Trip To Nia With Christine
Article and Photos By Gayle Fuhr
There was a beautiful alter set up and so, on the first night
when we were asked to say our name and where we were from, I did
and I mentioned that I had brought a very big Nia supporter with
me, Christine. I asked if I could place her urn on the
alter for the weekend and leave her there until we were ready to
have a ceremony for her on Sunday. I was asked to bring
Christine’s ashes with me the next morning, for the opening
ceremony, and was asked to talk about her. My first
reaction was there were so many women there who knew her so
much longer than I and maybe they should speak. I was told I was entrusted with her and so it would be more appropriate for
me to do so.
The next morning in the middle of the opening ceremony I was
called to speak. I tried to remember all of the things that I
had learned from Angela about who Christine really was. I
started off by saying that for me Christine was an inspiration.
Because I am a middle aged woman working full time and going to
school, whenever things start to feel overwhelming, I think
about Christine. Christine was an “I CAN PERSON”. I
told every woman in that room whenever they feel there is
something they can not do; think about Christine. I then
went on about all of Christine’s accomplishments. I mentioned
she sang and made an album with her brother and a friend, she
went to law school and became an attorney, she was a co-founder
of Unity Fellowship Church, she was a tax preparer, a private
investigator, a mother, daughter, sister, and friend. I
then placed Christine on the alter.
That same day, Saturday at lunch, notes from the porobo box (I
hope I spelled that right) were being read. To my surprise the
women started to put notes in the box for "Christine." They said
things like "Christine girl I really miss you and we know that
you are here with us in sprit." It was wonderful! At
each meal there was at least one note in the box for Christine.
Dorothy Randall Gray
(Click To View Larger
I talked with Dorothy Randall
Gray weeks before Nia and asked her if she would do a ceremony
for us and she said yes. On Sunday, at the closing, there
was an announcement made that after lunch there was going to be
a ceremony for Christine. Dorothy had already decided on where
the ceremony would be and where we were going to leave
Christine. After lunch, I started walking to the building
where the alter was. Before, I got there, I looked up and
there was a beautiful deer grazing next to the building. I gave
a silent thanks to Christine for being in control of her
own ceremony. I went into the room and
Afia Walking Tree was there
breaking down the alter. She said, “this rock had been
sitting on the alter gathering up all the energy from the women
over the weekend. Take it for the ceremony.” I put
Christine in one hand and the rock in the other and walked to
the big beautiful tree where we were going to leave Christine.
The tree has a large crevasse you can walk into. It warmed
my heart to see all of the women waiting for me. To my surprise,
Dorothy started to tell the women to look around them and start
gathering rocks. Well, I already had mine so I stood in silence.
Midget was also there and because I knew she had known Christine
the longest, I asked her to place Christine within the crevasse
of the tree. Dorothy had a large glass of water and she
explained to us that each of us should walk into the crevasse,
talk to Christine by placing our mouths around the glass so that
our word would be absorbed by the water, and then place our rock
on top of the urn (we could not get the urn open to spread her
ashes so we dug a hole in the ground and placed the urn within
the hole. At one point, I turned and saw Queen coming with a
LARGE bouquet of flowers. She started passing them out to all
the women. Each woman had a chance to speak and they said
wonderful things about Christine.
After each woman spoke into the
glass, Dorothy placed her rock on top of the urn. I decided that
I would leave Christine with a smile so as I entered the
crevasse, I started to let the women know that not only was
Christine a very spiritual and political person she was also a
woman who loved women and she loved sex. I told Chris that I had
some of her sex videos and girl . . . .
I took pictures of the tree and ceremony of which I have
Ladies please don’t judge my writing skills by this letter. It
was more important for me to get this out than for me to worry
about how I’m writing. I hope this is okay.
Living One With The World
Gayle Fuhr is a poet, writer, and performance
artist extraordinaire. She is a Native of Los Angeles,
California. She has preformed readings for The Village At Ed
Gould Plaza, Highways, Hollywood Moguls, The Alcoholism Center
For Women, The June L. Mazer Archives, Lesbianas Unidas and
United Lesbian Of African Heritage (ULOAH). She was
co-facilitator for a Los Angeles women’s writing collective.
Gayle has been published in Gay Lesbian Fiction and Anthology
of Short Stories, The National Library of Poetry,
Alternative Magazine, Lavender Life, The Dyke
Review, and GBF. She received first honorable mention
in the 1994/95 “National Lavender Life” magazine for a
short story contest. She was the recipient of the National
Library Of Poetry’s “Editors Choice Award” for outstanding
achievement in poetry.
Gayle believes that Knowledge is power; therefore she is
currently working on her Bachelors in creative writing.
Her goal is to be able to help women who have been traumatized
by abuse, find their voice through creative writing.