Eulogy for Americans by Lennée Reid

General Eulogy for Americans

Rest in peace Grandma, Great Gramma, Gi Gi, Nana, Memaw, Abuelita, Nona and Oma. The ones who told stories and baked bread, the ones who couldn’t read or cook, the ones whose hugs were the best and the grumpy old ladies. To the ones who took the recipe and every family secret to the grave. To the nurses and teachers we never got to say goodbye to. Go well into the good night. 

Rise in power Grandpa, Great Grandpa, Papa, Pops, Abuelo, Opa, Old Man. The ones who led their families with honor and the ones who just couldn’t. The war heroes and the first responders. To the ones who built with their hands and the ones who mostly broke things. To the ones with the best voice, who beat their drum and sang their culture. To the ones who never passed down their secrets or talked about the war. To our protectors and friends may your work be done.

Be at one with the moon auntie, tia, sister, friend, the quiet one who made the best potato salad, the loud one who danced the best, the one with the best style and makeup but was always humble about it, the TV star, the one you could always trust, or could trust to never trust, the troublemakers, the wine drinkers, teetotalers, the spinsters and gardeners. The ones who couldn’t quit to save their life. The one who could recite the entire family history, and had the books, but no one really cared. So many missing and murdered indigenous women. For every one who never made it home from their walk. Be free now. Dance forever to the beat of your heart.

Fly to Mars be free uncle, tio, brother, friend, the one who taught you everything you needed to know and couple things you didn’t. The ones who worked their buts off. Who were a good example or who were a good example of a bad example. The ones who taught you how to fight, but never to fight. The ones who could build or fix anything, but were always humble about it. To the exes we will never forget. To the ones who died locked up for nothing. To the uncle who was murdered fighting against street violence.  And especially the ones who fixed your car for free, man do we miss you. You were one in a million. 

Go to the stars cousin, children, babies, the bubbly ones who barely got a start, the one you played tag with at the reunion, the one who loved to dress up, the ones with a light in their eyes, the good kids and the ones who just wouldn’t listen. To their future never lived. The one that played the flute. The poets and the base players. The ones that never shut up about Xbox, PS5, pokemon, yu-gi-oh, my little pony, art, science, wonder. Roam free and dance like the lights in the sky. I hope you can still be anything one day. I believe you may come back again for even more life. 

Rest easy forgotten ones, homeless, nameless, lost, abandoned, sick americans. The ones who never saw it coming. Who fought a good fight. Be warm and loved by the land that was never there for you. Yet the earth was always free and there for you. Be held in the embrace of mother earth. You’re home now.

Bow your head America. The place of the civil rights era, desegregation, equality, democracy. Mourn in shame your behavior of backsliding, hate, racism, discrimination and carelessness. Know when you are wrong and when you lose. Know all racism is for losers.  Have compassion and understanding for your fellow human beings. Be ashamed anyone would ever think we all don’t deserve healthcare. We should be proud we are able to house feed and care for our people, and until we do, until we choose people over profit and war, we should mourn that we don’t. Mourn the laughingstock America has become to the whole world. See it and change it so we can mourn our past with shame and class…. Like Germany. 

Mourn our losses. The senior years and college graduations, the weddings, the funerals, the goodbyes that couldn’t happen, the businesses, sports, jobs, homes, stability, peace, savings, plans, plans, plans. Hope. Always hope.

Feel the pain. Remember the smell of grandma’s cookies, of grandpa’s workshop, of your uncle’s cigar he swore he never inhaled. Feel the wind on your face as your uncle swung you in the air. Taste the lipgloss you borrowed from your cousin. Remember the beautiful sunsets you watched with your sweetheart. Those cool hairstyles only your aunt could do. Hear the songs sung only your family seems to know.

Remember the holidays, the barbeques…. the fights at the holidays and barbecues. Remember the pow wows, quinceaneras, bar mitzvahs, baby showers, concerts, festivals, baptisms and bonfires. Remember that time when.. shhhh. Hold that secret and the handshake close to your heart. That’s just for family.

Whomever and whatever you have is precious. People, time, places, events, home, opportunities, potential do what you can. You can always do something. Even if it is just showering and walking around the block. It is always beautiful outside. Okay. Almost. 

Remember the west coast burned. Do not forget the fires are still burning in California. Remember all that has been lost. Know the fires will return. Be resolved with rebuilding better and stronger. Prepare to continue to support your fellow man. Be thankful if you can. 

Before this started, as it happens, and in the days to come there are and will be disasters, hurricanes, floods, fires, earthquakes, famine and always we will pull through and persevere. We already live in space, what’s a little pandemic and climate change? 

There is always hope. We must mourn together yet apart for a while. Do not ignore or deny it for that will make you sicker. Accept the loss. Wear a mask. We will persevere to a new day. We will heal and grow eventually. As a country, as families, individuals, communities. Just not today, or this year, maybe not even the next. But maybe yeah today we can be a nation in mourning, honor this time of loss, grow as a people experiencing the same thing. We must always be grateful for what we have and look ever towards the future. For the healing and processing of all this grief. 

To the hope of a better nation.

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By Guest Contributor

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