What are we doing, really?

I went to a funeral today. My great-aunt died this weekend after a year-long battle with brain cancer. I also got word yesterday of the death of a dear friend of the family. Again, a long battle with cancer. And finally, today is the first anniversary of my grandfather’s death. Merry Christmas, right?

This week I also purchased a copy of a movie that was made by a man in my plant. I haven’t met Rodney Rhodes, the writer/director/producer of The Souls of Black Men, but I bought his movie because he made it. I’ll do that with just about any product someone presents me…if someone felt compelled to make something, I feel compelled to support it. I haven’t had time to watch it yet, but I will. And then I’ll write about it, and tell other people to check it out.

I read all the newsletters I come across, I listen to every story that presents itself to me. Another man who works in my plant is a cook. He won the reality show America’s Next Great Restaurant. He had the concept for a healthy soul food chain. Apparently, that didn’t work out, because he’s back at Chrysler, driving a hi-lo. His posts online mention the possibility of opening a restaurant here in Detroit. Other people I’ve talked to are working on books. A good friend of the family retired from GM and is now a full-time writer; she’s won prestigious awards.

This idea of fulfillment is hitting me particularly hard this week, surrounded by so much death. I can’t stand the idea that people’s lives end without them fulfilling their dreams, or at least trying to. I am really awed by people who have large dreams, or goals that they simply set and then set about attaining. I have a cousin who wanted to live in England, ever since we were kids. We come from a totally working-class background, not the kind of folks who just up and move to Europe. More like the kind of folks who came over in steerage, working to pay their passage. But she did it. She made a plan, applied to graduate school, and went. Now, she wants a life different than the one she has. So she’s working on that. I’m amazed by the ability of people to make the lives they want. I’ve always been very makeshift. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy enough in my life, but I’ve also never really wanted anything more than good music, good food and good books. Those are all fairly attainable, they don’t require much planning.

This week, I’d like to honor those whom I’ve lost and also raise a glass to those who see that life can be a grand adventure. Salud!



About Stepchild in the Promised Land: Notes from a Tier-Two Autoworker

A third-generation Detroiter, Wayne State grad, mother and tier-two autoworker.
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