Living Through a Big Void by Angenita Williams-Childs

About six weeks ago, I traveled to Milwaukee, WI to pick up my cousin who just suffered a stroke. I knew the trip was coming, but it was short notice, so I was a little slighted because I had something I needed to get done, and I knew that taking that trip that I probably wouldn’t finish it. However, my cousin needed me. I left work, ran home, packed a bag, and headed to my mother’s house.

I joined my cousins Jen, Aaron, and Willie on the trip. We rode in a big white van. Willie, the oldest of all of Grandma’s grandkids, started out driving.

“We are stopping at Popeye’s!” he said. I shook my head.

“Cuz, now you know you are not supposed to be eating that mess. But, I haven’t had none in a while, and I’m starving, so I’m with you!”

We laughed.

I never took a trip with him before. We talked the entire way to Milwaukee. Laughing, reminiscing, talking crazy, and of course my signature phrase, “I ain’t scared of you no more!”

We arrived in Milwaukee, spent the night, and loaded up a trailer and the van. We headed back to Indianapolis, making several stops along the way back. He fed the swans near Gary, IN.

“I’ma get some Alka-Seltzer and watch them blow up!” he said as he walked toward the gas station. We all cracked up laughing.

We finally arrived back in Indianapolis and unloaded the van as best we could.

“C’mon y’all. I gotta get to work,” Will said.

“Well, help out then!” I said. He looked at me crazy, over his glasses. I laughed and shook my head.

“You crazy!” I told him. That was the last time I kicked it with him.

One week ago, Willie passed away. He had a heart attack while in surgery for a pacemaker. My life changed.

When I was younger, I was scared of him. He was big, burly, and mean, or so I thought. I’d heard stories of how he mangled people who dared to threaten his family. I saw a dude shrink after Big Will arrived on the scene. I respected the man who was almost ten years my senior. He was a hot mess, though. Scaring all the kids. Biting their jaws. Always talking crazy, and telling somebody to shut the f**k up. Even when you told him you loved him. Well, maybe that was just me. One day he stood in my face and said, “Girl, I will mess you up.” I looked at him and said, “I ain’t scared of you no more!” He fell out laughing, and that became our signature battle line.

His death made me realize my own mortality. I’m not the healthiest person, neither was he, but his death motivated me to get it together. I was already on the right track by electing to bake more foods, and eat leaner meats with more fruits and vegetables. But, I see now, that this is serious.Time for me to get moving.

I find myself thinking of him. Listening to Boss, or The Conscious Daughters, Soul II Soul. I think about the Jimmy, the drop, the Cadillac, and the motorcycle. His love for trucks and his family. And his death leaves a big void, bigger than his stature. As I type this, a tear falls from my eye because although I know he is not suffering, I miss him terribly. Who am I gonna hit and run? Who am I gonna argue with? My heart is heavy, but still feels joy because I know one day, we’ll see each other again. So I’m not gonna sit and wallow in sorrow and grief. I’m gonna do what he would tell me to do – “Get up off your ass, stop all that damn crying, and gone about your business, Cuz.”

Aight, Big Will. I will.



Willie Lee Lindsey
September 21, 1966 – May 7, 2012


2 comments so far

  1. Theresa Smith on

    Angel I will all to happy to read this one. All so very true because I was afraid of Will myself. He stood like a giant but deep down a gentle person. I know he is very proud of you and the strength that you have is amazing. Look forward to reading more from you.

    Theresa “Mamma Tee” Smith

    • Theresa Smith on

      oops, you know what I mean. 😉 couple typos.

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