My sister’s son Marcus died unexpectedly some years ago. He was a young husband and father. To me, he was the best son a mother could hope for. To get a visual of the impact of his death and what happened to our family after he died, think about this: Picture the ground constantly shaking beneath you. You step and try to move to a part of the ground that seems solid, but then it too starts shaking. You can’t escape it. You wake up, it’s shaking. You grab your morning cup of coffee, it’s shaking. You go to work, it’s shaking. You come home, it’s shaking. You go to sleep, it’s shaking. You wake up the next day and it’s shaking yet again. It is the worst possible rendition of Groundhog Day. You try everything you can do to make it stop, to regain your stability. You try to avoid places where you know it is particularly unstable. One place I tread lightly is Mother’s Day. My observance of Mother's Day is always somewhat muted because my sister doesn’t have her loving, doting son to celebrate her awesomeness as a mom. It seems insensitive of me to celebrate when my sister no longer has Marcus to celebrate with her.
This is just my own personal hang up. My sister happily celebrates Mother’s Day and sincerely encourages me and everyone else to do the same. Anyway, how can you not celebrate when well wishes via texts, Facebook posts and numerous calls are constant throughout the day?
However, this Mother’s Day brings new sadness. This Mother's Day I am thinking about another mom missing her son. Her son who died unexpectedly as he went for a jog. He was young, and he too died way too soon. Ahmaud Arbery. Ahmaud’s murder is a reminder of what evilness lurks amongst us this Mother’s Day, and every other day we wake up and breathe. Is it still safe to breathe? I have to ask since we are killed doing all manner of ordinary behavior: if we jog, if we walk in our own neighborhood, if we are in our home.
I am profoundly sad, and I am so weary. The racism and disregard for our lives in this country feels like it is causing some type of dissection in me and I pray that it is not cutting away the good parts of who I am. The part that loves all people and even still fiercely loves this country. I don’t want the bad parts to overtake the inherent hope and humanity within that tempers who I am and who I strive to become.
I offer my most sincere condolences to Ahmaud’s family and particularly to his mother Mrs. Wanda Cooper-Jones. I imagine this Mother’s Day will be unimaginably hard for her. Mrs. Cooper-Jones, please know there are people you do not know, whom you may never meet that mourn with you and are heavy with grief at the senseless act of violence that ended your son's life. We mourn with you and pledge to keep our unmoving eyes on the judicial system with full expectation that justice will be served and somehow, someday the shaking will stop.
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