If you truly know me, you’ll know my grandma meant the world to me; She was my light and source of Joy during my darkest times in life. I loved visiting her home in Kingston 17 before my grandfather passed and she migrated. Some of my fondest childhood memories were created around her and the safe haven she created. She truly loved me and always accepted me for who I was and what I wanted to be, no matter what her personal views and beliefs were, which is something I admired so much. She was always encouraging me and reminding me she loved me in between our conversations either in person or via phone calls. I low-key worshipped that woman for what she represented; she was a strong woman that endured many hardships and at her best she was LOVE.
I lost my grandma on July 10th, 2017, four days after she arrived in Jamaica. I vividly recall the events of that day. I woke up feeling so excited as that given Monday was supposed to be the day she would be staying with my family instead of her usual stay at my aunt who also resided in Kingston 17 whenever she came back to Jamaica. Unaware to everyone she was sick when she came home and before we realized how sick she was it was too late. However, by the end of the day, the reality sank in and as the night came, darkness shrouded me. I was angry, I was sad, I was alone and out of control.
For two long weeks, I slept in what should have been her bed; confused and in a constant state of sadness. What I failed to notice then, was that I was going through a metamorphosis. Mentally, I was walking down a very long dark chamber which eventually led to a room with an unlit candle. This candle felt familiar; I’ve been here countless times before however, the difference was my grandmother was no longer there to light my candle. It was during this challenging process of sitting in my darkness, that I learned to light my own candle and it has been the most liberating thing for me ever since. So much changed when I acknowledged I had to be the spark for my own light. I found joy, happiness, inspiration, I was empowered and the quality of life has only increased since then. My career has been reaping the benefits of this and I’m forever thankful for the process of grieving my grandmother, as it showed how dependent I was on others to make things happen for me. Now I can fully stand on my own in my own truth and light, which she always encouraged me to seek…
I know she’s out there guiding me still along with my other grandparents and ancestors, who carefully send me messages day by day.
My triumph from darkness into my own light inspired me to create this project. I’ve been planning this project since September 2017. Thanks to these amazing people listed below; especially my amazing cousin Shanelle, I was finally able to materialize this vision between August and September 2019.
Choreographer: Renée I. McDonald
Director of Photography: Kid Bazzle
Camera Operator: Dane Nelson
Technical Assistant: Davion Lyson
Recently I found a note she sent me one holiday with her usual gifts.
“I hope you are fine
longing to see you
what is inside is yours
I love you.
This note connects with me so differently now, I’m pretty sure back then I was more interested in what I was receiving than the note itself, Today as I re-read this note possibly the 5th time since week; it serves as a reminder that the light and joy that I always wanted is within me and not anywhere else.
-Jik-Reuben Pringle, The Visual Ninja
~Peace, Perfect Peace~