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.
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.
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 included. Enjoy.
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.
|Dorothy Randall Gray
|Dorothy Randall Gray
|Gayle & Midget