The Love Experience
(please excuse my typos. I am very tired and don’t feel like editing with a fine tooth comb today)
Mr. Verity said to me today, as I talked about the faces of the “young men” I saw at today’s service, “you talk about yourself like you’re so old!” It’s true, I am only in my 30’s. But I have been a mother for 13 years. I have been involved with children my entire life. I have 1st cousins that are still in their early teens. I have nieces and nephews who are only toddlers. In these times, I hold grave concern for all of them, as we all should.
Because the reality is, even when you raise your kids right- things that are beyond our control happen. As one mourner at today’s service noted, Tyrone was just walking home. He wasn’t arguing with anyone, he wasn’t “under the influence”…he was going home. Someone walked up to him and shot him and then got in a car and sped off. That could have just as easily been my cousin, my friend’s son, or God forbid, one my own children.
I am also a member of a terrible club- the club spoken about at Saturday’s rally; mothers with dead children. Mt son died over time. I watched him suffer to the end. Roberta Love’s son was snatched from her within seconds. Neither is better than the other. Neither is easier to handle, and neither makes any sense. My son taught me so much in this life. He brought so much joy in his nearly 4 years on earth. But the goodness all aside. When I close the door. When no one else is around. I glance over at his ashes. I see his image in a picture out of the corner of my eye. I close my eyes and think of him, and think of what death was for him, and I am dragged into a space of pure, impossible to cure- pain. Not just emotional pain. No. It’s a physical pain. A pain that nothing can touch. A pain that I only allow myself to be in for a short time, because if I go too long in that space, I will die. Faith aside. Future aside. Present happiness aside. Remaining children aside. The pain that comes from the loss of a child is a pain that can leave a mother dead herself. When I think about Tyrone, I think about his mother. I think about the very moment she found out her child was dead, and I think about what it was like to have my hand under the blanket, rubbing my son’s leg as he took his last breath. And then…I shove it all back down, because I know I’m at my limit.
Today we honored one of our own; Tyrone Love.
Tyrone was one of the finest citizens Seattle has ever known- not one of the finest Black citizens, the finest young citizens…just one of the finest. Everyone who lives in this city lost a brother, a son, a nephew and a friend. We lost someone who authentically cared about children. We lost someone who genuinely wanted to make a positive impact on all of their lives- my kids, yours, your friends’…for as much as our young people are struggling…this loss is beyond measure.
So I took my notebook with me, and my camera. I was nervous about whether or not to take a few shots, but I decided that it was necessary to hoelp grasp the magnitude of love that flowed today for this brother of ours. I made a lot of notes, and am just going to put them up as I wrote them. The church was packed. Standing room only. I started in a small corner on the balcony unable to see a thing. I finally managed to wrangle a seat that put the family, the casket and the 211 homies right in my sight. There were people who couldn’t even get in, it was so packed. The majority of those who attended were young Black men. That was very painful, watching them, but it is a part of this process. My notes:
-It is standing room only.
-The raw emotion is overwhelming.
-Pat Wright sang.
-People are going to give testimony about T.
-T’s sister read a poem she wrote for him. Most gripping line “I will love my enemy, even when he tries to do me harm”.
-T’s other sister read a letter from Roberta Love to her son Tyrone Love. I lost it completely.
-The Mayor is here.
-People are calling on their faith.
-A woman heard 7 shots that night, and refers to those bullets as “7 Angels” coming to carry T home.
-All races, all ages here.
-A woman shared a vision she had of Tyrone telling her “all is right with me!”
-I’m on the balcony in a corner. Can’t see but can hear all the people crying and the speakers on the mic.
-One neighbor says she remembers Tyrone as far back as when he was “nothing but a “snotnosed-hay fever having-can’t be out in the sun too long- little boy”. Everyone laughed.
-Ken, “Tyrone’s brother from the East Coast” says “his legacy will live on”.
-Another young man says “you’re not a man because you pick up a gun” and “stop the geonicide in the community”.
-Another close friend says T was “a great rolemodel for the youth”. He was with Tyrone the night he was murdered. He gave thanks to God for the opportunity to hand out with him “in his last hours”.
-Someone notes that babies, elders, friends, and enemies are all here together to honor Tyrone.
-Another says “Bullets can’t stop Love”.
-DJ Kun Luv (this was a painful one, I’ve strung just a few of his comments together; I could see the paper through my tears and it was hard to focus on writing anything at this point) “It’s hard to find the good…Every quality I admire, Tyrone had….he was good…He knew he had more to offer, it was like an onion, being revealed to him” layer by layer…he knew we needed to use what we had for good”.
-Kun also referenced the $17k rasied for T’s service and family when he said “we raised that money like Obama did”, because it was mostly all small donations ranging from $4 to $20. Kun thanks all of us. His time at the mic was very emotional, touching, funny…don’t be fooled, DJ Kun Luv is a sweet and kind brotha who cares a hell of a lot.
-Steven said “he changed my life”
-Jamal said “He was an experience. He was a wonderful, wonderful person”
-There are a lot of mothers here with their sons. The mothers have been speaking as well. One says to the crowd “when you see these boys out here wearing clothing with 211 on it, that’s not a gang, that’s a house in Madrona they all grew up at” That was refreshing. Hope the city was listening to that.
-A mother spoke to mothers saying “we need to take respinsibility- not in my house, not on my street. I charge all of the mothers to kae sure nobody else experiences this.”
-One speaker made a direct plea that there be no retaliation.
-An elder from the church, also involved with MM YMCA where Tyrone worked, told this story:
One day I was at McDonald’s having a cup of coffee. Suddenly there was a loud crash outside, and everyone went out to see what had happened. When I got outside, I saw that a young man had crashed his car into the front of my car. So I went to this young man and I said to him “what are you going to do about it?” He said to me “I’m going to take it to your body shop, and then I am going to tell my mother, and I am sure my mother will pay for it”. (this got huge laughter). The day we were to meet at the body shop, he was…a little late. But he came in, and the man looked at my car. He went back into his office and looked through all his books, and came out and told the young man what the cost would be. The young man said he was going to go home and talk tell his mother what the charges would be. A week later, I was going through my mail, and there was a check in the mail. But I noticed that the check was $300 more than the cost to fix my car. So I picked up the telephone and called the young man’s mother and asked her “why would you send me a check that is $300 more than what it costs to fix my car?” She said to me “my son told me, “mom, I walked all around his car at the shop, and, it has a lot of dents in it (more laughing). The $300 is to help him get those dents out of his car, like the YMCA got the dents out of me.”
Stay tuned ya’ll. I’ll be writing about “The Love Movement” very, very soon.