Yours, mine, ours.
Grief can not be painted over with gentrification gray.
Fuck. That moved my black heart. I'm not sure what to do with this grief now. I thought I'd weathered the pandemic fairly well. But now I realise I lost almost all of my friends. And those friendships are unrecoverable.
Reading this, this is the first time I recognize that it is in fact grief that I have been experiencing as some rather hollow echo from deep in the veins of my early life. This is my second pandemic, I was born before the polio epidemic which sculpted my childhood. Naming this feeling, seeing it and knowing it as grief, helps me to open to it, to allow it to fill the seemingly empty corners of my being. I am more comfortable now which may seem counter intuitive. Yet, it is so. I can more easily be with what is. Thank you.
You are spot on! Grief can come in many different shapes and forms but it is always about lamenting the loss.
Lately, I have been sitting at my desk but instead of working on my writing as I am supposed to, I often just quietly lament about the losses the past several years have brought - the loss of time, of an old routine (talk about *old* routines to *oldsters*!), of physical connection and intimacy, of the old "normal"; and the realization that mortality applies to more than just us humans but everything around us. There is part of me that refuses to move on but I know I have to. We all have to. We will build something new for us to latch on to, to build that intimacy again, no matter how little time we think we have to start over.
I am there with you Sari!
Speaking of gentrification, I just finished reading Matthew Desmond's "Poverty, by America". A sobering read but also offers hope and suggestions on what we can act on.
You're the real deal. I'm so glad I'm a paid subscriber (she said smugly). Seriously. Love your stuff.
Sari, thank you for writing this piece. It articulates the hidden sadness that so many of us are experiencing in a rapidly changing landscape. I think the pandemica accelerated the many changes that were already under way, and you rightly pointed out the force of gentrification that has stripped places off of their sense of culture and belonging. The gentrification of NYC since Giuliani's days has made it so different from the city I came to love in the early 90s. And then there's my hometown Hong Kong... the gentrification there is heartbreaking, not to mention the death of its soul after China stripped away whatever was left of its freedom of expression. I and my partner recently visited his home state Florida, and it elicited a great deal of grief in him. He told me the Florida he grew up in is almost unrecognizable to him now, both in terms of the places and the nature of the people (lots of Trumpsters moved there during the pandemic). We are grieving for the loss of the innocence that was embedded in the places we once called HOME. We can't slow the tide of time, but how can we stop the greedy developers from turning lovely towns and cities into "inventory" and tools of investment? How do we, the grassroots arty people, reclaim what has been lost? It feels like a David vs Goliath situation. But I think stories like yours can remind people of what it means to have a real community, and it helps us to collectively mourn our losses.
I'm so sorry, Sari. No pun intended. The way you cried in the new place, that was your old place is the same way I felt when I was forced out of my house for a job interview in Sept. 2021, and walked down 86th from Park to Third Ave looking for something to eat and every single spot was boarded up or worse, the windows dim with a few pieces of furniture not bolted to the floor, stacked and other trash left like the owners were in a hurry. And just when I thought nothing else was gonna close or disappear, The Record Mart the record shop in the subway where trains for 6th, 7th and 8th converge under Times Square, closed Oct 2022. *Sigh* When the familiar falls away, it's grief.
I had to give up the most wonderful, amazing art studio at the beginning of 2021 because my business partner and I couldn’t afford it anymore after almost a year of pandemic living. We’d had it for about 8 years (my son’s whole life!). It’s now a bookstore, which I’d normally be so happy to visit, but I can’t bring myself to step inside because of my grief.
I’m so glad to read your piece because I feel like we’re all just supposed to be ok now ... even though we all went through something very traumatic! Thank you for sharing.
Darn, I wish I had read this before I saw you yesterday. Looking forward to connecting soon. Love you.
Loved this piece, Sari. I follow Oldster, but only tuned in here thanks to David Gutowski's link from @LARGEHEARTEDBOY. So glad I did!
Grief...the debt of the Living. Love to you and Brian, and the Kingston I fell in love in and with....gentrification gray with the pale yellow doors is such an unwanted vibe!
Oh, Sari, this is such a beautiful piece. Thank you for writing it. 🌸
I’m still in mourning about the closure of the wonderful bar/cafe, Moloko, that was around the corner from us until early 2020. It was a true neighborhood place--really good food and a wonderful vibe--and we got to know the owners really well (who treated us incredibly well). We’ve seen people in there, so it may be opening again in a new incarnation. I now wonder how it will make me feel if that does happen and we go there. So, suffice it to say, this piece resonated with me.