FAMILY RANT. (15,000 mile in 3 weeks!)
By Khalil Amani
I just need to address a familial shit-uation, so indulge me please? If you ain't family it's just gonna be some good reading. Might even make you feel better about your OWN shit-uation. LOL.
I once traveled 15,000 miles in 3 weeks all for family. Let me explain.
I’m so glad I’m a writer because I can set the record straight in print when people try to cast aspersions on my character. Such is the case with my baby sister, who seems to have grown up and become a bitter old nag. This blog is straight to YOU, no chaser and no subliminals. Oh! Did y'all think I was gonna let this shit slide? I ain't built like nobody in my family!
My sister (April Michelle Clark) recently went on a Facebook rant when she heard that our dear uncle Joe had passed away. He lived with my wife and I (as many of you know). Who knew she had beef with a man she had only met briefly in 1972ish when he stayed with us for a few months. I was around 12 so she was around 6, being six years younger than I.
What was her beef with our dearly departed uncle? Uncle Joe had not attended our mother’s funeral in 1979, so “fuck him” became her mantra. Adding insult unto injury, she had/has a beef with me that has been festering in her soul since the death of her son (2010) because I was unable to attend his funeral.
Oh she was in rare form upon the death of our uncle, shamelessly and unabashedly dissing him with reckless abandonment! I could not see her posts directly, because a couple of years ago she up and blocked me on Facebook. WHY? We had no words! She just blocked me. I think it had something to do with the Supreme Court allowing gays to marry. I was posting its approval and she was posting her disapproval, but we never commented on each others posts. Not one word! Her last post was something like, “I’m about to block your ass!” A few hours later I realized she was talking about me! Side-eye. Again, there was no argument, just a difference of opinions and that irked her so-much-so that she blocked my ass!
Can somebody tell her uninformed ass that I've been an advocate for gay rights since 2007, even writing a book about gay rappers and their struggle to be heard in mainstream? Damn right I approved the higher court's decision to allow gay folk to marry! She got all in her feelings with her homophobic, religiously ignorant self!
So here we are. Mad at me over the Supreme Court ruling and mad at uncle Joe for not being at our mother’s funeral. Pettiness personified!
Yes! She was real comfortable dissing uncle Joe and not one person in my family checked her. No one wanted to confront her. No one wanted to get involved. It was “My name is Bennett and I ain’t in it!” There are any number of quotes that speak to people standing by idly and letting evil persist. My family could’ve shut her down with a resounding, “Shut the fuck up!" had any number of them spoken up for their dead relative. But no! Everyone stood mute and my sister’s nastiness was allowed to disrespect the day of my uncle’s burial.
No one should have to justify why they couldn’t attend a funeral. Condolences are in order and that should suffice, but this sister of mine has held grudges against her uncle and me for not attending our mother’s and her son’s funeral, so here’s why I wasn’t able to make her son’s funeral.
My nephew Mikey (my sister’s son) died in Miami, the morning (Friday) I flew in for my daughter’s wedding, which was the next day (Saturday). I got the news as soon as I landed from my 2,500 mile trip from Denver. I called my sister right away and gave my condolences and asked her if she wanted me to come over, and seemingly, she understood that I was in Miami to walk my daughter down the isle and said that she was ok. So I went on and headed to my daughter’s dinner party and then the arduous task of putting together some table chandeliers and helping set up for the wedding. Needless to say, I did not get a chance to go see her and only called her the day I was to leave for Denver. I genuinely felt bad that I was so out-of-the-pocket! I didn’t rent a car and my bestie (who usually rode me around town) was vacationing in Disney World, so I was pretty much stuck in Coconut Grove the entire weekend.
Round trip from Denver to Miami and back is 5,000 mile.
A few weeks before the untimely passing of my nephew Mikey my dad had gotten sick and was in the hospital. I immediately took off from work and flew down to Miami to check on him. After that I returned to Denver.
Again, a round trip to Miami from Denver is 5,000 miles.
A week and change later my father died and I flew back down to Miami to bury him. That’s another 5,000 mile round trip!
And then my daughter’s wedding, which was another 5,000 miles round trip.
My nephew passed away under these travel circumstance I was dealing with. 15,000 MILES in about three weeks!
Most jobs only let you take off for immediate family—spouses, children, grandparents and given the fact that I had taken off to tend to my father and my daughter’s wedding in a three week span, there was no way I was going to get off a 4TH TIME to go to my nephew’s funeral! God knows I tried to finagle some more time off, but unfortunately, I was not able to go back to Miami a 4th time in the same month to bury my Nephew.
The least I could do was write a beautiful tribute blog honoring my nephew’s life—something that will live on long after I’m gone. You can click and read it below:
Checking out "On Death and Dying… (In Loving Memory of Michael Leonard Clark)" on The Khalil Amani Reader: http://khalilamani.ning.com/profiles/blogs/on-death-and-dying-in-lo...
But again, as stated earlier, no one should have to justify why they weren’t able to make someone’s funeral! Condolences should suffice! We don’t know what a person’s financial, work or family situation is that they can just jump up and travel 2,000 miles! My sister has no clue why our departed uncle was unable to come to our mother’s funeral! That shit is just wrong! He was in the military! He might’ve been stationed overseas! Maybe he didn’t even know our mother had passed away!
If I wanted to play my sister’s game, I could question why she didn’t attend a few funerals! Our dear cousin Willie Mae died in 2002-ish. I drove from Denver to South Bay, Florida (2,000 MILES!) to bury her! My sister was 70 miles away in Broward County and was a NO SHOW! Should the family disrespect her for not showing up? Of course not!
My sister’s friend (Diane Biggins) who lived across the street from us—someone she grew up with passed away in Atlanta recently. She didn’t go to her funeral! Our family friend, Mr. Rutledge passed away a few years ago. I flew in from Denver for his funeral. My sister wasn’t there and she lives a short distance up in Broward! Our family friend in Las Vegas, James Rutledge—his daughter passed away two years ago. I was there! My sister wasn’t there!
Again, for the third fucking time! People die and when they do we may or may not be able to go to their funeral! Condolence should suffice! The hypocrisy which my sister has exhibited in the death of our uncle Joe is unconscionable!
I have done things like fly my sister to Denver on my dime, written a blog eulogizing her deceased son and sent magazines to her other son in prison (which gives him hella status because I’m in those magazines!). And Yes! When my sister's other two son's got to talking reckless on MySpace and talking that gangsterism, I stepped to them and told them to cut that shit out and get a fucking job! And when they didn't heed my words and went to jail, I spoke on it! That's what uncles/men do! Check their fucking nephews! They call that love! I remember her telling me to "mind my own business" and "worry about my own children!" Nah! "It takes a whole village to raise a child" and my nieces and nephews are my fucking business!
I’m sorry I was unavailable for her son’s funeral! Circumstance! I was the sibling who flew coast to coast to check on all my siblings—from flying to Miami to see my younger two siblings to flying to Atlanta to see my older sibling Larry to doing an Internet search after our oldest brother went missing for 10 years and showing up on his doorstep to check on him! I’m the one! Who has ever checked on me?
If you are reading this, please feel free to pass this to my sister. I write in love and want her to know that her anger is unwarranted and ignorant. I could maybe understand if she was some world traveler, but she will hardly leave South Florida! If I died today, could she fly to Denver? If her brother Larry died in San Diego, would she fly there? I highly doubt it, so stop with the bullshit, phony-ass, feeling-sorry-for-yourself ignorance! You ain’t flying nowhere to bury nobody!
As for pictures and reuniting? I ain’t with the phony-ness! My sister owes her family an apology and as long as that apology is not forthcoming, we ain’t got nothing to do with each other—and that’s to the grave—and I still love my sister, but her gross disrespect for the dead will not be tolerated over here! I have a beautiful family without having to stoop down to being around a scoundrel with no moral scruples.
The next time you question why someone didn't attend a funeral ask yourself are you financially able to jump on a plane at any given moment? If not, shut the fuck up!
Again, if you’re reading this, do me a favor and forward it to my sister. Thanks! R.I.P. Uncle Joe and R.I.P. Mikey!