Today marks 44 years after I lost my mother as a child at the age of 33 to a fatal heart attack. Even though I was a little girl I can still remember it like it was yesterday. I remember walking in and finding her face down on the floor between my bed and my baby brother’s changing table in me and my brother’s bedroom in our third floor, three bedroom apartment in Staten Island, New York.
I realize the older I get, the more I miss her. This past May for my birthday I was missing my mother like crazy. I remember telling the Lord, “I am really missing the woman who gave birth to me today on my birthday.” Despite losing my mother at such a tender age. I still have some of the best and fondest memories of my mom.
I remember as a child growing up in Staten Island, New York standing on the kitchen chair watching either Electric Company, Sesame Street or Don Cornelius on Soul Train with his afro on our small black and white television on the refrigerator.
As a child I remember sitting on her bed as she would pull out her clothes and jewelry. Oh how I remember loving to play with them. I remember my mother making me a nice glass of ice cold strawberry or chocolate Quick. Those were the days when I would long for nice cup of Hawaiian Punch, but that was only when I finished eating my food. She would always put a little dollop of applesauce on my plate so that I would finish eating my food. To this very day I still have to have something sweet on my plate to eat my food. Instead of apple sauce, it ‘s ripe fried plantains.
I remember her listening to some of the most beautiful music back in those days. Songs like “Knock Three Times, “Rock the Boat,” “Woman Take Me in Your Arms,” and so many more. Every time I hear the song, “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel,” I can’t help but think about my Momma. In the same way, I can’t help but think of her each time I hear a Temptations or a Four Tops song.
Some of my favorite pass times with my mother was when we would have the ability to go to one of my favorite places which was Silver Lake Park. Silver Lake Park is my favorite park to this very day. It holds some of the most precious memories for me as a child growing up. It is still one of my favorite places to visit when I am in New York City. My mother is buried across the street at the Silver Lake Park Cemetary. I would often sit on a bench and reminisce knowing that her resting place is across the way.
I think my most fondest memory of my mother and myself, was us sitting at the kitchen table sucking on some sugar cane that her family would send her from back home. Every time I would see a box arrive at our door, I knew exactly what was in it. It was Sugarcane Time!!!
It’s been 44 years, I have never ever eaten sugar cane again. Every time I am back in the Caribbean and I see some sugarcane at the open air markets, I’ll slowly stop and look at them and remember those beautiful and precious moments I spent at our kitchen table in Staten Island, New York as a child sucking away at that sugarcane, both my mother and I.
So as I remember my mother today. I don’t just remember the woman who gave birth to me. I remember the woman who was hardworking, gentle, beautiful, well-dressed and wanted the best for her children. I also remember the woman who always thought me to pray before bedtime and each meal. As the sole survivor of both my parents, I give God thanks for allowing me to be able to have her and experience the warmth of her love for the four years she was here with me on the face of this earth.
And even though there are days I wish that I could hear her voice, or even envelop myself in a warm embrace with her. I thank God that I am still here all though my mother, father and brother are no longer here. I carry the legacy through Christ Jesus who strengthens me.