Saturday, November 30, 2013

No Goodbyes

Last night, grandma's Jesus swung down his sweet chariot and carried my uncle home. We watched it come down in a long night of vigil and a long day of sorrow, anguish, questions, acceptance and abundant, abundant love, surrendering him with family, hand-holding and hugging, song and prayer. 

He was a one-of-a-kind uncle, an achiever for whom becoming ivy-league educated Dr. Anthony Mbogho, an Art Historian and a teacher in the NY school system came through sheer drive, belief in his own abilities and a dedication to work and family. You did it all with no special privilege, just bare-knuckle struggle. The funniest stories about him as a child told by my aunt still play in my head like comedy reruns that never get unfunny. I'll tell them, by and by. 

Friends, I believe somehow we're all connected. So send a quiet thought/prayer to uphold his wife and children whose sorrow is beyond words, and all of his larger family. It's been a long hard fight against pancreatic cancer. Go on, Jombi. Paint the heavens. Michelangelo ain't got nothing on you. And teach Monet a thing or two (o, sure, your '03 exhibition, "After Monet" at Columbia would have him thinking twice about his style!). 

But of course, my best memory is you walking me down the isle. I best say goodbye or else I won't stop writing just to keep from crying.


For one living in a foreign country that I also call home, I testify to the power of community and to the truth of "utu" (in Kiswahili), or ubuntu; that milk of human kindness that still nourishes the collective African soul wherever it settles. In joy and in sorrow, I have been both a recipient and a giver of this milk, and I hope it never runs dry in our hearts. By far, giving is the sweetest.