As Care Partners, we must
My first introduction to Zora Neale Hurston occurred when my younger son was assigned
Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) as part of his high school AP English class curriculum. I finally decided to learn more about her when I read that Alice Walker and fellow Hurston scholar Charlotte D. Hunt had a marker placed at her unmarked gravesite with this epitaph: “Zora Neale Hurston: A Genius of the South – Novelist Folklorist Anthropologist 1901-1960. (Actually, she was born in 1891 not 1901.) Alice Walker is the author of A Color Purple (1982) who coined the term womanist defining it as a “black feminist” or “feminist of color.”
I selected Dust Tracks on a Road: A Memoir (1942) to begin Zora Neale Hurston’s vast array of authorship.
I was struck by her sage advice in Chapter Ten: “Research is formalized curiosity. Research is poking and prying with a purpose. It is a seeking that he who wishes may know the cosmic secrets of the world and they that dwell wherein.”
As care partners, we must do our research to find out the secrets that dwell wherein the diagnosis and its ramifications and become advocates for the care partner experience.
Zora Neale Hurston was a graduate of Barnard College, an achievement reached in 1927, a southern black woman who never strove for greatness. She was born in Notasulga, Alabama and died in Fort Pierce, Florida in 1960, penniless, maybe a premonition when she wrote in a 1957 letter: “If I do happen to die without money, somebody will bury me, though I do not wish it to be that way.” Two devotees took care of her last wish. Make your wishes while you can.
Self-care Ritual: When I discover a great author, I attempt to read more of their work. Looking for a good book to read or an interesting knitting pattern can become tiresome . . . delving into the same author’s books solves the dilemma—until the next author beckons me to turn those pages.
“You think winter will never end, and then, when you don’t expect it, when you have almost forgotten it,
warmth comes and a different light.”
― Wendell Berry
Artwork: Henry Farrer