Mama I don’t think I give you enough credit for lacing me with as much game as you did. But you absolutely schooled me and Dai and absolutely everyone else that had the privilege to know and love you. You were the epitome of REAL. Even on down days. Even through your flaws, you were the epitome of real. I just wish you knew how powerful you were and how much of an influence you were in all of our lives.
My Mama wasn’t the picture perfect, doting loving, kind of woman all the time. She absolutely loved us. Absolutely. She parented the only way that she knew how. Growing up, we were raised by not only my Mom but our Great Grand and our Mother Dear. Wherever my Mom couldn’t be, they were. And they all shared the load of my Sister and I.
Family dynamics in the black community. This is a story that’s probably shared all across the World. Growing up black, as far as I know, the community raises you. It’s a whole entire family unit. And a lot of it is rooted in struggle and survival first, then love, and pain, or vice versa. Chains of pain. Fatherless homes, in our case, both at times. And by no means is this a diss blog, my Mom and I made our peace prior to her passing which is one of the best feelings I can say because had she and I been on bad terms when she passed I probably would have lost my mind a long time ago.
So, I’ll say this to anyone who may be feuding with a parent, Mother or Father, PLEASE find a common ground. Love them while you have them however you can. They aren’t ideal trust me I UNDERSTAND AND INNERSTAND but please, PLEASE, find a common ground and just love them as they are. You don’t have to deal with them when they are in a funk or on a trip or whatever, but let them know however and whenever how much you love them and try to find a way to heal and not take their suffering personally. Because behind those drinks, the drugs, the anger, the rage, the madness, is pain and trauma.
I learned early on in my life that I couldn’t walk a mile in my Mother’s shoes. And my entire life all I ever wanted to do was take away her pain. As a matter of fact it’s crazy, my Sister and I both wrote letters to the Judge during my Mother’s trial and the Judge literally was almost moved to tears but it was prevented because of the emotion and rage she felt that the State had only sought a plea agreement for my Mother’s murderer. I will never forget her words, “I wish I could give you more time for what you done and truly don’t understand how you were able to plea out of this. You show absolutely no remorse.”
And he didn’t not a one. But you know, it is what it is I suppose. I will never know how to feel about that. And that’s a pain that I live with daily. Which brought me to this article today.
This morning as I was sitting in silence meditating, my mind fluttered to the night my Mom was last alive as it does often. Our last conversation. The gnawing feeling in my gut that I couldn’t ignore. The way I could tell that my Mama was distracted when she was talking to me. Me asking her, “Are you texting someone?” Her telling me yes. We continue talking and by now the texting is clearly continuing on. The gnawing in my gut increasing and I’m getting irritated. “Mama, who the heck are you texting that’s more important than me.” She laughs and says, “My Friennnnddd….” I respond, “You don’t have any friennnnndssss that I know of. Who is he?” Her responding, “My friend Brandon.”
At times I don’t know if the gnawing truly intensified by the sound of that name but I knew instantly that something wasn’t right. I feel like all of us knew something wasn’t right but we were so lost in life, in our own lives, that we didn’t put our fingers on it. We didn’t grasp the nature of what was unfolding because it was so farfetched and unreal to fathom. One lesson my Mama always told me and my Sister coming up is, “You don’t have friends, you have associates.” And she meant that. She didn’t have friends, she had family. Friends who grew into her Sisters. My Aunt Gail, My Aunt Tanya, and my BELOVED Aunt Niecy and soooo soooo many more cousins like my Faves Cousins Kam, Kay, Katina, and my Mamas fave Veronica. Her IT Girls. They weren’t her friends, they were her Sisters. I’m so fortunate to have the same. A group of Sisters that love me for me. Friends will come and go, fall out, and fall off. But my Sisters gone check me right then and there and we go about our lives loving one another to no end.
That last night of my Mama’s life dwells in my mind often. Every rule she ever told us, every last one of them…. she broke it and my families heart right along with it. “Ya’ll don’t have any friends, ya’ll only have associates.” Which then led to the big one, “Don’t ever get yourself into a situation that you can’t fight your way out of.”
My Sister’s testimony or last sighting of my Mother was a key component in identifying the man who murdered her. She saw our Mama hesitate before getting in the backseat of the car, another lesson that she actually followed. “If it’s two folks already in the car and you don’t trust it, never get in the front seat. Always ride in the back so you can watch.” She’d tell us. Honestly I prefer riding every where alone. I like to leave and go when I want to. Major lesson that I tell my son’s daily. I had a close friend that I grew up with that was murdered by his friends as he sat in the passenger seat of the car. Just riding with them and chilling. One of them shot him in the back of the head. The other pushed him out the car to die in the street.
Growing up black is a different kind of experience. And we just clock into work as if we live the same type of lives as our counterparts. Like we aren’t living within war zones daily. People talk about the wars overseas, and I get it. It’s all awful it is. It’s all madness and I hate every ounce of it all.
However, I can’t help to ask, “What about the hood?” What about the economical hardships that we too face here? What about the lack of education, jobs, etc.? Sighs….. The hood been at war with itself for a very long time and I know the solution lies within each and every one of us. Love. A love that we have to tap into on our own. Individually. So that we can be the reflection of love that we want to see in our our community.
I am the smoky mirror.
So yeah, even hesitating, she got in the car and she left.
My thoughts always flutter to her last ride. Always. Her thoughts. What she was thinking, saying, if she was saying anything at all. If she was nervous. If she knew something wasn’t right. If she wanted to just go back home. Sometimes, like this morning, I’m able to think it all without getting angry or crying in a full fledge anxiety attack. Sometimes it’s subtle tears.
Why did you put yourself into a situation that you couldn’t fight your way out of Mama? I’ve wondered often. She didn’t know. She just didn’t know what was going to happen or why. She thought she was going home.
So many lessons she has taught me. Some initially rooted in fear but for good reason. You never know what’s going on in other’s minds and honestly, I tend to not want to know at all. I stay out the way for these very reasons.
Getting into myself and my spirituality and truly being free at heart and mind has truly allowed me to see things that my people pleasing ego wouldn’t have allowed me to see.
I don’t think if folks are for me, I know rather or not they are or aren’t.
People don’t get to mess up with me or comeback from it. I will love you forever but you’ll never be close to me again. Not like how you used to. It’s not even just a form of protection, it’s just law. Energy is energy. It either attracts or repels.
Lessons My Mama Taught Me
- You don’t have any friends.
- Don’t ever get yourself into a situation that you can’t fight your way out of
- If it’s two folks already in the car and you don’t trust it, never get in the front seat. Always ride in the back so you can watch.
- Never go anywhere without any money.
- Don’t gossip.
- If a Man comes to pick you up and he honks the horn for you to come outside, don’t go.
- Never wear shoes that hurt your feet.
- Don’t be like me, be greater than me.
- I love you unconditionally.
I love you unconditionally more Mama. Thank you.