From the NEIGHBORHOOD FOLKS series
Fort Greene, Brooklyn, NYC
If only I could have seen her one more time
October 14, 1997 - April 5, 2006
Tanasia Mitchell was an eight year old little girl when she passed away as a result of Wilm's Tumor, a cancer that attacks the kidney in young children. I knew her as a second-grader who came to my art class once a week at P.S. 67 in Fort Greene. I met with Tuwana Coggins, her mother, who gave me writings by her daughter, and of hers. Her mother stayed with Tanasia the last six months of her life at Presbyterian hospital. The season changed from fall to winter. Tuwana did not want to leave the neighborhood for too long, so she bought herself a winter coat in the area, so she would not have to travel home to Brooklyn.
Here is a list of Tanasia's favorite things as written by her mother.
I was given the list to reference when I worked with a group of students to paint a memorial mural in the yard at P.S. 67 after her passing.
pink, red, white
her doll house
Favorite things to do:
dancing & singing
collecting pocket books
shopping for jewelry & new things
watching music videos
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Uncle Nacho's Hat
The Little Red Hen
"Love" by Keisha Cole
"Run It" by Chris Brown
"So Sick" by Neo
"Check On Me Tonight" by Beyonce
Writings by Tanasia & Tuwana
I like my eyes
I like the way I dress
I like being myself
I like being smart
Aftermath, by Tuwana Coggins
I never felt so much emotions
run through my body at once like that
leaving a sharp lingering pain
one that is so constant. Because of all the
time we had, but will never have.
It's so unfair we stood strong
We fought with all we had still it
wasn't enough. but not even death
could stop my love for you.
It remains deep and although you're not here for me
to see I feel you're in my heart
always I see you when I close my eyes for you look precious like a jewel
with your beautiful smile so happy
like you always were. I miss us
together but in my heart I know it's
not over we will be together again.