Braving the Days: And then there were five by Jordannah Elizabeth

I am the youngest of six of my father’s children. 

There was a balance that was so precise, it could cause one to think of divine alignment in precedence of considering coincidence; scientifically, there are minimal variables regarding the combination of genders (with respect to nonbinary and trans human beings). Therefore, numbers could minimize the predestined nature of the births of my siblings and I, although, when it comes to us specifically, I believe there’s a feeling; a vibration that ascends the vertbret to the crown of one’s skull when encountering the simplistic notion of our existence as descendents and generation.

The roman numeral, 6 is a number of empathy, unity, nurturing and caring reciprocation. There was a form of peace and sturdiness within our energetic field. None of us were and are perfect, of course, but my brother, who died two weeks ago, our symbiotic world is slightly fractured. I spoke with our eldest, and we acknowledged my brother’s neutrality and ability to quietly be the glue. “He was Switzerland,” my sister expressed. He never needed validation for this natural gift. It was unspoken until we reminisced after feeling the difference of his presence and transition to the spiritual realm.

All of us have been somewhat isolated due to our intelligence, kindness and for being preacher’s kids. I feel I must hide away, our eldest and me, the youngest accepted to college at 16, no, she was 15. Being young, gifted and Black, and for three of us, bringing women can cause life to be relatively challenging, not any more than others, just a specific life path and navigation is required.

This is all not of any matter except that we are now five. 

Five is more of an individualistic energy, though, I’ve  worried about my remaining siblings profusely; thinking of everyone’s vulnerabilities and how we’ll support one another, my brothers, I worry less, and honestly, my sisters have security and strength within their family units. And me? As the youngest, I can see broadly with less emotion, to understand the dynamics, and offer as much empathy as possible, even when they are frustrated with me, a rarity. Nonetheless, I can see myself, and have compassion toward the tough portions of our stories. 

I’ve been praying for my brother’s soul to make it safely to the other side, heaven, and have peace and rest. It has been a conscious intention to give my brother the attention he deserves, not allowing distractions to thwart my prayers. 

The last time I spoke with him, he gave me brotherly advice: the first in depth conversation we’d had…in all of my life. The age difference and our focused paths on work and coping with adulthood to the point of stability got us to a place of me gleaning his wisdom.

Elders are important to me. Even if it takes me a long time, I implement any advice; I find an impatience within our culture, expecting quickened change, that I will be who others want me to be in a week, month; rarely acknowledging my awareness of incremental growth, having an idea of meditation, studying, diet, solitude, and human connection that is patient and understanding. 

I’ve lost my father, grandfather, two uncles, a mentor and now our eldest brother since 2019. I wish I’d had more support with the grief, but this is OK, I’ve learned to take the time I need to rest. 

May we all rest and have self-compassion. 

Jordannah Elizabeth is an award-winning author, lecturer, journalist, essayist and music critic. She began as a columnist at TERSE. in 2016 and served as editor in chief from 2019 – 2021. Her arts & culture journalism has been published in Village VoiceDownBeatLA WeeklyChicago ReaderNPR Music and more. She’s been an arts and entertainment reporter for the historical Black newspaper, New York Amsterdam News since 2013. She currently teaches music business at New School in New York City.

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