By Chaplain Danielle Di Bona
We are living in difficult times. The fear and isolation of COVID has had a deleterious effect on our spirit, body and mind. Many of us are struggling to maintain even a small amount of hope, and the recent deaths of those in our community is staggering. Elandria Williams, a power unto herself, who loved each of us fully and who loved Unitarian Universalism. E served us inspite of her chronic illness and was often ill because of her unrelenting service to our faith. The loss of Elandria is unbearable to so many of us. Her spirit was daunting and those in her sphere were often the recipients of that spirit. We, the DRUUMM community have lost a beloved friend and mentor. I have lost a child of DRUUMM, one of my “chickadees.” And yet we are called to carry E’s spirit and love on; to share it with both the UU world and the world. And, most important, we are called to share our stories of E with our youngers so that they too will be empowered by Elandria.
William Chester McCall, bigger than life itself! Steadfast in his love of DRUUMM and the POC community. Steadfast in his love of Unitarian Universalism, even in the face of discrimination and dismissal. A positive force of nature. My dear friend who was on the front lines with me in the early days of anti-racism. He could make an anti-racism workshop sing with his energy. For those who were not around when Chester was, ask for stories about him so that he may live on in memory. In many of our cultures it is through story that rituals and history are shared. Knowing Chester through stories will enrich our lives and give us the strength to move forward.
Hope Johnson, a shining light of love, compassion and power. Irreplaceable. Hope gave her all for Unitarian Universalism. She loved our faith. She loved DRUUMM and our people. Hope loved with her whole heart. And she taught with compassion and humor. I will treasure the times she and Janice and I had “a little sippa” after a day at GA. Hope loved our young people and showed it every day. She, along with Janice, took care of and raised so many of you who are reading this. She provided safety, acceptance and a kick in the butt where needed. It is because of Hope and Janice that so many of our young people stayed in our faith and have become leaders. We owe it to Hope to carry on her spirit of love and compassion.
Let us mournfully and passionately. Let us grieve and cry and even beat our chest and hearts. Let us break open our hearts so that the love, passion and compassion of Elandria, Chester and Hope will enter into them and give us the strength to bring love forward in their names.
Grieving without community is grief doubled. We in DRUUMM leadership are here for you. Let us know what you need so that we can attempt to provide it.
I am your chaplain. Call me. Text me. If you email me I might or might not see it. But persist. I will respond. There will be more help available. Do not suffer alone.
In the spirit of love, passion and compassion.
In the spirit of Chester, Elandria and Hope,
Rev. Danielle Mobile (207) 691-5880
Read DRUUMM BEAT November-December 2020 issue here