On June 29, 2014, my dear SistaFriend, Mrs. Lakisha Michelle Fitzgerald Mitchell, transitioned from earth to eternity. We had been sisters, friends, confidants, laughing buddies, prayer partners, and leaning posts for what seemed like forever, but was really almost a couple of decades. I never had a biological sister. She was more than my sister – she was MY GIRL! Upon taking a few moments to reflect on where I was and what I was doing this time last year, I was met with a flood of emotions that I’d never experienced, even during her time of transition. Reflective tears and grief are good things! While there is no expiration date on my tears, the process of grief is infinitely instructive. It’s not a pretty process. It’s not a linear process. Sometimes it feels like taking two steps forward and three steps back. There is no end date. It just takes what it takes. However, what it has taken has blessed my life in innumerable ways. I share this reflection, not to solely bring attention to my relationship with my SistaFriend, but to offer an opportunity for you to understand my experience, strength and hope. You will clearly read my experience. You may or may not perceive my strength. However, it is my most earnest desire that my undying hope in the human potential to embody the power of love will be unmistakably evident. That is what my SistaFriend taught me: the endless, human capacity to embody Divine love.
It’s been a year since you physically left me and spiritually made your Divine transition. I’m thinking about what I was doing this time last year: busy (as always), looking back at your last message to me when you said “You good?” I said, “Girl, we both got this!” That was May 30th and I messaged you 3 more times in the next couple of weeks. I got no answer back. I finally called Bre and he said I needed to come. I knew… I packed my bag with a week’s worth of clothes, got on the road, and got myself emotionally ready for what I knew would be the last time we’d be together on this side. I knew my job: be there for Bre, bring peace to the environment, pray through the house, and share your love with everyone that came through the door. We didn’t spend a lot of time together; just 15-20 minutes in the mornings. I’d read to you, pray over you, and watch you make the journey to your glorious rest. I don’t have words for that experience. I can only say thank you to you and Bre. My only prayer during those few days was that God give you rest and soothe Bre’s heart. You prepared all of us in your own special, powerful way. Even in our last conversation a few weeks before you left, when I thought my time had come and gone, you said, “No! I feel a new yes in you!” You prepared me for the life I’m enjoying right now. I’m living my dream and you knew it was coming. Love is a word that cannot contain what I have for you, my DivaSistaAngelFriend! Even now, you’re still with me. That’s why the saying is true: love never dies! Our SisterLove will never die. For that, I’ll simply say THANK YOU. #LoveIsEverything
Dr. Kimberly Chandler currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Communication and Women Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans. Her research focuses on gender and communication in relation to the performance of gender.