There’s always a moment in television where it can take you back to THAT place. I recently watched OWN’s Queen Sugar, "a contemporary drama set in Louisiana which chronicles the lives and loves of the estranged Bordelon siblings." In Episode 14 of Season 2, Aunt Violet (played Tina Lifford) prays to God to take back all of the negativity in the home, including her Lupus diagnosis. I remember the day my husband was diagnosed with Lupus – we didn’t know what it was back in the late 90’s and we were both uncertain of what to do next. Our doctor, a woman of color, noticed that it was more than just ‘ringworm’ as we were told before by previous doctors. She took a biopsy, and the results devastated us. I will never forget that moment. My boys were young, and I knew they needed their daddy, a strong black man.
I went to God that day in prayer on the bedroom floor and replicated a portion of Aunt Violet's prayer, “...take it back, Lord or give it to me. Please God, hear my prayer.” I’ve had so many run-ins with brush-offs when it came to finding the right medical doctor. My young boys had asthma, and they always seemed to be ‘brushed off’ when obtaining care. What do I mean by this?
-Our doctor visits were swift.
-The diagnosis was hasty.
-The prognosis was relayed with no emotion.
My husband died of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and at the same time, his lupus was in full throttle. The doctors didn’t know how to treat him; he had a combination of the two diseases. By the time they presented his case to a special team of experts, he died. I'll never forget opening his mail after his death reading letter after letter from the hospital and the doctor's office informing me of the amount owed. It was nothing but bills! However, one letter caught my eye. It was supposed to be good news, but for me, it wasn't. He had been scheduled for an appointment to begin the assessment. I was enraged.
“He’s dead! Why the hell am I getting this? Don't they know? Shouldn’t they have this in his file?” So, when I saw this scene come across the television, everything came back full throttle, emotions and all. There’s nothing worse than having another ‘grief alarm' set off a tidal wave of emotions out of nowhere. I’m in a better place today, and I’m moving on. It’s been five years and can you believe I’m just now letting go - of people, places, and things? I’ve decided to create a new space, new time, new season …full throttle, not forgetting but taking back what is rightfully mine – my mental health and my sanity.