Happy Birthday Mommy! Though it’s been almost 13 years since we have spoken, I never forget your birthday. I always wake up, shed a tear, and send a kiss to the heavens for you on this day. However, I felt the need to reach out to you this birthday. I’m about to go into Grandma Hattie Mae mode so I have a lot to say.
I know, the last time you saw me I was in bad shape. In the streets like crazy, getting locked up, smoking a lot of weed and drinking liquor all day. It unfortunately became even worse after you departed me. You always worried about me more than you worried about yourself. I felt that your worrying over my crazy ass is what made your cancer more severe. I lived with a lot of regrets and grief over how I handled the last few months of your life for a very long time. I can’t even use the excuse of being fearful of losing you as an excuse because I was already turning into a loose canon. Your departure was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. But I’ve grown into that man that you raised me to be. I want to reflect and tell you what I neglected to do so before you left.
Now that I’m older I see all of those jewels of wisdom that you dropped on me. I can never thank you enough. Thank you Mom for taking care of me when I was continually battling respiratory issues when I was a child. Thank you for the loving and special care you gave me regardles of how big or small my issues were.
Thank you Mom for always making sure that I had a hot and nutritious breakfast every morning before school. Thank you Mom for being a protector while I was still learning to be one. Thank you Mom for being a great father even though that wasn’t the job that you signed up for. Thank you Mom for reading to me and stressing the importance of knowing my history.
Thank you for teaching me how to cook and nourish myself. Thank you for always making me feel like I was the most special kid in the world on my birthdays. Thank you for sitting by me on those countless emergency room trips because I wanted to be a stunt devil. Thank you for being a best friend and being able to talk to me about any and everything.
My entire life you always worked two or three jobs. I saw you go through chemotherapy during the day, go to work at night and you didn’t complain not one single time! Thank you for showing me that strength and determination. Thank you for setting the example of what work ethic looks like. Thank you for showing me what unconditional love feels like.
Thank you for the way you would bake all types of sweet treats during the holidays. Thank you for coming to all of my football games even though I knew you were exhausted from working two jobs. Thank you for always making sure that I was always one of the best dressed kids in school. Thank you for giving me the startup money for my candy business as a kid, and thank you for being patient with kids knocking on our door all day.
Thank you for not sheltering me and allowing me to become my own individual. Thank you for raising me to be a free thinker that’s not confined to a box. I admire you on how you stood your ground when people questioned why you were raising me in such a manner.
Its the manner that you raised me that makes me the man, husband, and father that I am today. Because of you I had no fall sense of reality as to what it is to be a black man in America. You raised me to stand on my square and not back down from anything or anyone. You raised me knowing that my ancestors on those slave ships were Hebrew Israelites and that we are God’s chosen people that fit the curses of Deuteronomy 28. You raised me to be an unapologetically proud and strong black man. You raised me to not take crap from anybody. You raised me to never be afraid regardless of whom the opposition is. You raised me to know the truth and to fight with the truth. You raised me to never conform to what other people want for me to be. You raised me to be strong and not a kiss ass. Because of you Mom I would rather die on my feet like a man than live on my knees like a coward.
You raised me to not care about how people judge or think about me. Many people feel that my attitude is stand-offish and somewhat hateful. That’s simply because they don’t understand my love. You raised me to have a burning passion for my people and to have that revolutionary spirit. It frustrates me when I don’t see my people with that same spirit, but you always told me that not everyone is wired the same. Not everyone is willing to take a risk for the sake of freedom, justice, and liberation. They may or may not reach that point. I love my people regardless. I just have to continue to do what I do and allow my works do the talking.
You gave me so many lessons to live by Mom. You are the greatest. I am now on my health crusade, but I couldn’t begin that without becoming mentally and spiritually healthy first. I had to find forgiveness in myself for all of the craziness that I had done. I learned something very valuable on this journey. Nobody has the right to determine how someone develops a relationship with The Most High. When I was locked up, it was just The Creator and myself. When I was drunk and passing out, it was just The Creator and myself. When I walked into a gang shootout on the Eastside and not one bullet hit me, it was just The Creator and myself. As I was struggling to pull myself together, it was just myself and The Creator. So with all the time that The Most High and myself spent together at the lowest point in my life, who in the hell can tell me how to have a relationship with the Father. That’s that free thinking you instilled in me.
I get so damn angry at times because you are not still here. There are so many times that I seek your counsel. I can talk to my wife about anything but you raised a very complex individual. You understand me inside and out. But that’s just my selfishness. I know you had to go to the kingdom and sit at the side with the ancestors. You had a greater work to do. I sit back, take a deep breath, and if I listen carefully, I can hear you guiding me.
I hope that no one wastes the opportunity to express their love and appreciation for their loved ones like I did. Regrets can kill your health faster than poor eating. But because of the awesome Mom that you are I know that you forgave me a long time ago. Thank you Mom for just being you. I love you.