My Perfectly Flawed African American Mother

My mother died the day before my birthday in 2014. Not a great way to look forward to a birthday celebration, right?? My birthday is exactly one month from now and her death will be three years on the 24th of July. I am a poet, spoken word artist, and definitely a writer on many different topics so this is going to be my words to my mother and to anyone out there who feels what I am about to speak on…

I was the one that had to sign the papers to have the machines stop the little bit of organs that were working on her behalf. I didn’t want to do it the day before my birthday and on my aunt’s birthday that day but her other sisters knew she was gone days ago. So, I signed the papers and walked out of the hospital. I didn’t want to see her like that. I knew it was eventually coming, but not on or before my birthday. It would be too much and it has been up to now. I didn’t celebrate my birthday for two years and now we are upon the third year and I thought I was okay…until the pas two weeks. I got little triggers that reminded me of her and even today as I write this, I got emotional in my car after listening to a Phyllis Hyman song.


My mommy was a damaged woman way before I was born and she left this Earth just as damaged. But in her mind, she was able to find some type of happiness that worked for her at that time. I never experienced her laughing until her belly ached, going out on dates with different men and hearing the horror stories about them or seeing her accomplish the goals she had as a child. I don’t even know what those were, but my aunts claim she was very determined to do something good.

There were things she experienced in the 41 years of my life that I was a witness to and the generational curse got me for a good amount of my years too. And I was able to overcome that curse and produce with the help of her father a well-rounded and beautiful 23 year old daughter. I still bear the scars, that will never go away. I have insecurities and get depressed when I get down, but I remember that the other half of my heart needs me. My life could have ended multiple times as a child, teen, and in my 20s. Suicide was a constant friend on my shoulder because of the poverty gaps I experienced with my mom and as a young adult struggling to find myself in this world.

For years growing up I would say my role model was Martin Luther King, Jr. because it sounded good and most likely I was trying to be like everyone else. At 41 about to be 42 years old, I look back at my life and noticed that my mom wasn’t able to give me everything, but she gave me everything SHE had and I had to understand and accept that what she gave me I needed to cherish and love it regardless of how I looked at things. She sacrificed on so many levels but I had to learn to meet her where she was at…unfortunately I learned too late.

I was struggling to make it for so many years so that I could get to a place where I was secure and stable enough to FIX her and bring her to a time that I never saw before because I needed to help her. Me struggling to gain stability with the lessons I learned along the way was an effort that was too much of a cross to bear. I failed many times because I didn’t have the tools to navigate this world and those obstacles gave me less and less time to help HER. So, now I am sitting on my couch writing about her and still feeling guilty for not saving HER in time. I continue to believe I failed HER.

I am not religious but spiritual maybe this is God/Higher Being way of having this cross to bear by having her die the day before my birthday. As a reminder for what i couldn’t do for HER. I honestly don’t know, but I thought it would get easier with time.

It doesn’t!!!

My dark chocolate African American mother was my role model and the other half of my heart. She provided me and my deaf brother with all that she could and sacrificed for many years and I thank and love her for it. She was perfectly flawed and definitely a caustionary tale but she was for me. What she wasn’t able to do for me, I was able to do it for my daughter. And I continue to do it for other people’s children. Her tale and mines will always live on because it shows America, the land of Milk and Honey that poverty can cause mental illness. That America and its resources for the poor still resulted in continuous poverty traps that people like my mother never got a chance to step out of before she died.

Be the woman you needed as a girl…and give it to the woman and girls you come across until your last breathe.

She allowed me to eventually come into myself and fix my physical and emotional scars. She helped me see what not to accept from people in my personal and professional life…through my trials and tribulations. She lives in me and maybe the guilt will always be there too. But I am thankful she was in my life and gave me what she could…where she was at in her life. I can sit back and wish and hope for a certain type of mother and plead with God to heal what I was given, but SHE was my everything…perfectly flawed and all. I just wish I was able to tell her that three years ago. So, that her heart could have healed just a little bit before she passed. To know that she was loved…perfectly flawed and all.

I love you, mommy! RIP

3 Comments Add yours

  1. 👸🏾👩🏾‍💼👩🏾

    Liked by 1 person

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