At the request of the family, this ghost bike was not installed.
Jelani Irving was headed down the hill on Washington Ave. on his way home from work at 6:30 in the morning when he was crashed into head-on. Brooklyn Paper reports that the driver was given two tickets by the NYPD for having bald tires, but not for fatally injuring Jelani.
Jelani died of his injuries a few days later at Kings County Hospital.
Exerpted from a blog post written by Jelani's cousin, Daniel.
...Periodically, I find myself wondering if this event,
his death, even really happened. Of course, I know for a fact that it
has, Jelani is dead, and life for my family will be very different as we
move towards healing.
In moments like these, everyone searches for answers.
Right now, the facts of the accident are emerging: there was fog,
perhaps black ice, an intersection with a confusing geometry, it was
early morning. The impact of a 2,000 lb car on 160 pounds of flesh, even
at the city speed limit is enough to cause catastrophic injury if the
conditions are right. I know that “why” is seldom a useful question in
times like these, but time and time again I find myself coming back to
“Why” presupposes meaning, judgment
and maybe even purpose to an event. It also calls my faith to task as I
try to reconcile myself to the profound void now created where Jelani
once told jokes, laughed, sang and recited his poetry. The universe is
now disordered for me and others, and I want to know why? However, I
know that no one can answer that, and even trying to answer that
question will only lead to disappointment and more pain. Was it God, was
it the Adversary, was it Fate, was it Karma, is this all an illusion,
or just samsara--the cycle of birth and death and rebirth? There is no
scripture, and I know many, from worlds religions, or poetry, or the
latest from Quantum Mechanics that can answer the why. At least not
So, my faith calls me to now ask “how”. How do I move
towards healing? How do I take care of my spirit, now hung low? How do I
take care of others, who need my strength, my presence, my laughter, as
much I need theirs? This is not so much about solutions, fixes or steps
as it is about what we are called to do, and who we are called to be in
times just like these.
I believe that if I open myself to gratitude, in the
way some great people have throughout the ages, including Jelani’s
mother, my aunt who has shown gratitude throughout this ordeal; that
will be how I move towards healing.
Last week, I told a cousin who shared the news of
Jelani’s passing with me, apologizing for doing so “...that everyone
will have a chance to deliver and receive bad news at some point, there
is no need to apologize.” And, all of us will also have a chance to
share some good news too, not about salvation or afterlives or
reincarnation (although those might be great, later on); it is the good
news that it is ok to be sad, yet so grateful in times like these. I am
grateful to have known such a wonderful man for 22 years.