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my Mother's keeper....

I found her walking barefoot in the dark one night near Starr Park in Forest Park right before I was due to leave for Marine Corps basic training. I knew her frame no matter when or where I saw it. She'd lost weight and her feet were cut, bruised, and bloody from having walked through her shoes. My heart broke once again for this woman I loved with all of my heart. I knew I would not leave Atlanta without getting her help no matter what it cost me.

When I moved back to Atlanta in 2008, she was well. Our relationship was not perfect but it had become better. She was so good to her grandbabies, I was blessed to give her the first two. In 2009, she had her first massive stroke. Doctors said she wouldn't make it through the night. It was Christmas Day.

Over the last fifteen years, I watched her fight every diagnosis she was given, in health and mental health. Every time the doctors said a thing, she showed us another.

She told me on March 24th that she wanted to go home. She took her last breath on May 2nd, 2024. I held her hand in one hand and covered her heart with the other. As much as we wanted to keep her, I knew it was necessary to honor her decision and let her go. She was surrounded by those who loved her. She did not go alone and she left us in peace.

"SHE" was my mother. Jacqueline Denise. Her favorite color was purple, fitting for her royalty. She was a FIGHTER. She was a SURVIVOR. She was a LADY. She was FEARLESS. She was a VISIONARY. She was a FORCE. She had a smile and a laugh brighter than lights anyone could turn on in a room. She had a hug that made all troubles go away. My mother's life prepared me while she lived in ways I didn't imagine. Her soul journey has given me a greater understanding now that she has transitioned on. She was a woman that would have her way in life and death, by any means necessary. She made decisions and stood on them. She loved us with a heart that I am just now able to comprehend and understand.

She just WAS.

As I sit here, days after our first Mother's Day without her, I cannot help but be thankful for everything I understand now as her 43-year-old oldest child that I did not as her heartbroken, 9-year-old little girl. I am grounded in the peace of knowing she trusted me and why she trusted me. When I marry again, my name will be hyphenated so that her last name lives on through me. I will continue to live for her in every way she could not while she was here. In due season, I will honor her feminine legacy by completing a work she started when I was a little girl.

She loved me in a way that was hers; there was freedom in that. Her way of love is what allowed me to love my children in my own way. She paved the way for the grace in motherhood that preceded my own imperfect journey.

And on this day I honor her by writing about her because that is my way. She was worthy that the world should know.

Our parents are our first teachers, forgive them if they stumbled while teaching you. Give them grace for falling while trying to love you. Heal with them even if you have to heal from them. Love them how they are even when they are not the ideal you want them to be.

Jackie taught me that.

I knew at some point, this day would come. I am glad I was blessed to share those last moments in life with her; in love, peace, and tears.

The most arrogant assumption we have is the thought that we have time. Time is a blessing. It is counted for us all, in life and death.

I will do well to spend the time I am given on the matters that matter most. I pray you do too.

~Healing Is A #HeartPosture~ Kesh C.


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