The ways death changes you.


I know, I know. You might have asked, “Harri, you’re making another blog post about death? Why do you talk about death so much now?” And trust me, I talk about death a lot because of you all, but not in a negative way. When I broke the news that my mother had died, many of my supports told me that it made them feel less alone that I opened up about this because they had lost a loved one just as well. The truth is, I wish we as a society were more open about how much death hurts us and how grief is something you have to figure out how to deal with along the way. Do I like the fact that death consumes so much of me? Absolutely not. Our continuing not to discuss how grief affects us is why those who are hurting are misunderstood at times. Can we stop acting as if we have to “get over” someone dying once they’ve been laid to rest? 

One of my closest friends, who helped me so much with business, T’Shauna Mae Henry, passed away about six months ago. Do I feel any different about her death now than I did back then? The answer is yes: I feel worse. This is the longest I have gone without talking to her since we became friends. I hate the fact that I can never shoot with her again. I can still talk to her but she doesn’t answer back. I can no longer see anything new she creates. A part of me still refuses to believe that she’s dead. I haven’t gotten used to her being away for so long and not hearing from her. 

You know that scene from Barbie where she just lay on the ground after she cried? That’s the feeling I have regarding all of this! Like, yes, wake me up from this bad dream, please! Please!



And in terms of change…………..

T’Shauna’s death changed the way I see aging. It’s a blessing to be able to grow old. She didn’t live to see 30, and no one will ever convince me again that 30 is ancient. Aaliyah didn’t even live to see 25, yet you still have some people saying that 25 is old. There is so much Aaliyah didn’t get to do with her career and her life in general because she died in her early 20s. You have much life to live outside your 20s. 


I know T’Shauna wouldn’t want me to be crying over her so much. One thing about her is that she wanted me to be happy and gave me great advice and tips on how to find peace. Between the time she died and now, my life has been chaotic, from bad business choices to horrible friends (that included this so-called friend poking fun at my grief for not just T’Shauna but also my mother and writing it off as joking); there has been little peace. 

A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about misery and other people’s happiness in relation to an episode from The Simpsons called “Homer Scissorhands.” A very despicable thing I have noticed from people as to why they keep so much of their pain to themselves is because there will often be someone who uses it against them. I will say that that has happened to me numerous times, but it has happened to me regarding her death especially. The only difference now is that I stood up for myself even if it took me a while to do so. I don’t care about your happiness if it comes with me being miserable on the other side. 


Grief has certainly made me think of what Milhouse said, “How miserable do I have to be before you’re happy?” often because I have done that my entire life, and recently with another person who constantly said things to me that would hurt my feelings (the same person who made insensitive jokes about my mother and T’Shauna passing away by the way). But grief also has made me realize that you are responsible for your image and happiness, to a certain extent. To be very frank about it, I don’t have to deal with people who feel the need to joke about my grieving. I also don’t have to be easy on people who didn’t care about the state I was in when they hurt me. Grief has made me more vulnerable, but also, just because I’m in this state does not mean I will be walked all over. I know T’Shauna would be disappointed in me if I continued for that to go on, especially because she can see it now. 

I said I wanted to do what I could to make T’Shauna proud. I know that making myself miserable for other people’s well-being isn’t something that she would like. T’Shauna was the kind of person who stood on business and didn’t care if someone got upset with her if she stood up for herself. If I want to continue on her legacy like I said I would, that means I have to stand up for myself. I’m glad I have been doing so now, even if it’s been challenging.


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