Tuesday, November 09, 2021

The Gumdrop Stage of Grief ...

So many of you have shared condolences and support after the death of my beloved brother Bill from COVID-19. I wish I could thank you individually, but until I can please know that I carry your kindness and compassion with me every day. 

The stages of grief evolve without warning. Shock blends into horror, anger shifts into sorrow. We lost Bill in August, and I’ve consciously buried myself in work and caring for my dogs. 

I’m clearly in the gumdrop stage of grief, because I’m slamming back DOTS but the boxful. They remind me of Bill and when he went through a phase of only wanting to eat orange slices candy that lasted for years.


Few weeks ago, I adopted a puppy (I named her Tuesday) and I totally did it so I can have something to nurture … something that is alive and cuddles. I now have three dogs! Four if you count my dog nephew Ed. They've all been wearing me out so I can sleep at night.

In my dreams, my brother ‘is.’ 

Alive. Happy. Excited for Thanksgiving and sometimes foods. 

In my dreams, I’m getting a menu together for our pre-Turkey Day dinner with Bill. We always go to Kentucky for the November holiday, so we used to …

We used to.


Normally, I’d be prepping for that celebration dinner and getting anxious over what to get Bill for Christmas. 

But my brother ‘was.’ 

He no longer ‘is’, except as memories and far too many regrets.

During a recent board meeting, I messaged someone on Zoom and typed “My brother was ...” and just seeing those words took my breath away. 

He didn’t deserve this, catching COVID-19 or the strokes that followed, nor catching the Delta Variant and the devastation it brought so quickly. Bill sure as shit didn’t deserve to live in a community filled with selfish anti-mask assholes who gleefully created an environment that put disabled people like Bill at risk. 

Bill didn’t deserve this, but this is what he got. 

And so, my brother ‘was.’

Hilarious, mischievous, so sweet, sometimes a total asshole, a food hound, the KitKat king, handsome, autistic, aphasic, a Black man.




His memory is a blessing, until we meet again.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

William Edward Merritt, III

My beloved brother, William Edward Merritt, III, died from COVID-19 on August 26, 2021.

"Last year, he contracted COVID and survived. During that time, he had two strokes and also fought on. And then, this year, as he was healing and getting back to a challenging form of normalcy, COVID struck again. This time it was the delta variant, and this time he didn’t make it. He died on August 26, three days after his diagnosis." Read more from this piece by Sylvester Brown for The St. Louis American | The “Unfairness” of COVID-19.

And please read the amazing obituary our sister wrote here.

May he rest in power and peace, until we meet again.

Thursday, July 01, 2021

What Did I Miss?

So much has happened since my last post! It's going to take a spell to catch y'all up, so be patient with me.

I'm taking an extended break from Twitter because my feed has become a place where hope and empowerment go to die (wince), which reminded me why I enjoyed practicing the fine art of bitchitude via blog posts.

The ability to decide when and whether or not to digest drama is like a gift from the goddess, y'all. 

***pauses for a deep breath ... exhales ... sighs in contentment***

Yep, this is the right move at the right time ...

Friday, January 01, 2021


i am running into a new year
and the old years blow back
like a wind
that i catch in my hair
like strong fingers like
all my old promises and
it will be hard to let go
of what i said to myself
about myself
when i was sixteen and
twentysix and thirtysix
even thirtysix but
i am running into a new year
and i beg what i love and
i leave to forgive me

Lucille CliftonGood Woman: Poems and A Memoir 1969-1980

Happy New Year, y'all!

Friday, December 04, 2020

On a random afternoon …

Greetings! This year took nearly all I have to give, so I haven’t had the emotional energy to post as much as I would like to. That said, I’m not closing up shop because I do love knowing I have someplace to practice the fine art of bitchitude!

So, 2020. 


My family dealt with our older brother’s recovery from COVID-19 and the stroke that followed … and the two brain surgeries required to save his life. We watched friends lose parents, partners, colleagues, and loved ones. And in November, our mother passed away after suffering a stroke.
I’d like to thank everyone who reached out with support and condolences this past year. Y’all have no idea how your kindness and generosity kept a sistah going, and it warms my heart to know that thousands of people have donated to Fair Fight in honor of our mother’s lifelong commitment to voting rights. 

Thank you.


When I was a young activist, I asked an elder what advice she wished someone had given her at my age. She laughed and confessed that she wasn’t very good at taking advice when she was young, and then she said that the best advice she ever got was to know who you are. 

After the elder shared her advice, I asked her why she felt it was so critical to know who you are. 

A slow smile across her face, a wink of her eye, and she replied that people will try to define you for all kinds of reasons and they will assign motives to your actions that are more about why they would do a thing than why they think you did it. And you can't control that. 

Off and on, at the most random moments, I find myself meditating on that wonderful human’s advice and then checking-in on who I am. What made me, what motivates me, what lives in my heart and guides my life?

She was right. There is comfort and power in knowing who I am.

In times of calm or crisis.

After a victory or a defeat.

In celebration or in mourning.

Or on a random afternoon.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

UPDATE: My Brother is HOME!

Just a quick note to let y'all know that my brother Bill is home from the hospital. His care team has a 14 day quarantine for the house, so I don't have any pictures. But Bill is home, resting comfortably, and I could NOT be happier!

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Happy 50th Birthday to my brother Bill!

Today, July 5, 2020, is my beloved brother’s 50th birthday!

Picture of Bill Merritt wearing a suit, bowtie, and crown


Longtime readers have learned a lot about Bill over the years. For folks new to this blog, my older brother is autistic, non-verbal, and a huge fan of Kit-Kats and Earth, Wind, and Fire. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 a few months ago.


Well, Bill kicked COVID-19’s ass ... but he has had serious complications since being diagnosed. Two brain hemorrhages and three surgeries later, he is still in hospital recovering. He’s getting stronger, and I was happy to hear from the nurse that his appetite is back.


I won’t be able to see Bill today.


I want to, more than anything.


Earlier this week I spent several hours mapping out the logistics of a visit. I was so excited by the idea of being able to hold him, hug him, fret over him until he got annoyed and told me to leave.


But toward the end of the week reality settled in. My sister and I need to stay healthy, and we simply can’t risk going to a hospital during a pandemic in a county where COVID-19 cases are surging.


I am not okay. This has all been extremely hard.


I’ve slept for hours, and I’m still exhausted.


I also feel like a total asshole for being depressed when I’m so fucking lucky, and I feel guilty for being so upset about not being able to see a loved one who survived … who is surviving … who, God willing, I will get to see soon.




Damn it.


Okay, so ...


Feel free to drop birthday wishes for Bill in the comment section, and I will share them with him. 


If you are willing and able, please donate to the following in honor of Bill Merritt’s 50th Birthday ...


Bill is alive today because of the outstanding care provided by his residential staff. Please support Easterseals Midwest here.


Bill’s care in hospital, at home, and out in the community is made possible in large part by Medicaid. If you are a Missourian, vote Yes on 2 on Tuesday, August 4. Learn more and take action to support Medicaid expansion in Missouri here.


I am an organizer, so I know all too well the limits of policy when it comes to progressive change. That said, the 2020 general election is the most important political event of my lifetime. Everything that make my family possible is under threat, and while I organize for liberation at the grassroots, all y’all need to get your vote on in November.


Tuesday, November 3, 2020 - be there, do the right thing, go forth and make sure others to do the same.


Register to vote and check your registration, because The Man is shady as fuck.


Action St. Louis is building a movement to transform St. Louis – support their work to ensure our family lives in a region free of violence and oppression.


Finally, please dance and get your groove on to one of Bill’s favorite songs! 

With love, Shark-Fu.

The Gumdrop Stage of Grief ...

So many of you have shared condolences and support after the death of my beloved brother Bill from COVID-19. I wish I could thank you indiv...