My Mama called my phone today to check up on me.
I told her that I was fine and working on some projects.
“Oh, a friend of yours died today,” she said casually.
“Huh? What do you mean?”
“I spoke to your Baby Daddy today and I asked him how he was doing and he said he was a little down because he found out his good friend died in a car accident this morning.”
“Who was it?” I ask nervously.
“A girl you went to school with. A Cuban girl named Lissette.”
“No. Not Lissette.”
“Yeah. He said ya’ll were in the same college and you knew her.”
“She was a twin, Mama. She had a 5 year old son, Mama.”
“Yeah. He said all of that too. The little boy was in the car with her and she had a head on collision this morning. He survived, but she didn’t.”
“Well, Ima let you call your Baby Daddy and talk to him.”
I hung up the phone and called him, still in shock. Usually when he sees my number, he just gives the phone to one of my boys but this time he answered and I told him what my Mama said.
“Yeah,” he confirmed. “It’s Lissette.” He was very close friends with both she and her twin sister. I only know her because of him but I grew to like her as I got to know her better.
“Check the website: www.nbc.net The story is there. Earl called me and told me that he was watching the news and he saw it.”
After I told him that I was sorry we hung up and I went to visit the site. Her picture stared back at me. Her smiling face just as bright as she always was. You see things like this all the time. I remember watching the news with Dude when I was in Miami and him saying, “The news answers one question, ‘Who died today and in what crazy way?'”
I laughed because he was right.
But today the news report didn’t bring a tragedy that made me shake my head and turn the channel. This tragedy hit home.
Here was a young professional just like I was. She was a journalism teacher too. In fact, when I was invited to speak at that Journalism conference a couple of years ago, she was the one who set that up.
Her death, coupled with the shocking news of the death of Bebe Moore Campbell has forced me to confront the reality of my own mortality. Last week I was in a car accident myself. Everyday I go flying down 285 doing 80 easily on sharp turns, feeling like I’m invincible.
But I’m not.
What if something happens to me? What if I don’t die and I get paralyzed or something like that? Who will they ship me off to? I have no one to take care of me. I have no partner who will love me regardless and nurse me back to health, mentally and physically. I am not a part of anyone’s household.
If I died today, no one will miss me being by their side. I feel like a leaf floating in the wind, hoping for a chance to be a part of something and maybe come to life again.
I’ve never been afraid of death. Death is guaranteed peace. I guess I just want my life to mean something to someone. I don’t want to have cried, laughed and worked for so many years and then I’m gone and my presence had no affect on this earth.
I prayed and asked God for more time with good health. Please give me more time to fulfill my dreams so that my boys will know that Mommy wasn’t all talk when she took them to the bookstore and told them that one day Mommy’s name and picture will be on books on those same shelves. Mommy wasn’t lieing when she said they will turn on the TV and see Mommy’s smiling face one day. Mommy wasn’t dreaming when she said that one day she would buy a big house and we would have people to come clean and cook for us. Mommy claimed it all.
But Mommy doesn’t have any of that yet.
God, please help me to show my sons that dreams come true. Allow me to live long enough for them to run into my arms and hug me tightly, coming home to Mommy, happy and proud that Mommy worked hard and did what she said she was going to do.
May God give strength to Lissette’s husband Ed, her son Kaleb, her twin sister Yvette and the countless other friends and students who were blessed by her smile, her giving nature and her fire for life.