Archive for May, 2011

When Jesus was preparing his disciples for his death, he told them that he would send a comforter.  He was talking about the Holy Spirit.

The Comforter

Now far be it for me to compare my mother to the Holy Spirit, but she was indeed “ The Comforter”  in this situation.  And not just my comforter, she was everyone’s comforter.

When she arrived and asked for me, my friends pointed in my direction.  She saw me sitting in that lounge chair, lifeless, and she approached.  I stood just long enough to fall into her arms.  She held me so tightly and I cried aloud into her chest.  It was the first time that I cried aloud.  I screamed and hollered a muffled cry into my mother’s bosom and she held my waist and the back of my head and whispered: “Jesus…JESUS!”

It broke her heart to see me like that. so weak. so tired. so sad.

She told me later that she needed to see me.  She needed to lay eyes on me. She knew that I needed her but  – after this horrible event – she needed to see me also.

Mom is always saying that “a good leader knows what she doesn’t know;”  so in typical mom fashion, she had done her research prior to coming.  She had spoken to a few women who lost significant loves.  She asked them what she should do; what she should say.  They told her not to say anything; that there was nothing that could be said. They told her to simply be present and listen.

She was good at that.

After our moment outside, we said goodbye to my sorors;  just Klay, Monet and Andrea remained.  We went inside and decided to sit down for a meal, there was food everywhere.

My mom looked around the house with a confused look on her face.

“Where are we?”  – the wonders of the country house were not lost on her.  We had only given her an address, but not much detail about where we were and how we ended up there.  After a brief explanation, she shared Klay’s sentiment:

“Well if you MUST grieve, best to grieve in a place like this…” 

We all sat around the small wooden table in the kitchen. They made me a plate of food but I was not eating.  Instead I chose to listen as each friend shared themself with my mom.  And she in turn shared herself with them.  Klay, Monet and Andrea were intending to leave and drive back to New York that night, but instead they decided to stay.

Aunt Margot was there. 

My mom is a special lady.  She is incredible.  Most people know her as a Key Bank Executive, or the National President of the Links, but I know her as mom.  And my friends know her as “Aunt Margot.”

My mom is compelling.  She is the type of woman that walks into a room and commands space.  She is very approachable though, and friendly.  And funny.  And wise.  She knows a lot about a lot and can engage on many topics.  She’s an amazing story teller. She’s a magnet of energy.  She is beautiful.

I have always enjoyed sharing my mom with my friends.  Even as a child, friends used to say: “you have such a cool mom.”  She is the person that many friends confide in and seek motivation from.  Her anecdotes and funny sayings become jokes that are repeated over and over  – they last for years and years.

I honestly don’t know how she does it.  I don’t know how she balances having such a busy professional and social life and is still able to be so present with us.

My mother has been so present with me in my grief. 

And she was physically present then.  At the country house.

Sitting around that table and watching my friends talk about life with my mom was a gift.  I was thankful to share her.  I didn’t have much to say, but my friends were getting to spend quality time with my amazing mom in a house in the country around a small wooden table.  It was precious.

And that is how it would be for the next nine days, until the funeral.  My mom would be a gift.  A gift to my community of friends and loved ones.  Anyone who dared to come around and spend some time with us, got to spend quality time with The Comforter.  And that is significant.  My mom is very busy; she is typically scheduled months out in advance.  She rarely has this much time.  But she took the time off to be with me.  She canceled trips and meetings.  She cleared her schedule.  And I was so thankful.

The Comforter had arrived. 

Soon after that we all went to bed.  Klay Monet and Andrea would stay one more night. I snuggled in bed with my mom.  This time I slept for 3 hours or so.  Tomorrow would be another day.

But Kesner was still dead.

© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011

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My phone had been ringing non-stop. Many of those calls were from my sorority sisters.  several of my line sisters who were in the area had expressed interest in coming to see me.  they knew that I was out somewhere in the country and they knew that I had a group of friends from new york with me.  They offered to bring us food.

That’s a beautiful thing, when people decide to simply show up.

When someone that you care about has experienced something horrible, you just show up.  You don’t wait for an invitation. You won’t get one.  Just go.  Unless they ask you not to come.  Also, food is always a good idea.  Nobody really feels like cooking or going out to eat.  It’s nice to have options. Nice to have a variety of food at your fingertips.  I wasn’t eating, but I appreciated all of the food we had.  My friends did too.  And so did my mom, she was coming. She was really close by this time.

So my sorors were there; they found the country house in Hopewell. Katrina, Christi, Deb, Kim, Nakia, they all showed up.  Inside I was really thankful to see them, but unfortunately my thankfulness did not translate very well through my facial expression.  My face was still in that strange new position.  That sad blank position.  And I was sitting, lifelessly, on that same lounge chair outside.  They all sat around me in a circle.  It was hard for them to see me like that, because they know me as “Sunshine;” my sorority sisters call me Sunshine because I am always smiling.

But I wasn’t smiling….  there was nothing to smile about.

Kesner was still dead. 

I asked them how their husbands were doing, three of them are married to Kappas; Kesner’s fraternity brothers.  “So-so” they said.  Nobody was doing well.  Kesner’s death was a big shock to the entire community.

They told me that there had been a lot of activity in Trenton, particularly at Kesner’s house; lots of people helping.  Lots of people around, including his ex-girlfriend;  apparently she was doing a lot.

Folks were beginning to wonder where I was. They were wondering why I wasn’t there also.

I would be no help to them at his house, I’d resolved.  As it was, I could hardly move.  I was barely talking.  Not eating. What would I do there? Also, I figured that she (the ex) needed to be there.  For peace and closure. The house certainly wasn’t big enough for the two of us. and people grieve differently – sometimes ‘doing’ is easier than ‘dealing’.

Also –  I had given Kesner his flowers while he was still living.  My granddaddy always used to say: “give me my flowers while I’m living.”  by that, he meant that most people will show up with flowers after someone dies, but at that point it’s too late.  The person is already dead.  I had given Kesner his flowers.  I loved him until death.  Till death did us part.


And also I had found his dead body.  So there was nothing more that I needed to do.

I couldn’t do another thing.

As we (my sorority sisters and I) sat in a circle on the patio and talked, Klay, Monet and Jessie joined us…

But where in the world was Andrea? 

and then suddenly there she was:

Andrea…. a vision…  gorgeous…. beautiful and fly…

She was wearing a crisp blue button down shirt. She had a European scarf tied around her neck (in a way that only andrea can tie it) and black capris pants.  Her make-up was flawless and her hair was impeccable.  She sat down in a chair, crossed her legs, smiled,  and winked at me.

I immediately burst out laughing!   Andrea had done a Houdini!!!

All day long Andrea had on black capris sweatpants and a faded grey army/navy tee-shirt with a hole in the arm pit.  She wasn’t wearing any make-up and her hair was loosely tended.

When Andrea got the news about Kesner, she hadn’t had time to go home and pack an overnight bag – she came straight to New Jersey.  All that she had with her were her work clothes (the clothes on her back) and the clothes that she was planning to wear to the gym (the army shirt and capris sweats).

WELL…  she took her top and scarf from work and combined it with her sweats (you could only tell they were sweats if you looked closely).  And she created an outfit.

and it was fly!

“we have company” she said.  “And you must be presentable at all times.”



Andrea and I met during the summer of 2001.  We were both summer interns at Merrill Lynch.  When we first met, she approached me and introduced herself:

Hi, i’m Andrea, I’m an intern.”  My response was: “hi, I’m Kim, I’m and intern too…” 

to which her response to that was: “oh.” She thought that I was one of the full time employees at Merrill Lynch because of the way that I was dressed.  She was sharp too.  Competition immediately set in; typical of  black women.

We went through our entire internship training giving each other ‘the hateful-side-eye.‘  We were not going to be friends.  We were two crabs in a barrel; each out to win while we simultaneously pushed the other down.

But this sentiment would soon change….

On the first day of our intern rotation, we were both sent to the New York Stock Exchange floor (NYSE) for the day.  We were both wearing high heel shoes.  There are no seats on the NYSE; you have to stand all day long and by the time the closing bell rang at 4:00PM our feet were BURNING.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)

We had both been standing all day long doing nothing;  just standing behind traders and trying to think of interesting questions to ask.  It was horrible.  When we met back up at the end of the day, hating on each other was no longer an option.  We were in solidarity because our feet hurt so badly.  The two of us literally found the closest street corner and sat down on the curb in our business suits.

and suddenly there we were:

Two yong black women, in business attire, sitting on a curb in lower Manhattan.

We laughed about how foolish we had been acting.  That moment sealed our friendship. Our guards were finally down.

And after that fateful day on the street curb, our summer together was a blast.  We were inseparable. We did everything together.  New York City was our playground. Neither of us had ever lived there before.  We would get on trains and just go.  Each time it was a new adventure; it was like visiting different countries: Little Italy. China Town. Spanish Harlem.  Jamaica Queens …

The New York City Subway opened up our world

We got all of the new york touristy stuff out of our system that summer.  It was so much fun.

Soon we were both working at Merrill Lynch full time after college.  I was on the New York Stock Exchange floor (NYSE) and she was working on the equity capital markets desk.  She kept long hours.  She worked really hard.  My hours were set around the stock market (9:30-4:00); but she often worked until the wee hours of the night.  Sometimes overnight.  And she was expected to be there very early in the morning.

Despite these demands, Andrea was doing extremely well;  and soon she had the opportunity to move to London.

“Should I go?  I don’t know Kim.  I don’t think I want to go to London.”

“WHAT?  not go to London?!?”  –  I wasn’t trying to hear that at all!

“you better go to London,” I insisted.

“You are going to London Andrea!” 

The truth is, it wasn’t just about her…  it was about us.  Andrea was going to London for us.  By this time my short little wall street career was ending.  It didn’t work out for me; the shoe didn’t fit, and I was preparing to transition to Seminary.

But Andrea had been asked to go to London.  This was the next step.  I needed her to go.

I needed her to go… for us.

and she went.

Soon after that, I began to live vicariously through my friend and her fabulous escapades.  She was becoming a world traveler.  She would be in a different country every weekend.  On different continents.  And I was always talking about her.  I was so proud of her.  And when she would come to visit, it was always fabulous.  She would get a room at the Soho Grand an I always stayed with her.

When she was around I felt like I was as fabulous as she was.

And traveling with her is fun also. Andrea is the type of person that you can travel with and you don’t have to think.  Either she has been there, or she has already thought it all through; planned everything out.  And she always chooses prime accommodations.  She’s fabulous.

Andrea and Me in Amsterdam…

I began to speak so highly of her to others that she became an urban myth among my friends in New Jersey and New York.  Whenever we thought we were doing something fabulous.  Something really great. We would say:

“Where’s Andrea?” 

… in other words: whatever we were doing, we felt it was ‘Andrea worthy.’

I mean this sister used to fly in town from London just to get her hair done in Brooklyn. And after London, her job moved her to Hong Kong.

This chick is bad!


After several years of living a fabulous life as a world traveler and global business leader, Andrea came to a crossroads: She didn’t feel passionate about her work; something had to change

Was this truly her calling or was she meant to do something else?

On Andrea’s last visit from London, we were spending time together at the soho grand.  She was sick.  She had a horrible cough. Her spirits were low.  She was at the point of realizing that the wall street life was no longer for her.  It was the beginning of the financial crisis and things were moving downhill swiftly.  She said she felt like Indiana Jones running from a giant concrete ball.  She needed to get out quickly.

Indiana Jones

But what would she do?  So many of us tie our identities to our careers.

I wanted to help her, but I didn’t know what to say or do; so I took her to see ‘the Doctor:’

I took her to see Monet.   Monet gives people permission to be…. 

Monet used her Louise Hay book to diagnose Andrea’s condition:  she was fearful of the next step.  Her throat was sore because she had something to say, and it was now time for her to speak.

You see Andrea is a gifted writer and poet but Wall Street was stifling her creativity. She had come to a crossroads and she had to make a difficult decision: to continue on a traditional path or to take a road less traveled.

She chose the road less traveled, and she decided to pursue her passion.

today she is a writer for Uptown.com.  Here you can find a link to my favorite article by her, called Trayvon Was Followed by More than George Zimmerman

You can also click here to see a radio interview that I did with Andrea last spring:

Andrea is living her dream and her universe is on fire.

I am so proud of my friend.

And in that moment, back at the country house, my friend made me laugh….  

But I didn’t laugh long.

Kesner was still dead. 

And I was still miserable.

To my friends I seemed like I was in a far away  place. I was just sitting in that chair, lifeless and expressionless.

After some time passed, Jessie (Soul Friend) pulled me aside; it was time for her to go.  She was on her way to upstate New York.  Jess pulled me away from my sorority sisters and friends and she ushered me into the house.  The two of us sat down on the steps of the kitchen.  She sat next to me and put one arm around me and held my hand with the other.  I laid my head on her shoulder and wept.

Just then,  Monet, Klay and Andrea came into the house. It was like they sensed there was a moment in the making…

They all stood  around us.  I asked Monet to sing again.

please, sing pass me not, Monet,” I whispered.

And she did.

And this time when she sang it, all of my friends sang the chorus.  Monet  sang the verses, and all of  my friends came in on the chorus:

savior, o savior..  hear my humble cry

while on others though art calling…  do not pass me by” 

it was beautiful.

I desperately breathed the words to the song while they sang.

And after that moment, I returned to my lounge chair outside.  I’d said goodbye to Jessie, and my sorority sisters were beginning to get ready to go also.

“you’re in good hands” they said.

Deb hugged me.  She said: “we know you loved him.”  

“I did,”   i cried. “ I did love him.” 

Then suddenly…. 

In true dramatic, Margot James Copeland fashion,  we saw it: a black town car pulling up the long winding drive (she had a driver, of course).  My mother had arrived. 

The Black Town Car

My friends all stood at the top of the driveway to greet her.  When she got out of the car she could tell right away – by their facial expressions –  that it was bad, really bad.

I was bad; I was in bad shape.

She greeted them and then immediately asked:

“Where’s my child?”

© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011

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I really had to go to the bathroom.  and I was sick of wearing that stupid orange tee-shirt.  I was mad.  I was mad about everything.  I was mad about everything that I thought was so important before June 9th.  And by this time I hadnt bathed in almost 30 hours. I couldn’t stand myself anymore. I thought my orange tee-shirt might actually walk off my body and have it’s own protest right there in the den.

It was time to get out of the chair that I had spent the last eight hours in and go to the bathroom.  and I figured that I would take a shower while I was at it.

I went into the bathroom and I looked at myself in the mirror for the first time since this had all happened.  I didn’t recognize myself.  My facial muscles had settled into a position that they had never been in before.  It was a cold and sad and angry face.  It was a helpless face.  It was an empty face.  My hair was a rats nest.  My curly tendrils had turned into nappy knots. I didn’t care though. Nothing mattered.

I took a shower and changed into a pair of dark blue jeans and a black tank top.  Black felt appropriate.  And I came back downstairs, but this time I went outside.  It was a beautiful day, I must admit.  It had rained on June 9th (appropriately so), but today the sun was shining.  It was just before the heat wave that struck the nation.  The weather was just right. but I only cared a little about the weather, Kesner was still dead. 

I sat on one of the lounge chairs on the patio.  This is where I would spend the next eight hours and most of the remainder to the weekend.  Soon Monet came out to join me, she had a can of canada dry in her hand.


Monet and I have a bright and vibrant friendship, a really fun friendship.  Monet and I became friends during her last week of seminary.  she was in the class ahead of me.  we had been friendly before that, but we became FRIENDS that last week.  We later decided that it was for our own good.  Had Monet and I been friends a minute sooner, neither one of us would have graduated.  Seriously. We have too  much in common. God protected us from each other.

If you have been reading these posts in succession then you know that Monet is a minister.  Monet is very gifted in preaching, she is wise, and she is a deeply spiritual person.  when I am preparing a sermon, I love talking out the scripture with Monet. She is always showing me new things.

She also has a health ministry. she is strikingly beautiful, 5’10’, and is in impeccable physical shape.  In undergrad she was a heptathelete in track and field at LSU. She is also an aerobics instructor, the kind that has people lining up to take her classes.  Monet is awesome.

Monet teaching a community fitness class in Brooklyn

One of the greatest gifts that she has ever given me is that Monet helped me launch “The Vagina Project.”  She was working for an historic baptist church in brooklyn that received a grant to promote HIV and AIDS awareness.  Monet was the administrator of this grant and she called me up one day and said : “I want to get a group of women together. I want to make Vaginas.  I want to have a Biblically based conversation about sexuality.  And I want you to be the facilitator…”    

Of course there is a back story…:

During my first year of seminary I was preparing to preach in the Spring. This was going to be my trial sermon and I was petrified.  In order to prepare myself for this endeavor, I began to do a series of things that I had never done before.  I danced on the liturgical dance team, I coached an intramural basketball team, and I performed in a play:  

The Vagina Monologues. 

In the last week before the play the director asked the cast members to create a visual expression that captured the experience of being in the performance. These would be displayed on a board in the lobby on the night of the show.   

What should I do, I thought??  

I decided to go to Michael’s craft store, buy a plastic frame for 7.99, and make a vagina.  It was an abstract piece of art.  kind of looked like a flower, or a butterfly.  It was made out of silk flower pedals, colorful feathers and a little fur.  And I placed a peacock feather in the center.  It’s pretty.  the kind of thing you hang in your bedroom or on your bathroom wall. And after the play, I hung it on display.

well the most interesting thing began to happen…  

first monet saw it.  she said “Make me one!  I want one!”  so I did.  Then my friend Tasha: “I want one, I want to make my own!” and she did  Then Jessie “I want one too friend, and I want to make my own.”  And she did  then Maya… same thing. 

So you get the point.  different friends of mine wanted their own vagina flowers and each time they would make one it would be a little different, it would reflect their distinct style. How they felt about themselves as women. 

I thought to myself: hmmm… what happens when women start thinking of their vagina as a flower?  how does that change our relationships with this veiled part of our anatomy? What if a woman had previously been assaulted? Violated? Abused? or simply ashamed?   

Perhaps if women thought about our vaginas as beautiful flowers then maybe we could be more careful about who we invite inside…..   hmmmmm??   Perhaps (by thinking of our Vaginas as colorful flowers) we could experience a resurge of connectedness to divine feminine energy…?  

But these were only thoughts.  things I pondered deeply in my heart.  “The church” was waaaaay to conservative for this ministry – I thought.  especially “The Black Church.”  So I was content to have this remain my little underground ministry.  A friend would stop by, want to make a Vagina and I would talk her through the process… 

But not that Monet. She said “if we are going to talk about HIV and AIDS we are going to make vaginas.  We are going to build a Bible study around it and we are going to talk about sexuality.  And you are going to be the facilitator of this workshop!” 

And we did it; and it was incredible.  First with a group of college women.  Then with a group of women, age 30-60.  We did the workshop in private homes. Even though this was sponsored by a church, Monet wanted to create an intimate and free atmosphere.  And what came out of that project was amazing.  Life giving,  in fact one of the participants wrote an article about the experience in Brown Eyes Magazine (a Brooklyn based publication).

Here is a exerp from her article:

“The women there took turns expressing their passionate stories. These sistahs were nurturing, intelligent women who were comfortable with themselves. We talked about our upbringing and how that played a definite role in how we express our selves, sexually. How culture and shame in families left us with too many painful secrets. We spoke of how the separation between sexuality and spirituality often leads to unhealthy suppression or expression, causing projection. That’s when other folk’s sexual depravity becomes projected onto us. We discussed the three women types that have been imposed onto women, the mammy-mother figures, the sapphire- masculizing woman and the Jezebel – over sexual, loose and immoral women. 

I believe that becoming more involved in women’s spirituality encourages us to appreciate more positive images of ourselves. This goes against all of our social conditioning. Our vaginas are to be recognized and held in the highest regard, first by us, then taught to whomever we choose to invite. We need to uphold and project healthier thoughts toward that part of our bodies, the place were life finally emerges. Our bodies are sacred, part of nature, and deserve to be loved and cared for as part of the Divine.” – Yendys Nefur-Adam , Brown Eyes Magazine – March 2009

This sister wrote the article in Brown Eyes...

Monet had taken my little underground ministry and had the audacity to go public with it.

And after the last event with her church, there were a few materials left.  I took the leftover frames, feathers and fur to womanspace (the leading provider of domestic violence services in Central NJ).  We did the project there with a small group of Domestic Violence survivors.  it was a beautiful night.  a healing night.

thank you Monet, for giving me the courage to violate expectations….

At the domestic violence shelter…

Monet is also a fighter. I remember this one time that we took on NYPD.  We had been falsely accused of running a red light.  It was police harassment. Monet was driving in my car and the po po gave us a $200 ticket!!  I was mad but I was ready to concede and split the ticket with her.  But Monet said: absolutely not!  we’re going to court!

I contacted the NAACP.  we got some great advice and we won the case.  a victory!!!  nobody beats NYPD… but we did with the help of the NAACP!!

Monet is a fighter

And one more short story, once Monet and I were on this “spiritual retreat” together.  Really we were just taking a short vacation to Bethany Beach Delaware.  We had a lovely time.  One night we were sitting on the screened in porch of this beautiful lake front condo and we were literally having what can best be described as a talent competition.  I don’t think there is another way to describe it.  Monet would sing a song, then I would sing a song.  Monet would say a poem – then I would say a poem.  We finally ended with a duet: she recited the poem “Deep River” while I sang the song in the background.  It was ridiculous.

So now you know about Monet and our special fun friendship.  She is a wise, deep, bold and gentle soul and I am lucky to call her Friend.

Monet… a bunch of fun!!

So there we were,  at the country house.  I was sitting miserably in a lounge chair on the patio.  Kind of like a rag doll. weak. sad.  angry. And Monet joined me in the lounge chair next to me with a can of Canada Dry.  By this time everyone was busy doing something:

Klay and Jessie had gone out to run errands. Andrea had a conference call for work.  She also had taken over with phone duty and was managing my incoming phone calls.  And Monet and I were just sitting outside looking at the grass and the trees and the sky.  Not saying a whole lot.  Just sitting.

Monet turned to me and said:  “You know I feel like everybody here has a job.  Klay and Jessie are running errands.  Andrea is taking calls…. 

And it’s my job to sit here and be easy with you.” 

In that moment, she unscrewed the top if the Canada dry can and pulled out a neatly rolled joint…

And so we sat…  Easy and together.

We were silent mostly, calm…   numb….

but then I turned to her and I asked: “Will you sing to me?” 

You see there was this song that had been in my head all day.  As much as I wanted to be like Job’s wife, to curse God and die, I also didn’t want God to forget about me. I felt like God had taken everything away from me.  ….all I kept thinking was  please God..  please…  do not pass me by. 

‘pass me not’…  please Lord… ‘pass me not.’ 

I hadn’t communicated this.  I had not communicated much of anything all day.  But as Monet opened her mouth to sing, guess what came out:

“Pass me not o gentle Savior… Hear my humble Cry

While on others thou art calling…Do not pass me by” 

It was not a talent competition this time.  Instead I just breathed the words as she sang them.  I breathed my desperate pleas to God:

Please God…. 

Please do not pass me by… 

help my unbelief…. 

hear my humble cry… 

you took my Kesner… 

you took him… 

while on others thou art calling… 

do not pass me by…. 

Please God. Please do not pass me by… 

I was breathing these desperate pleas to God while she sang.  Please help me.  Please help my unbelief… 

That moment was so real.  So authentic.  I was at God’s throne of mercy and for a moment, while Monet sang, I did find sweet relief.  Just for a moment.  While she sang.

I sat…. and I cried… and I breathed…. while my friend sang me a healing song.

thank you, Monet.

© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011

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It was morning of the second day – early in the morning, it was still dark.  I guess maybe it was 3AM or 4; honestly I had no concept of time even though I was staring at a clock.  It didn’t matter what time it was, Kesner was dead.  Nothing mattered.

I was laying in the king-sized bed in the master bedroom of the country house.  Soul Friend was laying next to me, still asleep.  I, however, was wide awake.  I had slept for maybe 45 minutes or an hour- but that was it.  My body was turned away from her and I was facing a wall.  And a window.  Tears were streaming down the side of my face and onto my pillow. It was a silent lonely cry in the dark.

I was looking out of the dark window, waiting for the sun to rise.  It reminded me of the trip that Kesner and I took to the Poconos:

It was right after the election.  Unfortunately Kesner placed 4th in the election (he never said that he lost. he didn’t lose. he was not a “loser.” he placed 4th).  He needed to get away for a couple of days.  He needed to leave Trenton and he used me as his excuse.  He sent a text to our friend Terrill and said:

“Headed out of town, I need to get Kim out of here for a few days…” 

It was an amazing trip.  We went horseback riding.  He canoed me for 6 miles down the Delaware River. I sang him a song as he paddled.  I complimented him on how strong he was to canoe us so far – 6 miles.  He told me: 

You were my inspiration, Beautiful…”  

While on the canoe ride, we stopped along the way to have lunch and so that Kesner could carve our initials on a tree.  And as we sat and rested, I heard him say (under his breath):

Imagine a woman who loves the outdoors.” 

I do love the outdoors.

Kesner and Me in The Poconos

On our last morning in the Poconos, Kesner woke me up at 5AM to go outside and see the sunrise.  I was so annoyed and grumpy, but I got up….  

And while I was laying in bed at The Country House, looking out of that dark window, I thought about how thankful I was that I got up with him that morning.  That would be the last sunrise that we would experience together.  I had all these sunrises ahead of me now but I was going to have to go it alone. that sucked so much.

Laying there in the dark, crying, I was also still thinking about that whole Lazarus thing.  holding out a little hope for the miracle. For the miracle of Kesner being raised from the dead.  I even thought that maybe I would go with them to the morgue.  Maybe I would meet his mom there.  Maybe she and I would go in together?  The two people who wanted him to be alive the most – I mean everyone wanted him to be alive – but I think we wanted him to be alive the most.  Maybe the two of us could go in and our faith combined would make him get up.  We would have to be absolutely confident.  I pondered that for a while.  But I wasn’t confident enough.

my faith wasn’t strong enough.  I would mess it up.

Kim… you’re losing your mind – I thought.

When the sun finally did come up (this time it was about 6AM, I guess) I finally decided to get out of bed.  Everyone was still sleep.  I took Kesner’s Tee-shirt (I had laid with it all night and was now carrying it around with me like a child carries a blanket) and I went downstairs into the den and sat on an over-sized stuffed grey chair.  I would sit there, without getting up once (not even to use the bathroom), for the next eight hours or so.

Klay heard me.

Klay, Monet and Andrea were sleeping in the second bedroom.  Molly’s room.  Andrea and Monet were in the bed and Klay slept in the chair.  As I walked down the stairs I guess he heard me.  soon after I settled in the chair, I saw Klay standing in the doorway.  We were silent together for what seemed like a really long time.


By now you may be asking yourself why I chose this particular name for this note.  It is because Fabulous became Flesh and He dwells among us….  His name is Klay Williams.   WE behold the Glory of the Father of Fabulous!

Klay is fabulous in the flesh!  

Klay is fabulous!  let me say it again: FA-BU-LOUS!  I’ve never met anyone like Klay, and I count it such a privilege to be his friend. He is the type of person that leaves an impression on everyone that he meets.  everyone.  people who have had only one encounter with Klay still ask about him.  He’s always dressed to kill. He’s camera friendly.  He’s fierce. He’s confident.  and he’s always in the right place at the right time.  he also appreciates luxury and the finer things in life.


Klay believes in living your best life NOW.  He believes that there is only Plan A; any alternative is unacceptable. He is the Author of There is Only Plan A.


Klay is a lifestyle consultant and spiritual teacher.

If you know me then you know that I am always spouting little tid-bits of wisdom that I pick up along the way.  One of the Wisdom sound bites that I took from my Spelman days is: Perception is Reality.  Basically it means that whatever you think you are, you are.  Whoever you think you are, you are.  Our thoughts manifest.  For instance, if I say that my PhD program is stressful, it will be stressful.  But if I say that it is an absolute joy, easy as can be, it will be.  Our thoughts manifest.

Well Klay personifies this.  this is how he lives.  He speaks those things that are not as though they are. He knows the secret.  For instance, last night Klay sent me a text message.  One simple line:  “Kim, I miss Oprah.”  I wrote back: “I miss her too, been meaning to call..”  Keep speaking it.  Keep thinking it.  until it happens.

Oprah, we miss you…

If you don’t know him already, soon Klay will be on your radar; he is going to be a very famous man.

Klay is also a steward of friendship.  A bridge.  Klay and I have a routine.  I have a friend.  I introduce him to my friend.  And soon he becomes better friends with my friend than I ever was. classic Klay.

So you see, Klay is fabulous personified! 

But there was nothing fabulous about that moment in the den.  I was not fabulous at all.  I was sitting in that chair with that same orange Tee-shirt on and a pair of black sweat pants.  I cried and cried and cried and Klay just sat with me.  He kept my tissues fresh.  kept throwing away the old ones and bringing me new ones.  We were not speaking, this was all happening in silence.  He just sat with me while I cried.

At one point he went into the kitchen to make me a cup of tea.  He also found some Mandarin oranges in the pantry and poured them in a bowl for me to eat.  no oranges.  I didn’t want any food.  I didn’t want to eat anything.  I was just as fine to sit and starve and rot to death in my own filth.  I was miserable.  I did drink the tea though, which I regretted because it made me have to pee.  I didn’t want to pee.  I didn’t want to move, so I held it for about 5 or 6 hours.

At some point my friends woke up and joined us one by one.  first Jessie, then Andrea, then Monet (Monet is always the last one to get up).  They all sat around me in the room.  I wasn’t saying much, but my phone was beginning to ring off the hook.  Klay handled the calls: “Kim’s phone, this is Klay speaking…”  I could have cared less about my phone.  My mother had given up on trying to reach me on my phone and was now calling my friends directly.  She was on her way; she would be there that afternoon.

And then we got a call.  from my pastor, Lynn.  She was coming over to pay me a visit.

When Lynn arrived, she sat on the ottoman of the chair that I was still sitting on.  She faced me and said a few things.  I really don’t remember what she said but I appreciated that she was there.  I also appreciated the fact that she was showing emotion; it felt like she was sharing the pain of this experience with me.  tears were welling up in her eyes as she talked to me.

“It’s not fair” she said.

I looked at her, tired.  desperate.  and I said “I cannot do another thing.  I just can’t do another thing.”   And I meant it. I couldn’t do another thing, not even go to the bathroom.

Lynn said: “you don’t have to do anything.  You don’t have to do anything right now.” 

She said some other stuff, and then shortly after that she got ready to go.  She marked off a few scriptures in a Bible and left it for me, just in case I felt like reading the Bible.  I didn’t.  I didn’t touch it.  I wanted nothing to do with the Bible.

And then right before she left she said: “How are you feeling about God?”  

I had not given that much thought.  How WAS I feeling about God? 

“Im Angry”  I whispered.  Then she said:” Well God is BIG enough to handle  your anger. To absorb it, to take it all in. God is BIG enough for that.”  Then she left.

And I thought to myself: God is big enough, huh?  

Well God better be BIG enough, because I AM PISSED!!!!!!!!

© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011

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The Country House

‘The Country House’ deserves its own chapter.  Right now I wish I were a columnist for Architectural Digest, or an interior design expert, then I would do a much better job of describing this house.  But simply put, it’s fabulous.

Klay would say – in his best bougiouse voice:  “Well if you MUST grieve, best to grieve in style.” 

Andrea would say – in her best bougiouse voice (glass of wine in hand – looking out over yonder):  “Ahhh… I’m just so glad there’s a Country House involved.”  

My friends are so extra. 

But seriously, the house is wonderful.  It’s in Hopewell, NJ – farm country.  It’s really old and it sits on a hill on about 2 acres of land.  It’s an old farm house that has been renovated and turned into a perfect country cottage.  It’s stone on the outside and the inside is cedar. The house is light, peaceful and filled with great energy.

And the outdoor space is fabulous also. The front yard is a large open field that slopes downward and is cut off by a perimeter of trees.  So if you’re sitting outside on the front patio (which is the absolute best place to sit) all you see are grass, trees and tree-tops as far as the eye can see.   And the open sky.  It’s majestic.

Oh… and it actually sits adjacent to a farm, so on a good day you can see horses gallop by.  Or cows grazing, just off to the right.

Per Andrea: “If ‘Thank You Very Sweet’ were an August Wilson style play, the entire set could be the front patio with a backdrop of the stone house just behind…”

So basically you get the point, the house is classic.

The house belongs to a really cool couple named Pete and Mara.  We (Jessie and Me) met them about a year prior.  Jessie was representing the women center at a training for Project Homeless Connect.  Project Homeless Connect is an annual resource fair for Homeless people in the greater Trenton area; we were planning to have a resource table there.  Mara was planning to volunteer at the event, so she was at the training also.  She invited Jessie to sit at her table and the two of them hit it off immediately.

Soon after, Mara asked Jessie to house-sit for her.  Jessie used to tell me about how comfortable and pleasant the house was, but I was really only half-listening.  I had to encounter the house for myself for it to sink in.

I met The Country House one crisp evening in the fall.  Jason (Jessie’s boyfriend) had led us on a hike after work.  Afterwards the three of us came back to the house so that Jason could cook us dinner. As we drove up the long winding gravel driveway that led to this wonderful house, I was amazed. I fell in love.

I met the owners shortly after that, Pete and Mara.  They invited us for dinner.  They were interested in the work that we were doing, but more so they were interested in us as people.  They were interested in me and Jessie’s special soul friendship…  especially Mara.   They are empty nesters and Mara seemed interested in re-energizing some of her woman friendships; Jess and I provided some inspiration for that.

Soon we all became friends and I was splitting the house-sitting duties with Jessie.  The first time I house-sat I wrote a thank you note. Even though it was a ‘job’, I was so thankful to be there; and the house would grow to become VERY important to me…

When we first learned that we lost funding for the women center, I retreated there alone. 

When Jessie and I needed a comfortable place to write grants for the day (an attempt to “Save the Women Center”), we retreated there together. 

When we finally had to tell the women center staff that we were going to shut down, the entire staff retreated there.


My last weekend with Kesner was spent there.

We had our last dinner together there.  We had our last argument together there. We shared our last reconciliation together there…

And on our last Monday morning together (June 7th), I asked Kesner to pray.  He prayed The Lord’s Prayer, and then he said “God please show Kim that I am different.”

And I said: “God please forgive me for being afraid.” 

Then we went outside and had a bowl of cereal, Kesner cut up a banana and put it in my bowl.  We ate outside on the patio, it was a beautiful day.  I watered the flowers in the garden and Kesner watched me.  He said: “you’re the sexiest gardener I’ve ever seen.” I laughed.  I got ready for work.  And as I came down the stairs I saw him laying on his back in the grass with his arms stretched wide like an angel.  He was looking at the clear blue sky as if to say: “I surrender.”  We kissed goodbye.

And that was the last time that I saw him alive. 

So as it was time to grieve..  Appropriately so, my friends and I retreated there.

© Copyright Thank You Very Sweet, 2011

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