Tag Archive | death

June is Black Music Month

Every June we turn the spotlight on black music and black musicians in observance of Black Music Month. This June it’s especially meaningful to recognize the contributions that African-Americans have made to the music world. Why? Because of the recent death of Prince and the great legacy he left for us. It’s reported that Prince left scores and scores of unpublished music that his estate will have to sort through and release at will. This in addition to the extensive treasury of songs and films he’s already shared with the world.

Where were you when you heard of Prince’s death? I was in a writing class and the instructor had just given us a writing prompt. The room was silent except for the scratch of pens on paper. Heads were bowed and foreheads crinkled in concentration when the instructor, a noted journalist and HUGE Prince fan read a text about Prince’s death. She cried out and that was the end of class and the end of a great musician. This happened on a Thursday.

Prince’s death took me back to another Thursday when I learned of Michael Jackson’s death in June 2009. That was another shocking newscast that immobilized me for hours. I remember friends and relatives calling but I don’t remember what we talked about. Which was the same with Whitney Houston’s death in February 2012. Her death was the hardest hitting of the three because she was my favorite. I loved to see her perform. She was so passionate and sincere. Her voice, her style, her presence, her smile…all amazing!

But let me get out of my heart for a moment and into my head. I have a dear friend who is a numerologist. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you already know about Cindy. Cindy has studied numbers, patterns and the spiritual significance of such for the past thirty years, and is quite the expert. I, on the other hand, have a very rudimentary knowledge of numerology but let me share a little bit of what came to me as I pondered the deaths of Prince, Michael and Whitney (for how could one not think of them collectively?).

Michael died first in 2009. Three years later, Whitney died. The number of years between the deaths of Michael and Prince was seven. In the spirit realm, the numbers three and seven both represent completeness. Cycles completing (God created the heavens and earth in seven days); the beginning and the end connecting (Father, Son and Holy Spirit); closing one door, opening a new one (the seven year itch). So we have three mega talents dying within a seven year period. What that tells me is we’ve completed a cycle. Again, I’m not the expert but I’m pretty sure Cindy and other numerologists figured this out and saw it coming after Whitney’s death. They may not have known the “who” but surely the “what” (an iconic death) and “when” (the year) and were therefore less shocked than the rest of us.

So now I’m back in my heart and thinking I need to end this with how I started—a focus on Black Music Month and Prince. Below is a link to one of my favorite Prince songs. I present it, along with my loving thanks to Michael, Whitney and Prince for so many hours of pleasure, in honor of Black Music Month.

When Doves Cry

And to all black singers, musicians, songwriters, producers, composers, and engineers…thank you! A million times THANK YOU!!

A Librarian’s Tribute

Lori Kirtley Wilson

A few days ago, I learned that my high school librarian, Lori Kirtley-Wilson passed away (pictured above).

A few days ago, I learned more about her than I had learned during the three years I walked the halls of my high school.

In high school, I knew her as a caring, dedicated, gentle adult who enjoyed working with the school’s drill team. She spent as much time preparing those of us on the drill team to be ladies as she did leading us through practices, selecting uniforms, and coordinating appearances/trips. I can still hear her saying, “Ladies, never forget, you are the epitome of womanhood.” During the summer, it was nothing to see her driving around a car full of squiggly, giggly, nerve-racking girls, and always with a smile.

A few days ago after reading her obituary, I learned that Mrs. Kirtley-Wilson had written a book on dreams and angels. I learned she had been a Queen of the Red Hat Society. I learned that she was active in church and community.

Surprised by all the new things I learned about Mrs. Kirtley-Wilson I felt sadness that I had not taken the time when in her presence to learn the woman who wore the title of librarian and drill team sponsor. It made me wonder how many other people I interface with and yet take for granted. How many other people have I not fully connected with because I haven’t explored the person behind the title?

I don’t want to learn about the lovely aspects of a person or their personal achievements from an obituary. I don’t want to make that mistake again. So today and for as long as I breathe, I commit to look beyond the title of librarian, teacher, mechanic, president, letter carrier, bully, teller, parent, etc. to see the real person inside. It might not be a successful look-see. Then, again, it might. My intention might be misunderstood or met with resistance. Then, again, it might not. But the least I can do is try. The least I can do is venture forth and try to make a human-to-human connection. This much I owe to Mrs. Kirtley-Wilson. This much I owe to myself.

Mrs. Kirtley-Wilson, I am sorry I am just now learning of your full greatness, but I thank you that even in death, you are still pushing me to be the best I can be. Have fun in heaven. I’ll see you there one day, and I promise when I get there, we’ll laugh about those special drill team days and have great conversations about books.

My love and thanks to other librarians who I have connected with in small and great ways:
Laverne Brown, Dallas Public Library
Victor Kralisz, retired, Dallas Public Library
Karen Beckett, Irving Public Library
Janet Vance, Richardson Public Library