Remember Me For Me Or Not At All

It’s been a week and I’ve been completely avoiding the internet and all social media, for some reasons more obvious than others. I thought I had been through the worst after enduring a funeral that only referred to him by birth name, used incorrect pronouns, and refused to acknowledge his accomplishments.

Yet here I am, seething and bewildered by how horrible people can be. Especially those who want to cling to their title of “family.”

These are the people who cried on me pleading to know “why he didn’t reach out to them,” misgendering him throughout their questions. The first person I called once I arrived at the scene and identified him was his nephew. Not his father or aunts/uncles who actually live in the area because I knew how they'd be. His father even lunged at me when I corrected him on pronouns when he got to the scene. These people weren’t even able to provide any accurate or concrete identifying marks or tattoos so that the police could verify that they were his family and that it was him. They weren’t even able to describe his hair. And once it was time to make arrangements, I shared pictures of his handwritten will with them. They barely had interest in complying. He wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread on Folly Beach, and they gave their word that they would. But considering how they’ve been, I’m honestly terrified that they actually won’t but told me they would just to appease me.

And this morning, after thinking that the worst has been over, I got a call from one of his cousins. She asked me if I would take down his facebook at the family’s request. Absolutely not! How dare they attempt to erase him like this?! Because his identity and accomplishments make them uncomfortable? Because it forces them to look at themselves? Reminds them of the consequences of their abusive nature?

No, I have absolutely no intention of taking down anything. Or giving up his possessions to them. He even put it in his will that it’ll all go to his best friend, and to leave it up to him. The cousin I talked to said they planned on fighting us (Blair [his best friend], AJ [his roommate and arrived at the scene as I did], and I) legally on this. We are ready to confront this with all of our resources. I am filled with a rage strong enough to keep me going despite having slept less than 25hrs this week. I am ready to do whatever is in my power to ensure that Blake’s memory lives on, that he is remembered for him, and his identity is not something that can be ignored.

 

Please help get the word out.
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Organizer

Flo Ethier 
Organizer
Harrisburg, NC