2020 was a bit of a sickest for all of us. Specifically, towards the end, I felt like 2020 had my arm twisted behind my back and me pressed up against a wall. It kept saying things like, “I’m not done with you yet. I’m not done making you miserable.”
I lost a cousin. She killed herself and planned her own funeral. I lost a great aunt, who-after her sister died-just seemed to let go. She was always a spunky one-even spunky than her sister-the feisty one-but I will miss her anyway. She made a fool out of my ex husband, so she wins all the prizes.
Now, it’s 2021, which is saying to 2020-“Bitch, hold my beer.” I’m in the bed, weighing 20+ more pounds than I ever have in my life. I’m actually bigger than when I had all three of my kids. And I have a wipe off board where I wrote-for inspiration-“Good morning, Tracy! Are you still fat? Are you gonna workout for 10 minutes today?” It’s worked for me because of my family. My sister and I do a check in to make sure each is up and doing something-riding a stationary bike, yoga, walking…anything. My mom has joined us, so now, we have a little good morning group. I look forward to getting a text giving me a briefing on how we are working ourselves out…inching towards either death or smoking crack for some fast weight loss. (I kid. I don’t drink or do drugs. Not much of a party-er. I think I got it all out of my system when I was younger. I know I’m paying for it now.)
But none of this is the point. Let me shuffle on-I’m in the bed, listening to Dustin O’Halloran play “Opus 20” on the piano and my mind wonders. I’ve read some fellow horror writers works and I got to thinking, how would I want to be remembered? I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, actually. When things don’t go my way or I get so many rejection letters, I’m only human-I get a bit sad. Then, thinking about doing even more work becomes overwhelming-so somewhere, I’m a shivering mass of pudding watching something stupid on Netflix-I’m working on the overwhelming with my therapist. It’s a new thing for me.
It got me to thinking, how would I want to be remembered? What if I wrote my own obituary, posted it up and tried to live my life…a bit backwards. Look at all the things I’ve wanted to achieve and work now to get to that point. Octavia Butler did something similar but I’ll just link it. She wrote what she wanted to achieve, then she did it. Have a look at it here.
How would I want my obit to start? Something like this, maybe:
I told you bitches you would miss me when I’m gone. Now, who are you going to call up when you can’t remember that movie or that group that wrote that song that went…dah dah dee…I also told you that it would be a fun ride. Hopefully, it was and I hope to never come back. (A little Frida Kahlo there…)
Then, I can write about my kids-who would not be happy at being mentioned, so I’ll just give some initials and pretend: Tracy is survived by her children-a female head of a major accounting organization, international artist son, known for his strikingly beautiful portraits of people and places and her genetically enhanced daughter that works in a restaurant but should have been a singer.
Let’s add other family, maybe: Sister #2, World Renowned Poet Laureate, winner of so many poetry prizes they actually decided to name one after her instead and her husband, founder and main archivist of the Tribe Called Quest Museum-in his spare time-and serves as President of the Blah Department at the Rich School in DC. Sister #3, Advocate for Education, History and Gay Rights. Highly requested motivational speaker for all things minimalist and education of all races of children. (I’m sure I’ll have one of my two dorky sisters edit this) Her husband, world renowned chef who cooked for me three times in my life and I was impressed each time.
What kind of awesome aunt would I be if I didn’t mention my niece and nephews: the Engineer, the Builder and the Culture Icon? Oh they know which ones they are. I just enabled them by building on what I know and spending as much time with them as I could. Even if that means talking on the phone, FaceTime or Zoom or whatever the proper thing when I die.
Now, the good part-the books: Tracy has written some pretty fucking awesome books. Her first novel (and subsequent award winner) was about hoodoo and her family. She followed that up with two sequels-including a book of short stories inspired by hoodoo traditions. She also wrote the foreword for a book by a close friend-a fascinating science fiction series that is currently being made into a movie. Her other books include a short forray into four collected works and anthologies of a fusion of horror, science fiction and cyberpunk novels. Several of which have been adapted into comic books (by her dear friend A.F. and his company) and movies. She won some awards but she’d rather focus on things she did for other people. She helped found the “Nonprofit for Creative Writers Accountability”-which is run by a friend of hers-one of the original members of her Writers Accountability clique. She was a huge advocate and supporter of LGBTIQ+ rights, various Down syndrome World Organizations, Black Girls Against Bullies, Grants for Single Parent Artists of Color and several mental health organizations for teens who are unsure of their station in life, Homesteading for the Hood, Gardens in the City and Executive on the Board of Champions for Eczema. She attended all meetings and was an active participant until she passed in her bed, at home, in Washington, DC surrounded by her family and friends. And her two dogs-Boobs II and Tiki the 2nd. (Cute Jack Russell Terriers) Her children care for her gardens she planted around the city and behind her home.
In lieu of flowers, she wants you to donate to those charities or simply hug someone and tell them, “It’s going to be okay.” Her ashes were shared among her children and made into necklaces. She did request some of her ashes be combined and sprinkled with her parents-some place warm with fruit she was not allergic to.
Her tombstone reads-See y’all on the other side.
And that’s it. Now to print this out and get to working backwards on the shit that I should have done.