The Loss of A Child                                                August 14, 2017
  As a mother who has a lost a child to the Criminal Justice System, it is still very astounding to hear from another adult who has not experienced a loss of a child or short of a death of a child, like I have, to be insensitive with what they consider welcoming and heart-felt comments. Parents who lose children whether thru prison or death have experienced a life changing heart break which almost never heals. The grief is indefinite and cannot be explained.  Before my son went to prison, I probably exchanged some very insensitive dialogue with grieving parents but because I NOW know better, I can tell you what I deem is inappropriate or not.  

    One of my friends, Imani Ruffins lost a child through a senseless murder and people make the most idiotic remarks that make you want to pull every string of your hair out, but you walk away in silence and scream inward. You will never have that same person again; life is altered in so many different ways that it will never be the same. There is an extra seat in the SUV when going on family vacations, the seat at the dinner table is empty, she cannot call her daughter to ask about the newest fashion trends that are going on - Imani cannot buy them for her precious daughter and let's not forget that she will never be able to see her only daughter walk down the aisle. YOU CANNOT fix her grief, but what you can do is empathize with the grief she is experiencing.  Losing a child is behind comprehension.

I would like to expand on some inappropriate remarks that should never be said to a parent that has lost in the form of a death:

    I know how you feel." - NO YOU DO NOT unless you have lost a child and I hope that you never do because my pain never ends.
   "She/He's in a better place." - Really?  May be true, but she/he is not here with me.
   "GOD wanted her more." - This is a senseless incident; please STOP!
   "It's been two years, it's time to move on."  - A parent never want to leave a child behind and will never camouflage the pain.  
    "What's wrong, you look depressed today."- I will be depressed for quite some time.
    "Have Faith."-  Grief is not indicative of a lack of faith. 
    "At least"- Starting with at least is the worst.  At least I have other children or at least I have positive memories. OKAY! Yes, I do, but we all suffer and
     continue to do so. Think about the kids that you can live without, before saying something so insensitive.

 Inappropriate remarks for a parent who has lost a child to the Criminal Justice System:

    "It's not your fault."- I know it's not my fault, but I feel like it is, and even though you make think it's comforting, it's not.
    "At least you can see him." - Yes I can, but I would like to hug him and give him advice about marriage and kids. I would like grand kids that he will be too old to 
     give me.
    "Why did he do something so stupid?" - Just turn around and leave please.
     "Everything happens for a reason."  - "No it happens as a result of something else." 

   Anything that implies "Get over it" is a No-No. Instead you can open your heart, pray for the griever, don't judge, just listen and understand that it is an overwhelmingly personal experience. 

Pain, Power, and Purpose                                       July 19, 2017​​

I had a radio interview this morning and was asked the question, "When did you realize the power you had?"
Before I can tell you about my power, I have to first tell you about my pain.  In 2006, I thought I had lost the most precious commodity in my life - my mother.   My mother was my first friend, my confidante; she was someone that I would talk to about everything that was going on in my life. My mother always had an answer even if the answer was something that I did not always agree with.  Nothing can prepare you for what it's like to lose a I thought.  In hindsight, my mother did prepare my sisters and I.....she prepared us with tough love, and more importantly, she prepared us for life.  She thought we would prepare our kids with the same values she instilled in us, but sadly, that was not the case.  

In 2009, my oldest son, who was seventeen at the time, was sentenced to forty years in the Texas Penitentiary for Aggravated Robbery with a toy gun.  This was an experience that I would never wish upon a parent; this was short of the death of a child. The pain was so crippling and still today, eight years later, I am hit with random thoughts.  Those "what if" thoughts that every parent has at one time or another or those "where did I go wrong moments?"  Each time I would visit him, I would journal my feelings, just like I did when my mother passed away.  Journaling became cathartic and it gave me a sense of peace and understanding; it allowed me to feel and humanize my pain. Journaling enabled me to tap into my subconcious mind where many of my feelings lay dormant.  I was able to be in tuned with my authenticity and not create fallacies.  It became a powerful tool to help me understand my surroundings and what I really wanted and what needed to change. 

There is truth in the statement "God will never give you more than you can bear." It is extremely difficult to find power in your pain and celebrate. Trust me I know all too well; I also know and understand that there are lessons that can only be learned in the boardroom of suffering.  You will never be able to find your power until you first allow yourself to feel the pain and rid of all the guilt that you are feeling.  

In 2012, I started to empower myself. My son going to prison became a turning point in my life, but it became a catalyst for change. There were intuitions of changes that needed to be made and those intuitions were anoymous signals from God.  I was inspired to minimize the toxics in my life which were my own inner thoughts, people and environment. I had to take time and reassess my reason for being.  After doing all of the aformentioned, my true calling was revealed. I needed to help people that were feeling the same feelings.  My power was triggered by trauma, but revealed the true meaning of my character; my purpose was to write "Momma I Should Have Listened" to help families identify before being crucified. 

When I am feeling down and out, I say to myself "God, I don’t know the purpose of this pain, but I trust you to have a purpose in it.”