The Pastor said that my Aunt EB was the last to speak during the 'Reflections' part of my counsin Shalanda's funeral, this past Tuesday. A week ago today. At this point, I'd attempted to get up twice, to speak on behalf of the cousins, and really let out what had been on my heart. My Great-Aunt EB finished her story on how she was the designated person to break the news to my grandmother. EB finished, the Pastor went to take the podium... but Grandma (a woman I get much of my personality from) took the floor.
"I know the Pastor said EB was the last one to speak, but Grandma is here. I am in control," she said.
A collective 'Ok, here we go...' uttered from the lips, along with laughs in the family section. My Uncle Stevie and his 'Ok Ruth, I'm scared of you,' towards his mother is truly the hysterical subcontext that the Robinson/Brevard family is made of. My cousin Jewel, sitting side by side to me, saying that we were going to confuse people with how seamlessly the family section will go from crying hysterics to sheer laughter at our inside jokes.
Grandma finished, and I never did get the 3 minutes allocated to say what I'd intended...at least not during the services.
Two limos filled with family, leading from Collins Funeral Home, to the cemetary. The grandchildren packed into the second limo, myself included. The message I had was really intended for my younger cousins, as I'm the oldest.
"Well now that we're all in here, I want to tell you all what I wanted to say inside. Take the time to have an honest discourse with yourself, and figure out, what is your legacy? This is a one way ticket. What do you want to represent and leave behind for people to remember you by? You must take the time to do this, especially while you are young. It's so serious."
I think they heard me. I hope they heard me. Sister, and little cousins, all emotionally raw and all in the tightest bond we possible have ever had.
Fast forward to this past Sunday. It was the Tribe's 1st ever NYC BBQ at Riis Beach. Stunning day and amazing company. Yet, there was one conversation that brought me back to the conversation I had in the limo. High Council member, Macario and I found ourselves talking about the growth of the group, and our plans going into the end of 2012. Macario touched right on it.
"You know you've created something that is never going to stop. Ever! Ever. It will just keep growing."
Honestly, I try to keep moving, and rarely take moments to 'stop and think' about what's been created from a mere thought...the most important things we have are ideas. Coming off the previous week, I knew that I needed to listen, breathe in the beach and the sentiment. I reached the point of no return with Nomad.ness over six months ago. Approaching the Panama trip, I'd say is when if things were going to fall apart, they would have. But they didn't. And they won't. There will be adjustments, massive growth, and a ton of additions to what really makes up Nomad.ness, but it is my public legacy and I approach it as such. All the more poignant after witnessing my 24 year old cousin transition to the ther side.
Your giggle and smile (that made you look Chinese) Shalanda, will be missed. I love you sweetie. Please send all your strength to the family, but in particular your mother and Grandma. Watch over us all, and tell Rudi I said hello.
RIP Shalanda...love you