Today is the day that we take time to remember our Mothers and show them love in some shape, form or fashion. Today is my 46th Mother’s Day without my biological Mother. For me it has just been a day to remind me of what I don’t have. As I’ve gotten older and especially since I’m taking myself on an Encore journey (to be the change I want to see), I’m working effortlessly to change my thoughts on this day; to think of what I do have. Instead of reflecting on the fact that I don’t have a Mother, I’m working to concentrate on the Substitute Mothers that GOD has BLESSED me with!
To me, being a Mother is a gift of caring that never ends and a love that never dies. Today I want to take time to acknowledge the women that have come into my life and given me this unending love and care. These are my Substitute Mothers.
First I must reflect on a Substitute Mother that I lost on October 10, 2015, while I was studying abroad in South Africa. Rosetta Gilmore, who everyone calls Whul, was a Dear Substitute Mother to me.
My Sister and I were raised by my Maternal Aunt, Dorothy Mae Lawrence-Hubert-Thurman (who we call Aunt Bia). We started living with her in the Orr-Weathers (Housing Projects) in the E-4 building.
We met Whul and her daughters (Deborah, Pat, Diane and Yvette), when we move on the 7th Floor. Years later we moved to the row houses and coincidentally moved where our back yards were across from each other. They became the family that provided me with unspoken love (through their actions), when I felt I needed to feel family love. I would spend most of my free time at home at their place and they never made me feel like, “I wish she would go home.”
Even when I moved out of Illinois, I always made it my business to visit Whul; like I would a Mother, during my return visits home. I remember taking my young Son to visit her and when we left he said, “Ma, I have never thought about having a GrandMother before, because I’ve never had one; but Whul make me feel like I wish I had one.” This was a confirmation for me that Whul was truly a Substitute Mother.
Today I must acknowledge my Sister, Doreece DeVone Lawrence. She’s not old enough to be my Mother, but we have had to play the role of Mother for each other. She’s been like Hallmark – the next best thing! We have had to depend on each other for survival. She has been my ROCK and I THANK GOD for her!
My current Substitute Mother is Gloria Palmer-Bailey. She is my Sorority Sister’s (The Late Andrea Antoinette Bailey-Williams) Mother. I met Antoinette and her family, when we moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1996.
To help me to settle and get to know people, my hometown Sorority Sister, Warletta Johnson, took me to meet Antoinette for a party at Antoinette’s home.
From that day, Antoinette’s family took me and my son in as family. They invited and included us in all of their family functions and events. The amazing part about Antoinette and her family was my son and I were not the only people they accepted as family. They accepted most of Antoinette’s friends as family.
Gloria is the Mother I wished I had; she keeps it REAL. I remember her telling me, “I tell my kids all of the time, don’t raise your children the way I raised you guys; because I really did not know what I was doing.” Though she may doubt her efforts, I think she did an AWESOME job!
My admiration grew to the highest level, when I learned how she maintained being a consistent student pursuing her Associate, Bachelor and Master degrees, while she functioned as a single parent to three (3) children and using public transportation! I thought it was hard for me; doing it as a single parent with one child and a car. I am honored to be able to call her a Substitute Mother.
Unfortunately, Antoinette lost her battle with breast cancer on February 07, 2006. Yet, my connection with her Mother Gloria continues. She needs a Daughter and I need a Mother.
As it appear, death seems to follow me and continue to take people who are near and dear to me. As I venture into my efforts of staying positive and moving forth, I’m working to learn…
Life Lesson – “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes around in another form” (Rumi).