El Cerrito, CA
Unlike most of my extended family, I live alone by choice, childfree. Love my people AND need my space. After the ‘Rona hit, I figured I’d be safely sheltered, working from home in Northern California. Until my older sister, who lives with our recently widowed Daddy in San Diego, texted me from the hospital she’d entered for emergency gall bladder surgery. Because I had the least exposure to other humans, she designated me to stay with Daddy. During the eight-hour overnight drive, I got a call from one of her grown kids that 85-year-old Daddy had fallen overnight. Pedal to the metal. Got Daddy to the ER. Diagnosis: broken femur. The surgeries for him and my sister were successful. Now we’re working out a home care rotation among extended family for the next several weeks. Because that’s how our people do. If you’re Black, no amount of physical, social, or economic distance can shield you from family misfortune. Not writing this in bitterness but as an observation. It was ever thus in the way many white Americans will never understand. Even the superstars among us – Venus and Serena, Bill Cosby, Michael Jordan, Jennifer Hudson…have lost close relatives to violence. Every one of us with two paychecks to rub together has pitched in on tuition or co-signed on a college loan for a niece or nephew.