One month from now will mark what would have been the thirty-first anniversary of my
son's birth; the anniversary of my induction into true motherhood. I have to say, I feel the anxiety mounting. Not for the reason many would believe. It being his "birthday" per se is of no conse-quence. We do not celebrate birthdays because we have nothing to do with our surviving form year to year, day to day, hour to hour. I know some would like to counter that statement, that Muriyd/Two Clouds did not celebrate his birthday, but it is true.
When he began being around people who practiced the ritual he would protest and tell them he was not interested in cake, singing nor all the rest, but they- being more concerned with what they wanted for him, and in fulfilling what they themselves desired- would ignore his requests and "surprise" him anyway. Realizing that his discomfort and appeals meant little to nothing, he gave up on protesting and just let them have their way. That does not, in my opinion, equate to celebrating.
Our familial ritual of rejoicing in The Giver's gift of time is by giving to creation through charity, and spending time in remembrance of The One Creator, Controller of All. I have never, in fifty years, celebrated a birthday, and I raised my children the same way. They have continued the tradition as adults, but when they are among associates who, as self-centered humans, cannot understand the concept of not following the crowd for the expressed sake of following or not feeling "left out", they are forced to dig in their heels and demand nicely, "Thanks, but NO". I find it ironic that it was Muriyd, who was around so many people who pride themselves on being diverse and accepting of all differences, that had the most problem with having his own preferences regarded, respected. But I digress...
Anxiety is building in me because I am sure people are thinking of ways to "honor" my son on his birth anniversary (I have already been made aware), and with that, I have a huge problem. Firstly, Muriyd would be horrified by such a gesture. We had many conversations in which he called me frustrated by people's putting him "on a pedestal" and frightened that he would have to answer for allowing it to happen on the Day of Judgement when we will all be called to account for our actions here on Earth. He knew that most people- particularly Natives and their allies in relation to him, but certainly not exclusively so- like holding onto objects, deities, and symbolisms that they do or don't understand as idolatry. He was hyper uncomfortable with being seen as something great, someone who others fawned over, or otherwise given credit that he attributed to The Creator alone. And it bothered him ever so much that there was virtually nothing he could do about it. Asking them to stop only led to more of the same as they thought he was so awesome for not wanting the attention. It was a Catch 22.
Secondly, I am disturbed because the idea of anyone (besides a tiny group of family and friends who are actively helping to pursue justice for my son's murder and/or continue his work) participating in any show of remembrance for Muriyd/Two Clouds yet has done zero all year long to help in arresting his murderer/s and conspirators nor honor his memory by assisting in pushing forth his mission, but has the audacity to create meaningless imagery meant to represent support that is inauthentic and ultimately, self-serving... infuriates and saddens me in equal measure.
Muriyd used to express his annoyance of those who were just around in order to be in proximity of real work yet offer little or no contribution. They enjoyed being able to say they knew or was a relative of Two Clouds, or that they had a real Indian friend that offered validity with their nature-loving, intellectually "evolved" friends. He would consider them, most often remaining gracious while offering stories and woodland strolls, teaching the history of his father's people. I know this not only from our lengthy routine conversations, but from the two dozen or more associates who have contacted me since his transition to tell me how much they love him and are here to help, but barely share a post, video, or hashtag to bring awareness to his murder. In fact, most are still not convinced that he was murdered at all, choosing to instead question if he committed suicide because "he was really upset about tribal stuff when we spoke the last time", or "Do you think the M.E. could have missed something??" since the coroner's findings from a thorough examination of my son's gutted organs does not gel with their musings, or "Are you sure?? Because he's such a nice guy. I think he's just really hurting." when told who the killer and main conspirator actually are- compliments of their own exposures.
The same people who will venture to march, leave an empty seat, read a poem, send up smoke, have a dinner, make desultory posts, gather on the land where he lived and was taken from his descendants and true loved ones to commemorate the day will not donate a book, help feed the poor, walk for education, help build a water well, or take action on his behalf in myriad ways. These are the things that matter, not the using of him- his life and death- to showcase how awesome someone is for coming out and "supporting" Two Clouds.
Two Clouds is not a trinket to set high up on a shelf only to dust off and acknowledge when it is convenient and fun for you to do so.
Two Clouds is not a sideshow.
Two Clouds' mother is not here to assuage anyone's guilt- or lack thereof- and stroke their mane to make them feel better about their lack of repayment for all the knowledge, friendship, and credibility he wilfully gave to them.
If the ways people want to remember him is no way in service to Muriyd/Two Clouds, it is only in service to themselves. Which means their"love" is false and pompous, at best.
Truly honoring him will reveal itself in actions. If anyone is unclear on viable ways to remember him here are some ideas to get you started.
Otherwise, the family and close friends of Muriyd Abdullah Muhammad Williams (Niishwak Akumahkwak which is interpreted as Two Clouds) does not condone nor support or wish good for any somber "shows" towards our son/brother/cousin/nephew/friend.
They are for your egos alone.