Hey Mama

I hope I've made you proud.
My beautiful mother, who almost never posed for pictures.
My beautiful mother, who almost never posed for pictures.

Hey Mama,

It has been quite some time since we last spoke. There is not a day that goes by when you don’t cross my mind. You’ve been on my mind more than ever lately. I believe that is because I’m reaching milestones in my life while (selfishly) missing you simultaneously. I figured writing you a letter could remedy my contrasting feelings.

We have so much to catch up on. I don’t even know where to begin. I’m sure the suspense is driving you crazy, so let’s check a few of the major concerns off the list.

  • I’m not married.
  • You’re not a grandmother.
  • No, this is not a letter from jail.

This is the part when you exhale.

I did, however, meet, trip and fall for a lovely woman named Courtney. Before you ask, yes, she uses the same comb as you. (I told you, that was just a phase, mama) She actually reminds me of you in so many ways ― she’s strong, caring, supportive and wise beyond her years. Even in her most vulnerable moments, she musters the strength to persevere. I believe that is what I admire about her the most. And just like you, she has no problem telling me when I’m wrong. We’re still working on that part. Mama, she’s amazing, and maybe even too good for me at times. I’m sure you would approve.

I went against your wishes and got a few more tattoos. And like you said I would, I regret them. Mama knows best ― case and point.

I graduate from college this May, and though I know I will not see your bright smile as my name is called and I walk across the stage, I will find solace in knowing that I have fulfilled my promise to you. I started writing again this summer too. Two of my articles were picked up by The Huffington Post this year. You were the first person I wanted to call to share the great news. I’m also currently co-producing my first documentary. Needless to say, it has been a busy, but great year. But enough about me.

You should see Lauren now. She is your carbon copy. I see so much of you in her. We celebrated her 20th birthday a few weeks ago over dinner. Dad gave her a box of your old jewelry as a gift. She was almost immediately overcome by joy and grief. I struggled to maintain my composure as well. She misses you dearly. She was charged with the unfortunate burden of transitioning into womanhood without her mother.

I will never forget that bright gaze in your eyes when you told us that we were getting a baby sister. I know how much you wanted a little girl. Even then I could see the high hopes and aspirations you had for this tiny, undeveloped being who would be occupying your womb for the next nine months. I will also never forget that gaze in your eyes when Lauren took a pair a scissors and gave herself a mullet. She has grown into such a beautiful young woman, you would be so proud. (Her hair has filled out nicely as well.)

Wherever you are, I hope this letter finds you. I hope it brings you joy. And I hope I’ve made you proud.

Marquies and Tyrell are still trying to find their way in the world. The love and affection you showed them in spite of their transgressions taught me that a mother’s love for her children is immeasurable. They miss you too. They need you now more than ever—maybe even more than I do. Their grief and guilt are running concurrently. Though our relationship has become estranged over the years, it is my hope that they are able find peace and become the men you so desperately aspired for them to be.

I’ve accepted the fact that you are gone. Though there is nothing in this world I wouldn’t do to have you back. I understand that death is an inevitable feature of life. I wept writing this letter, and I am sure I shall weep again. The mere thought of you can send me into a whirlwind of emotions.

There are moments when I can feel your presence on the nape of neck, and then there are moments when you couldn’t be farther away. I suppose that is something I will have to get used to. I’ve yet to find a healthy contrast of joy and grief. Sometimes I wonder if such a medium even exists. Mama, I’m trying. I am forever indebted for the unconditional love, patience, care and guidance you showed me. Wherever you are, I hope this letter finds you. I hope it brings you joy. And I hope I’ve made you proud.

My sincerest love,




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