A couple of years ago I unexpectedly lost a good friend, someone I had known since I was a teenager. My daughter sent me a text early one morning to break the bad news before someone else got to me. Needless to say, I was in utter disbelief. I struggled to make sense out of it, cried and eventually, I was simply overwhelmed with sadness, especially for her children and all that they had lost.
Jennifer was my battle buddy for all intents and purposes. We were involved in a social battle that united us early on in life, as we were among the only people in our area involved in this particular battle. Jennifer and I were both white females in the south who built multiracial families. We shared more than simply our involvement in this social battle; we shared overlapping social experiences and daily norms. We also shared the way we chose to approach the the hurdles put before us.
I enjoyed knowing that Jennifer was here on Earth with me in this particular space and time. In fact, I used to refer to her as the other me in the world. I could talk to her and she understood my point of view because she had also lived through similar circumstances that many other people may be removed from in such a way that they can only sympathize; Jennifer could empathize.
Jennifer, quite frankly, was beautiful, smart, kind, confident, and a fully committed mother to her two children. She had her own style, a flare that she could care less whether it was embraced or not by others-part of her confidence. She never tried to be something that she wasn’t; She was comfortable in her own skin.
I never saw her when she didn’t immediately yell out upon seeing me “Hey girl!” And she was always interested in an update on my children. My favorite memory of Jennifer is of her wearing her hair in a loose bun atop her head and a humongous pair of sunglasses that covered a large portion of her face, smiling ear to ear. After she died, I started to wear my own big sunglasses in honor of her. They must look pretty bad on me because people comment on them a lot, but I don’t care. I simply say in response, “That’s okay; I’m wearing these for Jennifer.”
Jennifer in her own way changed the world we live in today. She took some knocks, rejection, more than a handful of set backs and kept right on going, as confident as ever. Marriage is not on the surface a political act, but it does have political consequences, whether those be positive or negative. Jennifer lived her life IN her beliefs about diversity.
Today Jennifer has two young adult children. Her daughter is now joining me in wearing humongous sunglasses in honor of her mom. We would like you all to share this post, and if you like, add on to it your own picture of you in a pair of your own humongous sunglasses.