A Post for My Sister, Nefeterius Akeli McPherson

I've been off my blogging game for awhile, but that's for good reason.
As many of you who'll read this know, my big sister passed away from cancer on March 19th.
I'm doing alright, and am so very thankful for the prayers, love & support that's come my way.
It's all been so needed.

Anyhoo, I've widdled down the lessons at work considerably recently.
One important lesson I learned over the course of losing Nappy (my sister) is that it's important to do what you want to do and only what you truly have to do.

For me, creating--the entire creative process--is vital.
I've worked through my sister's death and continue to do so by channeling what would otherwise be overwhelming grief into something manageable and beautiful-art.

I'm no painter, but I am an artist.
My preferred medium is language.
I write good books.
I wrote one for my sister on the 26th.

It's interesting and not at all surprising to me that one of the first people I needed, not wanted, needed to read the book I wrote for my sister is 8 years old. I've been her teacher since she was around 5. We have a connection and are kindred spirits. Her opinion, her true opinion, matters to me.

It is at this point that I will give what I believe is both a shameless plug for my school as well as the absolute truth. This is more than just a job or a career for me. Teaching, I believe, is one of my gifts and a calling. You just can't teach everyone all the time, and with what's happened to my family and me recently I certainly have so much to learn. Rebecca, as I call this 8 year old whom I love dearly...Rebecca. It would be a gift and an honor to teach her for as long as she wants to be taught, one-on-one, like we do now. Because it's such a beautiful and sincere place, where we go when it's just the two of us and we have our poems and our thoughts and our book and our agenda and there's this...exchange. This exchange that only happens when two people are on the same plane and level and are both there to teach and learn. But I can't teach her forever, at least not in the way I do now, which has her mom panicky and has me pensive.

Maybe that's why I write. And read. So much.

Three important quotes from the lesson that moved me in unspeakable ways...
-After Rebecca read that my sister had been to Brazil she pouted and folded her arms.
"I want to go to Brazil!" she shrieked.
"You just say it then. You just say it and want it bad enough and you can. You will." I said.
"No you don't understand," she continued, "I won't ever go to Brazil with your sister."

-Rebecca stared at a picture of my sister winning a beauty pageant around age 8 or 9, around her age, and she couldn't quite grasp the concept of a pageant.
"Well," I began hesitantly, "it's a competition based on looks mostly. They throw some talent in there for good measure, but it's mostly about the looks."
She got quiet.
I continued, "I don't really agree with them, but I'm happy she liked to do these and that she was happy when she won."
"But why would someone want to compete for something like that?" she asked.
I answered in my honest opinion, "Some people like the attention, and that's ok."
"Like Livia," she began, who is her extroverted little sister.
I smiled and nodded. "Yup. Everybody's different. Everyone has their gifts, and that's ok."

-When we finished the story, she stared at me and whispered, "Very nice." Twice.
And I told her, "I love to write. Just like you."

And then we painted.

Well, I should say she painted. We normally paint together. I wanted to make a memory box. Rebecca saw an opportunity to make a bank.
So I sat there and watched her paint, and pondered the importance of perspective.
And memory banks.
And the art that Nappy inspires.


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  2. Your writing and stories run so smooth that when they are over I feel like I wake up off a placid and meaningful dream. Love you Tam.