I remember the space shuttle challenger disaster. I couldn't forget because it was the day after my great grandmother's passing. I was in fifth grade and the news kept showing it going up and exploding right before my eyes. There was a school teacher onboard and an African American astronaut named Ronald McNair. JET magazine featured an article on the family and I recalled the caption reading, "Disaster while touching the face of God." He left behind a wife and two little children. Subsequently, the death of my great grandmother shifted the family dynamics. "Mama" as we affectionately called her was the glue that held everyone together. When she died the family seemed to scatter apart, like pieces of a puzzle. My great grandfather grieved himself to death. He died the following year on the same day.
There are other events that I recall vividly like the death of JFK, Jr. My mom and I were sitting at a hotel in San Francisco and although it was in the middle of July, the temperature outside was cold enough to dun a wool coat. When the tragic events of September 11 occurred, my plane had just landed in Houston from Cancun, Mexico. The Captain called us via interphone to tell us that a plane had flown into the Twin towers and another plan had flown into the Pentagon. When I arrived inside our crew room, all eyes were glued to the television screen and there was a hush inside the room and looks of sheer horror on the faces of the some of the flight attendants. I remember driving home and hearing it on every station on the radio. I remember seeing it on every channel on tv. That event changed the scope of everything. The America as we once knew was heading in a different direction.
The election of the first black president was something I thought I'd never see in my lifetime. But on the night of Nov. 4, 2008, my husband, my 6 month-old daughter and I watched a new chapter in history unfold. The excitement, the euphoria, the adulation, the mania. I didn't shed a tear but I felt vindicated for once and I realized that through God all things are possible.
I was combing my daughter's hair when I received this blow to the gut, "Michael Jackson has just been rushed to UCLA medical center after suffering a cardiac arrest." When I heard the words, "cardiac arrest," I immediately thought of my 16 year-old cousin taking his last breath. The doctor wrote cause of death, "cardiac arrest," which meant his heart stopped beating. I admit, I cried and my 13 month old daughter cried, mainly because I was crying. I felt hurt, like Michael never got the chance to redeem himself and prove to the world that he was not the "Jacko" they made him out to be.
All of the events run rampant through my mind and they all played a part in shaping me creatively. I am more determined to get out and complete the task I've been designed to complete. Tomorrow isn't promised. My time under God is now.