, she didn’t have peers in this life to gather and mourn her passing. She had relatives though, scattered across the world and a few right here in Jamaica. So at the behest of the family matriarch residing here in Jamaica, we gathered last week Saturday to celebrate and honour Aunt Phyll’s life. A grand total of four of us assembled, masks on, six feet apart to speak about Aunt Phyll and mark her passing with respect. And it got me thinking…Continue reading Of death, Life, growing old and Family: Reflections on Aunt Phyll
It continues to be a rough time for me…emotions swinging every which way. Sometimes things happen that will do that to you. That’s called Life. And in the middle of living, stuff happens. In the last week, two icons passed away, and their deaths gave me pause: Jamaican journalist Wilmot ‘Motty’ Perkins and World Super Singer, Whitney Houston.
|Wilmot ‘Motty’ Perkins|
Motty had an incredible mind. He never went to University, but I’ve never known a topic that he couldn’t speak about with some amount of authority. But on top of his incredible knowledge, Motty possessed an
extremely analytical mind. Knowledge plus powers of reasoning an deduction make for a very interesting individual and an asset to any society. I used to listen to Motty religiously up until about 3 years ago. So if he was so phenomenal, why did I stop? Simple. Motty appeared to me to be an angry person. He was most times correct in his analysis, but I could sense venom and bitterness whenever certain topics were broached. Three years ago I separated from my then husband. There was enough anger and bitterness to go around in my life at the time and I became extremely selective about what I allowed to enter my mind and my space. So I simply turned off Motty. I hate nonconstructive anger…you know…that kind of anger that just goes on and on without creating any kind of change. Listen, I am sure that when you check it out, most anger that we feel or that others around us feel can be justified. But when we stop at simply feeling anger and never move on, and when we make decisions borne out of that anger then it gets dangerous. Unchecked anger will most certainly result in physical illnesses, alienation of those we hold near and dear, compromised decision making and a very unhappy existence. I still struggle with personal anger. I can justify why I feel angry. But I make every effort to be honest with myself in analysing the root cause of my anger, managing my thoughts and in so doing, controlling my emotions. I have had to learn to forgive and I also acknowledge that this is a process, so change is not often overnight. As long as we are honest and aware of unproductive emotions and doing the right things (managing thought especially!) in dealing with the so-called negatives in out lives, let it go. The feelings will eventually fall into place.
Then Whitney died. So very sad. She had such a tremendous talent. Every single time that I look at the video of her singing the American National Anthem at an NFL match in 1991, I am blown away. Hers is the face of a Champion who knows that she is kicking butt. She is totally in control, totally enjoying the moment doing exactly what she was born on this earth to do and she knows that she is in that zone where a better performance is impossible. It does not get much better than that for us Humans!
There was a time when I felt that a little heartbreak would have added dimension to an already fantastic range. Alas..we speak so casually of heartbreak…as if recovery is automatic. Bobby Brown was, well…Bobby Brown. I don’t think he forced Whitney to love him. I don’t think he forced her to do any of the things she got up to with him. Yes, we can speak about “undue influence”, but at the end of the day, the choice is always ours. She was a humongous talent whose humanity was all too evident for us to see. Whitney Houston remains undiminished in my eyes.
Let’s be cognizant of the choices we make and the possible repercussions, especially as it relates to those near and dear to us. Let’s also consciously manage our thoughts and eschew anger. It makes for happier living.