Keep On Keepin’ On (Getting Beyond the End of the World)

by on May 30, 2011 · 15 comments

in From the Soul, Life Events, Popular

The McCray family.

I’m sitting writing on a day that can’t decide whether it wants to be sunny or gray, a day about three days past the day that the world was to come to an end and it’s a rather nice day, by the way.

But I can surely identify with a doomsday. My children and I woke up one day, just living our lives pretty comfortably, no shining ups, particularly, or dim lows, and before the day had bid us goodbye the world as we had known it was snatched from beneath us with the swiftness and fierceness of lightning in a storm ridden sky – and all we could do was cry. On July 22nd of 2009 we lost our precious valentine, an amazing mother, a beautiful sexy brilliant artistic athletic incredible 62 year old human being I loved referring to as mine.

And, oh, what an emotionally painful path we’ve slogged along just to, as they say, keep on keepin’ on, but, in spite of it all, life seems to be getting better for us with each passing day.

Like, just a few days before the big “Judgment Day,” Tawny Maya, one of our twin daughters, signed on as a reporter for the San Diego Union Tribune – and all I can say is: Man, are they ever blessed. She’ll write for them with all the required unbiased objectivity but I know my girl; her sensitive spirituality and inquiring soul will color and enrich her writing in the “Tawny Myyyy” way her mother loved so. We’re all beaming like we’re owners of a winter resort play land on the first day of snow.

The day before “The End is Here” prophecy was to unfold, our son, Carlos Biko, swung a tassel on a graduation hat from right to left and then departed the premises at SDSU with a Masters in Social Work degree and a job at Child Protective Services to report to when the weekend was through.

He will serve the county’s social needs with a degree of energy they’ve never seen. With his endless enthusiasm and deep well of positive ideas, he’ll have their heads spinning like that girl’s in the Exorcist. Families in dire need of assistance will get all he’s got and that’s a lot. Nancy would have been so proud of him.

That Friday was some kind of mellow, so easy and warming, so filled with hope as opposed to impending doom.

Nyla Summer, the other twin, who now lives in Las Vegas, the city of sin, was down for the celebration. We all have our fingers crossed that she will soon find a nursing school to attend. Or some other opportunity. I can’t wait to see who wins her in the lottery. They’ll be as lucky as one can be.

Diane, “Aunt Diane,” Nancy’s sister, the only surviving member of her immediate family, a major player in our family, is moving right along after being unemployed for far too long.

All that’s left is me. To keep on keepin’ on I’ve had to get to where I’m no longer so desperately alone when I’m simply alone. Losing Nancy was like losing an indispensable segment of my very being, leaving her as a part of me only spiritually. A big part of the journey for me has been knowing when to listen for her, when to call on her for company.

I felt her presence strongly the other day, the Saturday the world was to cease, as I portrayed Brabantio in a staged reading of Shakespeare’s Othello with a few young actors I’ve just come to know. I could hear her, a woman who was no big Willie S fan, saying: “Well, aren’t you special.”

“Yeah, baby, I am because I had you in my life for thirty-four highly memorable years.”

Often when I think of her I remember how our offspring made our hearts sing, how we enjoyed exposing them to a variety of activities. The day after the “rapture” I spent the early afternoon watching them play softball, something Nancy and I thoroughly enjoyed, often followed by a walk of a couple of miles or so to keep the old bones going strong.

Oh, we miss her “Whoo!” after a nice double play or hit in the gap or a great throw to home plate to get a runner out.

But she is so ensconced in our hearts and souls, in our memories, that we hear her at some level, cosmically, having come to realize that “letting go” applies only to the physical being that was. More and more we’ve been able to speak of her without losing our composure, knowing now that her love for us is just as strong today as it was when she was here and showered us with it daily.

So for us it’s more like the world is beginning rather than ending as we’ve come to the place – although we’re not all the way there – where we can accept and bask in that powerful love that comes to us from her somewhere out there and use its sweet energy as fuel for our resolve to keep on keepin’ on.

She wants us to as much as we want to.

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

annagrace May 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Ernie- you write so beautifully about how our world does come to an end when we lose people whom we love so dearly and deeply. And yet you describe the incredible tug of life that gives us the opportunity to begin again. As Frost wrote “Earth is the place for love.” I wish your children the very best as they go forth; and I look forward to the next time we give each other a big warm hug.


Ernie McCray May 30, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I’m keeping that big warm hug super warm.


barbara May 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm

I am so moved by your beautiful tribute. Oh, to have been loved so deeply. sigh


Ernie McCray May 30, 2011 at 5:07 pm

Thank you, barbara. Isn’t love powerful and filled with joy?


barbara May 30, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Yes, it surely is. And is comes in so many shapes and sizes.


Gwen Pierce May 30, 2011 at 8:02 pm

What a beautiful moving story! And what an absolutely beautiful family that you and Nancy have created. Her memory lives on through all of you!


Ernie McCray May 30, 2011 at 8:36 pm

I think you’re right.


Joaquin Anguera May 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Thanks, Ernie, for sharing some intimate family insights. Your writings enrich us all. And the picture is gorgeous. A bright future for everyone of you!


Ernie McCray May 30, 2011 at 10:47 pm

Thanks, Joaquin. I saw you on stage the day of my son’s graduation.


unwashedWalmarTthong May 30, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I remember Nancy’s smile. Somewhere it’s light shines on, doesn’t it?


Ernie McCray May 31, 2011 at 9:35 am

Yes it does. Or to express it the way I would when Nancy and I were clowning around: Yes it do.


Shirley Sprinkles May 31, 2011 at 11:42 am

I really love this story! You and the children look fantastic! Just keep on truckin’. . .


Ernie McCray May 31, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Hey, we don’t really have a choice, but to continue hoofin’, huh?


Ken Nakamura May 31, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Beautiful thoughts, Ernie… I don’t know your girls but Carlos is doing great. Its wonderful to have Nancy’s presence reflected in all of your children but its also beautiful to see how much their own true selves emanate joy and make the world brighter.


Ernie McCray May 31, 2011 at 4:49 pm

Thanks, Ken: Yeah, Carlos is ready to jump out there full speed as he has no “off” switch. He’s definitely his mother’s son. She was a full throttle person like him. I’m feeling so good about our kids at this moment in time and hope I’m around for more and more of their triumphs and have shoulders strong enough for them to lay their heads on when times are rough.


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