A Murder

My sister lives in Richmond. In 2003 according to  www.cityrating.com/crimestatistics.asp  there were 38 murders in the city of Richmond.  For Oakland there were 109 murders, for San Francisco there were 69, for Pleasant Hill there were 0 and for Tracy there were 2.  I realize that these are super old statistics; however for the benefit of this blog post I will just use them to illustrate a point.

Around 11 o’clock my phone rang 2 different times – each complete rings. I was downstairs and when I came up and looked at the phone, my first thought was I wonder what she wants and then my second thought was she never calls me this late, something must be wrong.  I called her back. She was crying, she was shaking, she was a mess! I went into calm mode and listened and spoke with love.  

My sister was doing laundry on Saturday night and she heard gunshots.  She said it was loud and she was afraid.  She ducked down in the laundry room, pulled another lady down who was doing laundry to the ground, and called 911. The agent instructed her to stay in the laundry room until the police arrived. She says she was shaking, she was frightened and she was praying.  When the police arrived, very shortly after the 911 call, they came and escorted her and the lady out of the laundry room and walked past the crime scene.  It was a young man in his early 20’s who had been shot while sitting in his car. My sister described it like it was in the movies, where the body is riddled with bullets and all of the windows of the car are broken and shattered.  This was in her apartment complex.  When she called me she was incoherent and could hardly breathe, the pain in her voice, the fear, the disbelief – all I could do was ask her to breathe and take her time.  She eventually was able to calm herself through my voice and her inner strength; the dialogue that she spoke to herself worked more than my words could ever have.

It got me to thinking about how casually murders are reported.  Close your eyes and remember the last time you heard the news. The teleprompter reader’s voice gets lower, a sadness comes over his or her face and they read that there was a murder at approximately such and such a time and the victim was in his early 20’s, late teens or mid-40’s, whatever the age, death is death.  The reader continues with an interview with the police officer on scene or a witness and then as quickly at this is out of their mouths; facial expressions change and the teleprompter reader now talks about the weather, the festival coming up, the latest happenings of Lindsay Lohan or Charlie Sheen and the death as well as the sad expression are gone. 

People are murdered in real life and in television shows and in video games all day and everyday.   We are so desensitized to it that we don’t even give it a passing ear, as we go about the business of taking care of our duties for the day as the tv blares in the background. Our subconscious picks it up and stores it somewhere and then our conscious mind has to leave it stored so that we can go on to more “important things”.  However, we do this as adults with the full knowledge that there has been a transition of sorts in our mind and in order to remain healthy we have to compartmentalize the pain and the drama or else we will just lose it.  We do this constantly as adults.  What must it be like to be a child who does not have the benefit of aged knowledge that murder really should be something to fear? My sister was traumatized by this incident.  All of the adults in her apartment complex that heard the shots and then saw the body were traumatized. She said because it happened late at night, the body was not removed until the morning.  The dead young man was out there all night and no one came to mourn for him. Oh my.  Where were all of his homies then? Where was his mom or dad? I don’t know, perhaps they came and were told to leave so as not to contaminate the crime scene.  I don’t know the answer to that one. What I do know is that my sister has been affected by this incident. I am sure she relives this incident and yet she knows that it has passed and it will soon get better for her. 

There is a phrase not in my backyard (nimby) which indicates as long as it is not in my backyard I don’t really have to care about it. Well times have changed. There are indeed towns where murder is not a factor and that is a good thing; however murder is always possible even in those cities that can rely on low statistics . One murder is one too many. Murder of our children is an abomination and one that our leaders who take away funding should realize is going to get worse. What is a child to do when there is nothing to do? Most children invent games; hide and go seek, four square, and hopscotch are games of the past, now our children keep their heads crooked and their fingers poised either on the controller or the cell phone or the Ipod or the gun or the drug or the knife, never looking up to see what the person who reads the weather teleprompter is saying and that is it is going to be a great day for going outside and enjoying the sun.  Oh to go back to the time of our youths when hide and go seek and coming home when the street lights came on were really all we worried about.  For my sister, this too shall pass.

Yolande Barial
Your Words Project: Speaking on Purpose

Seeks to Enrich the Lives of Women through Spoken and Written Word.
510-589-6445

http://www.yolandebarial.wordpress.com/

http://www.redroom.com/member/yolandebarial

ybarial@gmail.com

http://www.examiner.com/motherhood-in-stockton/yolande-barial

http://www.tracypress.com/view/full_story/11154526/article-Her-Voice–Children-are-a-parental-responsibility?

http://www.tracypress.com/view/full_story/12489710/article-Her-Voice–To-helmet-or-not-to-helment?instance=home_opinion_lead_story

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/tag/yolande-barial 

“Through her inspirational writings and spiritual poetry, Yolande Barial empowers women of all ages to be on purpose.”

Sunday – Japan

My favorite day has come and gone. On Friday I knew that on Sunday I would not be at service.  I was tired, my children were tired and my sweetie was tired. Waking up on this day listening to each other and listening to children and to TD Jakes as he blared out of the television, the morning began as all my Sun -days begin with a connection with God and His many blessings. 

In 2 minutes at approximately 2:46 pm, local time, and with a magnitude of 8.9 lives were changed. Japan will never be the same, the people will never be the same and the world as we know it will never be the same.  The earth literally stood still and waters overflowed. The power of water moved can lead to destruction. http://www.disasterfunding.org/DisasterFunding.org.html

As  I walk around my home, cooking breakfast, barking orders to children, laughing and loving; I find that this morning is no different from the morning that many had in Japan last Friday. Going about the business of living we just do things. We do not take the time to enjoy the doing, to give gratitude to those who we move through the universe with on a daily or even on a casual sometimey basis. Disasters that come unannounced do not allow for preparation. One must be prepared and ready before the unannounced arrives.  There is a sound like a freight train, like a big bang and there is movement and things falling and being off-balance and the feeling of fear – uncontrollable. The shaking stops and the movement has shifted the environment into upheaval.  What does one do when there is nothing that one can do?  We see images of teary eyed women and men, disbelief emanates from their eyes, empty children, seniors in shock, masked men and woman and children wandering aimlessly looking for connection. Every Sunday I am called inside to connect with those I love and those who love me. This Sunday added something else – a man to take care of me. Unbelievable. 

Japan serves as a reminder that worship and prayer and family and constant connection and communication with God are really all that there is to life. Being kind and ensuring that ones scroll is written where honor is spoken is what I strive for and what I know that my children, sweetie, divasisters, real friends and real family aim to achieve. As our earth moves underneath, may our resolve be to be better and do better, pray more, love often, dance always and giggle  – for life happens and shifts occur. My Sundays are always good days.

Yolande Barial
Your Words Project: Speaking on Purpose

Seeks to Enrich the Lives of Women through Spoken and Written Word.
510-589-6445

https://yolandebarial.wordpress.com/

http://www.redroom.com/member/yolandebarial

ybarial@gmail.com

http://www.tracypress.com/view/full_story/11154526/article-Her-Voice–Children-are-a-parental-responsibility?

http://lovemadeofheart.com/blog/tag/yolande-barial 

“Through her inspirational writings and spiritual poetry, Yolande Barial empowers women of all ages to be on purpose.”

Hair

My daughter told my sister that she wanted to wear her hair down.  In the black community what that means is that you do not have to wear your hair in plaits or braids but simply curled or straightened and hanging down around your neck.  This is a symbol that you are growing up and that you are becoming a big girl.  This is a symbol of some responsibility for the one who wants to wear their hair down and it is also a symbol that you are now going into another dimension of girl-ness.  It is a step up and it is one that is met with a lot of oohs and aahs by family members who see the hair hanging down for the first time.

My sister approached me about my daughters hushed wish to wear her hair down.  My daughter knew that if she asked her aunt, my sister, to ask me there was a better chance that it would happen.  Smart little girl.  I was of course none too happy.  The reason is simple. What wearing her hair down to me means that not only am I going to have more work to do to comb and style her hair;  this one simple act of  her hair hanging down straightened or curled, is an outward symbol that my little girl recognizes that she is becoming a bigger little girl and that means that things are getting ready to change around this here house.

My sister was excited.  She reminded me about when we were younger and how we were allowed to wear our hair down by our mother on special occasions.  My sister, my daughters aunt,  said that she would wash her hair, condition it, put her under the hair dryer, curl it and style it.  She was more excited than I was.  For my sister this was  an experience that she would give my daughter, her niece, that will be one of the firsts that she is sharing with her niece that has nothing to do with me. 

My daughter was beautiful on Christmas morning.  Her hair reminded me of Shirley Temples all curly and bouncy.  I loved Shirley Temple movies as a litle girl I watched every move a million times. My daughter loved her hair and my sister was elated.  The first 9 years of my daughters life are behind her – and me.  Thanks my sister for the beginning of things to come.

Yolande Barial
Your Words Project: Speaking on Purpose

Seeks to Enrich the Lives of Women through Spoken and Written Word.
510-589-6445

https://yolandebarial.wordpress.com/

http://www.redroom.com/member/yolandebarial

ybarial@gmail.com

“Through her inspirational writings and spiritual poetry, Yolande Barial empowers women of all ages to be on purpose.”