Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Heartless M.F.

"How could you be so Dr. Evil?"

~ Kanye West in "Heartless"


"That medicine that y'all been giving me don't work. It don't do nothing."

Your face was twisted and angry when you told me that. Your body writhing in the bed rhythmically like some kind of cobra being lured by a snake charmer's music. The more I looked the more you danced.

I'd reviewed your chart carefully. I saw that you were young and that, while you did have some chronic medical conditions, none of them warranted some heavy duty pain regimen.

"The tramadol didn't work?" I asked.

"Tramadol? Man, that pill don't do nothing." You shook your head and curled your lips. Then you exhaled hard through flared nostrils. You wanted to emphasize that last statement.

Your chart laid out a story. Twenty-seven ER visits in less than three months. And each visit to the emergency room read like an identical chapter in the most redundant novel of all time. You came in complaining of pain. None of the non-narcotic options given to you at home were working. On a scale of one to ten? Yours was an eleven. Every single time. Yes. Somehow, some way, there was always someone who'd give you either an IV dose or a handful of the pill you wanted.


The vitals signs on all of those visits were equivocal. No racing heart rate or rapid breathing suggestive of someone in a deep, deep struggle with pain. And yes, I know that pain is a subjective thing but still. I was hoping I could have at least one objective finding in favor of your story which unfortunately kept reading like one I'd read many times before.


That's what you said worked best for you. You also said that nearly every other medication caused you some kind of horrible, life-threatening allergic reaction.


Dilaudid? Wow. You meant business. Even by its generic name--hydromorphone--it was still a big gun. And something I didn't feel good about giving you.

And so, I told you just that.

"I don't feel good about giving you that medication. It's habit forming. But more importantly, I just can't see a good reason to use something so strong based upon what I've seen so far."

"This is ridiculous," you told me. "You look at me and see these braids and these gold fronts and just make up your mind about me. And real talk? Tha's some straight up bullshit. Just 'cause I'm a hooligan don't mean I don't have the right to not be in no pain."

The whole team shifted around nervously when you said that. Eyes found squares of linoleum to study and shoelaces to focus upon. And me? I just stared straight at you and wondered why you'd refer to yourself in that way.

You went on. "It's sad how they don't listen to you just from looking at you. 'Specially when you in real, true pain."

They? Who was this "they?" Was I a part of your "they?" Gosh. I hoped not.

I felt my eyes squinting and coached them back to normal. Scanning the room once more, I felt the uncomfortable sensation in the room rising like yeast dough in a bowl. It was thick like that, too. Like you could grab it and knead it if you wanted to.

That's when I got it. That's when I understood how you managed to get "just a few" oxycodone pills "to hold you over." Just like this. Through these sticky accusations and stealthy jabs. The kind that swell into the kind of anxiety that crumbles even the toughest provider into a pile of narcotic prescriptions. You wore people down.

I knew that because you were doing it to me.

I kept my eyes on you and took a deep breath. I wanted to do right by you. At least this is what I wanted to believe. But your words made it fuzzy. I felt myself second-guessing my position and wondering if I had indeed unfairly sized you up. And so I had a little talk with myself right then and there.

Do you want to do right or do you just want to be right? 
Do you want to help him win or do you just want to win? 

I pondered those questions for a few seconds and then made up my mind.

"I'm not going to give you Dilaudid," I said. "But I want to be as fair as possible so I'm going to double check a few more things in your chart and come back. I'm pretty sure, though, that whatever we do it won't involve hydromorphone."


" I mean Dilaudid."

And in response to that you rolled your eyes hard. Then you said a few more of those things that file people down. Subtle suggestions of discrimination or unethical treatment. I decided not to let you do this to me on this day. No. I went back and looked even closer at your record and your data. I re-examined your body and gleaned nothing that made me change my mind.

I returned to let you know that the plan hadn't changed. No more Dilaudid. At least, not from me.

And you were mad. You called me names. A "heartless motherf--ker" even. And that? That almost wore me down enough to give you what you wanted.


I excused myself before I could.

Here is what I want you to know:

I do care about you. I do. And I hope one day you'll understand that I'm not the "they"-- at least I hope I'm not. I do care. It's just that sometimes choosing the hard right instead of the easy wrong just makes it seem like I don't.

Oh yeah--and to me? You're not a hooligan. To me? You're beautiful. Too beautiful to help you destroy.

Happy Wednesday.

Now playing. . . .

Monday, July 29, 2013


Today I wore a rather frilly dress. The kind that you put on and immediately want to curtsy in. The occasion? Nothing special. In fact, it had more to do with the fact that I need to do laundry than anything else.

And so. In my Sunday-go-to-meeting dress that I had turned into a Monday-go-to-hospital dress, I strolled down the street to grab a bite to eat for lunch. Nothing too spectacular. Just a doctor in her Mary Poppins frock bopping down the street.

The sky was extra blue. The clouds seemed like they'd been piped into the sky like frosting on a wedding cake. And all of it was sort of magical and special so I took a moment to marvel at it.

Which reminds me.

Isaiah and I were riding in the car last week after a rain storm. He suddenly started yelling for me to pass him my phone so that he could snap a picture. And he pleaded with me, "Mom! Hurrrrry!" And I guess I decided that it wouldn't hurt to oblige him.

Here is the photo he took:

And I mean, seriously? Does it get any better than that?

I love that kid.

So yeah. With that in mind, I guess I decided to take a minute to appreciate my surroundings. Which is what I did when I snapped that picture of Grady today that you see above. To remember that blue sky with the fluffy ribbons of clouds nestled against her proud towers.


I kept on walking and I heard someone speaking to me.

"Hey there, pretty lady! You sho' look nice!"

I turned around and saw an older gentleman who was dressed pretty dapper himself. He had his own style and boy was he owning it.

"I appreciate the compliment, sir!"

"What's the occasion, Doc?"

"No occasion. Just one of those days, I guess. A day to be fancy!"

"I heard that, sugar!" He cackled when he said that which made me laugh, too.

"You're pretty snazzy, too. What's got you so spiffy?"

He laughed again. "Oh, sugar, this is what I does." And yes, that is what he said. Then he struck a pose.

And that pose was just too good to not photograph. He proudly gave me permission to share it with you.

And you know? This sight made my day. I swear it did.

You know what else? I curtsied to him. I most certainly did. Grabbed the corners of my girly-girl dress with delicate fingertips, plucked them skyward and then gently lowered my knee and chin. A curtsy fit for the Duchess of Cambridge and her new little baby with all the names. Mmmm hmm. Right there on the sidewalk in front of the hospital. Which, in a way, felt like a curtsy to Grady, too.


You know? I just love Grady Hospital. I mean it--I do. And I am so, so glad to be here.


Happy Monday.

Friday, July 26, 2013


On the way home with Isaiah after his first day of robotics camp:

Me:  So, bud, tell me. How was robotics camp today?

Isaiah:  (in that serious Isaiah voice with big wide Isaiah eyes) Mom?

Me:  (eying him through rear view mirror and bracing myself) Uhhhh. . . yes, bud?

Isaiah:  Mom, robotics camp today was. . . .(choosing his words in that very Isaiah way)  it was . . . . awesome. It was just . . . . so, so awesome, Mom.

Me:  (exhaling majorly)  Phew! Oh good! For a minute there I thought you were going to say something different because you looked and sounded so serious.

Isaiah:  No, Mom. It was awesome. (I love the way he kept saying "awesome" with this throaty growl.) And I can tell that every day of it is gonna be awesome.

Me:  That's great, buddy. Daddy and Mom really hoped you'd like it.

Isaiah:  I really, really do.  (face gets serious again)

Me:  Zay? You okay?

Isaiah:  I was just thinking, that's all.

Me:  Can ask what you were thinking about?

Isaiah:  (now staring out of the backseat window) Mom. . . . I was just. . . . I was just thinking that. . . . . I just have a really good life, Mom. Where I get to do good things and go cool places and then just come home and be with my family.  I have a happy life. That's all I was thinking about, Mom.

Me:  (Now staring forward and full on crying in the driver's seat--and hoping he doesn't notice)  Oh. . *sniffle* .  . .okay. That's great, bud. That's just. . . . .awesome.

Man. Sometimes? Sometimes we get it right.


Happy Friday. And Happy Birthday to my baby sissy, JoLai. I knew she'd like this exchange because she is a part of all of our awesome.

Hearing this in my head on a loop. I caught Isaiah awake and watching this video on an iPad at midnight yesterday. Sometimes he and Zachary will watch it five times in a row or more. And I always let them. :)

Life is a celebration ~ Team Manning. . . . I'm Yours from Kimberly Manning on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Team S.J.G.R. Thursday Huddle #4: You've got the power!

What's up, Team? Hope your week of mindfulness has been better than mine. Ha ha ha. I admit that I've had some highs and lows. But! It's all to the GOOD because I have the power to change that.

Ain't that good news?

Okay, so check it. I was taking care of this wonderful and delightful man this month on the hospital service. Even though he was wonderful and delightful, though, he came to the hospital sick. And not just sick. This dude was sick-sick. And like a lot of patients, he had enough insight to know that something was really, really wrong.

And like the old preachers say --I wish I had time to tell somebody 'bout how a lot of times the person who knows the diagnosis FIRST is the PATIENT and that if you just listen to what THE PATIENT is saying, as the doctor, you'll know what's wrong, too.

I mean, I wish I had time to talk to somebody 'bout that but I don't.

Mmm hmm.

So yeah. This man knew he was sick-sick. Like the kind of sick that can kill you if you don't get to a hospital fast. And that's exactly what he did. He called 911 and they brought him straight to Grady Hospital just in the nick of time. Sure did.

And you know what? He received some aggressive treatment for his problem and got better. He did.

Now. On the day that this wonderful and delightful gentleman was preparing to be discharged, I sat in his room and chatted with him about this, that, and also the other. And during that conversation, he was telling me about how he was sitting at home and he knew in his heart that something was wrong. Very, very wrong. And he had the good sense to call EMS since he lived alone, but he also tried calling others for support. As Murphy's law often works, everybody was either asleep or not near their phones. So he couldn't reach anyone.

While he was waiting for EMS he started feeling more afraid. Like afraid for his life and like he might die. So he tried to call more people, especially someone to come and pray over him or at least pray with him. And still. Nobody was answering when he put out those calls. Not a one.

"So what did you do then?" I asked. I was curious. Mad curious because he was a really good storyteller and all of it felt like a drum roll to a big climax. 

And so. He told me what he did next. "You know what, Miss Manning? I laid hands on myself."

"You did?"

"Yes! Baby, I laid hands on MY-OWN-SELF and prayed over my OWN body. And I realized that I got more power than I gave myself credit for!"

And you know? I could just stop there and let y'all chew on that all day and all night. Because THAT? That was a GOOD WORD.

Now. You don't have to be a follower of any kind of organized religion to get with this idea. And whether you are or aren't a lot can be said about recognizing your OWN power. Your own ability to lay metaphorical hands on YOUR-OWN-SELF.

Stop waiting for somebody to give you the green light to see about your own self. Stop calling everywhere and looking high and low. Look in the mirror. Look at your own hands. And lay some hands on your OWN-SELF.

See, this man was in a life or death situation. Guess what? We are, too! Poor food choices and lack of activity leads to heart disease and obesity. And feelings of low self worth and a whole bunch of other stuff. Which is all life threatening. All of it. Perhaps not as urgent as that man waiting for the 911 dispatcher to pick up but in many ways urgent like a MO-FO.

Do you hear me? Urgent. Like a MO-FO.

Today I looked in my mirror and told myself, "You are strong, you are smart and you are able. Your legs work and your arms do, too. You have one heart and there are too many people dear to it for you to be mean to it."

I also told myself this, "Girl, you are blessed."

Because I am. Very.

Look. Don't let anyone or anything trick you into thinking your lot in life is to be "big-boned-ed" or unhealthy. Don't let anybody brainwash you into thinking that a BMI of 30 is fine as long as you like who you are. Because liking who you are alone DOES NOT prevent heart disease. More is required. That's just how it is.

What's on your plate? What's in your pantry? What needs to get the boot from your fridge? How much are you moving? Are you keeping track? Are you keeping it 150? Meaning 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week or more?

Well? Are you?

Either way--I suggest you do what my patient did. Know your power. Lay hands on your OWN-SELF. Speak health and wellness over your OWN-LIFE. Because this is life threatening. A 911 emergency, even.

YOU have the power. YOU DO. WE DO.

S.J.G.R., people. And the realness don't stop.


Happy Thursday.

You knew this was on my mental iPod!

and this is, too. Yes, LAWD!!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Why they don't let me teach certain conferences.

Carlos D. dropping that knowledge in Kokko Conference

Today after rounding on the wards, I grabbed some lunch and slipped into the residents' teaching conference. I go often, but especially on days when I don't have too much work to do or when one of my friends is slated to do the teaching.

On this day, it was my friend, Carlos D. 

Now. It's actually kind of funny to refer to him as "my friend Carlos D." Not because he isn't my friend because he absolutely is. As my friend, he is thoughtful, funny, and supportive. Celebrates any accomplishments I have and even rearranged out of the country travel just to be at my sister's homegoing last December. So, yeah. He is my friend. But see. . .  I think it feels weird because he's a friend that I look up to a great deal as a colleague. 

And today? I was 100% reminded of why.

So Carlos was teaching this particular conference that is usually reserved for our most seasoned senior faculty. And rightfully so because those folks do a justice to those cases that takes time to develop. Yeah, they do. See, the thing about this session is that the teaching faculty member is presented a case that they haven't heard before. Not even a heads up. 


So today Carlos was presented this rather cryptic case filled of all of the things that could be attributed anything and everything like fever and weakness and dizziness and being a little bit confused. Uhhh, yeah. Super nonspecific pretty much. Then all of the tests were mostly negative-ish and even the fancy-shmancy MRI yielded a whole bunch of nothing. There were some super subtle things in the physical exam and really not much else. 

This dude (the "dude" being Carlos D.) listens to the case and jots down the pertinent things with a dry erase marker on the board in front of the seventy some-odd residents in the room. And he would ask questions and clarify little pieces of it and take tiny steps through the case. He dissected each little piece of information and pointed out those super subtle things that were partly gleaned from his extensive reading and unbelievable breadth of medical knowledge but also the kind of gleaning that just comes from years of experience. 

So I swear to you he picked that case apart until he had knocked a bunch of things off of his list of potential diagnoses. And eventually he had whittled it down to one thing. So he put the cap on the marker, looked over at the presenting resident and said, "This is what I think it is."

And you know what happened next. That's what it was.

And he just sort of sat there with a smile on his face like, "Hey, cool case!" when me, all I could do was fight the urge to jump up out of my chair on the back row and yell: 


Which is clearly why I am not the person giving this conference. Ha ha ha. I wanted nothing more than for him to just throw the marker down on the ground hard, hold his hands up and just walk out of the room without saying a word. Because he ANNIHILATED that case, do you hear me? KILLED it. And see, you need to be at a certain level of bad assness to not want to do the Cabbage Patch Kid dance when these kind of things happen.

Oh, you don't remember the Cabbage Patch Kid dance? We must fix that.

Yeah. So me? I'm not there yet. I clearly have some growing up to do. 

Because had that been me today? Me who broke that case down until it could no longer be BROKE? Chile, please. First, I would have been all like:

"It was positive? I'm right?!?"

Then, I would have been so hyped that I would have started doing a little of this:

and if I really felt good, I would have done this: 

Now if that didn't quite convey my feelings, I would have done this while the chief resident just stood there watching and waiting for me to stop like this:

Oh, and if there was any trace of hateration in the room, I would have been all like:

"Wait, did you just nail this case or did I?"

"Yeah, that's what I thought."

Ha ha ha.

 THEN after all of that, I would have thrown the dry erase marker down and just did this until everyone left the room. Ha ha ha ha.

That or just walked out while chucking a deuce over my shoulder with a pair of Raybans on.

Mmmm hmmm.

Which is precisely why they don't have me cracking a mystery case in front of all of our residents and medical students. Because in the chance that I would be as spot-on, ridiculously right as Carlos was today? It could've gotten real, real ugly. As you can see, I still have some senior faculty maturing to do before I get to that point. 

As one of my students said to me the other day via text: "OBvi."

Ha ha.

But seriously though--some of the best learning occurs when we let our learners see our wheels turn. Even when it doesn't turn out as pretty as Carlos' presentation today, it is still good for us to show that to our students and residents. In fact, the literature tells us that this is what they want. They want to see us thinking and to have a front seat in the clinical reasoning process. 

So yeah. 

Some day, I'll get there. But until then, don't be surprised if you walk by me on rounds at Grady and see me doing this after that test comes back as what I thought it was from the very start:

Carlos D.? Tell the truth. You just had to want to do this a little bit. . .  . .come on, buddy. You can tell me. . . .

Ha ha ha.

Happy Late Monday night.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

We wrote a song for love.

I thirst but never quench

I know the consequence, feeling as I do

We're in a spinning top
where, tell me, will it stop

and what am I to say?

Open our music book, that only few can look
and I'll write a song for you

Love is a symphony, hearts in one melody
'Cause I write a song for you

Sounds never dissipate, they only recreate
in another place

There in your silent night
joy of a song's delight

I write a song for you

You write a song for me

We write a song of love

For love.

~ Earth, Wind, and Fire


Whelp. We came, we saw, and damn it, we conquered. After so, so many years of anticipation, finally the big Centennial Convention arrived. (Not to be confused with the January Centennial Weekend which was also totally unforgettable.) We pumped over 70 million dollars into the D.C. economy while dancing, singing, celebrating and reflecting on the one hundred years of scholarship, service and sisterhood our sorority has brought to the world. 

And okay. That "over 70 million dollar" stat came from T.C. the Taxi Cab Driver, but still. I liked the authority with which he told me that and several other things. I also liked the fact that he said that he personally was blessed by Delta Sigma Theta coming to celebrate. 

"How did we bless you?" I asked him from the back seat.

"Y'all Deltas ain't cheap. And y'all tip good," he told me. 

D.C.'s finest cabbie

That made me smile. Partly because I hoped it was true. But also because it was a genius way for T.C. to get me to live up to that truth. Little did he know that he had me at "T.C." That was my grandfather's initials and nickname. Add to that the fact that he followed that up with "for TAXI CAB." What was there not to love? Seriously? Seriously.

Wait. Where was I? 

The Convention. Yeah, that's it. I'm sorry, y'all. I just love people so I get easily sidetracked. Plus I super-hearted T.C. because he reminded me of the Grady elders. In fact, I super-hearted him so much that I took his number and called him to take Jada and I back to the airport all the way in Baltimore. 

And we tipped him good. Mmmmm hmmm.

Although my road dogs for the weekend were my Tuskegee linesisters and chapter sorors, I still traveled to and from the convention with my partner in crime, Jada R. She had plans to link up with her own Memphis State (now University of Memphis) chapter sisters but we travel so well together that we made sure to share seats on our flights on the legs up and back. 

The cool thing about being a Delta is that after awhile everyone's initiation families just sort of blend together. For the January Centennial weekend, I was with Jada and the Memphis crew. We are literally all old friends so it was great. 

The same could be said about my chapter sorority sisters and Jada. Joy and Marra, my linesisters who roomed with me and shared the same flight, also go way back with Jada. 

I guess Delta is a continuum like that. 

The energy was palpable. These two sorors were waiting in the airport to greet us and welcome us to the celebration. Man. We flew into Baltimore -- not even D.C. -- and still had the red carpet rolled out for us. I really loved that. 

I knew right then and there that it would be a magical experience.

And how happy was I to arrive at the hotel and see this girl? This is Falona. She is my linesister but also yet another example of the Delta continuum I was talking about.

Falona and I have known each other since we were only eight years old. Her parents and my father graduated from high school together in Birmingham, Alabama back in 1961. Falona's mom then went on to attend Tuskegee with Poopdeck. 

And did I mention? Falona's mom is a Delta. And her dad is not only one of Poopdeck's oldest friends--he's also an Omega, too. 

Tuskegee alums--Poopdeck and Barb (Falona's mom)

Yeah. So Falona flew in from Denver and it was like old times. 

Lawd. Have. Mercy. Was it ever.

And so. I bet some of you wonder what exactly happens at something like this. Like. . .why on earth would a bunch of grown women leave their kids and husbands behind to go and frolic around at a . . .wait. . .sorority convention? 

I'll tell you what I can tell you. 'Cause if I told it all, you couldn't even handle it. Ha ha ha. . . .

It started with a beautiful welcome from our National President, Cynthia M.A. Butler-McIntyre. You can't tell from this still just how unbelievably amazing this woman is but just know that she is. I am especially enamored by her because Deanna thought the world of her. In fact, I met her a while back at a Delta program long before she was National President. When Deanna saw the photo I snapped of her, she flipped. She said, "Some day she is going to be National President, and when she is I am going to be HYPED." 

I'm so happy Dee lived to be hyped about the day that she did take that office. 

So very.

So what do we do? I guess the best way for you to understand it all is to get what it is we are about. Delta Sigma Theta is a public service sorority. We are committed to scholarship, service, and sisterhood. And so. The official parts of our convention had a lot to do with that. Celebrating scholarship and professional achievements. Putting our heads together about the social needs of our communities and ways to take our programs to the next level. 

And, of course, fellowshipping and really just being immersed in the continuum that we call Delta Sigma Theta sisterhood.

We really relished in all of that. We did. And I especially paid attention not only to my linesisters and good friends around me, but the ones I didn't know. Deanna was always on my mind the whole time and she cared about things like that. She liked sisterly acts and meeting new sorors. She loved dissecting their stories and folding a piece of their journey into her own. 

"Because Delta is a journey, not a destination," she used to say to me.


And so. I met people. Like this mother and daughter who had traveled from Los Angeles and, I think, Illinois to share in this historic celebration together. I teased mama about her green sweater and she just chuckled. I loved seeing them there together and also the similarities in their faces.

That line was super duper long for the registration packets. That's where I met these two. It dawned on us that the mama was what we call a "Delta Dear" -- the more seasoned of our sorority sisters. I'm glad I got her picture before she left us younguns in the dust. (Our Dears get V.I.P. treatment BIGtime.)

I ran into this sweet soror who told me she pledged my sister. Hugging her made me feel connected to Deanna. So that part was pretty awesome.

And you know? I have to say that this blog has been a real blessing because there were people who were able to recognize me just from this little piece of cyberspace. And a lot of those sisters knew or knew of Deanna. 

Which just added to the continuum. 

Of course, some silliness was involved. Since we were catching cabs and riding trains everywhere, all we needed was a "designated purse holder." Of course we didn't get too outrageous. . .but we officially had permission to be a little more ridiculous than our usual. . .ahem. . . serious selves. That meant dancing like no one was watching. And singing like nobody was in earshot. 

Pretty much every Delta I know that pledged as a collegiate had some kind of reunion with sorority sisters from their chapters of initiation. For me, that meant some GOOD TIMES with the girls from the Gamma Tau Chapter of Tuskegee University. 

I kind of think this was one of my favorite parts of the whole celebration. There was a CRAP-TON of us in D.C. which made me feel so super proud. We had special t-shirts made and we all convened at the Carnegie Library for a photo and some old school shenanigans. 

Of course, we had to take a few pictures of our lines (pledge classes.) The instruction on this one was to "look fierce." (I may or may not have been responsible for that request.)

Ha ha ha!

I met a lot of my younger chapter sorors and was delighted to learn that they are all equally as fun-loving as we were back in Spring of '92. 

I also met some more sho' nuff fun Gamma Tau girls who'd pledged in the seventies and before. Turns out that being wild and crazy didn't start with our pledge class. 

At one point we erupted into a big, wild, cheering pack of Tuskegee Delta girls on those library steps. Folks were driving by and honking horns and snapping photos. It was pretty amazing.


So the continuum just kept on going. Every few steps was a reunion of smiles, joy, and shared experiences. Glances were knowing and telling. Hugs were tight and genuine. And all of it made me just so proud to be a Delta.

Man. It was so much fun. And the whole time, I kept on saying to my linesisters the same thing Jada and I said back in January. "I am SO GLAD I AM HERE!!" Because it was true.

Then. Just when it seemed like we could not possibly have any more fun than we were already having and like things just could NOT have possibly have been more memorable. . . .

My linesister Ebony showed up. 

Ebony could possibly be one of the most naturally funny people I have ever met. Whatever you do with Ebony automatically is fun just because she's there. Eb has a way of turning the most mundane event into a LOL moment that you talk about for years.

Kind of like when this gust of wind blew through the Metro station and she went into to full on Marilyn Monroe. And perhaps you had to be there, but just know that it was really, really funny.

And just when THAT seemed like more excitement than we could handle, our other linesister Tanya came--all the way from AFRICA where she now lives. How awesome is that?

And that? Now that was just super, duper awesome.

Which reminds me. 

When we had Deanna's Homegoing Celebration back in December, Tanya was unable to make it. Although we are linesisters, we are also very good friends and it pained her to not be able to come. She was living in Orlando at the time and it was just too hard to work it out with a child preparing to go off to college (which was her situation.) Though she couldn't come, Tanya recorded and uploaded a video to YouTube with a message just for me. She was wearing her black and her Delta symbols. It was one of the most moving gestures I've ever seen in my life.

Well. As the continuum of Delta works, Tanya was there for the Centennial Convention. And you know what? She was the linesister right by my side as I wept and wept through the ceremonial Memorial Observance for deceased sorors. She rubbed my back and wiped my cheeks. She squeezed my hand and kept saying, "It's okay. Go ahead and cry, big girl." So it felt safe when I did just that.

And you know what? That ceremony was hard. Very hard. 

I pinned Deanna's violet corsage to my heart for its final wearing. We often leave a deceased sorority sister with a violet but since we didn't do a whole open casket thing, I never had the chance to do that for Deanna.

I knew that I would retire that one after the Centennial Memorial Observance and then put it into a special keepsake box. Deanna made that corsage with her own hands (and glue gun. . .ha ha.) For me, I knew that this would be symbolic closure. But I especially thought about how much it would mean to Deanna.

Man. When I unpinned that violet from my chest? Whew. Broke. Down. Do you hear me?

But that's okay because I had an army of sorors surrounding me in support. In addition to my LS Tanya being with me, I was also lucky enough to have my current chapter president and friend, Sabrina, as well as two of Deanna's very best soror-friends, Deborah C. and Crystal H. 

And would you believe that Crystal presented me with a new violet corsage? I cried when she gave it to me. I cried again later, too.

with Crystal H.

My new violet from Crystal

With Deb

They called Deanna's name. And I swear to you it felt like someone was clawing and ripping my heart straight out of my chest at that moment. But as crazy as that sounds, it also felt. . .I don't know. . .like such an important moment. I needed that. I needed that in our Delta relationship.

Oh. And I almost forgot -- I also brought Deanna's chapter badge from when she was in Northern Virginia Alumnae Chapter and gave it to Angela F., one of her special soror-friends.  Angela is still in Northern Virginia and was so, so good to me when my sister first passed and beyond. We have become friends in our own right. We both loved Deanna so that connected us even more than our sorority ties. 

Man. Seeing the light and love in Angela's eyes when I handed that badge to her did my heart such good.

Damn, it did. 

You know? There were parts of the Memorial where we saw the National officers visibly moved. Moved when names were spoken and memories stirred up. That told me that no matter how old we get or how "big deal" we seem that hearts are hearts. Sisters are sisters. And love is just love. That's one of my favorite parts of the continuum.


I met these two Delta Dears while having breakfast near the convention center one morning. They had never attended a convention apart. They were actually blood sisters and the older sister was in the middle of chemo for breast cancer. 

We ended up dining together and they told me all about what she'd gone through. The younger sister talked to me about her fear of not being with her sister at this convention or period. And then they asked me if I had any sisters who were Deltas. And even though I'd been doing well for the whole time in D.C., that was a moment besides the Memorial Observance that I went into the ugly cry. 

And you know? Those Delta Dears were dear to me. They were. They wrapped their arms around me and protected me. They listened to me talk about my sweet sissy and they nodded and asked questions. And all of that part was really good. 

And a part of the continuum.

Deanna always said that she couldn't wait  to be a "Delta Dear." I told them that, too. It made me cry to say that but they got it. They did. 

Sister-Dears with matching rings and manicures

And before I forget. . . .

This was the Centennial Convention Commemorative book. And would you believe that a collection of sorors from all over the country put their money together to get this beautiful tribute page to Deanna? And let me just say that those pages. . . .uhhh. . .let's just say that they weren't cheap. But maybe T.C. was right when he said the Deltas weren't cheap. Ha ha ha. Seriously, though. . . .a number of those sorors had never even met my sister face to face. Yet they were compelled to honor her in this way.

And you know? I don't even know who did this really. I swear to you I don't.  I know that I didn't do it. Nor did our chapter of affiliation. So when I turned that page and saw that photograph of Deanna in that journal. . . I just. . . yeah. It was a lot. But I just want any of those sorors reading this to hear me when I say this:

Words cannot express what this meant to me. They cannot. I will treasure this page and this gesture always. And will never forget what you did for as long as I live.

Again, a part of this lovely continuum.

Gosh. I'm realizing that I could just go on and on. So let me just share a few photos because they can tell it with more brevity but just as much feeling.

This woman in the center pledged at Tuskegee--and so did her three daughters (two pictured)

This is more of the continuum. And just know that this is just through my lens. Multiply this by several thousand equally rich individual experiences and you will know what it was like.

I guess the best way I can put it is like the words of that song.  For one hundred years we have been doing our best to be world changers through leadership and service. But as much as this was all about that, it was about the song we've written together. A song about thirst that never quenches and hearts united in a symphony with one melody.

And yeah. Maybe for me a lot of this was about Deanna and our shared bond through Delta. And yeah, some parts were bittersweet. But mostly? It was sweet. Because now more than ever I know what I love so much about being a Delta. 

That I--along with my beloved sister--got to share in this multipart harmony and that this celebration was simply a beautiful reminder of the song we wrote for love.

And the song that we will continue to sing forever more.


Happy Saturday.

First, this. . . the song on my mental iPod. . . . along with a little iMovie that I hope takes you by the hand and pulls you into my part of this Centennial Celebration. Honestly, I made this video because it's something Deanna would have liked. Making it felt good. I hope it feels as good to watch as it did to make.

Centennial - A song for love from Kimberly Manning on Vimeo.

And then. . . this. . . .the true embodiment of the continuum of the song we've written for love and the everything I love about being a Delta. I'm so fortunate to be a part of this especially in this way.

Thank you, T. I will cherish this for the rest of my life--I will. I needed to put it here for when I need to come back to these memories. I love hearing your voice and knowing that I was able to grant Deanna (and you) this wish by being there for the Centennial. I'm so lucky to be your linesister. 'Preciate you, big girl.