I was once given an assignment in my creative writing class to write 2 versions of my obituary, Eulogy & Epitaph. One version if I died too soon and one if I completed a long live. I recently ran across them and wanted to share them and the concept of doing this exercise for insight sake.
O B I T U A R Y – dying too soon…
Arlene Turner-Crawford passed out of this life into the realm of the ancestors. She was much too young to go but the creator has a purpose beyond human control. She is survived by her husband, Richard Crawford, her three children, Jamal Kamau, Maisha Ife, and Jean Norine Akanni; her parents, Innis and Ruth Turner, her brother Richard, his wife Bernie and their son Adam; a host of close and distant relatives; and her extended family of friends who will miss her smile.
Arlene had maintained a hyphenated name so that people would recognized her artwork as coming from the same person, A. Turner to A. Turner-Crawford. For most of her adult life she worked as an educator and practiced her Art with a passion; having something to say but without the articulation skills she wished, she painted, drew and created visual statements about, her people, her nation and the principles she held important. To inform, identify and direct were her goals with her Art.
She was a Pan-African Nationalist most of her life which was, kind of , sort of like being a dinosaur who refused to listen to weather reports.
Her major works were, her children, all of whom she loved, her contributions to those institutions, which she felt deserved to survive, and a significant body of artwork completed but never sold.
She will be missed by a few good people and remembered by many.
E U L O G Y
Arlene was a slave to silver, myth logically associated to truth, honesty and speed. Even when she tried, she couldn’t convince a lie to herself. Born to that nature, unable to shake it she grew despite herself. A Gemini, who, at an early age, overcame most of her negative astrological aspects; she was imaginative, creative and quick. Her sensibilities were sharp, always having the knowledge to act quickly with reason. She honored the power of “Nommo”. Her abstract ideas were frequently being threatened by reality, it seemed foolish to persist when this planet was so into routine, with few challenges to the statue-quo, but Arty could persist, resist and insist.
Her holy turn-on was: those who dared to make movement for themselves, ideas, institutions or nations; she would find them like radar, they were on her frequency. Yet, for her, she had been born female – those nurtured towards the selfless instead of the self-full. Whenever she fought it, the tendencies would arrive to alter her consciousness and sacrifices were made. Her major problem was that she negated all doctrines and decided to believe in people. Had she chosen law, religion, philosophy or some such basic consistency she wouldn’t have been so constantly disillusioned by the human will or the lack of same.
Not being understood was like stomping on cotton, tons and tons of quiet cotton. She was always so close to self-actualization but never just there. Mutable and in constant transition, her life was BECOMING. The bottom line to her was that her conviction was to GROWTH, she sought, labored for it, and at times willed it. Never really seeking to be noticed she would be discovered in passing, just like her ART.
E P I T A P H
Arlene Turner-Crawford 1949 – 1991 AFFIRM LIFE!
O B I T U A R Y – after a full life…
She understood the universe but hadn’t quite been around the world…with peace of mind and wholeness of character, Arlene Turner-Crawford moved on to the next plane in her hundredth and seventh year, passing gently out of body, alert and active to the end. Her life, long and productive, as parent, partner and friend leaves many affected and touched by her having been.
Surviving to remember her are her children and their children, relatives and loved ones; her son Jamal, his wife Kimaada, their twins, Kendall and Reese; her loving daughter, the writing architect, Maisha (MIC) and her husband Malcolm, their daughters, Kanika, Norine and Bessie; her daughter Akanni, her husband Richard and their children Fela, Bakari, Justice and Ayana and the Great grandchildren: Marvin, Curtys, Lee, Baby Rose, Niame Ruth and Yatestu; a host of nieces and nephews and great-grand relations.
The body of Work she created remains a testament to the practice of art in which conception and execution are governed by the imagination, style and the conviction to Afro-centric history and principles. With this legacy our ethnic Art History has been enriched through her images and intent.
Her spirit and energies are now truly ONE with ALL. To us who remain, her wishes to CARRY ON! Will be met.
E U L O G Y
Arty was like a smooth, complex jazz riff that worked; one that caught your attention, moved you into the groove and laid you dead up on the beat, then broke back through a bridge to the melody…and with finger snaps, toe taps and head nods you were moved. WE WILL MISS HER!
Throughout her life she kept to a principle of reciprocity with Zen enthusiasm. She enjoyed life, her family, friends and the community. A person of the universe and in your backyard, coming up a cadre had taught her how to scheme and dream. And she took that background, studied her roots and applied a science to her work – THE WORK!
If a person’s favorites give you insight to their nature, Arlene’s included; a good laugh, trees, McCoy’s piano, Marvin Gaye’s music, Ishmael Reed’s stories, Earth Wind and Fire’s concept, dance that got people involved with spirit, her man Richard and her children. She passed thru our time and space and gave us love. She held in her heart and mind a spiritual hope which affirmed and confirmed our connections with one another. She was a blessing and she could heal.
Her visual expressions, the paintings, drawings, murals, her body of works continue to address the viewers and bring substance to the form. The world of Art was added to by her accomplishments.
Arty served many institutions and groups through out her life, being example, innovator, Mover/Shaker, peacemaker, founder and Culture Mother. She lived a long productive life consistent as and onion and solid as a redwood.
E P I T A P H
Arlene Turner-Crawford 1949 – 2056 QUENCH ESSENCE