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"I remember Mama in a happy way!"

Updated: Apr 17, 2021

Yesterday was a long day at work. I came home, laid down and dozed off immediately. So, here I am at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning writing yesterday's post. I had several things I wanted to talk about, but when my body is tired, I listen. Who would have thought that I'd go from singing Shirley Caesar's "I Remember Mama" to writing a post using words from her song? I was going to wait until Mother's Day to talk about my mom. My site is dedicated to her memory, so why wait?

Mom was one of the strongest women I knew. Any woman who could put up with her children's shenanigans and over a decade of abuse is strong. She had the strength of Samson in my sight. The funny this is, she was given the name "Hercurock" after pulling a tree out of the ground to beat some girls who continued to bully her. Mom was a light-skinned girl with sandy brown hair. At the age of two, as she was playing with flour on the counter while her grandmother cooked, she watched her mom get on a bus. Unbeknownst to her, as she waved goodbye, it would be the last time she'd see her mom as a child. She found her in New Jersey when she was a little over 30 years of age. She never met her father. My great grandmother raised her. Mom grew up during a time where racial tensions were prominent in the south. She'd tell me how white men chased her siblings and her home. She was the youngest of seven children and the only girl, so you know her six brothers were very protective of her...well, until she was an adult getting her behind beat! Sometimes, they were there during the abuse and didn't do a thing! How is it that I stepped in to help as a little girl, and grown behind men didn't? Maybe it's because of the fact that they were abusive to their women! But I digress. Mom played basketball in high school. She was a BEAST on the court. However, her basketball days ended once she became pregnant with my oldest sister. I used to be afraid of my sister's father. Don't get me wrong, he was a gentle giant. He treated us well! He was just the tallest, most muscular man I'd ever seen in my life! The man had finger waves for goodness sake!!! I hid whenever we'd go see him.

Once Mom graduated from high school, she married my father and moved to Texas. That's where the abuse began. My father was (and is) an alcoholic. You can see two beer cans in the picture. It doesn't excuse the hurt my mom endured from his mouth and hands.

When she was pregnant with my youngest sister, he pushed her down an escalator. I love my father, but he was awful when he drank! Honestly, he was awful during times he didn't drink. I have the scars to prove it.

One weekend, he locked Mom in a closet and dared her to say anything while he brought a lady in the house; this was one of several women my siblings and I met during their marriage. I also found sex toys under his car seat on several occasions. I didn't know what they were as a child, but I still remember pulling one from under the seat and waving it around. I got in trouble and didn't understand why. HE was the one in the wrong! Yet, for some unknown reason, Mom stayed with him. She loved him through it all. Dad went to rehab a few times. He would come home from rehab and apologize to us for the things he'd put us through. It lasted for about a month. Then, he was back at it again. My mom had to call my cousins' parents to get them from our house during the middle of many nights because of my dad's abuse. She'd also wait until dad was asleep to wake us many nights so we could escape to hotels. There were some nights we slept in the car. She continued to go back. She'd endure over a decade of physical, mental and emotional abuse. My youngest siblings crawled out the window one night, ran to the neighbor's house and had her call the police as my dad beat Mom. The police came, but he made Mom be quiet. Nobody answered the door, so they left. I was SO hoping he went to jail so we could get some peaceful sleep! I don't know HOW we succeeded in school!

She loved my siblings and I more than she loved herself. The following situation was the straw that broke the camel's back.

One night, as my dad was in one of his usual, drunken stupors, he began arguing with Mom. I remember my siblings and I waking up and sitting on the side of our beds. We were used to the arguing, but this night was different. As they argued, Mom said, "Please stop! Those kids are sleeping! They have to go to school in the morning!" My dad immediately responded, "F*@k you and f*@k those kids! Those kids can suck my d*@k!" That was the end of their marriage. Instead of us going to school the next morning, we got dressed and Mom took us to the courthouse to file for divorce. Once we moved, Dad visited, sat us down and apologized for his words that night and for the years of abuse. That's when I started having more respect for him. I love my Dad now. We're definitely not as close as my mom and I were, but I love him. He picks up the phone and calls me all the time. He remembers the date of Mom's death. Every year, on the anniversary of her death, he calls to check on me. He had demons, but he's trying to make things right. I respect that.

Once we moved, things went downhill. We were poor and had to receive government assistance. In Albany, I attended almost every elementary school, three middle schools and two high schools due to the numerous amounts of times we were evicted and/or homeless. Mom wrote bad checks to feed us and to get us clothes and shoes. Eventually, it caught up with her. There was a warrant out for her arrest. During my ninth grade year, we moved to the projects on the south side of town. At times, it was the norm for Mom to come home after we arrived from school. We did our homework, cooked and cleaned so she didn't have much to do. One day, we came home from school, Mom wasn't there. She never came home that night. About a week had passed when she reappeared JUST to complain about the house not being clean. We were sleeping in the dark, didn't have food to eat, were about to be evicted and that was ALL she cared about! She left moments later. My siblings and I were eventually evicted and went our separate ways. My oldest sister stayed with her children's father, I slept wherever I could until one of my friends asked her mom if I could stay, and I don't know where my youngest siblings went! One day. my aunt pulled up at my friend's house to get me. I was so happy to see that someone in our family finally came to check on me! To this day, I am not sure how she knew I was there. When we got to her house, she sat me down and told me Mom had been arrested. I was devastated! She'd left us to hide at my cousin's house when she was wanted by the police.

Without going into details, from the age of 15 until I graduated from high school, I stayed with several friends and four of my aunts. Mom was eventually released from jail about a year after she'd left us. One day, she showed up at my school and got me out of class. We sat in the car and talked. That's when she begged me to move back with her. I was so cold to her! Where'd she been once she was released from jail? I hadn't seen her in two years! During our conversation, she said, "I started to kidnap you!" That's when I got out of the car and walked back in the school. I never lived with her again. She was there for me during my senior prom and graduation...bought my prom attire. Years later, as I was stationed in Germany, I finally got the strength to write mom a letter telling her how she hurt me and why I refused to stay with her. My siblings called me yelling and telling me how I had her crying. I didn't care! She left us without saying anything! She got out of jail and didn't reach out, but they were upset with me! I was freaking homeless at the age of 15! So, as much as the truth hurt, she needed to hear it! My letter actually brought my mom and I closer again. It hurt, but she understood. I finally returned to The States only to find Mom had suffered abuse from another "man." She worked late nights at a service station. One night, he went to her job, called her outside, dragged her behind the dumpster and left her for dead. She survived, but she went back to him. Eventually, she met another guy who presented himself as a deacon and musician of the church. He was the devil himself! He sold her car for drugs and ruined her 50th birthday celebration! She left him and was in a relationship with a pastor who sexually abused one of my closest family members. Self-love is something she lacked. I can truly say I learned from her!

Mom had gotten super sick! She had congestive heart failure and diabetes complications. In 2015, she moved with me. She had lost control of her bladder and she could barely walk. I believe she came here to die. She went upstairs, took a shower and no matter how much I tried to wake her to drink and eat, she wouldn't. Her toe was black and oozing with pus. I told my husband, "If she doesn't get up tomorrow, I'm calling an ambulance to get her." Early Monday morning, that's what I did. She was BEYOND mad with me, but I didn't care! She was NOT about to die on my watch! She wouldn't give consent for them to take her, but they made the decision that she wasn't in the right mindset to make the decision for herself. I was in tears watching mom dying in front of me. I begged her to go! She eventually agreed. That day, she had emergency surgery to amputate a part of her toe. A week later, she had more of the same toe amputated. We nursed my mom back to health...prolonging her life. She was up dancing, walking, being hard-headed (ahhha) and singing again! She started back going to church and shopping. She was definitely healthier!

Soon, the pastor from our home church in Albany died. It did something to her. He was the only father-figure she'd known! She grew homesick and moved back to Georgia. I visited every break I had. That's when her health declined again. How is it I have all of this family in Albany and three siblings in Georgia, but I had to get her in the hospital each time I flew in from Washington state? I didn't understand it!

One time I visited Albany. As soon as I arrived to her house and saw the condition she was in, I called her doctor and went off! He came the same day, saw pus oozing from her leg and soaking her bed, changed the bandages on her wound and left...WHAT A FREAKING JOKE! I called an ambulance to come get her. She ended up having surgery to have her leg amputated up to her knee. She died months later on November 20, 2018. Until recently, I wouldn't talk to my siblings! I blamed them for not doing more! I miss my mom! I really do! I am finally at a point in my life where I can talk about her without crying. I hold great memories in my heart. She was very intelligent and boy she could sAng! I know she is singing up a storm in the Heavenly choir!

Until we meet again, continue resting in paradise, Mom!


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Beautiful tribute. Mrs. Kathryn is mighty proud.

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