If grief is an Old Fashioned cocktail, bear with me, then guilt is the sweetness that suffuses, binds, and blends the many mixed emotions within it, all together.
Guilt, and its strange, bizarre sweetness, is what always draws you back to sip once more the bitterness of grief.
On my return to Jamaica, after father's death, in a present where both of my parents are passed, my desire to find my place, my belonging and my home here was always destined to end in disappointment, as most dreams do, upon awakening. As I’m not sure what this place means to me now without the anchor of my Jamaican parents.
*Cut to flags at half mast at The Sovereign Centre – fade slowly to black*
The death of the Queen, and the 12 days of official mourning enforced here, have a hollowness to it, especially on an island that was once the last stop at the end of the Triangle for so many. An island where the majority are the descendants of the enslaved.
The enslaved whose bondage and blood would grow and swell the coffers of royalty. Whose descendants' deaths now cause flags to hang low on flag poles at shopping centres.
Goodbye, Mrs Queen, as my dad would call her. My mother had a scrapbook of pictures of you as a princess. And the dream of seeing the Trooping of the Colour at the palace took her across the sea to England. But Mrs Queen, you were only ever an empty vessel which your subjects painted, projected, or cast their own thoughts on.
You were only ever a dream of our own making. That one awakens from to find was never real.
It's odd that some can cry for strangers they never knew, crying at the gates of their palaces. Whilst others struggle to find tears for those they loved.
Perhaps grief, found in the guilt, of all the things you felt you never did, or never said, has to be returned to, again and again if only for the sweetness that suffuses, binds and blends the many mixed emotions of grief within it, all together, to fade from our lips.
Here in this land of wood and water, where my parents were born but whose bodies lay at rest across the sea, the sip of bitterness is the only thing that so many have as “yesterday is still leaking through the roof".