Monday, May 9, 2016

Conseula Francis

My dear, dear friend Conseula Francis.
What does it mean when someone--someone I know, someone I love--is gone? I don't believe it.  I'll see this picture of her and think, "Damn--she looks really good!  I'll tell her the next time I see her."  I'll sob, but, later, I think, "I need her feedback on my writing."  When I had the latest challenging experience with my own body, she offered for us to be have bagels and talk.  And now she's gone.

I can't believe it.  I can't see her as gone.  How does this happen?  How do I reconcile myself to a world she doesn't inhabit?  Is it fair for me to have those thoughts?  

I've been thinking all day about Conseula's death, but I don't need to share some of those thoughts.  Much of what I'm thinking is about myself, and I don't want to talk about my own issues today.

I want to speak with Conseula. Who is gone.  Who is no longer here.

Conseula was wonderfully fierce and pushy.  She was funny, even when she was pissed off.  Sometimes, especially when she was pissed off.  Conseula worried about her children and their future.  Even in the midst of her own problems, she always, always made time for her friends.

Ten years ago, Conseula and I left a meeting together.  The meeting was about tenure and promotion, and it left us sobbing and terrified.  So, we formed a writing group with Claire, and years of writing and research productivity followed.  All of us became full professors and the best of friends.

I love Conseula.  I already miss her deeply, terribly.  Someday I will comprehend that she is gone.  But not today.  Not yet.  


  1. I took a class with Dr. Francis. Harlem Renaissance and the Black Arts Movement. She introduced me to so many Black writers I had never otherwise had a chance to study. She was warm, hilarious, and brilliant. I am so sad to read of her passing.

  2. I'm so sorry to hear your news! Hugs!

  3. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I send you much love and hugs.

    1. Thank you--just stunning how people are suddenly gone.

  4. The two of you were my greatest mentors while I was at the College of Charleston. Dr. Francis was my Masters Thesis Committee Chair and I took everything she offered. In fact, I chose a concentration in African American Literature because of her guidance. You two inspired me to go on to get a PhD and to strive for a career in academia. I just can't believe how much has happened in the seven years since I left. I just can't believe she's gone.

  5. Seriously, what is up with the Universe?!