written by
lucinda koza

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Grief

Narrative 1 min read , January 19, 2022

I remember my father telling me about going to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s funeral in Atlanta. He went with a big group of his friends; a road trip from Clemson. He told me it was complicated; that some of his friends were very sad and some were more riled up about impending revolution. They argued. It was extremely hot. He told me this after my return from the Women’s March in DC after the 2016 election. I confided in him that the trip had felt complicated, that my solid group of girlfriends had argued and felt conflicting emotions. He told me about the trip to MLK’s funeral to draw a parallel to our experiences during monumental societal moments. It meant so much to me. I couldn’t believe the experiences had been so similar. I felt so connected to my dad and so grateful to him for opening up in an effort to comfort me. Thinking about that now, I feel grief. Grief about Martin Luther King, Jr., grief about my dad — that we didn’t have more conversations like that before his stroke. That we can’t have conversations like that anymore. That he won’t remember that we had that conversation. It hurts. It hurts like a physical, fresh ache in my chest, like something’s been ripped out.

family caregivers daughter loss