“When I received A Mother in Mourning, I expected to read about a mother’s loss;
however, Kathy’s story is so much more. Kathy bears her heart and soul to tell the story
of a mother’s love, and how that love, combined with faith in God, led to healing,
strength, and ultimately the celebration of a beloved son’s life. A Mother in Mourning is
Editor, Inspired Living Publications
“I gave birth to a baby boy a few years ago, a baby that never left the hospital. From the
time he was born, the doctors told my husband and me that he would only live for a day
or two. He lived three weeks. From the time he was born, I prayed as I’d never prayed
before, crying, begging, and pleading God. With each passing day, I would see that my
prayers were going unanswered. The day did come when God called our son home. We
were devastated. I didn’t think that I could bounce back from the loss, even though
waiting at home for us was our seven-year-old son.
“A friend of mine told me she had read a book titled A Mother in Mourning.
When I bought the book, I started reading it immediately. I couldn’t put it down; I was so
fascinated to read about a woman who had lost her son and wanted to share her story
about her faith in God. While still having the faith and the courage to go on, her faith in
God was felt on each page. The title of the book may fool you; A Mother in Mourning is
a teaching tool, a guide for us to follow and understand God’s will. Still today, A Mother
in Mourning is one of the most powerful books I have read. Had I not read A Mother in
Mourning, I don’t know where I would be in my faith. I’ve carried what I learned reading
A Mother in Mourning in my heart. Today I have a healthy one-year-old son. Thank you,
Kathy C. Watson!”
“When I lost my son, I wanted to walk off the face of the earth. While at church one
Sunday, one of my church members approached me with a book in her hand. She told me
that I should read this book because it would help me to understand God. I told her there
was nothing in this world that could help me. I told her she could never understand.
Burying my son made me not want to live another day. She told me to read the book; I
told her, ‘No, thank you.’ She insisted that I take the book. I took the book, and the first
thing I did when I got home was put it on a table somewhere. One Friday as I was leaving
out the front door, I heard a voice say, ‘Katrina, pick up the book and read it.’
“I stopped and looked around to see from whom, from where the voice had come. I took
a couple of steps more and the same thing: ‘Katrina, pick up the book and read it.’ I went
back into my home and got the book. I started reading it and could not put it down; by the
next morning, I had finished reading it.
“A Mother in Mourning truly saved my life. Not only did it bring me comfort, but I also
felt God’s warmth and love as I’d never felt Him before. I have read A Mother in
Mourning three times now. I keep it right beside my bed along with the Bible. Everyone
should read A Mother in Mourning; it serves many, many purposes.”
A MOTHER IN MOURNING
Kathy C. Watson
A Mother in Mourning
Copyright © 2008 by Kathy C. Watson. All rights reserved .
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provided by USA copyright law.
Scripture quotations are taken from The New King James Version / Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville: Thomas
Nelson Publishers. Copyright © 1982. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
This book is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information with regard to the subject matter covered. This
information is given with the understanding that neither the author nor Tate Publishing, LLC is engaged in rendering
legal, professional advice. Since the details of your situation are fact dependent, you should additionally seek the
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Published in the United States of America
1. Family & Relationships: Death, Grief, Bereavement
2. Inspirational: Motivational: Biography & Autobiography
This book is written in memory of my beloved son, Aaron Wendell Watson, born
February 2, 1978, at 2:31 p.m.
Aaron completed his journey September 18, 2001, at 8:20 p.m.
This is a true story. The names in the story were changed except for my sons, Aaron and
Kendrick; my grandsons Tavion, Aaron, and Quinton; and the name of me, the author.
First, I would like to give thanks to God Almighty, Who has made everything
possible for me from the very beginning. Thank You, God, first of all for being such a
giving God. Thank You for allowing me to enjoy Your son, Aaron Wendell Watson, for
the twenty-three years he was here on Planet Earth with us. We had a ball! Thank You,
God, for giving me the strength I need each and every day to continue to put one foot in
front of the other.
Second, to my son Kendrick, I love you with all my heart. Thank you! I thank you
with all my heart for allowing me to take the time to write A Mother in Mourning. I thank
you for all your patience, love, support, and strength that you have given me in my time
of need. You have been there for me through my most difficult times, and without you, I
don’t think I could have made it. I want you to know that you have been my rock. Thank
you. Although you’re the kind of son who keeps everything tucked away inside (like me),
I do know that losing your brother—your best friend and your partner in “crime”—has
not been easy for you. Do know this, Kendrick; you are always on my mind. And know
that Aaron is smiling down from heaven and telling everyone who will listen to him,
“That’s my little brother right there. I taught him everything he knows (smile).” I love
Third, I would like to give special thanks to Mrs. Reba Francis, who passed away on
August 6, 2005, before I finished this project. I was really looking forward to presenting
you with an autographed copy of this book. Although I started writing this before I went
to work for you, you gave me the last piece to my puzzle. Mrs. Francis, on many
occasions you told me I could achieve anything I put my mind to. Well, I put my mind to
writing my very first book, all on my own. From front to back, from the design of the
cover to the layout of the entire book, I did it all my way. Thank you so very much.
Fourth, to my few friends, thank you for the love, support, and encouragement you
have given me. And for the ones who really helped push me up that hill when I felt like I
was running out of gas, thank you. I now know that my tank will always be on full.
Thank you very much.
I thought I would just glance through A Mother in Mourning for a few minutes and come
back to it later. Then something caught my attention, and I said, “Let me go back to the
beginning of this book.” I never wanted to put it down.
I got it about 3 p.m., just before my grandchildren got home from school; so between
getting them supper, doing homework, and getting them ready for bed, I was reading this
book. I did not put it down until about 2:30 the next morning. At 5:30, just before the
children got up to get ready for school, I was at it again. My grandson asked, “Granny,
did you read all night?”
I even took it to the doctor’s office with me to read while waiting for my husband to have
minor surgery. By Wednesday night, or should I say Thursday morning at about 3, I
This is one of the most amazing and inspirational books I have ever read…and I like to
read! I laughed a while, then I cried a while. My little granddaughter was here with me;
all of a sudden I stopped reading and started singing “Amazing Grace” and the Lord’s
Prayer and crying. Poor thing, I think I scared her. She just stood there looking at me. She
finally asked what was wrong. I told her I was happy and sad all at the same time.
I have never felt like this except for a few times. Once in church, at Doris’ house while
singing church songs, playing around with our grandchildren, and now reading your
book. Oh, I know that God is a good God, and I do have faith in him. I don’t know where
I would be without him. But reading about Kathy’s strength and faith has made me look
at things in a different light.
My husband asked, “What is in that book?”
I told him, “Life, Truth, Past, Future, and the Encouragement to meet things head on with
a lot of faith and prayer.”
I love the organization of the book. I have never seen one quite like it. The intermission
was a wonderful idea. The letters are so personal, as if you are talking to God face-to-
I think every mother or father, whether they have lost a child or have a child, should have
and read this book. They would never, ever feel the same again. I know that this book has
really touched my life.
Yes, Kathy, you did it your way. And I love it.
Eddie D. Bethley-Jenkins
This story is about our Almighty God; a single mother (me, Kathy Diane Clayborne
Watson); my first son, Aaron Wendell Watson, now deceased at the age of twenty-three;
and his younger brother, Kendrick Jevon Watson. In this book you will read about a baby
who grew to be a little boy, who grew to be a young man, and who is now one of God’s
angels. You’ll read about how, just as Aaron grew inside of me for nine months, so did
his death for five months. Yes, five months before the fatal accident on September 19,
2001, I knew something terrible was going to happen. You will see why I still say I love
God with all my heart, soul, mind, strength, and being. At times in this book, you will see
on a line set off by itself:
(Just see what having faith will do for you.)
While reading this book, you will realize how much I do love my God, and my story
will illustrate all the reasons and all the blessings He has bestowed upon me.
I love Him for presenting me with a baby given the name of Aaron Wendell Watson,
born weighing 6 pounds and 13-1/2 ounces, and measuring 19-3/4 inches long. Oh, yes!
All Christians know that in the beginning of time, God made man from dirt, and that
shortly after making man, He made woman. He told them to “be fruitful and multiply,
and replenish the earth” (Genesis 1:28), which they did. And even now, today, all of
God’s creations are still multiplying. I was no different; I gave birth to two of the most
beautiful baby boys on God’s green earth. When I found out I was pregnant with the first
child (Aaron), I promised God that for the rest of my life, I would tell my child I loved
him every day and I would show him my love every day. I have kept that promise still,
until this very day. I have never missed a day of loving both of my boys. Although Aaron
is no longer here, I carry on throughout every day and night as I have done since
February 2, 1978, the day he was born.
The first thing I do when I open my eyes is to thank the Lord for allowing me to
wake up, and then I’m on my knees to pray. Since Aaron is not here with us physically
anymore, after I pray, I talk to him in my heart for a little while. Many times I have heard
the saying, “No parent should have to bury his or her child; it just isn’t right. The parent
is supposed to go first.”
I tell people who say that to me (and they are surprised to hear my side of it), “First
of all, we are all God’s children and we are all just passing through. God didn’t tell me
Aaron was going to live to get old, nor did He tell me I could have either Aaron or
Kendrick for the rest of my life. Everything I have is a gift from God: my life, my sons,
my car, and my house. Everything I have ever gotten is because of God. For those of you
who think that you, yourselves, were the ones who made it possible to get the things you
have, you really need to think again.”
It is written, “Whoever believes in Me, even though he dies, yet shall he live.”
My niece, Tawnya, was very close to my son, Aaron. She is still having a hard time
understanding. “Why Aaron?” she asks.
I tell her that we are all on borrowed time. We need to understand that we are just
passing through, and one day we will all leave and go to our final destination. She asked
me once, “What if the accident had not happened; wouldn’t Aaron still be here?”
I told her, “Yes, that’s true, but the accident did happen, and that was the way it was
supposed to be.”
I began to tell her some of the things that had started happening, things that I myself
had seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. I must tell you that God is real,
and if we just keep our eyes to the sky and pay attention to the signs that are at hand and
placed in front of us, we will all be a lot better off. It’s like when you’re driving your car,
looking for a place that you have never been before. You get to a turning place, and you
know you were supposed to turn right, but you turned left. The first thing you say is, “I
know I was supposed to have turned right,” and you get upset with yourself.
When you learn to listen to God and pay attention to the signs He places in front of
you, you’ll make the right decision every time. As you read further in the book you will
see why I can say, “Get in touch with God.” Many times we follow our own minds and
think we know the best way, but so many times we are very, very wrong, and never want
to admit it.
I’m so thankful to God for claiming me as one of His children. When I was a little
girl, my grandmother took me to church on Sundays. As soon as I was able to understand
it all, I turned my life over to God, and I have never looked back. At a very young age (I
think I was around thirteen), I made God this promise: “God, just to show You how much
I love You and believe in You, I will never drink any kind of alcohol nor will I ever
smoke.” And I tell you, I have had many storms in my life and have had to walk them all
alone, but I have never touched tobacco or alcohol to my lips. Some of my childhood
friends tell me I should be in a nuthouse or worse, but here I am, still standing, by the
grace of my God. I do give God all the praise, for it was He who brought me through all
of the storms. Standing by my convictions reminds me of these verses in the Bible:
For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God,
who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe. These things command
and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers in word,
in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Until I come, give attendance to
reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. I Timothy 4:10-13
What I went through in the last five months of Aaron’s life only made my beliefs
stronger. If I had not believed in God before I lost Aaron, what I have witnessed since
would make me a believer. To tell the truth, I did not lose Aaron. He just went ahead
without me; he made it to the Promised Land before I did. In my heart of hearts, I believe
what Jesus said. “We shall all meet again on the other side.”
Life—what does it all mean? Some people think, “Well, it’s my life, and I’m going
to do whatever I want.” For those who think that, have a ball while you can but beware—
you may have already missed the boat. And consider this: it’s never too late to turn
around and begin to look at life as God would have you see it.
For the people who think, “Life! Thank you, God, for creating such a beautiful
thing!” truly understand the reason we’re here and why we are sometimes sent down a
difficult path. Life can deal us an unexpectedly tough hand, and we sometimes feel like
we want to throw our cards on the table and give up. In my opinion, the devil loves
seeing the weak react to such a bad hand. I am one who thinks, “Life! Oh, thank You,
God, for You have saved me from the hands of evil. You came into my life when I was
just a child and have guided me through many trying times.”
God, knowing that You are the Ruler of all Rulers, King of all Kings, and God of all
Gods, I will hold on to Your unchanging hand for all of my days. My journey at times has
been so bright, like the colors of Easter, and then at times has been so dark I couldn’t see
my hand if I held it in front of my face. I thank You, God, for showing me how to stand
so strong and plant my feet into the soil so deep, for showing me that when the wind
blows hard I may sway from side to side and front to back, but I won’t break. I might not
understand at the time why the wind blows so hard, but I have come to learn over these
many years that if I just continue to hold on and wait until the storm is over—if I just
keeping looking up as time goes on—You have a way of making the colors of Easter
February 2, 1978, was a Thursday, which also happened to be Groundhog Day.
Ordinarily, on a cold day I would have been inside with a pot of homemade soup cooking
on the stove; but on this day something extraordinary was about to take place. God was
about to bless me with something that would change my life forever.
Getting to the hospital at 7:00 that morning and confirming I was indeed in labor
was the happiest moment of my life. Being placed in a hospital bed and hearing the nurse
say, “Yes, Mrs. Watson, you are officially in labor, and we will be admitting you to the
hospital at this time,” brought tears to my eyes. I knew that before the day was over, I
would be a mother and my life would change forever.
Date: February 2, 1978
Time: 2: 31 p.m.
Place: Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
On that day a baby by the name of Aaron Wendell Watson was born. He weighed 6
pounds, 13-1/2 ounces and was 19-3/4 inches long. I knew this baby would put me on a
journey that would allow me to grow more than I could ever imagine—as a mother, a
friend, and a human being. As I watched my son being born into this world, something
came over me. In my heart I knew my life truly had just begun.
[Note to layout: Please include the following on a page by itself.]
I am Alpha. The beginning.
[Note to layout: page break]
September 19, 2001, changed my world changed forever. The police report said the accident happened at
8:20 p.m. on a Wednesday, but there was something strange going on much earlier that day. When the police
came to my home, I knew that I would need God’s strong, loving hands.
At 12:45 a.m., I was still talking on the phone with my friend, Tanya, who lives in Birmingham,
Alabama. I had met her when we tried out for the ladies’ professional basketball team in Phoenix, Arizona. I
was forty-four years old at the time and still good enough to try out for a pro team. I was very proud of mysel
for making the trip to Phoenix all alone. We didn’t make the team, but I had a lot of fun, and Tanya has
become a very good friend.
I should tell you that I had never been on the phone that late before I am someone who is always in bed
around 9:00, but this night I decided to call her, and we talked for about an hour. We hung up, but she called
me back thirty minutes later because she had forgotten to tell me something. We started talking about the
incidents of September 11, which had just happened, and the madness behind it all. We talked about baseball
and what teams were going to the World Series. Of course, I told her it would definitely be the New York
Yankees. We talked about the plane crash that had killed the singer Aaliyah. Aaron was so in love with her
that he had her pictures, along with countless books and articles about her, all over his room.
Like many of her young fans, he thought he was going to marry her one day. One morning after Aaron
had spent the night with one of his friends, he called to tell me that Aaliyah had been killed. That really
saddened him; he came home and played her music all day. This very talented young lady died at the end of
August. We never know what’s around the corner. The world suddenly lost three beautiful young people back
to back to back: Aaliyah, Aaron, and Left-eye, a member of the group TLC here in Atlanta. May God hold al
of you in His arms until you and your loved ones are together again.
As Tanya and I kept talking, I looked at the clock thinking, “Why am I still awake?” It was so unlike me
to be awake at that time of night.
I was looking at the clock every fifteen minutes or so, wondering what was going on with me. It was as
I was in labor all over again. I kept saying to myself, “Okay, it’s time for me to get off this telephone.” Time
went on and I began saying to her, “Girl, what is going on here tonight? You know I’m never on the phone
this long, plus I have to go to work tomorrow, and it’s almost mid-night!” For some reason I was neither
sleepy nor tired.
I told her once again, “Tanya, I have to hang up this phone!”
She said, “Let me finish telling you this and I promise we can hang up.” But she kept talking and I kept
listening. I said that at 12:30 a.m. I was going to hang up, even if she was in the middle of a sentence. Well,
12:30 came and went, and at 1:40, there was a knock on the door. It was so loud that Tanya heard it over the
phone. She asked me, “Girl, what was that?” I told her someone was at the door. She asked who it could be.
I told her they must be crazy; everyone knew not to come to our house after 10:00. By that time this
person was knocking so hard I thought the door was going to fall in. Tanya told me to look out the window to
see who it was, and I got up and peeked out my bedroom window. I saw two police officers standing on the
porch and said to her, “Girl, it’s the police!”
“What?” she said. I repeated, “It’s the police!”
[Note to layout: page break]
I would like for you to come on a small journey with me. This story will take you to Las Vegas, Nevada
to Laurel, Mississippi, to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and finally Atlanta, Georgi
[Note to layout: page break]
[Note to layout: page break]
“Jesus said unto her I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he
were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.”
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things
shall be added unto you.”
[Note to layout: page break]
I was born Kathy Diane Clayborne to Winston Clayborne and Colette Jones, on
August 15, 1954, in a small town called Laurel, Mississippi. I never knew my father well,
but what I know I will gladly share with you. He didn’t finish high school; he joined the
United States Marines instead. I remember my mother telling me he served overseas a lot,
being stationed in places like Okinawa during most of their early marriage.
While my father was serving our country from across the ocean, he was stationed in Las
Vegas, Nevada. Going there was my mother’s first time being away from home. Moving
to a new place and not knowing anyone there, she became very lonesome. My father
came home on a short leave, which, of course, made her very happy, and everything
seemed to be going well. During this leave my mother got pregnant with me, but shortly
after that, my father was shipped back to Okinawa. Well, days turned into months, and
time went by. Mom got further and further into the pregnancy. I remember her telling me
that by then she had made a few friends whose husbands were also in the Marines.
One evening she and her friends were sitting around and didn’t have anything to do,
so they decided to go down to one of the casinos. Once there, they did a little gambling
and a lot of looking around. One man, who had been on a winning streak all night, had
won millions of dollars; the crowd gathered around the card table to cheer him on.
She said she was in disbelief; she had never seen anything like that in her life. As it
got late into the night, his luck started to change and, just as fast as he had won all that
money, he started to lose it. His friends were trying to get him to stop while he was still
ahead, but he thought all he had to do was keep playing and his luck would change again.
Not on that night. It wasn’t in the cards for him to win. He lost everything he had
won and then started writing out IOUs. When he had finally lost everything (including
his house), he pulled out a gun, pointed it at his head, and pulled the trigger, killing
himself instantly. Of course, people began running in all directions. Mom and her friends
ran back to their car and drove straight back to the military base. They stayed up all night
talking about what had happened, without sleeping a wink. Seeing a man shoot himself
was such an unbelievable event that they were all still wide-awake when the sun came up.
Being in Las Vegas with no family, my mother felt all alone. After that ordeal she
didn’t know which scared her more, living in Vegas with such craziness or the thought of
having a baby there all alone. In any case, she decided to go home for a visit. She took
the train back to Laurel and went into labor on the third day of her visit. I was born at
Jones County Hospital on August 15, 1954.
Time went by and my father didn’t come home from overseas, so Mom decided to
stay in Laurel. With him in Okinawa and her in Laurel, they grew further and further
apart. By the time I was two years old, my parents had divorced, and my mother had
remarried, this time to a man named Benny Jones. I remember living in a big, old white
house with his mother, who we called “Big Mama,” his uncle, and some cousins. From
his first marriage, he had three children of his own, Roy, Sandra, and Leonard Jones.
Big Mama’s favorite part of the day was making us kids go and pick figs off the fig
tree. She would make us eat them all day long. She would tell us that eating figs was very
healthy. Still, today, I hate figs!
Although we were fortunate to have other types of fruit trees in our yards, our
neighbor had the largest and the most fruit trees. She had no children, so we kids didn’t
think there was any problem for us to help ourselves to her fruit. Boy, let me tell you how
wrong we were! This lady was mean! And she was out to get us. But her trees bore the
best fruit we had ever tasted. Her plums were the biggest, best, and juiciest on the street.
And, kids being kids, we just thought it would be okay to climb over what was left of an
old piece of a fence that she had up, so we helped ourselves to that fruit.
We didn’t think she would get so angry; and besides, she almost never came out of
the house. We would run into her yard and get the fruit, and she would come out chasing
us with her broom or anything else she could grab. Of course, she never could catch us. It
became a game we looked forward to every day, and I must say it was fun! Some days
we would play ball, and by mistake the ball would go into her yard. She would come out
of her house, get it, and take it into her house. We lost quite a few balls that way.
Sometimes, when she heard us playing in the yard, she would be sure to let us know she
was standing at her back door, but more often than not, she would be watching television.
One morning we went out to play and saw some guy putting up a new, taller fence
around our neighbor’s yard. She must have thought we would say, “There go the balls
and plums for sure, now.” One might think that, but hey, we were mischievous, persistent
kids. Putting up that fence just created a challenge for us. I feel bad about it now, but
back then, we sure had fun with that lady.
After the fence was up, we developed a plan. One of us would ring her front doorbell
while another would climb over the fence and get the ball or the fruit, depending on
which we needed from her yard at the time. But kids never think things through. It’s all
about the moment. We actually thought we could use that trick forever. But one day we
rang the doorbell and she didn’t answer the front door; she went to the back instead and
caught us. We laughed for hours about that. But later that same day, I guess she had had
enough because she went to our houses and told our mothers what we had been doing.
Today, she is still living in that house. She had to replace the fence, though, because of us
kids. We had jumped on it and climbed over it so many times, we completely wore it
We really had a lot of fun back then in Laurel. Everyone knew everyone, and anyone
would lend you a helping hand, even if you didn’t ask for the help. They just walked up
and asked what you were doing. You would say what you were doing, and they would
pitch in and help. Boy, I long for the good old days. I wish we could bring those days
back for our kids and grandkids! We played games outside from sun-up to sundown,
games like “Freeze,” “Hide and Seek,” and, especially, sports.
Roy, Leonard, and my three cousins—Dan, Steven, Mitchell, and their sister,
Anya—lived on the next street over, and they all introduced me to various games. Oh
boy! That’s when I really started having a good time. They taught me how to play
basketball, baseball, and football—anything ending with the word “ball.” I learned how
to play at a very early age and became a very good athlete. Even now I like to think that I
can hold my own at any ball game.
One day my stepfather’s ex-wife decided to take her three kids and move to South
Bend, Indiana. They all left, and the house that was once so full of children suddenly felt
very empty. Shortly after that, Big Mama and everyone else moved to Chicago, Illinois. It
was pretty quiet until our family started to grow again. My mother was expecting her first
child with my stepfather. In June, she gave birth to a baby boy, who was named Jimmy
Jones. Then she gave birth to four little girls in a row, Charlene, Stacy, Christina, and
Paige. Suddenly the house was full again.
By this time, I was seven years old and in the second grade. My mom told me that
my Uncle Eddie, my father’s brother, had been killed. It’s been so many years ago that I
really don’t remember what happened to him, but she kept me out of school that day and
told me a man was going to come to the house to see me. He was my father, and he
would be taking me to town because he wanted to spend some time with me.
Just then, a man came to the door and knocked. My mom and I answered the door,
and there stood a handsome man in a United States Marine’s uniform. I remember just
staring at him. After he and Mom talked for a while, we left. As we were walking up the
street, I remember being so excited! First of all, I didn’t have to go to school that day, and
secondly, I was going to town. We stopped by my Granny’s house—my father’s
mother—to say hello. She lived right up the street. Then we headed into town. Oh, it was
a beautiful day! The sun was out, the season was springtime, I didn’t have to go to
school, and I was with my father, this handsome man in his Marine’s uniform. I waved
proudly at all the cars that went by. To this day, I love to see a man in a Marine’s
As we neared the school I attended, I told my father I wanted to walk on the left side
of him. I didn’t want my teacher to see me. I thought I would get in trouble for not being
in school, but my father told me to walk on his right side. He told me it would be okay,
and that I could wave to my classmates if I wanted; so I did, hoping everyone could see
me with this wonderful man.
As we walked on, I told him about the dogs that lived across the street from the
school, two very large black and gray German Shepherds. We would watch them chase
people when they passed by the school. My father told me not to worry about them. That
was easy for him to say and I did worry, because I knew they were bad. I had watched
them chasing people every day. Sure enough, there they came, running toward us.
He said, “Just keep walking with me and you’ll see what happens.”
I thought to myself, “We are going to get bitten, that’s what’s going to happen.”
But as they came running across the street, they noticed we weren’t running and they
stopped, turned around, and walked off, still barking.
My father said, “See, there was nothing to be afraid of, was there?”
I said, “Oh, so that’s how it works!” That day my father taught me a very important
lesson that I still use today. In fact, I taught my boys the same lesson: Never run from
anything; always stand your ground; and wait to see what the other guy will do. More
often than not, if you stand up to them, they will back down.
It took us around an hour to walk to town, and I enjoyed every second of it. While
we walked, we held hands, and I thought to myself, “I have two daddies.” I didn’t know
anyone could have two daddies. We finally got to town, and once we were there he
visited with some of his friends we had met along the way.
We did some shopping, going in and out of several stores. When lunchtime came, he
asked me if I was hungry and said, “Let’s stop and eat.” We ate at a place called
Woodland’s Department Store. After lunch we went into a jewelry store and I saw the
prettiest Snow White watch. I fell in love with it and my father asked the clerk if we
could see it. I tried it on and, of course, it was too big for me. He asked me if I wanted it
and, with a huge smile on my face, I told him, “Yes!”
The jeweler asked him if he would like to have the watch sized for me and my father
told him we would be back, but we never went back to that store. Every time I saw him
after that, I would ask for that watch, and every time he told me he was going to get it
before he left. Time came and went, and so did he. I never did get that watch. Of course,
he also told me he was going to stay in touch with me, but he didn’t.
Life never stops for anyone, right? As time went on, I guess you can say that I put
him in the back of my mind, for I still had a family, and we had a lot of fun together.
By now, I had gotten really good at sports. My mom always fussed at me because I
always wanted to play outside with the boys. She wanted me inside with the girls, playing
with dolls and pouring tea (kool-aid) with my tea set, but that was not going to happen if
I had anything to do with it.
There were so many boys to play with: my brother Jimmy, the two boys named
Lenny and his brother Bernard who lived next door, and three more boys who lived three
houses down; we were all around the same age. Our house was the place to play any kind
of ball because we had the biggest yard; so all the boys came to our house almost every
day. By the time my sister Charlene was old enough to play, I was already a tomboy and
very proud of it.
Every day after I finished my chores, I would help Jimmy with his so we could go
out and play sooner. I never minded helping him; playing with him and the neighborhood
boys was more fun than anything else. Mom would call me to come inside where she
would try to make me play with dolls. She would tell me that girls should not be playing
ball with the boys; they were supposed to look pretty, be sweet, and play with dolls and
tea sets. I told her I would rather sit in a corner the rest of the day than play with dolls.
Then I got this idea: if I pulled the heads, arms, and legs off all of them, she would realize
I didn’t like dolls and would let me go out and play! Boy, was I ever wrong! You can bet
I never pulled dolls’ heads off again! I learned my lesson about being sassy to my mom
that day. She told me that a hard head makes a soft behind and convinced me of that fact
right then and there!
After awhile, with no explanation, she stopped trying to make me play dollhouse and
started letting me go out and play ball whenever the guys came over, which made me a
happy girl. It could have been because she was tired of saying no to the boys in the
neighborhood every time they asked her if I could come out and play. My brother would
get mad at me because, once we got outside, they all wanted me to be on their team more
than they wanted him. I guess they knew a real player when they saw one.
Basketball, to me, is the best sport in the world, and the school I attended had a
female basketball team at that time. I couldn’t wait until I got old enough to try out for
the team! There was never any doubt in my mind that I would make it. I just had to wait
long enough to get into the right grade. I decided to go to the office one day to see what
grade I had to be in to try out for the team. They told me I had to be in the tenth but,
wouldn’t you know it, when I reached the seventh grade they eliminated the female
basketball teams in all the local high schools. I was heartbroken; my dream had been to
play that sport. I did whatever it took to attend the guys’ games, but it seemed becoming
a part of a team just wasn’t meant to be for me.
At least the guys still had their teams, and that was better than nothing. And what
made it even better was that their team, called the Oak Park Dragons, held the best record
in football, basketball, and track. And let’s not talk about our band. Oh My Goodness!
When it became time for the half-time show, let’s just say everyone was fully
entertained. No one left disappointed. Living down the street from the school was great
because we could walk up the street and watch them whenever they held practices for any
of the games.
Years had gone by after my father’s first visit, and one day my mom told me he was
back in town. By this time I was in the seventh grade. He had remarried and now had four
kids by his second wife, which meant I now had three brothers and one sister who shared
my last name and who lived across the country, in Rapid City, South Dakota. He had
brought his other family for a visit. I spent every day with them while they were in town,
and I guess I could say we had fun, but I never forgot about that watch my father had
promised me. They stayed for about two weeks, and then headed back to Rapid City. And
once again, years went by without me hearing anything from him.
One thing I think about sometimes is that my father would go for years without
seeing his mom. I think he must have felt guilty because I was in the picture. I know they
spoke often on the phone, and Granny would come over to tell me he said hello. If only
he had known how much I wanted him in my life then! But I guess some things are not
meant to be, and the best thing any of us can do is just keep putting one foot in front of
Even at a very young age, I felt my father was missing from my life. I could look to
my right and see the Jones children, who had the same mother and father. I could look to
my left, and there were the Clayborne children who had the same mother and father; and
then there was me, the only Clayborne around my house. Except for my grandmother (my
father’s mother), I was the only Clayborne in town; in fact, I have never known anyone
by the name of Clayborne besides us. Living in the house and being the only Clayborne,
as a child, you feel different in a way. I would wonder at times why my real father did not
want to stay in touch with me. It was a choice he made, and maybe it was because he had
a wife and four other children. He also added to his family later and had two other
daughters. Other than seeing the four children that summer, the only time I saw any of
them was when Granny died, when one of the boys came to Laurel with my father.
I would have loved to have been somewhere, like at a department store or a mall,
and happen to overhear someone in a conversation saying that his or her last name was
Clayborne. I used to think that the Johnson kids had their mom and dad, the Clayborne
kids had their mom and dad, and then there was me. I guess Granny would be the only
Clayborne I would grow up around, but even she would go across town a lot, and then I
would miss her. In addition to the house on my street, she owned another home across
town, and that’s where she spent most of her time. Sometimes, for months on end I
wouldn’t see her.
I could stand in my front yard and look up the street to see if her back door was
open. When I looked up there and saw it open, I would run into the house and ask my
mother if I could go and visit Granny. Sometimes the answer would be, yes, but more
often than not, it was no.
As I got older, though, no became yes a lot more often. I remember one day Granny
had walked down to the house to talk to Mom. I don’t know what was said, but that’s
when the nos became yeses. I really looked forward to going up to Granny’s house. She
loved gardening. She would plant all kinds of vegetables in the back yard, and I would go
up there and help her pull weeds and water plants. I could say when I left her house after
helping her with her garden that I had put in a hard day’s work because she had rows and
rows of healthy corn, peas, beans, and sugar cane. We had a lot of fun together. At this
time, she was spending more time at her home up the street from our house than at her
house across town.
Time went by, and we made sure that we watered every day and did whatever we
could to ensure that we would have a healthy little crop of vegetables. They started to
really grow and ripen, and since this was my first time ever helping with the garden, I
was very proud to have been a part of the effort. I’m not sure whether I was so happy
because it was something my Granny (my father’s mother) and I accomplished together,
or just because I had a part in growing something. Maybe it was a little bit of both, but a
love of flowers became a part of my life that I still hold close to my heart today. Both my
grandmothers had this in common. They both loved flowers. I couldn’t wait until it
became time to pick the vegetables from the garden! Granny had promised me that when
we picked them she would make dinner for us with fresh veggies, the same vegetables we
had grown with our own two hands. I was still very young and it amazed me we could eat
what we were growing, plus I learned a lot from being a part of it all. When school
started, I shared with my class my gardening experiences, what we had planted, and how
it had all grown—just from putting seeds into the ground.
When Granny and I didn’t have anything to do, we sat on her porch in our rocking
chairs in the evening and waved as the cars went by. Sometimes I would see a friend or
two walking to the store, which was right around the corner. Granny and I became even
closer as time went by. Out of all the things we did together, I think the thing she loved
most of all was caring for her roses. We planted roses all around her house. Sometimes I
could be in our front yard and I would see her just walking around her yard, looking at
But, as always, the springs turned into summers and the summers turned into falls.
One day I was coming home from school, and as I crossed the street and looked toward
Granny’s porch, I saw a man I had never seen before, but I didn’t see Granny. I thought,
“What is going on? Who is that man?”
Come to find out, it was my Uncle Chuck, a man I had never even heard about. He
showed up out of the blue, and Granny later told me she didn’t know he was coming
because she hadn’t heard from him in years. She hadn’t known whether he was dead or
alive. I guess people have their reasons to not want to stay in touch with their mothers;
but on the other hand, I have seen some mothers who are responsible for making their
own children wish they were dead or make them run away from home. Whatever actually
happened in the relationship between Granny and her children, I will never know. To me
she was a very nice lady. I couldn’t see why they would not want to stay in touch with
her. There was also my Aunt Sally, whom I never saw before Granny died, and I haven’t
seen nor spoken to since, so there you are.
But back to my Uncle Chuck—he just sort of blew into town. I saw him when I was
walking home from school. I had no idea who he was, but he was looking at me as if he
knew me. He recognized me because Granny had pointed me out to him that morning as I
was going to school. That evening they came down to our house, and Granny introduced
him to me. He was a totally different man from my father, but as I got to know him, he
turned out to be a nice guy too.
He didn’t like to work, and he loved the streets. That’s one of the ways he was
totally different from my father. Another is that their appearances were completely
different, like night and day. My father was a very clean-cut person. His clothes were
always starched and pressed very well. Uncle Chuck, well, he enjoyed the nightlife. But
like I said, once I got to know him, he was a pretty cool guy. I would stop at Granny’s
house every day after school, and we would talk for a while before I went home. He
stayed for a while, maybe a year, and then just as he had come, he went. I have never
seen nor heard from him again. No one knew where he was or how to find him when
But time doesn’t stop for anyone, right? Days went by and turned into weeks, then
into months, then into years. I was finally getting ready to graduate from high school, and
I couldn’t wait! Maybe some young boys and girls in school enjoyed being there, but I
thought it was boring. Now, though, if I could only turn back the hands of time! I would
have paid attention in class and, instead of going straight to a job after high school, I
would have gone straight to college. But I can’t do it over. I didn’t do well in school at
all, but I did well enough to pass for twelve years, going to summer school on more than
After I finished school, I got a job at the Bonanza’s Steakhouse. I started out
clearing tables as a bus girl, but I was promoted to head cook in just four months. I
learned to do every job in the store and became so good at my jobs so quickly, they
wanted to move me to Dallas, Texas, to work in another of their stores. That was not part
of my plan, though, as I had never been away from home and didn’t want to go. I worked
at that same Bonanza’s for about three years and made a lot of friends there. If I had to
name the best time of my life, aside from having my two boys, those three years would
be it. The crew I had at that time was the best. On our busy nights, we came together as
one—everybody looked out for one another. If it was time for the baked potatoes to be
put into the oven and the potato man was helping someone else, it was nothing for one of
my crewmembers to put them in. And as the head cook, it was my responsibility to make
sure that everything ran like clockwork. Time after time we came together and got the job
done. The lines would be out the door for hours, and not one time did they let me down.
At the end of the night, after we had locked the doors, somehow I always ended up with
extra steaks on the grill, hot potatoes in the oven, and some good hot Texas toast on the
bread grill. Dinner was always on Bonanza and me for a job well done. We would sit and
eat and then everyone pitched in to clean up. This was the first time I had real
responsibility, and I enjoyed that feeling.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter) Right hand side of the
He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of
children. Praise ye the Lord.
Marriage and Pregnancy
Once I turned twenty, I started thinking, “What’s next?” It seemed as though all of my
friends had gotten married. I didn’t do a lot of dating. I preferred staying home and
watching television because there was always a game or some type of sports show on.
One day while I was walking to my grandmother’s house, I passed a school friend
named Milton, who was standing in front of the store. We greeted each other and talked
for a while. He lived six blocks from me, and we had known each other all through
school. As we were talking, he asked me whom I was dating.
I replied, “No one.”
He asked if he could have my telephone number. He said he was going to call me
later and, sure enough, that night he did. We talked for a while about what we wanted out
of life, and it seemed that we had quite a few things in common, most importantly sports.
He was the youngest of five children. I was the first of my mother’s children. It
seemed as though we were getting along, and he asked me out. We enjoyed going to the
movies a lot and sometimes we would take my two baby sisters, Christina and Paige,
with us. They became “my little girls,” and every time I was going out, they thought they
got to go also. This man and I dated for about a year. Then one day he came over and
asked me to marry him, and I accepted. We didn’t get married for about another year,
though. I guess you could say I wasn’t in a big hurry.
We set the date for April 11, 1976. We mailed our invitations, and the time flew by;
suddenly it was time to say “I do.” We married at my home, and that was the first time I
remember Granny ever being in my mother’s house. We moved to Hattiesburg,
Mississippi, which was thirty miles away.
Three months before we got married, my fiancée had gotten a job with an oil
company that paid pretty well, and after we were married we moved into a one-bedroom
apartment right around the corner from the University of Southern Mississippi, “Home of
the Golden Eagles.” At that time I was still working at the same local steakhouse, so we
were both able to work and saved a few dollars. My baby sisters, Paige and Christina,
frequently spent entire weekends with us. I didn’t mind because this was my first time
being away from home; having them there with me kept me from feeling so homesick. If
we weren’t going to the movies, we were driving to the coast or packing a picnic lunch
and going to Paul B. National Park.
I wasn’t expecting it, but when I got married, my brother, Jimmy, decided to get
married too. I moved to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, but he decided to move all the way
across the country to Tacoma, Washington. He had been dating a young lady by the name
of Alice, and she was from that area. I hated the fact that my brother was moving so far
away, but he seemed happy, so I wished him the best. It took them four days to drive to
Tacoma, but when they finally made it, he called me. The first thing he said was, “Big
Sis, you have to come and visit us. You would love it here. They call it ‘God’s Country,’
and the view is unreal!”
One of the many things Jimmy and I had in common was the peace that we would
feel when we watched a movie with beautiful mountains and waterfalls. It seemed that
Washington had it all. Jimmy lived there for years, and I am sad to say I’ve never gotten
to see the beauty of Tacoma, the mountains he saw every day with his own eyes (not that
I’ve given up). He called me the day Mt. Saint Helen erupted. He had just gotten off work
and sat on the highway for hours, watching the whole thing.
Shortly after Jimmy moved, my sister Stacy moved to Michigan and began a new
life with her husband. She didn’t have to worry about me coming to visit her, not in the
winter months anyway. I never understood that move; they have hard winters there and
she was used to Mississippi’s relatively warm winters. But as long as Stacy was happy, I
was all for it. Besides, she was young and in love and living a carefree life. She stayed
there for years. We visited her once in Michigan just before she decided to move back to
the South. I guess she finally got tired of the snow and the below-zero temperatures. She
lives here in Atlanta, Georgia, now with her husband and her two daughters, Tawnya and
Latisha. Her son, Eric, still lives in Michigan.
My mother used to joke that I started it all when I decided to get married and move
out. Jimmy and Stacy decided to get married and move out soon after. My sister,
Charlene, had gone to college, and so she was left with only two, Christina and Paige, at
home with her. I guess we all had to leave the nest sooner or later, right?
One evening I was home and the telephone rang. I answered, and my mother was on
the phone sounding very excited. She said, “Kathy, guess who I just finished talking to?”
I guessed a few names and, of course, none of them were right. She made me guess a few
more times, and I still couldn’t imagine who had called. She finally told me it was Sandra
Jones, my stepsister, who lived in Birmingham. No one had a heard a peep out of Sandra
in years and I couldn’t believe she had called.
“She sure did—she called out of the blue and was asking how everyone was doing,”
my mother said.
They filled each other in on what had been going on in their lives. The Sandra we
remembered was the little girl who had moved away, but now she was all grown up. She
had become a young lady and was now married and had a six-month-old son. Boy, was I
excited! I think I must have asked Mom a hundred questions about Sandra. All I could
remember about her was her long pretty hair. Of course I asked about her husband too,
but as we talked I suddenly started thinking about her having a baby. I asked Mom all
about Sandra’s son. I found out his name is Anthony, but they call him “Little Anthony.”
That weekend Sandra called Mom and told her she and her family wanted to come
for a visit. Of course, Mom was beside herself. She had raised Sandra and her brothers,
Roy and Leonard, for a few years, so the idea of seeing her again thrilled her; in fact, it
thrilled everybody. They decided which weekend Sandra and her family would come, and
Mom called and told me the date. I must tell you I was very happy! It was going to be
three weeks before they could come to Laurel, and to me, three weeks seemed like three
After Sandra called the house, her visit was all we could talk about. I did everything
I could to keep myself from going crazy. A little baby was all I could think about. I didn’t
know anyone with a small baby at that time, and although I was married, it had never
crossed my mind that I could have a baby. I suppose I knew that I would one day, but it
must have been somewhere deep in the back of my mind.
One week came and slowly went, the second week seemed as though it was even
slower, then finally the week came when we were going to see Sandra and her family.
Milton didn’t know Sandra; he only knew what I had told him about how she, Roy, and
Leonard had lived with us before they moved to South Bend, Indiana, but he seemed just
as excited as I was.
Normally, the company Milton worked for would have had its employees working
out-of-state. They went everywhere looking for oil, but they concentrated more around
the Southern states. Luckily for us, they were working at home this particular week.
The day Sandra was coming, she called my mother and said they were going to be
late getting in. That worked for us because Milton and the crew he was working with
were also coming in late. That meant we were leaving for Laurel the next morning. I set
the alarm clock just to make sure we didn’t oversleep. Morning came, and I was up and
out of bed trying to make Milton move as fast as I was. I hurried up and jumped in the
shower, and inside thirty minutes I was ready to go. I don’t know why a man can never
move as quickly as a woman wants him to at a time like that, but for some reason he
As Milton got ready, I called Mom to see if Sandra was actually there at the house.
She said she was, and I tell you, I was so happy I wanted to cry. I began to ask all kinds
of questions. “How does she look?” and “Does she still have all that long, pretty hair?”
And then I asked about the baby. Mom told me how sweet he was, and how he let
everyone hold him. They passed him around from the time they got there until he went to
sleep. I told her, “Good! I hope y’all got all you’re holding him, because when I get there,
he’s all mine.” I asked to speak to Sandra, but Mom said they were still sleeping. I told
her we were on our way.
I told Milton we had to go, so he should just brush his teeth and come on or be left.
Finally he was ready. He told me he would drive because he wanted to get there in one
piece. I had no problem with that; because if he drove I could do what I do best—sit
back, listen to music and enjoy the ride. To me, there is nothing more relaxing than just
letting yourself go and getting caught up in some music.
The thirty-minute ride flew by. I remember telling Milton, “And you said I was
going to drive fast!” When we pulled up in front of my mother’s house and I saw the
Alabama tag on the unfamiliar vehicle, I jumped out of our car. By that time, my mother
had the front door open and I rushed in. Then I saw something that just took my breath
away! In my sister’s arms was the cutest baby I had ever seen! When I took Little
Anthony in my arms, I was so mesmerized I could hardly speak.
That whole day, if I wasn’t holding Little Anthony, he was within arm’s length. I
was so happy when I was holding him; and when he smiled, I felt it was just for me. That
weekend went by so fast! I wasn’t ready for them to leave, but we promised we would
stay in touch. As they pulled off, I had already decided it was time for me to start a
family. As we drove home that evening, I told Milton I wanted a baby. I said I had fallen
in love with the idea of having a baby. He said, laughingly, “Just because you spent the
whole weekend holding someone else’s baby, you’ve decided that it’s time for us to have
I looked at him and said, “It’s time, and I know it is. I can’t explain what I’m
feeling, but being around Sandra and her family, it just felt right.”
We talked about a baby that night, and by the time we got ready for bed we had
decided that we were ready to start a family of our own. Everyone in my family was soon
telling me not to be disappointed if I didn’t get pregnant right away, because things like
that could take time. Not for me, though! As soon as I stopped taking my birth control
pills, I got pregnant. And guess who was the first to know: it was my Granny!
One day, when I got off work, I stopped by her house. As I walked up the steps to
her porch, she looked at me and said, “When were you going to tell me you’re pregnant?”
I asked her what she was talking about, and she said, “You’re pregnant.” When she told
me that, I had to sit down because I knew Granny would not have said that if it weren’t
But I kept thinking, “How does she know? I don’t think she even knows we’re
After visiting with her for a while, I went on down the street to visit with Mom
before heading back to Hattiesburg. I turned on some music and let my mind drift. I was
thinking, “A baby of my very own—oh, how wonderful!” I hoped it would be a boy,
because I wouldn’t know what to do with a girl. I guess I should have been paying more
attention to those things Mom had tried to teach me when I was growing up instead of
playing with the guys all the time. For a moment I thought maybe I should have gotten
practice by playing with those baby dolls. Yeah, right! But then I knew any girl of mine
would be a tomboy just like her mother! And we would both be proud of it!
After I got home, I started some dinner. I couldn’t wait for my husband to get home
so I could tell him what Granny had said. Finally he got there, and I told him the news.
He was happy, I was happy, and we both said, “I hope she’s right!”
The first thing I did the next day was to call a friend of mine whose sister had just
recently had a baby. Her sister had told her how she really trusted her doctor and how
attentive he was during her entire pregnancy. He took the time to answer any questions
she had and made sure she understood how important it was to get plenty of sleep. She
said he was the kind of doctor anyone would like to have, so my friend put me in touch
with her sister. I asked all kinds of questions about her doctor. After talking with her, I
was convinced Dr. King was the right doctor for me, and I called to set up an
On the day of the appointment, Mom came to Hattiesburg to go to the doctor’s office
with me. I don’t know who was more nervous, my mother or me, but there we were,
sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for my name to be called. We talked about some of
everything trying to calm our nerves, but nothing worked.
Finally my name was called, and suddenly I was afraid and excited all at the same
time. The nurse took me to the back, asked me several questions, and then asked if I
thought I was pregnant. I said I thought so, and she continued with her questioning. Soon
she took me to a room and told me that Dr. King would be in shortly. As I sat waiting in
the room, I read all of the degrees he had on the wall and saw that he had graduated at the
top of his class. He had, in addition, won several awards, which were also displayed on
the wall. I was really feeling good about this “Dr. King” fellow.
Well, let me tell you! I was sitting there waiting when there was a knock on the
door, and when the door opened, a very handsome—but very young—man came into the
room. I looked at him and then looked at the door, as if someone else was coming behind
him. He had on a doctor’s jacket, and I asked him, “Are you Dr. King?”
He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Yes.”
“You’re kind of young, aren’t you?” I said.
He smiled and said, “Yes, but I’ve delivered quite a few babies. And you think
I said, “I hope so,” and he examined me and sent my results down to the lab.
When he came back in, he was smiling. “Well, Mom, what do you want—a girl or a
I cried like a baby! The tears started coming and wouldn’t stop; I was so full of joy!
I stopped crying long enough to listen to the doctor’s instructions to me, and then he set
another appointment to see me in three months. I got dressed, and the tears again began to
stream down my face. As I was leaving the room, one of the nurses asked me whether I
was happy or sad. I told her, “Oh, I’m very happy! These are tears of pure joy! I am
going to be a mother!” How do I love my God? Let me count the ways.
I rushed back out to the waiting room where my mother was waiting. As soon as she
saw me, she knew what the doctor had said. She could tell from the joy on my face that
she was going to be a grandmother. I can remember her smile. I was carrying a baby
inside of me, my very own Little Anthony.
Mom and I left the doctor’s office and had lunch together before she drove back to
Laurel. As we sat talking, she told me about her experiences while she was carrying me.
She gave me some advice on what to do and what not to do. After seeing Little Anthony,
I wanted to do everything right so that I would be as blessed as Sandra had been. The first
thing Dr. King and Mom told me was to start getting plenty of rest. I had no problem with
that one; sleeping was what I did best of all! And of course, I had to start taking my
vitamins every day. After lunch, we drove back to my apartment before Mom left to go
back home. I had to lie down for a while because this day’s experience had been so
overwhelming. Besides, if I didn’t go to sleep, I would get on the telephone and call
everybody I knew to tell them I was expecting my very first baby, and I felt that the
expectant father should be the next to know, right?
I lay there that day thinking about how I was feeling and what it would be like in the
final hours of my pregnancy. Over the course of my pregnancy, I put my feelings into a
ZZZZZ New Page
The Baby Inside Of Me
I just came from the doctor’s office, and he said I’m a mother-to-be.
I wanted to climb the highest mountain and shout, “I’m carrying a baby inside of
The doctor tells me it will be nine months before I see your face.
And when you’re fully developed (a phenomenon, right before my eyes),
a miracle will take place.
He tells me I must eat properly and get plenty of rest.
He’ll only have to tell me once because now I’m truly blessed.
I find myself worrying because this is all so very new.
I watched my body change with each month that you grew.
The light has taken over the day once again.
Going into my fourth month, I can feel you moving within.
I’m not a rocket scientist and never was an honor roll student,
no, that wasn’t to be,
But what I am is someone with lots of love to give to
the baby inside of me.
I find myself awakened in the middle of the night.
Feeling on my stomach, and it feels a little tight.
It is just past midnight; today is Groundhog Day,
And the thought has just occurred to me that you might be on the way.
So, I’ll sit up for a little while to see what’s going on.
I want to make sure that there is nothing wrong.
You’ve been moving around a lot more from inside.
No matter what I do, you don’t seem satisfied.
I’ll sing you a lullaby and read you a story or two,
For you’re inside of me and there’s nothing else I can do.
Maybe I’ll go downstairs and fix a cup of tea,
Hoping that it will soothe us both, the mother and
the baby inside of me.
So I sit here, anticipating the day that God has planned.
I’m going to give you all of my motherly love, as much as you can stand.
When the day comes for me to see your precious face,
I’ll cry tears of joy and will do so with much grace.
You’ve been kicking and stretching for quite a while.
And I want you to know that, all along, I’ve been wearing a smile.
Now that your birth day is here and it’s time for you to arrive,
I’m lying here rejoicing. I’m so lucky to be alive!
The doctor is telling me to push with all my might,
And I’m doing the best I can, while keeping the mirror in sight.
I’m going to push hard this time and with lots of love, you’ll see,
because with this last push I know I will be seeing
the baby (who was) inside of me.
ZZZZZ new page
Well, after I’d had a couple of hours’ sleep, my telephone rang. It was one of my friends,
who I hadn’t talked with for a while. She wanted to know what I had been doing since the
last time we had spoken. It took everything I had in me not to tell her I was pregnant!
When we hung up, I began to read the pamphlets that Dr. King had given me.
Time seemed to be moving really slowly. It was still pretty early, and Milton wasn’t
going to be home until 6:00 or so. The afternoon weather was flawless; it was a sunny,
spring day in May. The flowers were blooming, the birds were singing their little hearts
out, the grass looked perfectly green, and it seemed as if everything was beginning to
come alive. I decided to go for a walk and just take in the afternoon. As I walked,
everyone I passed waved or blew their car horn to say hello. In Mississippi, everyone
spoke to everyone (back then, anyway). I knew walking was very good for the baby, so I
walked and walked. As I continued, I started talking to God as I have done every day
since I learned about Him.
I started telling Him about the kind of mother I wanted to be and about the kind of home
that I would provide for my child. I told Him how, every day of my life, I would tell my
child that I loved him or her and, not only say it, I promised that a day would never go by
that I wouldn’t prove my love to my child. I would be a mother who would love her child
with all of her might. I would make sure that this child would always know it was loved.
“My child will come to know You, God, as I have, and will know that You are the
Father of all things. It is You who have given me this opportunity and, for that, how
could I be anything but a good mother? What I am about to experience is nothing short of
a miracle. I have a living soul in my body, and I can’t wait until my baby starts moving
and growing inside me!”
As I started back home, the tears were streaming down my face again. Just talking to
my God puts me in a special place, where I feel as if I’m the only one on earth. It’s a
contented kind of feeling; warmth comes over my body. My feet are on the ground, but I
feel like I’m floating on clouds. I’ve always talked to God and throughout every day,
morning, noon, and night.
By the time I reached our apartment, I knew that I was carrying a boy. Never again
during this pregnancy did I even consider that I would have a little girl. I knew without a
doubt that I was carrying my very own Little Anthony, and that thrilled me. As I said, I
would have been a little afraid of having a daughter after surrounding myself with
nothing but boys throughout my life.
Once I reached home, I watched a little television to kill some time. Sitting by the
window, I happened to look out and there he was, almost at the apartment. Boy, I jumped
up out of my seat and ran to the door! By the time I opened it, Milton was there, and all
he could do was smile. I didn’t even have to open my mouth. Of course, as newly
expectant parents, we wanted to celebrate the good news. That evening we went out to
dinner and, as soon as we got back in, I went straight to the telephone and started calling
everyone I knew to tell them the good news.
I called Sandra and told her, and she was just as happy as I was. She asked when the
baby was due, and I told her the end of January.
She teased me, saying, “It sure didn’t take you long to get pregnant, did it?”
I told her, “No! Everyone was telling me it would take awhile, but here I am,
As time went by, I talked with Sandra a lot. She told me she had nursed Anthony for
the first few months and then she went to the bottle. She told me the changes she had had
to make in order to produce good, healthful milk.
By my next doctor’s appointment, I had all kinds of questions. In fact, I had written
out a list. I wanted to do everything the right way. No matter what it was, I was willing to
do it. When the day came for me to go to the doctor, I went by myself.
Milton wanted to come, but his job took him out of town a lot, and this was one of
Going back to Dr. King for my first check up, I was a little nervous. I’m not sure
why, but I was. Once I got into his office, though, I was okay. We began to talk and I
asked him about breast-feeding. He told me that breast-fed babies are the healthiest, and
that their immune systems are much stronger than babies who are bottle-fed. That’s all he
had to say to me, but that meant I would have to give up a lot of the things I love to eat.
He told me that I didn’t have to start worrying about that until I reached the eighth month
of my pregnancy. Dr. King didn’t know me very well; I started on the list that same day.
I went straight to the grocery store and bought things that I never, ever imagined I
would eat. Being from the South, of course I enjoyed Southern foods cooked the
“Southern way.” I must say, I’m a big fan of my own cooking, but now a lot of the old
kind of cooking had to go in order to make room for the new. Wheat bread was the main
thing on my list of foods I needed plenty of, along with fruit and fresh vegetables. I had
to give up hot sauce. Now, that hurt! I put hot sauce on everything I eat after breakfast.
That’s just a Mississippi thing; you have to have your hot sauce on vegetables and your
fried chicken. But if that was what I had to do for my baby to be healthy, I didn’t think
that was asking too much.
Spring turned into summer, summer into fall, fall into winter. Soon it was almost
Christmas, and I was getting closer to having my baby. Each time I went to Dr. King’s
office, he would tell me how well I was doing and that I was really keeping my weight
down. As I entered my eighth month, I was feeling kind of depressed. One day I decided
to go to the store just to get out of the house for a while. When I got back home, I opened
the front door and noticed that Milton had an unusual look on his face. He told me to
come in and sit down. My knees got so weak, I had to sit in the first chair I could get to.
(Just watch what having faith will do for you.)
[Note to layout: page break]
He told me my mother had called. My Granny had died. I couldn’t believe what
he was telling me. Surely he had misunderstood what she said! I needed to call my
mother to find out if it was really true, but before I could call her, she called me and told
me what little she knew, which wasn’t very much.
It seems that Granny had gone to work, but at some point that afternoon, her boss
said he’d heard something that sounded like someone had fallen. He called out to her but
there was no response, and when he went to check on her, he saw Granny lying on the
floor. She had died, just like that. Her boss said she hadn’t said anything about being sick
and that she had been doing just fine at her job. It seemed as though her heart had just
Later that night, my telephone rang. It was my father asking if I could pick him up at
the airport the next day. I don’t know how he had found out so fast. I can’t think of
anyone who would have had his telephone number other than me. I told him, “Sure, that
won’t be a problem.”
He flew in the very next day, and his sister, Eileen, whom I had never met, came in
also. Granny had talked about her from time to time, but Eileen had never come to see
her. Why, I don’t know, but then it seems like I only saw my father on three separate
occasions, and two of those were because of a death in the family. I do remember that she
was very happy whenever he did come home for a visit.
The next day I went to the airport to pick up my father. As soon as he got off the
plane, he started apologizing because he hadn’t been calling me like he had promised.
But I was a big girl now with a baby on the way, not that same little girl who used to hold
his hand and believe his every word.
I took him to Laurel and helped him as much as I could. Aunt Eileen came in later
that evening; in fact, I had driven back to Hattiesburg by the time she arrived that night.
She brought her sons, Jason and David, with her. I think they had driven down from
Chicago or Michigan. I was upset with Eileen that Granny never saw her daughter, and I
couldn’t help but let that show. I had never seen Aunt Eileen before Granny died, and at
that time I was twenty-four years old.
When Aunt Eileen left, she and her boys took everything but the kitchen sink; I
mean, they tore Granny’s house apart. I never could figure out how they moved so
quickly, but right before my eyes that house turned into the biggest mess I had ever seen.
My father stayed for another day, and then I took him back to the airport. And as he was
leaving, he gave me again the same old speech about how he would stay in touch. I
wonder what made me think maybe he’s telling the truth this time. I really wanted to
He told me how much he was looking forward to his first grandson, and I thought,
Okay, I will place stock in him once again. I watched him board the plane, but as it
prepared for takeoff, I had a feeling that I would never see him again. When I called him
that night to see how his flight had gone, we talked for a little while and then hung up.
As I prepared to go into my final month of pregnancy, I wasn’t feeling as happy as I
had before. I think it was due to the fact that I knew how much Granny had been looking
forward to playing with her great-grandson, but now that would never happen. It was
January, and I felt a little anxiety settling in. Now I was thinking, Oh boy, am I really
ready for a baby? Who is going to help me when Milton is working out of town? I
remember thinking that this was not a good idea on my part. I’m telling you, all of a
sudden I didn’t want a baby. Dr. King had told me that my due date was at the end of
January, and with each passing day, I became more and more certain of the fact that I
didn’t want to be a mother yet. I called Sandra and talked with her. She told me it was
natural to feel that way just before the baby was born. We talked for a while, and by the
time we got off the telephone, I was ready to be a mother again. She reminded me about
the time I first saw Anthony and how I felt when I first took him in my arms. The
excitement I had before Granny passed came back all of a sudden, and I was ready to be a
It was mid-January, time for us to welcome our baby into the world. Two weeks
came and went, and still no baby and no sign of him being ready to make his debut. I
called Dr. King the following day. He could tell I was very concerned, so he instructed
me to call his office the next morning and make an appointment to see him that same day.
That was on January 30, and it was a very cold Monday morning. Being a summer
person, I was a bit upset with myself for getting worried and calling Dr. King. He wanted
to see me, which meant I had to go out into the cold. As I sat in the waiting room of his
office, I looked at the other ladies who were there. One asked how far along I was, and
when I told her I was in my ninth month, no one could believe it. I had really done well at
keeping my weight down. I had done everything I was instructed to do to the letter. They
asked if this was my first baby. When I told them it was, they told me babies never come
on their due date. One lady said her baby was born three weeks late. I guess it could be
said that there might be a little miscalculation on the part of the doctor. I really felt much
better after she said that, because now I was thinking that maybe he had just
miscalculated my due date. I had rushed to call him, and now I was out on one of the
coldest days we had all winter. I should have been in bed on that bitter, cold, rainy day. It
was the kind of cold seeps into your bones and keeps you cold throughout the whole
But I had made it to his office okay. As he examined me, he asked me once more,
“Do you want to know whether it’s a boy or a girl?”
I smiled at him and said, “No, because I already know it’s a boy. I have been saying
that all along. In fact, I haven’t even thought about a girl, and if I have a daughter, I’ll
have to come up with a girl’s name really quick!”
He smiled as he looked at me and said, “You’re really sure about that, aren’t you?”
He told me everything looked great and that sometimes the dates were not correct. He
told me the baby was fully developed and was just waiting for the right time to make his
entrance. That was fine with me. I wanted him to arrive at the perfect time. I went back
home and enjoyed the rest of the day, staying inside and cooking some homemade
vegetable soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
When the weather was cold like this, Milton didn’t have to work much, so he was
home with me. Two days after my appointment, I started feeling different. I told Milton
the baby was moving around a lot, as if playing football inside me all by himself.
It was February 1, 1978, and the time was 11:45 p.m. I went upstairs and started
getting ready for bed. While I was praying, I began to feel a little pain. I didn’t think
much of it, so I continued to pray and got into bed.
I drifted off to sleep quickly, but at midnight, I was awake again because I needed to
use the bathroom. Since I had been to the bathroom just before bed, this was unusual. I
was still asleep, but I got up and went back to the bathroom. Then, when I woke up again
at 12:15 a.m. with that same feeling, I told myself that this time I was going to stay
awake to see what was going on. I finally realized I was in labor. I started crying tears of
joy. I knew I was about to become a mother!
At that moment, I was the happiest person on earth!
From that night to this very day, I can still remember everything that happened.
After the overwhelming realization that I was in the first stage of delivering my first
child—and still feverishly praying that it would be a boy—all I could do was thank God
for the miracle He was letting me witness as everything began to unfold. I knew that, on
that day, I would see my very own child being born into this world.
It’s so hard to describe what a great feeling that was to me. I felt incredible joy, like
floating above the clouds. Milton was still asleep, so I woke him up. I was crying and
could hardly talk, but he knew why I was crying.
He said, “Is it time to leave?”
I told him it wasn’t, because my labor pains were still only fifteen minutes apart.
After that, I called my mother, and she told me to call her before I left for the hospital and
they would come to Hattiesburg.
I called Dr. King to inform him that he was going to be delivering my baby soon.
“So please, do not be making any plans of your own!” I said. I could tell he was happy,
too. He knew that I was someone who wanted to be a mother and that I had a lot of love
for my baby.
He said, “When your pains get five minutes apart, go to the hospital, and they will
I asked him, “Shouldn’t you be there already?”
He laughed, telling me he didn’t live too far away, and that he would be there in
plenty of time. The last words Dr. King said to me were, “Your wish is about to come
true.” I cried even more because I knew what he meant.
The labor pains started around midnight; soon it’s morning. When the labor pains
were five minutes apart, I called my mother, and then Milton and I were out the door. We
arrived at the hospital at seven o’clock on the dot.
They started taking my temperature and blood pressure when I had a contraction.
The nurse felt my stomach and said, “You’re right. You’ll be having your baby sometime
today.” I asked her where Dr. King was. I didn’t want him to miss the historic event. She
smiled and said he was on his way. They had notified him as soon as I had checked in,
and he would be there before I made it up to the delivery room. Sure enough, when they
were getting ready to take me up to the delivery floor, there he stood with my chart in his
hands, all dressed for the party.
They wheeled me up to the delivery floor, and I began to think that giving birth to a
baby wasn’t going to be all that bad. I had heard so many stories about the terrible pain.
Some of the ladies acted as though having a baby was a “near-death” experience.
By the time my contractions were four minutes apart, my mother had made it to the
hospital. They let her stay in the room with me.
I tell you, she could not sit down! She would walk and walk, and it seemed like
every ten seconds she was asking me if I was all right. I would say to her, “Am I all
right? You’re the one who can’t be still!” As the contractions got closer together, the
nurses told my mother they were getting ready to wheel me into the delivery room. I
thought she was going to pass out!
They took me into the delivery room and, boy, I thought they had wheeled me
outside. You want to talk about being cold! I didn’t know which was the coldest—outside
or that delivery room! I asked them to either turn the heater on or turn the air conditioner
off. It was cold! Too cold for me to be having my baby in there! I told one of the nurses
that the baby would probably change his mind about making his way out as soon as he
felt how cold it was in there. I was just thinking about getting up off that table and going
back out to the waiting room myself when one of those labor pains hit me again. I
decided I’d better stay right where I was.
I noticed that the mirror was covered up. I asked the nurse to remove the cover so
that I could watch my baby come into my life.
She said, “Sure! The mother who delivered her baby in the room before you asked
us to cover it up because she didn’t want to watch.” She told me that most women prefer
not to watch as they are giving birth. By that time another pain hit me and I forgot all
about the cold room.
Time seemed like it was moving very fast. All of a sudden the pain wasn’t giving me
any more breaks. The contractions were a few seconds apart. It seemed that my baby had
gone from playing football to playing hockey, all inside three minutes. But knowing he
was making his way to me, I would withstand any pain that he had to give me (including
moving and relocating my ribs, dislodging my bladder, and totally reshaping all of my
female organs). Who had time to remember all the horror stories of the women who
screamed bloody murder from the pain? My son was on the move ,and he wasn’t
stopping for any rest. Little did he know that his mother sure did need some rest! “Whee,
Doggie!” was all I could say or think.
At 2:31, a baby by the name of Aaron Wendell Watson was born at Forrest
General Hospital on a very cold Thursday afternoon, Groundhog Day. Weighing in at 6
pounds, 13-1/2 ounces, with a length of 19 3/4 inches, he brought along with him all ten
fingers, all ten toes, and all the other normal, beautiful things that come with a new baby.
I cried when Dr. King brought Aaron to me to hold for the very first time. I have never
been able to put into words what I felt at that moment.
I remembered Dr. King saying to me after all the congratulations had been passed
around the room, “Well, you were right all along about having a boy!” But, of course, he
knew I was having a boy early on. And after my mother did all that walking and pacing
that day, she lost six pounds in a seven-hour period. I still laugh about that today.
I promised God I would love Little Aaron a little more with each new day. From that
day to this one, I have kept my promise. To me, a promise is a promise and my word is
my word. I held Aaron for as long as they would let me. I had my very own Little
Anthony! I cried many tears of joy over this tiny little baby in my arms. I tell you I had
never seen such beauty nor felt such contentment.
It took nine long months to see this little bundle of joy eye to eye, but it was well
worth it. If I had known what a wonderful feeling it was to carry a baby, I would have
started on my family a lot sooner. I stared at the beautiful little miracle that would turn
my life into pure bliss.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
Baby Aaron Comes Home
We brought our little boy home on Sunday, February 5, 1978. I don’t think
anyone has ever been happier than I was. I couldn’t wait to get Aaron Wendell Watson to
his new home! On the ride home I began to realize that he was all mine. There were no
nurses in the room to ask any questions, no doctors checking to make sure I was all right,
and that was a good thing.
I was far beyond ready to have him all to myself. I knew all the do’s, don’ts, and
how-to’s of raising children, and I felt I was already a pro without having any hands on
experience. I had listened to everyone who wanted to give me advice about being a
mother. I listened to them because I knew they meant well, but I had ideas of my own. I
couldn’t wait to be the best mother I could be.
That day we brought Aaron home was so cold! The nurse told me to bundle him
up good and tight. She didn’t have to worry about that, though. I held him so tightly that I
don’t remember letting him go until September 19, 2001. I still have the hat and clothes
Aaron wore home from the hospital that day. Milton and I gave him a tour of our
apartment and showed him where he would be living now, and then we all went to sleep.
My family came to see little Aaron and the new parents the following weekend. My sister
Charlene came home from college, so my family decided that they would all drive
together. Just as we had done with Little Anthony, passing him around from person to
person, everyone took turns passing Aaron around. But this time, knowing that after they
left he would remain here with me, I was thrilled to no end to share him with my family.
My very own baby! What more could one want out of life than to have had the
experience of creating a life in just nine months—from the first time I felt Aaron move in
my body with a kick as light as a feather to the time that final “hockey game” was over?
I always held Aaron close to me while he was feeding, and I would think of his
future. I guess I was like every parent. I would sit and imagine where we would all be
next year, or in five years, or in ten years as I watched him look up at me. I asked him,
“What would you like to be when you grow up? How many children would you like to
have? Where would you like to live in this big old world of ours?” All of these things I
kept asking him over and over while he was only a few weeks old.
I knew I was starting off a little early, but I just wanted to make sure that I had all
the questions in order so when it came time to ask him, I would ask the right ones. You
know what they say. Practice makes perfect, right? Who would have ever thought I
would be sitting here now writing a book about the same little bundle of joy I brought
home from the hospital! It seems like just yesterday, but the reality of it all is that my son
Aaron is now here with me in spirit only. The baby that I had so many hopes and dreams
for has made his residence in heaven. The good ones die young.
Getting Aaron home and taking care of him was like a dream come true.
Motherhood came so easily to me! I guess I can say that actually my Aaron made it easy
because he was such a good baby. Even when I was in the delivery room, I remember
saying that if this was all there was to it, I could have nine more babies. He never gave
me any of the problems I had heard some other mothers say they had with their
newborns. No, Aaron was a very special baby who became a very special child. As long
as my son was fed on time, he was a perfect baby. He was a very healthy baby. Every
time I took him for a check-up, the doctor would tell me Aaron was one of the healthiest
babies he had seen.
In no time, Aaron was crawling around the apartment. Then he started teething, and
it seemed like only a few more minutes had passed when he started saying, “Mama.” I
was holding him in my arms the day he first said, “Mama.” Boy, you talk about one
happy mother! Hearing my baby speak for the very first time absolutely amazed me! He
called me “Mama!” I told him to say it again, but maybe it frightened him when he heard
his own voice or when he saw how I reacted to the new word.
Later that day I put him down for his nap and he said, “Mama,” again. He laughed,
and then went to sleep. I watched him sleep for a while, and thought of who I would call
first with this wonderful news.
There was something very peaceful about him, even then. It seemed like he was
sleeping on a pillow of clouds. And maybe he was. After all, he came into this world as a
child of God. He wasn’t really mine, and all I can do now is sit and remember when.
As I look back and remember when Aaron got his first tooth, took his first step, and said
his first word, it all seems like just yesterday. Sitting here today and thinking about our
lives from that time to this very moment, all I can say is that we had a ball and it was time
very well spent.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Mourning a man I didn’t even know.
Losing My Father
Years passed, and one morning I got up to fix my husband lunch to take to work. As I
listened to the weather report, I heard it was going to be getting cold soon. I had told little
Aaron that before the cold weather, we would have a picnic at the park one more time.
Although I was listening to the weather station, they did not have to tell me that
today was going to be a beautiful day. The sun was shining and there was not a cloud in
the sky; it was the kind of day everyone should go outside and enjoy. Once my husband
left for work, I woke Aaron up and fed him breakfast, telling him that this was going to
be our last day in the park before it got cold. I had my beautiful son with me and I was
going to make sure we enjoyed the day.
Aaron loved the zoo, and that’s where we started our day. After leaving the zoo, we
visited my friend, Deanna, who lived across town with four boys of her own. One of
them was the same age as Aaron, and another was a year older. I told her we were on our
way to the park and invited them along. Since I had brought just enough food for Aaron
and me, we stopped by a barbecue place to pick up some chicken and ribs.
Then we were off to our favorite Paul B. Johnson National Park. Once there, the
boys got out their toys and water guns. We got out the food and drinks and set up the
table for lunch. By the time we were ready to eat, the boys had played themselves out.
They ate and then took a little nap.
I have always enjoyed going to Paul B. Johnson State Park. Sitting by the lake with
my eyes closed and listening to the waves hitting against the banks feels like being
baptized all over again. A peace, a feeling of serenity, comes over me when I sit beside a
lake. It’s as if it cleanses my spirit from head to toe. I often went down to the park early
on Saturday mornings while Milton and Aaron slept. The park was only thirty minutes
away; I would get there before the fishermen, just so I could feel the tranquility of the
untouched lake. How much I love God; let me count the ways!
The boys didn’t sleep too long. They nibbled a little more, and we packed up the car.
Since it was still early, we decided to take a walk around the lake. On the way home,
after dropping off Deanna and her sons, Aaron and I stopped by the video store to get a
couple of movies. We headed home—tired, full, and well-relaxed all rolled into one. I
gave Aaron a quick bath and then put in a movie for him while I took a shower. Just as I
was getting out of the shower, the telephone rang.
The voice on the other end asked, “Is this the Watson residence?” I answered that it
was. The lady then said, “Kathy, this is your stepmother, Barbara.”
I hadn’t heard from her since I was eleven years old! For a split second, I tried to
figure out why she would be calling me. The only time I had ever seen or talked with her
was when my father had brought her and their children to see Granny. I was twenty-five
years of age, married, and with a child of my own. In a matter of seconds I speculated on
what she could possibly want with me.
She asked how I was, and then she said, “I just called you to tell you that your father
was found dead early this morning.” She told me that they had separated a while back,
and she did not have any details on what had happened to him. She said that he had gone
to the grocery store, then gone back to his apartment and fallen dead. I remember asking
her if there was some kind of burglary.
No one had said anything like that yet. She told me that when they got the details of
the funeral arrangements, she would call me back. I sat and cried for a while. Little
Aaron, now three years old, came into the room and asked me why I was crying. As
young as Aaron was, I told him that his grandfather had passed away, a grandfather he
knew nothing about. I didn’t even know him. Two or three days passed, and Barbara
called with all the arrangements. She told me I could stay with them if I decided to come.
They lived in Rapid City, South Dakota. She also told me that the weather there was
extremely cold and snow was already on the ground, so to bring very heavy winter
clothes. Watching the weather station as I always did, I knew the kind of winters they
had. I remember her telling me that the wind chill was already below zero.
I was undecided about whether I should go to Rapid City or not. I sat thinking the
rest of the day, about what I should do. The man who fathered me had just passed away,
but the only thing I knew about him was his name and that he had remarried and had six
children (I think). Other than that, I knew absolutely nothing. If I had to remember how
many times I had heard his voice on the telephone, I would have to guess around six or
seven. Did I want to fly to Rapid City, South Dakota, or not? He had a family I didn’t
know and they didn’t know me, so I decided not to go to the funeral.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
And God blessed them, and God said unto them,
Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish
the earth, and subdue it…
Baby Kendrick Is Born
Time went by. When Aaron was three-and-a-half years old, we three felt it was time to
get started on Baby Number Two, a “family expansion project,” if you will. My husband
and I had planned on having a second child when Aaron turned three, but life has a way
of showing us that we don’t make the decisions—we just hope that things can go as
planned. This time, it took almost two years for me to get pregnant with Kendrick. Once
everyone knew we were trying to have another baby, they told me that it was going to
take awhile because I had been on the pill for a few years. I listened to them even though
they were wrong about my first pregnancy.
When I knew I was carrying my second son, I was very happy, and, yes, I cried
some tears of joy. How much do I love God? Let me count the ways! I went by the rules
as I did with Aaron. I did everything right all over again, from eating the different kinds
of food my doctor recommended to getting as much rest as I could. Since I had had
Aaron, I could sleep as I once had, so I napped when Aaron napped and went to bed
much earlier than usual.
Although we wanted the two children to be closer together in age, I was very
thankful just knowing I was going to be able to feel a baby growing inside of me once
again. For the whole nine months, I would tell Aaron he was going to have a baby
brother, and this made him very happy. It seemed he was asking more and more
questions with each month, as if he understood that he was to be the big brother, the
From the beginning, Aaron couldn’t wait to become a big brother. Kendrick Jevon
Watson was born on a Tuesday morning, October 5, 1983, at 4:54, at Forrest General
Hospital in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He weighed 7 pounds, 11 ounces and was 21 inches
While I was in the hospital, Aaron stayed in Laurel with his grandparents and aunts.
He called every day wanting to know all about his little brother. He was so ready to see
him! He would ask, “Mama, does he look like me?”
I would tell him, “Yes, he does, Aaron.” Then he wanted to know how big he was
and how long it would be before he could see him. I told him when we were going to be
On Thursday afternoon, when Kendrick was two days old, my husband took us
home. Then he drove the thirty miles to Laurel to pick up Aaron. My husband told me
that Aaron was waiting by the door when he pulled up to the house. They said that Aaron
was at the car before it stopped, telling his father he was ready to go and see his baby
brother! My husband thanked my family for keeping him while I was in the hospital,
hopped into the car, and pulled off. The car pulled up, and I heard Aaron’s voice as they
were coming through the door. He asked his father which room we were in. I called down
the stairs and told him we were in our bedroom. That little boy ran up the stairs, calling,
“Mama, mama! Where are you?” By the time he got up the steps and into the bedroom,
his smile was so big! He jumped on the bed and kissed his brother gently as if he knew he
had to be very careful with him.
It was so touching. In fact, I thought it was so special I got out of bed, got my
camera, and took a few pictures of my two sons. I saw right before my eyes the bonding
that took place that Thursday afternoon, October 7, 1983. The two of them became as
one. It was a once-in-a-lifetime moment. That bond with his brother, Kendrick, would
last for the rest of Aaron’s life. I watched Aaron carefully touch and hold his brother’s
hand until Kendrick went to sleep.
As the years went by, the two of them grew closer and closer, always looking after
each other. Aaron, being the oldest, took his role as big brother very seriously. He felt it
was his job to always protect his brother, and Kendrick grew to feel the same way. If one
did something wrong, the other one would be there to help bail him out or cover it up. I
must say, young Aaron did a great job being Kendrick’s big brother all the way to the
end. As a mother, I could not have been any prouder.
We enjoyed living in Hattiesburg; we had good friends there. A couple of the guys
who worked with my husband were also from Laurel. We had all grown up together and
lived in the same neighborhood and had gone to the same schools. ur friends were
married and had children too, so there was never a shortage of kids to play with. At that
time we enjoyed being in Hattiesburg.
Soon Aaron was going to start school, and after living in apartments for a few years,
we decided it was time to buy a house. The boys needed a yard so they could play
outside, and I wanted to put up a basketball goal. I couldn’t wait to teach my sons how to
We found a very nice ranch-style brick house, well situated. An elementary school
was just east of us, close enough for the boys and me to walk to school. To the west of us
was Southern University. The house had three bedrooms and two full baths, a living
room, den, and kitchen-dining room combo with a double carport. It was everything a
wife and mother could ask for, including a laundry room and storage room. We were all
so happy! The boys made new friends, as that neighborhood was also full of kids. It was
no time before 820 Grace Avenue was the place for the kids to play. We always had
Kool-Aid and plenty of snacks around.
We bought the house during the summer, just before Aaron started school, so we had
time to settle in and have our first summer together in our new home.
When Aaron first started school, Kendrick and I would walk with him to Grace
Christian Elementary, which was up the street and around the corner.
Although my husband worked out of town a lot, the boys and I managed pretty well.
We had plenty to fill up our time. The most fun we would have was working outside,
mowing the lawn (I worked, they played). They knew that once the work was finished,
we would take a bath, they would put on their pajamas, and we would go for a ride. It
would be around six or seven in the evening. The first thing we would do was to go by
Pax’s. They had the best oatmeal cookies and root beer floats you could ever imagine,
and the chili hot dogs weren’t too bad either! If ever there was a time when the boys
didn’t do what they were supposed to (which was very rare), I would threaten them by
saying they wouldn’t be getting any Pax’s for two weeks. After that threat, they got it
together really quickly. You know us mothers. We do whatever it takes to get the results
We stayed in Hattiesburg for a while. After my sister Christina graduated from high
school, she worked in a department store in the mall before deciding to go to college.
Since Milton, Aaron, Kendrick, and I lived around the corner from the University, I told
her she could come and live with us if she would like. Milton was always gone and the
boys shared a room, so we had an extra bedroom. She did, and we had so much fun! She
was also a built-in baby sitter. I loved it, and she did too. It’s not that we went out often,
but it was nice to know that if we did, she was there.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Tornado Alley, too close for comfort.
Oklahoma, Here We Come
One day Milton came home from one of his longer trips. When he came through the door,
I could tell something was wrong. I asked him what was the matter, and he told me that
his job was shutting down its office in Hattiesburg. They were giving everyone the choice
to relocate with the company or accept severance pay.
They gave us a month to think about it. Many of the families had lived in and around
the Hattiesburg area and did not want to be relocated. Milton and I had really never been
far from home. At first I said, “No way!” I would not relocate. I had no interest in living
in Oklahoma or Texas, which were the choices they gave us. Those states were too far
away for me!
Milton and I talked about relocating and went back and forth about what to do. If we
decided to stay, how long would it be before Milton could find another job making the
same salary? He had been with this company for eleven years and had moved up the
ladder. I started thinking about what was more important. Of course, the boys were the
most important things in the world to me. I had to think about their futures and their
educations. Once I started to think along those lines, the answer became very clear;
relocating was the thing to do.
We had enjoyed living in Hattiesburg, but we had been very limited in what we
could do for entertainment. I started thinking of the pro football, baseball and basketball
games we could go to if we moved to Texas. It’s funny; because I was the one everyone
always said would never leave Laurel, but here I was living in Hattiesburg and thinking
about moving even farther away. But my boys’ futures were much more important to me
than being near home. I wanted them to be able to experience and see much more of the
world than I had. After a couple of weeks, it didn’t seem like a bad idea. Maybe it was
time for me to see what another state had to offer.
We had three cities to choose from: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Corpus Christi,
Texas; and Brownsville, Texas. We went to Oklahoma City because by the time we had
made up our minds to relocate, other families had already chosen the Texas towns. We
had to take what was left. It turned out to be a blessing, though, because we would have
chosen Corpus Christi; a few months after relocating, the families that had relocated there
had to move to Oklahoma City anyway.
The company had scheduled us to move a few months before school was out, so
Milton found a house and settled in while we were still in Hattiesburg. Aaron was in the
second grade at the time. With my husband in Oklahoma, we ate at Pax’s just about every
When school finally was out, Milton drove back to Hattiesburg. The company had
paid for the families to relocate, and the moving company was going to be at the house
two days after Milton was home. We were all happy and were so looking forward to
seeing the big city. The truck came, and we were on our way.
We left Mississippi on a Friday morning around 7:30 and drove straight through to
Oklahoma City. It was a twelve-hour drive, and the boys were very tired. We took both
family cars, meaning that I had to drive one of them. I think the only way I made it was
that the boys were in the car with me.
As we pulled up to the house, the first thing I saw was an oil well directly behind the
fence in the backyard. Milton had done a good job picking out the house. It was ranch-
style with three bedrooms, two baths, and a large fenced-in back yard. Seeing a whole
neighborhood with wooden fences around the houses was a first for me.
Once we arrived at the house, the first thing I did was give the boys a bath, and then
I took a bath, but not the leisurely one I would have enjoyed if we hadn’t just moved to a
new place. Once I thought about being in a new city, I couldn’t wait to see it! We went
out to dinner, and then rode around the streets of the city. It was huge and so spread out!
When I first saw Crossroads mall, I couldn’t believe how big it was. All in all, the
city was breath taking. In fact, just the drive was a very nice thing for me. Being in a new
city and meeting new friends made me very happy, but our first week in Oklahoma nearly
persuaded me we should have picked Texas.
Just before Milton was to report back to work, about three days after we had
arrived in Oklahoma, we had a beautiful day.
Shortly after Milton and the boys came in from playing outside, we all went into the
family room to watch a movie we had rented. All of a sudden, alarms started going off. I
remember asking my husband, “What is that sound?” Before he could answer me, I
noticed the wind picking up. Suddenly the day became night. The clouds started to
change, and when I say “change,” they changed in a hurry! The wind was blowing so
hard the trees were bending over, and we couldn’t see anything out of the windows for
the rain. It was the weirdest thing I had ever seen. One minute the sun was shining bright,
and then just like that, dark, dangerous clouds covered the sky.
The storm was unreal. We were all afraid because we thought a tornado was on our
street. I was praying and holding my boys as close to me as I could. If something was
going to happen, it was going to happen to me first. The storm must have lasted about
forty-five minutes, and then it was gone. After awhile the sun came back out as if nothing
had happened. It was unbelievable. A tornado touched down less than five miles away,
and I couldn’t believe the damage that tornado did in just that short time. Debris was
everywhere. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the damage it had caused.
We went for a ride to see how much more damage had been done. Where the
tornado touched down was unlike anything I had ever seen. Everywhere, the power and
phone lines were down. People had begun to come out, looking and doing what we were
doing, riding around until the police started putting up roadblocks. So we made a u-turn
and went back home.
By the time we got back to the house, our neighbors came out. We all stood in the
yard talking about the storm. They were telling us that tornados hit there all the time and
that they were used to them. They said that Oklahoma was straight-up Tornado Alley.
That wasn’t what I wanted to hear, not with my boys, even though tornados have always
thrilled me. I’ve always wanted to witness one with my own eyes. I used to get so jealous
when I’d watch television and see the tornado seekers actually getting a tornado on film.
I’m hoping one day I can ride with a crew that’s chasing tornados. Maybe one day when
I’m much older, I’ll visit Oklahoma again during tornado season, team up with some
tornado chasers, and live out my dream. Instead of watching tornados on television,
maybe I’ll be the one saying, “Man, that was awesome!” But when I was there with my
family, for me, it was all about my sons, and they didn’t want to have any part of any
To my surprise, I was very excited to be in a different state. Although Oklahoma had
no pro sports, they had other things we enjoyed doing. It didn’t take any time at all to
meet the neighbors, and within a week we knew everyone with children who lived on the
street. There were a few military families in the neighborhood, the husbands and fathers
of which were stationed overseas. The Air Force men were stationed all over the country,
and once school started, they talked me into doing some babysitting for them while they
The Oklahoma summer was very nice. It was the first time my asthma didn’t give
me any problems, probably because the weather was so dry compared to the summers in
Mississippi, where the summertime humidity will kill you. Milton still worked out of
town a lot, which was okay. I had gotten used to it over the years.
We missed Pax’s, and especially their oatmeal cookies, the best you ever tasted.
We brought as many of the cookies to Oklahoma City as we could, but they could only
last so long. It would have been nice if I could have re-created the Pax’s oatmeal cookies,
but even though I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking, I had never baked cookies
before. My specialty had always been cakes, pies, puddings, and brownies. One day I
thought about making the oatmeal cookies, but instead I decided to try baking cinnamon
rolls, which turned out delicious. I think I’ve learned through years of being a mother that
when you are doing something for your children, for whatever reason, whatever the task
may be, it seems to come out perfect. I really don’t know why I didn’t try to bake the
cookies at that time, but I didn’t. The boys fell in love with the cinnamon rolls, and it
makes a mom very happy to see smiles on her sons’ faces.
German chocolate cake became Aaron’s favorite, and sour cream pound cake
became Kendrick’s, so after awhile, the boys forgot about Pax’s. Heck, I had started
making my own special root beer floats! I guess you can say that whatever my boys
liked, if I couldn’t find it to buy, I learned how to bake it or cook it—except for those
oatmeal cookies. Yes, that’s a mother’s love for her children.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
We really should have listened.
They Got the Last Laugh
The summer had come and gone, and it was time for school. Aaron was a little
nervous about being the new kid in school, but he was ready to meet new friends. It took
no time at all for him to get used to his new school, while Kendrick and I only had to
adjust to our new home. Aaron was making very good grades (he was always an A or B
student). The teachers loved him because he was so smart and well-mannered. We had
only been in Oklahoma a few days, and we had come through one of the hardest tornados
that had ever hit Oklahoma City; yet the tornado was nothing compared to what we were
to go through a few months later. One day while watching the news, the weatherman was
saying that there was really bad weather coming our way. Not just any bad weather, but a
blizzard. The neighbors were all laughing; everywhere we went, all we heard was that a
blizzard would never happen. Our neighbors who had lived in Oklahoma City all their
lives said, “There’s no way that would happen.” It seemed like the weather people were
doing a countdown, and still we did not take it seriously until two o’clock that afternoon.
By then we were all trying to get to the stores, which, of course, were jam-packed. Forget
about buying the things you would normally buy; I was grabbing anything I could get my
hands on, and so was everyone else. The shelves were just about empty. That was the
first time I got scared.
Seeing the panic on people’s faces was not good. I had never seen a madhouse
before, but there’s a first time for everything.
While at the store, I bumped into the same neighbors who had told me it would
never happen. I told them, “Funny meeting you here.” We laughed and kept right on
getting what we could get. When we got back home and got ready for the unknown, I
called my husband and told him what was going on. He couldn’t believe it! He had left
for Michigan a few days earlier, so it was just the boys and me. Believe me, we had all
laughed at the weathermen for days when they were reporting the weather! I guess we
should have been taking it more seriously.
Nighttime came, and we were all waiting for this big storm. The boys wanted to stay
up and see the snow. This would be their first time ever seeing snow firsthand, so we
watched movie after movie. Still no snow. It was around eleven before we went to bed.
Even in the bed I looked out my bedroom window once to see if it had started to snow,
but still, no snow.
Morning came and the first thing I heard was Aaron saying, “Mama, look at all the
snow!” It had snowed like crazy. I couldn’t believe how much snow was on the ground in
that short length of time! It was as if the heavens had opened up and just dumped tons of
snow all over Oklahoma City. We found out it had snowed about twenty-two inches in
just a few hours. But as cold as it was, the untouched snow was a gorgeous sight.
Both of the boys ran into my bedroom jumped in the bed and asked to go outside.
Everything in me wanted to say no, but how could I refuse my sons when they were so
excited? The reason I wanted to say no was I knew they would want me to come outside
with them. It was too cold for me, and the wind was brutal.
After breakfast, we put on as many clothes as we possibly could, went outside, and
played in the snow. I think Aaron enjoyed it more than anyone else. Kendrick was out
there only because his brother was there. I had never been so cold in my life, but the boys
didn’t seem to mind the weather at all. They were so excited about the snow because they
had never seen it before, except on television. They really had a ball throwing snowballs
at each other. A couple of the neighbor boys came over and joined in the fight, and I had
my opportunity to go inside and warm up.
I have seen movies about towns hit with unbelievable storms. In my opinion, the
snowstorm that hit Oklahoma City that year surely qualifies. The city had to close down
for almost a week because they had not been prepared to handle such a storm. Milton was
still working in Michigan at the time, and we were so snowed in, he couldn’t have gotten
home even if he had tried. Still not being able to go anywhere, one afternoon we lay
down to take a nap. Just as I was dozing off, we heard neighbors outside talking. I
thought, “They must be crazy! The wind chill factor is below zero. What kind of people
are these Oklahomans, to want to be out in such a storm as this?” The wind was howling
like crazy. I had never heard wind blow like that before.
I got up to see what they were doing, and they were all shoveling snow. I thought,
“Boy, they can’t wait until the wind stops blowing some.” Well, as I looked, I
remembered I had heard on the news that schools and places of business were reopening
the next day. Snow was still at least fifteen inches deep, but they had cleared the streets
enough to be able to drive. It finally hit me that I was going to have to go out there and
shovel snow out of my driveway so I could get one of the cars out of the garage. I said,
“Oh boy! This is not going to be fun!”
I guess the weatherman was saying, “Who’s laughing now?”
I put on so many clothes I could hardly move. I’m glad no one had a camera around.
I started out wearing just my clothes from Mississippi. The winters there could be cold,
but were nothing to write home about. That year in Oklahoma for us was like going to
bed living in Florida and waking up in the middle of Alaska somewhere. That’s what it
felt like to me. I don’t know how the neighbors felt, but that’s how I felt. After all, it was
they who were telling me it would never snow, nor would we have that kind of bad
weather in Oklahoma.
To make matters worse, we only had the “winter” clothes we had brought from
Mississippi. As I was getting dressed to go out and face the music, so to speak, I realized
I had no gloves, boots, or scarf, and I thought, “This is not good.” So I looked around to
see what I could put together. I didn’t have anything heavy that was going to help fight
the cold wind, so I got creative (I thought). I put on what I had, and then I wrapped a
thick drying cloth around my neck. I used heavy thick socks for my gloves and put tape
around my wrist. I wrapped a drying towel around my head and then (tried) to put a cap
on my head. It just somehow happened that my husband had left an old pair of boots at
the house, so I put them on. I cut eyes, nose, and a mouth out of a drying towel, wrapped
it around my face, and then put tape around the towel. I guess you can say that was
another Kodak moment in our lives. I must have looked a mess. So now the girl from
Laurel, Mississippi, was ready (or so I thought). People, believe me when I tell you: I
opened the door and that fifteen-below-zero hit this little Southern belle hard! I made a u-
turn back into my house so fast you’d never know I’d opened the door. I realized I had to
come up with another plan, because what was on the other side of the door was not a
laughing matter. It had to be taken care of. Then I thought, “Hey, if the neighbors see me
out there all by myself, they’ll come over and help. After all, we’re friends now. I’ve
invited them all to eat at my table for Sunday dinners and Saturday barbecues.”
I once again thought, “Perfect timing.” I got to shoveling the snow, and after I was
out there for around fifteen minutes, I looked around. I was the only one outside. They
had all finished. And I couldn’t see anything but white. The snow blinded me. I went
inside to take a break, put on some dry clothes, and get ready for Round Two. Aaron said,
“Mama, stay inside—it’s too cold for you to be out there.” I only had a little piece left to
do, but it took me about an hour. After I finished, I wished I had been out there early with
After I did half of the driveway, I went inside. All I saw was white. I had to sit for
about thirty minutes before I could focus and get my eyesight back. I wanted to call all of
them and tell them that they need to find themselves a new babysitter because I wasn’t
going to do any more babysitting; but I really didn’t blame them. I might have done the
I guess you can say that was a very memorable moment in our lives, me out there
shoveling snow for the first time and so far the last time. Me dressed up looking like
some ancient mummy. Maybe that’s why the neighbors did not offer to help me: they
were afraid to! I look back now and just laugh at what I must have looked like, a girl
from Mississippi out shoveling snow in Oklahoma City, all alone and dressed crazy.
By the weekend everybody had gotten over the shock of being snowed in. The wind
had stopped blowing, and everyone had learned to drive on the icy roads. The boys and I
went out and had snowballs fights. A couple of the neighbors’ children joined in, and,
again, I had my chance to go inside.
By the time Milton came home, he had missed the storm. The snow had just about
melted away, though there was still enough on the ground for him and the boys to have a
I later kidded around with the neighbors about letting me shovel all that snow in
minus-zero weather by myself.
Gloria replied, “Girl, it was too cold! I was trying to get in the house as fast as I
I told her that she could have let Paul help. She said picture that he was already bad
because he had to be out there. Heather said to me, “You could forget about Russell
helping he was trying to get back inside to watch his game and plus he didn’t want to
shovel his own driveway. I knew he wasn’t going to offer anyone else any help. We felt
sorry for you, but the wind-chill factor being what it was, it was every man for himself. It
was just too cold for anybody to be out there.”
We joked about it for weeks. Every time they saw me, they would say to me, “Hey,
Kathy, have you thawed out yet?”
I would say, “You guys know you were wrong, leaving me to shovel all that snow
Winter came and went, and then it was spring. But that winter would be something we
would never forget (even thinking about it now, I get chilled to the bone). When working
in Michigan, I’m sure Milton also saw and felt his share of the winter. Being from
Mississippi, the only time we saw weather like that was on television or in a movie. I
thank God the winter months in Oklahoma didn’t last too long.
(Just watch what having faith will do for you.)
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
New beginning, new friends, and a new Life,
but on the other hand…
Moving to Atlanta
My husband stayed home for two weeks and then went back to Michigan. Once there, he
called and told me the company was closing down for good. There would be no
relocating this time. It was over, just like that. I must say, the company did pay for the
move of any family who wanted to relocate anywhere in the United States, which was
My husband made it back to Oklahoma City, and we sat down to think about what to
do with our future. We thought about moving to Los Angeles, since we would be close to
the west coast. I have always wanted to live by the ocean, but for whatever reason, at the
time it didn’t seem like a good idea. So we decided to move back to Hattiesburg,
Mississippi. Milton was going back to school to get his certification to work in
commercial heating and air. I was going to get my old job back at Old Yank. We sewed
men jeans that were shipped all over the country.
We followed the plan, and once he was finished with school, it was time to get out
the map and think about our next step. Where were we going to call home? We had three
locations in mind to start our new home: Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; and Dallas,
Texas. Choosing was hard. Each of the three had something we loved about it. I favored
Orlando, but I wanted to live in a city that had pro sports year-round. Sports were very
high on my list. I had always looked forward to taking the boys to pro games, hoping
they would come to love sports as much as I do.
We had even thought of moving back to Oklahoma City. They said that the
snowstorm had been a first, and I believed them. On the other hand, just that one time
convinced me that Oklahoma City not the place for me. The state has beautiful places,
wide-open land, and fields (at least back in ‘86). Their zoo and beautiful parks were
among our favorite places to visit. When we were there, the star player at the University
of Oklahoma, home of the Sooners’ football team, was Brian Bosworth. At that time,
they were in the top five. If I remember correctly that year, they set a school record of
having the most wins. In fact, they made it to the championship and won the game. The
city was crazy; they loved their Oklahoma Sooners. Top ten and the town was still going
crazy. It was really good to see everyone so excited, and that’s what we were looking for
in a city that had pro sports. (College is great, but I love the Pros.)
We talked about Dallas, but that conversation didn’t last long. We wanted to be
close to our families and the ocean.
Atlanta had all the sports we could ever want, was only four hours away from
Florida, and was only five and a half hours from Laurel. That wasn’t so bad. Moving to
Atlanta was looking like the right thing to do. We thought we would have the best of both
worlds, sports and the beach. It was 1988, and Milton would be finished with school in
the spring of ‘89.
Once again, my husband had to make the move without us, because the boys were
still in school. He moved to Atlanta in the spring and rented a one-bedroom apartment
while we were back home, once again eating at Pax’s as much as we possibly could.
We also visited all our friends and went to Paul B. Johnson State Park as much as
possible. We were moving to a large city and wanted to take in as much of our small
town as we could before we left.
School ended in the latter part of May, and my husband drove back to Hattiesburg
with one of his friends. By the time he got home, I had packed up just about everything,
and the boys and I were living out of the suitcases. I have never understood why, but
young Aaron and Kendrick enjoyed that so much.
When Milton came home, he was amazed that I had already packed up everything
and cleaned the house. He would look for something that we should have thrown away
years ago, and I would tell him it was gone. I told him that I was not taking anything we
didn’t need. This was going to be a fresh start, and the junk was going to be left behind.
The mover was going to be in Hattiesburg three days after Milton’s return. In those
three days, we had as much fun as we could with our friends and family. For whatever
reason, I felt in my heart that this was going to be my final move. There was something
about just saying “Atlanta” that felt so good.
The moving van came, and they loaded up everything we were taking. After a few
hours, they had finished the job, and we told them we would see them in Atlanta. We
stayed at a hotel that night (another of the boys’ favorite things to do), and where did we
go for dinner? (Ah-h-h-h! Mm-m-m!) You guessed it—Pax’s! In fact, that evening we
decided to buy all the oatmeal cookies they had. It was late in the evening, though, and
they didn’t have many left, so I asked the young lady behind the counter how long it
would take to make some. The waitress told me that they made the cookies every
morning, and every evening around that time was when they ran out of them. They had a
few chocolate chips cookies left. She asked me if I wanted some chocolate chip cookies. I
asked her if I looked like a chocolate chip kind of girl (jokingly). I told her I had to have
more oatmeal cookies and if she didn’t get me more cookies, I was going to throw myself
on the counter and was not going to move. I explained to her that we were moving out of
town the following morning and that I must (MUST) have as many of the oatmeal
cookies as I could possibly get. She laughed and said that they would have more in the
morning. I told her that I wanted all of the oatmeal cookies they were going to bake in the
morning, and I wasn’t leaving until I had them. She told me they would be ready by
11:00 a.m. when they opened the next day. Well, we had planned on leaving first thing
that morning, but my boys wanted to take as many oatmeal cookies on the road with us as
we could, so what’s a mother to do? She waits until eleven to go pick up the cookies.
Then in the car we went, heading to Atlanta with lots of oatmeal cookies and the last
root-beer floats we would be getting from Pax’s for a while. When we reached
Birmingham, Alabama, we stopped to visit my step-sister Sandra and her family. We
visited for a while, had a few laughs, and were back on the highway. We were only two
and a half hours away, but with us stopping here and there, we ran behind. I told my
husband that I was going to sleep and for him to wake me up when we started to come
into the city. I wanted to get the feel of it as we drove in, the skyline glowing in the dark.
He woke the boys and me up. We opened our eyes to the city of Atlanta, and I knew
this would become our home. It was such an overwhelming feeling! The boys were
saying, “Mama, this is where we want to live.”
Instead of going straight to the apartment, we took a long ride downtown. I tell you, I had
never seen such a lit-up place in all of my days! Being in such a big city where I didn’t
know a soul was kind of frightening, but that was okay. This was where I would raise my
boys, and we were really fixing to enjoy life.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Finding new friendship that would last a lifetime.
Atlanta, Home of the Braves
We stayed in the one-bedroom apartment Milton had rented for about two weeks
while we looked for a comfortable place. The following week we found and moved into a
three-bedroom, two-bath townhouse in a complex called Old Plantation Apartments. It
was funny to me because the name of another apartment we had lived in was also Old
Plantation Apartments where we had also had three bedrooms and two full baths. Even
the layout was almost the same. It was comforting to be in such a similar place, and we
fell in love with it. To come to a city that you had never been in before and end up living
in an apartment with the same name and the same layout was surprising.
On the day we moved in, the first thing I realized was that the complex had plenty of
children, and they looked to be around the same ages as Aaron and Kendrick, about nine
to thirteen years old.
With its pool, playground, and plenty of room to run and play ball, the complex was
like a dream come true. Early on, Aaron met his two soul mates there, and their
relationships would last the rest of his life. Next to us lived a single mother, Deborah
Lester, and her son, Blake. Across the street lived a family who had three sons, Jonathan,
Gerald, and Cory. Aaron, Blake, and Jonathan were all the same age; they became blood
brothers in every sense of the word. Kendrick and Cory, also the same age, became
friends too. While we lived there, Aaron met Mary, and they became very good friends.
That friendship would also last the rest of Aaron’s life.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
When one comes to a fork in the road,
I say to you, Do not be not afraid,
Just hold tighter to God’s hand.
Divorce and Life Afterward
After the move when we were all settled in, it took some time to get used to Milton
being home. The kids and I were used to him working out of town all the time, and now
he was coming home every day since he always worked in town. That was something we
all had to adjust to. We had never really spent as much time together before as we were
We had married in 1976, and he was with the oil company for twelve years.
Somewhere during that time period, we grew apart. I don’t know if the both of us saw
that we had grown into two different people or not, but I realized that first year in Atlanta
that things had changed. We were different people wanting different things in life,
everything from how we wanted to raise the boys to who was going to take the trash out
to the dumpster. Time went by and nothing changed, and one day I think both of us knew
it was over.
We decided to live apart, give each other some space, and see if we could
understand what had happened to the two young people who at one time were so in love
with each other. What I found was that while Milton had been away, I had been the
mother and the father—his absence necessitated that. So when he came home, I felt it
was his time to be the father.
Milton, though, felt that since he had been away, it was his time to come home and
rest, and rest he did. To sum it all up, I was always mother-father and when he came
home, I was mother-father-wife. Once Milton was home every day, the load on me was a
lot heavier. He was a husband who thought the wife did everything, and all he had to do
was go to work. I had a job too, but for whatever reason, he thought differently than I did.
Husbands and wives should always be on the same page if they want the marriage to
work. Yes, everyone has the right to think and do whatever makes him or her happy. I
had the right to think what I wanted to think and to do what was best for my sons.
For me, the load kept getting heavier and heavier, so one day I asked myself, “What
would be lost if it was just the boys and myself? And what would I gain by staying
married?” I wrote out a list of pros and cons. Most of all, I wanted Milton to be happy
and do what he believed in, and I wanted to be happy with what I believed in also. What
made him happy didn’t make me happy, and vice versa. We divorced in 1992.
Once we divorced and after school was out, I moved the boys and me across town to
Smyrna, a suburb of Atlanta and hometown of the famous Julia Robert. In fact, Aaron
went to Campbell High, the same school she had attended. The boys made new friends
over the summer, and once school started, they made many more friends. Aaron made
one very special friend, Sabrina Meyer.
Aaron fell in love with her the first time he saw her at Campbell High School. I had
come in from work one day, and the first thing out of his mouth was that he had met the
girl of his dreams. He told me he had seen her in the hallway as he was going to class. He
went on to tell me her locker was not far from his. He was so excited that after he talked
about her for hours on end, I teased him by saying, “Don’t ask her to marry you
tomorrow.” And then I told him that she sounded like a very nice girl, but I warned,
“Don’t rush into anything. Remember, take the time to get to know her.”
Aaron couldn’t wait to go to school the next day. For the next few days, all my son
could talk about was Sabrina. I must say, my son was beaming. He was in love for the
Aaron was happy that he had found the girl every guy wished he could find. Before I
met her, he would tell me he thought that Sabrina looked a lot like his Uncle Jimmy’s
girlfriend. I knew Aaron—the first time he saw Jimmy’s girlfriend, he had an instant
crush on her. He was like every young American boy, I guess, seeing a pretty lady and
wishing he could have a beautiful girl. So when he saw Sabrina, he fell in love with her.
The next day, he went to play basketball with some friends. While playing, he told
me later, he looked up and there she was. She lived just around the block from the
basketball court. She told Aaron later that she and her friends could walk around to the
school and watch the guys play ball everyday. Aaron didn’t say anything to her because
he had seen his friend Terrence talking with her. Knowing that Terrence already had
another girl, Aaron knew he and Sabrina were just talking, so he could wait until the
game was over.
Once they finished playing basketball, he immediately went to Terrence and
started asking questions about Sabrina. By the time Aaron got through with Terrence, he
knew everything about her—except maybe her Social Security number. It turned out
Terrence knew her family had recently moved to Atlanta. She had two older brothers who
played basketball with Terrence’s brothers, who had gotten to know Sabrina’s brothers.
Monday came, and it was back to school. Aaron told me that if he saw Sabrina, he
was going to ask her for her telephone number. When I came home from work that day,
Aaron was the first one I saw. I looked at him, and his smile told the story.
He said to me, “See, I told you I would get her telephone number.” Although it was
a couple of weeks before Aaron would go out on a date with her, believe me, the
telephone became his best friend! It took a few weeks for me to meet Sabrina, not
because Aaron didn’t want me to, but it was just the timing. When I did meet her, I saw
why my son had fallen so head over heels with her. She was just like he had described
her to me.
She began to come over to the house a lot. Then I began inviting her for dinner,
which made Aaron very happy. He had already made up his mind that she was going to
be his wife one day. In fact, when he introduced her to me, he introduced her as my
daughter-in-law. I looked at her and smiled, because I could tell that she didn’t know
what to say. So I said to her, “Welcome to the family,” and gave her a big hug.
From that day on, I have called her my daughter-in-law (even now). Aaron is not
here, but I know what he told me while he and Sabrina were together.
The very last conversation Aaron and I had was about Sabrina, and being so young
and falling in love so quickly. I often told Aaron that it was great to be in love, but to give
it some time. We talked about how amazing true love is when you find it. But since he
was so young, I thought it was just puppy love, even though my son was sure he had
found the real thing. I was very happy for him—for both of them. When Sabrina came
over, the two just sat and smiled at each other. I could see the happiness in my son eyes,
which is what every mother wants to see in her child’s eyes.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
You never forget your first love.
Thank God time does heal wounds.
Remembering My First Love
When my son came to me and told me that he was in love, I shared my first love
story with Aaron, and of course he laughed at it. I told him that I was thirteen years old
when I met a young boy by the name of Trent Jordan. He lived across town, but I thought
he was the one for me. His mother worked with my mother for a short time, and while
they worked they would talk about their children. Maybe they were just passing time, to
make the day go by faster, but without realizing it, they were bringing together two kids
who would become friends. When I first saw Trent, it was the first time I felt my heart
beating as if it was a ticking time bomb. At one point I truly thought my chest was going
to split open.
We met at the hospital when I was with my mother. When Mrs. Jordan looked up
and saw us, she said the son she had told my mother about was out in the car and she
wanted us to meet him. We all walked out to her car and she introduced us. That was the
beginning of a beautiful friendship that has lasted until today. Although I fell in love that
day, it took me a whole year to see Trent again. I was too young to date, so all I could do
was daydream about nothing but the boy I had met.
The following summer my brother and I walked down to watch the Little Leaguers
play baseball one evening. I even remember that it was the Braves and the Dodgers who
were playing, and Trent was playing for the Dodgers. If I’m not mistaken, he played third
base and right field. When I looked up and saw him, my heart started thrashing again. He
was out on the field; of course I went and stood behind the Dodgers’ dugout, not knowing
what I was going to say when the team came into it. I was just hoping he would
remember me. When it was time for his team to come in off the field, he saw me. He
smiled, said, “Hello,” and sat down. His smile told me he remembered who I was. After
the game was over, we talked for a while. He asked me if I had a boyfriend, and I told
him I didn’t. We exchanged telephone numbers, and he told me he would call me
Well, sometime didn’t come soon enough for me. I tried to be ladylike, but he didn’t
call, so I took matters into my own hands. I started calling him, and I must have called his
home every five minutes. I called there so much his mother asked me to please stop
calling. But puppy love will make a young girl do anything! After that I would put my
sisters up to calling for me, but Mrs. Jordan still knew it was me who was calling. So she
ended up telling me that as soon as Trent came home, she was going to tell him to call
We considered ourselves to be dating, but we only saw each other over that summer.
I would ask my mother to go to the Little League games just so I could see him. I enjoyed
watching Trent play baseball. Once we started talking, I told him that I remembered
seeing him the summer before.
Three years later, it was a different story. We both had grown a little, and I thought
he was so gorgeous I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I would think, “Yes, that’s the one I
am going to marry, and we will live happily ever after.” I would go around imagining the
two of us living in the typical cute little house with the white picket fence and the dog
running around in the front yard with little “Trents” running all around.
The following summer, when we were fifteen, we again considered ourselves dating,
but for me, it was love. We talked on the phone as often as we could. It wasn’t often
enough for me, but both of us had other brothers and sisters we had to share the phone
with. My mother would go pick up Trent and bring him over for an hour or two (back
then we called it “having company”). We would talk about being boyfriend and
girlfriend. The biggest thing we had in common was that we both loved music. Even now
whenever I go home, we always get on the subject of music. Back then we danced a lot.
That was the best time—dancing and drifting off into the music (as some people would
say, “Whee, Doggie!”). But our puppy love only lasted a few more months.
Once school started, I went to Oak Park High, which was up the street from my
home. Trent went to Idella Washington, which was located across town, so we couldn’t
see each other any more. My little heart was broken, but what was a girl to do when she
found Mr. Right at thirteen years of age?
After that school year, we saw each other at a few of the Little League games, but
nothing ever came of it. I thought my heart was broken for life. During my junior and
senior years, Trent and I went to the same high school together, but he had found another
girlfriend and I was still heartbroken. As time went by, though, we became the best of
friends, which probably works out for the best anyway.
Years went by. I married Milton, and Trent married a year later, and both of us went
on to have children. I, of course, had two sons. Trent has three sons and a daughter.
Isn’t it funny how you sit and daydream about how you would like your life to be?
After all, it’s your life, right? We put together in our little minds the entire plan, but it
never works out the way you plan it. This thing called “Life” never works out the way we
want it to, does it? Turned out, my plan wasn’t Trent’s plan. Really, in the end it works
out for everybody, I think. I have found that very often, really good friendships will last a
lifetime, and that’s what Trent and I have and always will. Every time I go back to
Laurel, I call him, he comes over, and we talk a lot about the good old days. When Aaron
was alive, he would always make sure he walked through the room where were sitting, at
least every three minutes. Both of us knew he was making sure we “behaved,” and I
thought it was very special. Trent gave Aaron a lot of respect for coming through to
check on his mother. Sometimes when Aaron and I would be talking about friends, he
would say, “What’s that guy’s name that lives in Laurel, that I always say looks like
I would ask him, “Are you talking about Trent?”
And he would say, “Yes.” After I told Aaron about my first love he laughed and
said, “Mama, I’m glad you and Trent are still good friends. He seems like a very nice
guy.” As much as I would have loved for Aaron to take his time, I’m glad that he had the
chance to experience what love is. Some people go through their whole lives and never
feel what it’s like to be in love.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Mercy unto you, and peace and love,
Aaron and Sabrina in Love
Through their whole relationship, Aaron and Sabrina were always up and down. I
do believe that Aaron would have married her one day. At least that’s what I was wishing
Once the word got out that Aaron was dating Sabrina, his female friends (and
believe me, Aaron had a great many of them) didn’t care for their relationship. Aaron
once told me that his girl friends didn’t want him dating a girl who was not from Atlanta.
I told him he should date who ever he liked, and if the other girls didn’t like it, they were
not his friends. They began to try to break them up, but Aaron had fallen head over heels
for Sabrina. They were very young, but it seemed like both of them were pretty serious.
I think for the both of them it was love at first sight. I have since talked to Sabrina
about how they met and what she felt. She told me the same thing that Aaron had told me
about how and when they met.
Aaron and his Uncle Jimmy were very close. Every time Aaron would call him,
Jimmy would give him advice about girls. My brother was always willing and ready to
give out information about the opposite sex. He thought he was some kind of expert on
girls. Jimmy had recently moved back home to Laurel after living in Tacoma,
Washington for many years. He also had two daughters of his own, who still live in the
But once Jimmy came home, we made up for lost time. Aaron and Kendrick really
loved having him around. I think, in a way, they looked at him as a father figure, and
Jimmy enjoyed knowing they thought so much of him. They would spend hours talking
about girls and life in general. Jimmy often called me and would want us to come home
for a visit, which we often did, and he would come to Atlanta to see us too. To tell the
truth, we didn’t mind making the trip to Laurel because that meant it was also a trip to
Time went on, and Aaron and Sabrina were still dating, the friend-girls that Aaron
once had were looking elsewhere.
One day I had gotten off work early, and Aaron and Kendrick wanted to go to the
mall. I thought it was a good idea, since we hadn’t had a family outing in a few weeks, so
I told them we could go for a little while. They beat me out to the car because going to
the mall was their favorite thing to do.
Aaron enjoyed many things in his life. The one thing he did enjoy most was
spending time with his brother and his friends. Playing the arcades at the mall with
Kendrick was one of his all-time favorite things to do. They still enjoyed each other a lot,
but Aaron was growing up and spending a lot of time on the telephone with Sabrina, so
he didn’t have as much time for Kendrick, but Kendrick understood.
It wasn’t that Kendrick didn’t have his own friends. Like I said, it seems that
everywhere we lived, our place was the hot spot. I always had plenty of Kool-Aid, bowls
of food, cake, chips, and cookies around. As a mother it always made me feel good inside
to see our home full of boys playing their video games.
Thinking of how much I like sports, I thanked God every day that I did not have a
girl. Buying pretty little ribbons and fixing her hair would not have made me happy;
although, if I had a girl, I’m sure she would have won my heart. I wouldn’t know what to
do with one, though, unless she enjoyed sports like her mother. I don’t think buying baby
dolls and tea sets would fit in with my approach to life.
One day I called the boys from work and told them I was going to be working late. I
didn’t work late that often, but this day was busy. I said I would call them when I was
leaving work, and they asked if we could go to the Coffee House. Since that is one of our
favorite places to eat, I agreed we would. Once off from work, I went and picked up the
boys, and we went to dinner and had a very nice time. After we got home, I showered and
went to bed.
Around ten that night, the telephone rang. I answered, and it was my sister Charlene.
I sat up really fast and asked her what was wrong. She asked where young Aaron was,
and I told her he was in bed asleep. I asked her once again what was wrong.
She said to me, “Kathy, go and wake Aaron up.”
I said to her, “Tell me what’s wrong!”
And she said, “After you wake Aaron up.”
I ran to his room, hollering out his name, telling him to wake up. He opened his door
and asked me what was wrong. I told him I didn’t know; Charlene wouldn’t tell me until
I woke him up.
I got back on the telephone with Charlene and told her that Aaron was up. She told
me that our brother, Jimmy, had died.
I asked her, “What did you say?” and she repeated it. I told her that she should not
be saying that. All of a sudden I couldn’t breathe (I have asthma). I asked Charlene what
had happened, and she told me.
Once I told the boys what had happened to their uncle, they were crushed. I did my
best to hold it together, but they could tell that I was really hurting. I had lost someone I
loved deeply. Jimmy and I had just talked two days before. He was really excited; he and
his girlfriend were only one month from having their first baby together. He had talked
about having a boy every time he was about to become a father, and this time, too, he was
hoping for a boy.
Charlene said his house had caught on fire. They said he had fallen asleep while
smoking a cigarette. The young man who lived across the street said they had been out
drinking beer together. Jimmy had told him he had to go inside and put the baby’s crib
together before his girlfriend came home. The neighbor said Jimmy had gone inside and
come back out, and he noticed my brother had changed clothes. They talked for a little
while longer, and by that time it had gotten dark, so they decided to go back inside. Later,
when the neighbor looked out his window, the house was engulfed in flames—just that
quick! He said fire was coming from everywhere it possibly could.
Jimmy’s death ripped Aaron’s heart out. He had loved his uncle so much; he had
been a substitute father. Losing my brother put me in a dark place where I had never
gone. I’ve lost other loved ones, but my brother—that was something different. Still, I
knew I had to hold it together so that Aaron and Kendrick would be okay. We went to
Laurel for the funeral, and after returning to Atlanta, we started trying to put one foot in
front of the other. I thank God our faith is so strong.
The following month, Jimmy’s girlfriend had a baby boy. I thought to myself, “I
know Jimmy is in heaven saying, ‘Look at my boy!’” He had waited so long to have a
son, and now he wasn’t here to see him. At least, not the way we can see him. She named
him Jimmy, Jr., and he looks just like his father. For a long time, my brother’s nickname
had been “Head.” He had a big head as a child; it was a good nickname for him. It had
taken awhile, but his body had finally caught up with his head. Big head and all, though,
he was my brother. And now his son had the big head, along with Jimmy’s other features.
I told my sister he might as well get ready to be picked on with that head.
Time went by. Aaron and Sabrina were still dating. Many times Aaron wanted to
pick up the phone to call his uncle, but life had changed. I felt so bad for my son because
Jimmy was gone. I almost think that seeing the pain Aaron was in hurt me more than
losing the brother I loved. As time went by, I began to see a small change in Aaron, and I
would ask him if he was okay. I told him he shouldn’t hold in the pain, that it wasn’t
One day he came home from school, and I told him I had noticed he was very quiet.
I wanted to know what was going on. First, he said nothing was wrong. Later that
evening, he came into my bedroom and said he had something to tell me. I asked him
what it was. Sabrina was pregnant.
I didn’t want to believe my ears, and at the same time, I didn’t want to react like I
felt. I didn’t want him to think he couldn’t come to me with his problems. I asked him to
repeat what he had just said to me. Then I asked him why he had not used protection. I
told him I knew he had protection; I had always told both of them to keep it in their
I wasn’t ready to become a grandmother (or, shall I say, he was not ready to become
a father), so his news was a shock to me. Both of them were still in school and very
young—just babies themselves, and now they were having a baby. It really worried me. I
knew my son was a great guy but still only a baby himself.
I asked him how many months along Sabrina was, and he told me four months. We
continued talking, and he told me he was sorry.
I asked him, “Sorry for what?”
And he replied, “For disappointing you and hurting you, because you don’t deserve
I said to him, “Son, it’s okay. You didn’t disappoint me. It’s just that neither you nor
Sabrina is ready for a baby. You should be thinking about graduating from high school.”
We talked almost half the night. I shared with him how I thought he would be as a
father, and I told him I had always had a vision of him as a very successful young man,
living in a large house with a white picket fence and a German Shepard running around in
the yard. (Like all mothers do who want the best for their children.)
But life never ends up the way we want, so we deal with what’s at hand and do the
very best we can. Months went by. Aaron spent as much time as he could with Sabrina,
taking her to the doctor’s office, picking up her medicine, and just basically being there
for her. I was very proud to see him being a responsible young man. In fact I would say
that’s how I had imagined him being. All that was missing was the house, the fence, and
the dog running around in the yard. To me, though, things are just things. What mattered
to me was that my son was showing me who he was.
I must tell you, as a mother I was crowing the loudest—believe it! And I told him so.
I was very proud of Aaron, how he was making sure Sabrina was eating, doing what the
doctor said—the whole nine yards. From a distance, I stood back and shook my head
with such pride. Aaron had followed my lead. Aaron was going over to Sabrina’s house
every day and stay as long as he could. Although Sabrina’s parents were divorce, she
lived with her mother. The three of us were disappointed that the both of them had
dropped out of school. But when they saw how Aaron was really there for Sabrina from
day one, we felt that we could step up and do what we could.
The months seemed like they flew by, and one night we were all sleeping when the
phone rang. It was Sabrina, telling Aaron she was having labor pains. He ran to my room,
not knowing what to do. I had to calm him down before he passed out. Once he was
calm, I told him to go and get dressed.
He ran through the house saying, “I’m fixing to be a father!” He told Kendrick,
“Man, you are fixing to become an uncle!” They gave each other high fives, and Aaron
went to get dressed.
I talked to Sabrina on the telephone, and she seemed a little nervous. I asked her how
far apart the pains were, and she told me about every fifteen minutes. I told her maybe
she should wait until they get a little closer, because sometimes if you are not dilated
enough they will send you back home. But she was nervous and wanted to go to the
hospital. I told her Aaron was just about to leave, and that he should be getting there
within fifteen minutes. As Aaron was walking out the door, I kissed him and told him
how much I loved him, and that he was about to experience the greatest miracle of all
time—watching his baby being born. To me, nothing in this world can top that. Because
both of the boys had heard me talk and talk about the days they were born, Aaron
probably already knew what to expect. But nevertheless, the three of us were all smiles. (I
can say that because it wasn’t me having the baby!)
They got to the hospital okay. I had told Aaron to call me when the contractions
were about five minutes apart. When he called me, he said they were going to have to do
a Caesarean because it seemed that the baby was not going to get in the right position to
make his debut.
By the time Kendrick and I got to Kennestone Hospital, Tavion Deshawn Staples
had been born at 11:39 p.m., weighing in at 7 pounds and 7 ounces and measuring 20-1/2
inches long. I didn’t hold him until the next day. Once the birth was over and Sabrina and
I were talking about it, she told me that Aaron had held her hand and continued kissing
her forehead, telling her it was going to be all right.
When I got to the hospital the next morning, Aaron was already at the nursery.
When he looked up and saw me coming down the hall, he met me halfway with the
biggest smile on his face. We held each other so tight, and then he said to me, “Come and
see your grandson.” As we walked, he put his arm around my neck, and once we got to
Tavion’s little crib, I started crying like a baby myself. I became so overwhelmed with
joy, I couldn’t stop crying. Aaron just held me in his arms, saying to me, “Look at your
When I gave birth to my own two sons, I thought nothing else could ever come
anywhere near what I felt then. Holding this grandchild brought back so many memories!
I felt that seeing my grandson was just as overwhelming, but in a different way.
They came home a few days later, and Aaron went to Sabrina’s house just about
every day. Kendrick and I didn’t see too much of him during that time. He called home to
give me a report on the baby, who was doing nothing but sleeping, but he didn’t care. He
was thrilled to be a father, and he was going to be a good one. Aaron thought he had to
call me every two hours just to tell me Tavion was either eating or sleeping. After a few
weeks went by, I had Sabrina and my grandson over to spend the day. I held Tavion all
that day. It was like Little Anthony, then Baby Aaron, then Kendrick being passed around
all over again; now it was Tavion’s turn. The good thing about that was there were only a
few laps for him to be passed around to.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Lo, children are a heritage of the Lord:
And the fruit of the womb is his reward.
My Second Grandson
A mother instantly picks up a vibe when something is going on with her child. My
motherly instincts were working overtime with Aaron. Once again I was getting a sense
of, “What’s going on with Aaron?” I waited for him to come and tell me what was
happening. Also sensing something from Sabrina, deep down I knew what was bothering
Aaron. Sabrina was pregnant again. This time it blew me out of the water, and I really got
on Aaron about being so careless. After Aaron had told me about the first pregnancy,
Aaron and I had a long talk about using protection; like I said I was disappointed but
mistakes happens. But when Aaron told my about the second pregnancy, I didn’t know
what to say. I was speechless. I did tell him that he was making his life harder by having
kids at an early age. They were so young. I didn’t think marriage was the right thing to do
for the simple fact that although Aaron was having children, he wasn’t really for
marriage. I’ve never believed in forcing someone to do something they don’t want to do.
Sometimes you make a situation worst. Some people would say they should have
married, but my thinking was, I knew Aaron would continue to hang out with his friends
and play ball everyday. If just felt like he wasn’t really ready at that time.
Tavion was only three months old. I guess the young people thought that having a
baby was like playing a game. I was so hurt this time, I let Aaron know how I felt about
I told him, “Yes, I wanted grandkids. More than that, though, I wanted you to have a
career, a house, transportation, and the ability to take care of yourself and your family.”
I remember telling him there was no excuse for his having babies, especially when
he wasn’t ready to make a commitment to Sabrina. True, I do realize it takes a woman
and a man to have children and to make a family, but I was only responsible for Aaron.
He knew right from wrong, yet he had Baby Number Two on the way.
I think that once Sabrina found out I knew she was pregnant again, she became more
relaxed around me. Aaron would bring her and Tavion to the house for Sunday dinner.
Cooking a big dinner is something I do every Sunday; it’s a tradition at my house. I
learned it from my grandmother, and still today I cook every Sunday. Having people over
for Sunday dinner has always been a good thing for me—good food, laughter, and good
conversation makes me very happy.
I told Sabrina I never wanted her to feel uncomfortable when she came to my home.
I asked her, “Sabrina, why weren’t you taking the pill?”
She told me at one time after having Tavion that she was going to stay on the pill
because motherhood was hard, but somewhere down the line I guess she changed her
I had lost a lot of sleep over the two of them having the first baby, and Baby Number
Two—well this was also going to take some time to get used to. I couldn’t figure out
what they were thinking, or not thinking. Neither of them were in school at the time, that
worried me also they had not gone back to school and now they have one baby and one
on the way. The future was not looking good for them at such a young age. They both
had been A and B students, full of talent, and now they just wanted to throw it all away.
They were making the mountain very hard to climb.
I was going to be there for my son, no matter what, but I did let Aaron know I was
very unhappy about this. Both he and Sabrina had told me that being a parent was very
demanding, and now they were going to add another child!
What does a parent do when the young ones think they’re grown? Months went by,
and just like Aaron was there for Sabrina when she was carrying Tavion, he was there for
the second baby. He was doing an incredibly good job as a father. At that time he was
working as much as he could. Every evening he would come home, take a shower, and go
over to help with Tavion.
One evening while I was at work, Aaron called to tell me Sabrina was at the
hospital; she had started having contractions. I told him I could be there in an hour. With
rush-hour traffic, by the time I got there she had already had the baby. It was another boy,
and they named him Aaron Wendell Watson. He weight 7 pounds and 15 ounces and was
21½ inches long.
Once I got to the hospital, I looked at Aaron, and he had a bit of sadness in his eyes.
When I asked him what was wrong, he told me that Aaron wasn’t doing well; he had
been born with a heart murmur, and they didn’t know if he was going to pull through.
Well, when he told me that, I felt like I was going to faint. He wanted me to walk around
to the nursery to see Little Aaron, which I did, but I was not prepared for what I was
about to see.
After we went through the door and stood by the nursery window, I saw the name,
Watson Baby, and I began to cry. He was in an incubator and had so many tubes hooked
up to him, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I spoke to the doctor about his condition. He told
me that his chances for survival were not very good. Almost immediately, I started
praying, asking God to intervene and to cure my grandson of his heart problem. That
night Baby Aaron ran a very high fever, but by morning it was under control. The next
day for a while he looked like he was going to do better, but then the fever came back.
A few days later, Aaron called and told me that the doctor said the baby was doing
worse than ever before. I knew he was telling me that little Aaron wasn’t going to make
it. I told my son I was on the way.
I made it to the hospital in no time at all. As I was driving, I started talking with
God. I told him if it was not His will for Baby Aaron to live, please just give us the
strength to be able to carry on. I also started repeating the Lord’s Prayer (Psalm 23). After
I arrived, I went straight to the nursery and asked the nurse, “How is my grandson
She said, “About the same.” As I was looking at my grandson, though, I knew that
my prayers would be answered. I didn’t know when or how, but I felt that everything was
going to be okay. I left and went to Sabrina’s room. As I entered the room, Aaron looked
up at me and asked if I had gone to the nursery. I told him I had and that the nurse had
told me everything was about the same.
My son looked at me with such fright in his eyes that all I could do was hold him.
As we were sitting, Aaron asked me, “Mama, did you pray?”
I told him, “Yes, I prayed.” I told him I thought everything was going to be all right.
He threw his arms around me and held me so tightly I could hardly breathe. My sons
have always told me they thought I had a private telephone line straight to heaven. In a
way, saying that was one of the highest honors they could give me. Every time Aaron
knew something was bothering me, he would ask, “Mama, have you talked to God yet?”
That night Aaron stayed at the hospital with Sabrina. Late that night, he called me
and told me it seemed like little Aaron’s fever was coming down. By the next morning,
the fever had done everything but broken. Little Aaron was doing better, and the doctor
said that things were looking good for now. All that day Little Aaron was steadily
improving. It was a very frightening thing to see a newborn going through such a terrible
sickness, but it started to seem he might be strong enough to survive.
All through my life, I could always count on one thing, and that was my faith in
Jesus. Jesus has always been there, and I didn’t see any reason He was not going to be
with me this time. If things had turned out for the worst, it would have been Jesus’ call.
But now, nighttime came and there was no fever. He made it through the entire
night without having a fever. The next day, everything was getting back to normal. All of
his vital signs were normal, and they told us that if everything continued to look good,
they would pull some of the tubes out. Baby Aaron continued to get better, and within
four days he was tube-free and was coming home.
Baby and mother came home and were doing fine. Sabrina and Aaron had to take the
baby to the hospital every week for a check-up, and with every check-up, he was getting
better. After a few months, the doctor told the new parents that he had a little bad news
and a little good news. The bad news was that Aaron was going to have a speech
problem. The good news was that his murmur shouldn’t be an issue in the future. (Today,
little Aaron’s speech has improved so much; he’s almost 100% normal.)
One Sunday, when Sabrina and the boys were over for dinner, we got in a
conversation about parenting. She told me that motherhood was a very hard thing and
that she didn’t want to have any more babies. I was really glad to hear that because both
of them were still so very young. Aaron couldn’t find a good job, so he was taking
whatever he could get.
We continued to talk about raising a family, and I told her how I went about raising
my sons. I shared with her the difference between just having children and raising
children. I told her any female could have a baby and call herself a mother, but it takes a
real mother to have a baby and raise him as he should be raised.
I told her I would like to think that I raised my two sons well, that I provided them
with a very comfortable living space, even though their father wasn’t around for support.
I made a happy home for them because I loved them just that much. They had a home,
not a place where they lived. It’s easy to look around and see in adults whether they want
to give their children a home or just a place to eat and sleep. We continued to talk about
raising a family, and she began to tell me how she wanted to get married and make a
happy home for her family.
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And the family continues to grow.
…Having My Third Grandson
Tavion enjoyed having a brother. He could hardly wait for him to start walking, so he
would have a playmate. He would tell me he couldn’t wait to play ball with his brother.
It reminded me so much of my own sons. I remember when Aaron would ask me the
same thing about his baby brother. Now I listened to my grandson saying the same thing I
had heard some twenty years before.
The grand boys were doing well and everybody was happy; life was looking good.
Just then, I noticed that when I called Sabrina she would avoid talking to me, and I began
to notice Aaron also avoiding me once again. This went on for a few weeks. I couldn’t
figure out what was wrong. When I would ask Aaron what was going on, he’d reply,
He and Sabrina would break up for a few weeks, and then they would be back
together. I hoped they were just having a lover’s spat, although in my heart I knew
something was going on, something my son didn’t want me to find out. Aaron and
Kendrick confided in each other all the time, so I knew Kendrick would know, but I
would never ask him.
Whatever was going on, I knew it was not a life or death situation, so I decided to
wait. I began to feel that whatever it was, Aaron knew it was going to hurt me; I had
figured out that much. I asked Aaron why Sabrina had not been coming over for Sunday
dinner, and he told me they had broken up once again. I told him it was not the time for
breaking up; he had two sons, and he should be thinking about their future. He said he
did, and I also told him he should be thinking about marriage. He replied quickly that he
wasn’t ready for marriage. I told him that Tavion and Aaron hadn’t asked to be born, but
their parents had made the decision to start a family. I noticed when I started talking
about the boys, Aaron responded as if he were hiding something.
Another week or two went by, and the only time I saw Sabrina and the boys was
when I went over to Sabrina’s house. I was still trying to figure out what was going on. I
knew she wasn’t pregnant; she had told me she wasn’t going to have any more babies.
And remembering that, I couldn’t think of anything else that would have my son acting
the way he was.
I asked her why she hadn’t been coming to Sunday dinner. As I was talking with her,
I noticed she had gained some weight. I didn’t say anything; I hoped maybe it was still
the weight from little ten-month-old Aaron. I told her I wanted her at my dinner table this
Sunday, and she said okay.
Sunday came, and as she and the boys were coming in the house, she dropped
something on the floor. As she picked it up, I could tell that she was pregnant again. I
went into my room and cried. I called Aaron in and confronted him with it. He told me
that he hadn’t known how to tell me. I cleared my eyes, we had our Sunday dinner, and I
tried not to show just how upset I really was.
After Sabrina and my grandsons went home, I let Aaron know I was very unhappy
with their decision to have babies and not get married. Even if we put the marriage issue
on the back burner, how was he going to support them all? Again, I told him it was time
to think about getting married. He replied that he wasn’t ready to get married, that he
wanted to go to a community college and learn a trade. I told him wanting to learn a trade
was good, but he had two children and another on the way.
“How can you support them and be in school?” I asked. Aaron had no answer for
me. As I looked at my son, I knew he felt bad, but I felt really bad also because I know
what it takes to raise a family with both parents and with only one.
The months went by, and Aaron was the best father my grandsons could ask for. He
was always there for Sabrina. I would never push him into doing something he did not
want to do, but at the same time, I wanted him to do the right thing. And I did realize my
son was doing things that a lot of other young men were not doing. I would tell him how
proud I was of him, that he was doing everything he could. No matter what time it was, if
Sabrina called him for something, he was there.
It was wintertime now, and everyone was getting ready for Christmas. We knew that
Baby Number Three was due around Christmas time, so we were doubly excited.
Atlanta was having extremely cold weather at the time, and I remember telling
Aaron, “I hope Sabrina doesn’t have the baby on a cold, rainy day.” It had been so rainy
and cold; I didn’t want to go out except for work. Since it was winter and the baby was
due in December, I prayed for the rain to stay away. I was hoping for a beautiful, clear,
wintry kind of day. On December 12, we got a phone call that Sabrina was in labor.
Aaron once again was there with her, and I was on the way.
Baby Number Three was born on December 12, 1998. It was another boy (boys,
boys, boys!), and that was okay with me! They named him Quinton. He weighed 8
pounds and 11 ounces and was 19 inches long. I think Sabrina and Aaron were hoping for
a girl, but they were just happy that he was healthy. We were very grateful that this baby
didn’t have any heart problems, although Little Aaron was doing well by the time Sabrina
Three boys, each a year apart! Aaron was trying to find work anywhere he could,
and I was lending a hand whenever I could, with clothes and such. Looking at the
economic situation and reading the newspaper, I knew the job market was looking awful,
but I tried to keep Aaron’s spirits up.
He had begun to realize just what it took to support a family. Three little mouths to
feed and bodies to clothe, I think, put my son in a very sad place. I began to see a change
I knew he was always looking for a father figure, and I realized that no matter what I
did and said, I was not a man. When his Uncle Jimmy had been living, Aaron talked to
him a lot, but after Jimmy passed there was no one for him to have a man-to-man talk
with. He would tell me all the time that he wished he had a father who cared about him
and his brother.
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Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body,
and the Fruit of thy ground, and the fruit
of the cattle, The increase of thy kind,
and the flocks of thy sheep.
I Ain’t No Punk
After Aaron had started a family, I began to take a look at my future and the future
of my sons and grandsons. I knew how hard it was, trying to survive on a one-person
income. I was making good money, but I was still playing the survival game. You know?
When you continue to pray that nothing goes wrong because you don’t have the extra
money to fix it. And you know that when one thing does go wrong, you can bet that
within a week two other things are waiting in the wings. So I was thinking a lot about my
future—and my sons’ and grandsons’ futures.
Not wanting Aaron and Kendrick to see just how hard it is in the real world, I started
to think of ways to increase my income and possibly be able to stop working altogether. I
thought about what Aaron had told me his friends said about me: “Man, every time we
come to your house, your mother is always doing something.” And it’s true. I am always
doing one of two things, either working in the yard (mowing, weeding etc.), or in the
house, painting or taking down old wallpaper to put up new wallpaper. Aaron would tell
his friends proudly, “My mama ain’t no punk.”
I remembered a friend of mine who had started buying houses, fixing them up, and
was making a very good profit, so I played around with that idea for awhile. After all, I
had taught myself to paint, hang wallpaper, and install crown molding, and I had also
learned to build entertainment units. I must say that I had done very well at each of them.
I began wondering just how hard it would be to get a start on buying property. I
called a real-estate friend, a guy I had known for some time, to tell him about it and ask
him for advice. He encouraged me to go for it, telling me if anyone could be successful in
real estate, it would be me. He told me that all it took was the will to succeed. I have
never been one who just sat and talked about what I want to do. I get up off my butt and
go work at it until it gets done.
By the next morning I had made up my mind to try to buy my first house. I went to
work that day and was so excited, I couldn’t wait to get home and call my friend. I knew
he would be happy for me because he had tried so hard to get me into the business. Later,
I was so happy I had called him, because I bought my very first house from him.
It was three bedrooms, two baths, a dining room, eat-in kitchen, family room with a
fireplace, and a large fenced-in yard. The day I went to the attorney’s office to sign the
papers, I knew that I was really going into the real estate business. It felt so right to me.
The house was nice, though it needed a few things done to it, but there was nothing I
couldn’t fix. I decided to do the repairs myself and rent it out.
Once I went home and told Aaron and Kendrick about the house, they were just as
excited as I was. They wanted to see it. The three of us jumped in the SUV and went to
my first rental property. I felt that since I had a little experience in renting houses, I
wanted to start out renting before selling. I had rented out our home in Hattiesburg and
that had gone well, so I wanted to try it here in Atlanta. We stayed at the house for about
twenty minutes or so, and since I hadn’t had time to cook, we decided to go to our
favorite Coffee House for dinner. Once we were back home, I called an old friend who
lives in Little Rock, Arkansas. We gossiped for a while and caught up on all the latest
news between us. I told her I had bought my first rental house and was planning on
buying more of them.
Over a period of two weeks, the boys and I began the repairs. The walls were the
only big task. Once we had painted and put in the new light fixtures, I must say the house
was looking very good. Aaron said to me that I should let him move in instead of renting
it out. I told him that maybe he could—down the road. I explained to him that I needed to
make the house pay for itself, and that the only way I could do that was to rent it out for
awhile. The following week we went over and cut the grass, pressure-washed the house,
and put a for rent sign out in the front yard. The very next day, my answering machine
had ten to fifteen messages about the house, and I rented it out in no time at all.
Once my first house was paying for itself, I started think maybe I should go ahead
and think about the next one. I knew I wanted to buy again in the same neighborhood,
because my plan was to give Aaron and Kendrick one of the houses. I called up my friend
who I bought the first house from and told him that if he heard of any other houses for
sale in the same neighborhood, to call and let me know.
In the meantime I was talking to my friend Nicole who knew about some real estate
meetings held every Monday night. I told her we should go and check them out. I told her
I would go two or three times just to see if it would be worth investing our time and
The next day I called to get more information. I asked what the fees were to join and
exactly what this program offered. She went on to tell me that at their meetings, investors
come and sell or buy all types of properties, and many people attend the meetings. She
told me that if you buy a house and it needed a lot of repairs—like painting, or putting in
new carpet, or replacing the roof—you could meet people who are licensed to work on
houses. Also at the meeting are mortgage lenders with plenty of information on the best
loan to get if you are planning on buying more than one house.
After I left my first meeting, I was convinced that getting into the real estate
business was what I wanted to do. I went home and started writing out my step-by-step
plan on buying more properties. After a few months I bought my second one. It was four
miles from the first house, and now I just had to do the repairs and get it ready to rent out.
When I took Aaron and Kendrick to see the house, Aaron said, “This one is the one I
want.” I told him he had said that about the other one and he said, “I know, but this one
has a bigger yard.” I must admit, it was a very nice house.
It had French doors, hardwood floors all the way through, a laundry room, a large-
sized porch, and, yes, it did have a large back yard. It was a house that I would have lived
One evening while I was at the house, a young lady came up to the door and asked if
the house was for rent. I told her it was but that there were a few things I needed to do
before it was ready for a tenant. She asked to walk through the house. She walked
around, went outside, and when she came back in, she said that she wanted to rent the
house. She explained to me that she needed to find a place to move into by the end of the
week. I told her I couldn’t have the house ready by then. She told me that she had two
little girls and they really needed a place to stay.
I was due to have surgery at the end of the week, and I really would be pushing myself to
get all the repairs done. I wanted to paint the inside and outside of the house. But the
young lady continued to talk, and I could see that she was badly in need of somewhere to
stay. I told her I knew a guy who did repairs and that I would call him and see if he could
fit this project into his schedule.
(Just watch what having faith will do for you.)
(Note to layout: Page Break)
I told her I would call her and let her know something the following day. I made the
call, and he told me that I called him at a good time because he was slow. We agreed to
meet at the house the next day. I showed him what needed to be done; he said he would
get started the next day. I called the young lady and told her that she and her daughters
would have a place to stay by the end of the week. Well, the next day came, and I didn’t
go over to the house, thinking that the guy was doing the work. The next day, I decided to
go over to the house that evening, just to see how things were coming.
As I pulled up to the house, I got the feeling that nothing had been done. I went in
and, Lord behold, I was right. I stood there for a minute thinking of what to do. The
young lady was so happy that she now would have a place to stay. I wondered how could
I call her and tell her the house wasn’t going to be ready. It was time to roll up my
sleeves and get busy. I had a day and a half before I was to check into the hospital, so I
had absolutely no time to lose. Thank God, all of the things I had bought for the inside
repairs were still where I had left them. I started by replacing all the plates on the light
switches, and then I put a washer in the dripping faucet over the bathtub. The bathroom
and the kitchen also needed a major cleaning. After that, I went home, called the young
man, and asked him why he didn’t show up to do the work. It turned out he had car
trouble (so he said), but he did show up the next day and got the whole inside painted.
Only one day was left before I went into the hospital, and all there was left to do was
paint the outside, which should be no problem. I would get started first thing in the
morning; I’d rent a paint sprayer. It should only take a few hours, and I would have
plenty of time to go home and get some rest like the doctor had told me to do.
You know how at times you wake up early, go outside, and smell the morning air?
You say to yourself, “Boy, this is going to be a beautiful day. There is no way anything
will go wrong.” But let me tell you, I got back to the house all geared up and ready to get
the project over with. I got my hose lines in the paint container, the line hooked up to the
sprayer, and I’m on my way up the ladder. I squeeze the paint trigger and nothing comes
out. I think maybe I have my lines crossed and try switching them over. But that wasn’t
the problem. I played with that sprayer for at least an hour. I couldn’t figure out the
problem, so I had to load the sprayer back into my truck and take it back to the store.
Once there, the guy exchanged it and I returned to the house. From then on, everything
Later that evening, the young lady came by with a friend, who offered to help me.
By now it was getting dark. As I was up on the ladder, painting the trim, I saw a car pull
up, and I said, “Oh boy.” It was Nicole and my sister Stacy. I could hear Stacy yelling as
she got out of the car (heck, everybody in the neighborhood could hear her) saying I had
better get down off that ladder right now.She said that I should have been in bed all day
like the doctor told me. She fussed a while, and I ignored her until I was finished. Thank
God! I had just a little more to do because Stacy can fuss, but her bark is a lot worse than
Once I was back on my feet after the surgery, I started thinking about other types of
businesses I might try.
I had planned on buying a few more houses, and when the market was right, sell at
least three of them to raise the funds to open up a small business. I knew Sabrina had
always talked about opening up a beauty salon, which wasn’t a bad idea. In fact, we had
talked about doing that very thing two years earlier. Now, after buying the houses, the
beauty salon thing seemed like the next thing to do.
A year had gone by and Nicole and I were doing okay with our own houses. She
went out and purchased three of her own. Once we made minor repairs, she rented hers
out also. Now I had my third house, and I was getting it ready to rent out. The future was
looking pretty good to me, and I was happy to be teaching my sons about buying houses.
One evening I was passing by a used furniture store, and they were running a big sale. I
went in just to see what kind of prices they had. To my surprise, the prices were very low,
and at that moment I thought about maybe renting out the house as furnished. I might
stand to make more money that way.
One of the sales people came over and asked me if I needed any help. I told him
what I was thinking about doing and that I was just looking to see what kind of prices
they had going. He took me around the store and showed me all of the things they were
going to be discontinuing. As we walked, he pointed out several things. Some of them I
liked and thought would look nice in the house, and some of the things I didn’t care for at
all. I picked out a few things and asked him what kind of price he could give me. He gave
me a price off the top of his head that wasn’t too bad, so I picked out the rest of the
furniture I needed for the three-bedroom house. Then I asked him again to give me a
figure, telling him I needed a very good deal for all the things I had picked out. He went
back in his office and came up with some figures that were acceptable to me. I bought
everything to furnish that three-bedroom house. Now all someone had to do was bring the
sheets, towels, and their toothbrush and make themselves at home.
It took us no time at all to get the house ready for the furniture. On the day it was to
arrive, I received a phone call from the young man at the store, saying the delivery was
going to be delayed. I asked him why, and he said they were short-handed. It would be a
couple of days. I told him I had a few families coming over to look at the house the
following day, and that he had assured me the furniture would be delivered on time. I
understand that things come up unexpectedly, so I asked him if it would it be okay for us
to pick it up ourselves, and he said it would be no problem. I called Aaron and told him
we were going to pick up the furniture ourselves.
After I got off work that evening, I went by a U-Haul facility and rented a truck,
went by to pick up Aaron and Kendrick, and off we went to the furniture store. We
loaded up and drove back to the house. By the time we finished putting in the furniture,
the house was ready to be someone’s home. It was very nice! And Aaron was still asking
if he could move in. It was at that time I told him and Kendrick that my plan was to give
them each a house, later down the line.
I was very proud of the fact that I had bought three houses and we had fixed them
up, just the three of us, and two of the houses were within walking distance of each other.
I was really feeling good about myself, and I could see the glow in both of my sons’ eyes.
I had told them that once I learned all about the do’s and don’ts of the real estate
business, I was going to teach it to them. That’s right, to have my two sons following in
their mother’s footsteps meant the world to me. We left the house and I went to turn the
U-Haul truck back in. Aaron and Kendrick asked if they could go over to see Aaron’s
sons. Of course I would never say no to that request, but I still wished they were married.
The young people of today play to a different drummer. I saw it in Aaron, how he
loved his sons and loved Sabrina. But on the other hand, he wanted to continue to be free
to come and go when he pleased.
The next day I showed the house to the first family. After they walked through, they
went out and walked around looking at it from outside. They liked it and put down the
deposit and the first month’s rent. They moved in the following weekend. Everything
seemed so easy! I was on Cloud Nine because I could see my future very clearly now. I
knew that at the age of forty-six I had the energy level of a sixteen-year-old. I was still
able to work all day and half the night. I’m the first one up in the morning and the last
one to get in the bed, and then turn around, get up, and do it all over again.
One day while we were just sitting around, I took out a pencil and some paper, and
showed Aaron and Kendrick why I decided to buy houses and rent them out. I showed
them what I paid for the houses and then, going by the figures I had gotten off the
internet for the neighborhood where my houses were, what I thought the houses would
appraise for in two or three years.
Both of them were excited, and Aaron made the commitment to do the same thing.
He asked me what he had to do, and I told him the first thing was to get a job and keep it.
I explained to him that he would have to show he was a responsible young man, because
neither the banks nor the mortgage companies would lend out money without checking
his credit history.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Trying to make your child stand on his or her
own is very hard. When you have tried everything
to no avail, there’s only one thing left.
Aaron and I had talked about him being the handyman for the properties; if he was
really serious about wanting to get started in real estate, then I was all for it.
He started out on the right foot by getting a job, and he was doing really well. He
was going to work every day and saving his money. Most importantly, he was always
taking care of his sons. After working long hours through the week, he would still visit
One morning I was getting ready for work, and I noticed that Aaron had not gotten
up yet. I knocked on his door and told him he was going to be late for work. In a sleepy
voice he told me he didn’t have to go in until 11:00. When I asked him why, he replied
the trucks were going to be late coming in. Okay, that sounded reasonable because he did
unload trucks. I told him to set the alarm clock so he didn’t oversleep. I went on to work
and called the house later in the morning and there was no answer, so I thought he had
left for work.
The next day came, and he told me the same thing. The day after that he told me that
he didn’t have to work for the rest of the week because work was getting slow. When he
told me that, I knew right away that he was not working any more. I told him, “Okay, you
are going to be the handyman of the properties.” I told him he was not going to sit around
the house and not work. I asked him, “What about your sons? You should want to support
them as best as you can.”
He replied, “I do, and I get them what they need.”
I explained to him, “Me giving you money to help with their needs is not what I’m
talking about.” I told him he was going to have to do one of three things: get a job and
keep it; go to work on the houses; or move out on his own and make it the best he could.
At this time, Aaron knew I was not playing anymore. I told him that I had had
enough of him thinking he could work for a while and quit when he wanted to. I asked
him which one of the three he planned on doing. He told me he wanted to work. Well,
time went by and he would tell me he was trying to find work but no one was hiring. I
told him to continue to look, because I meant what I was saying to him.
Since there was no man around to play the tough role, I knew I was going to have to
get tough and make Aaron know that life is not the way he was thinking it was. (God
knows I wish I could have made life that easy for my sons!) I played the role of mother
90% of the time, and the father’s role 10%. The mother role, of course, is the loving,
nurturing one. Many times I knew that both of my sons wanted their father around, but
that was something I could not control. I did the best I could with the father-part of
things, and I thought for a long time I was doing pretty well being both mother and
I guess as boys grow up, you have to adjust to them becoming young men. I could
see that what I was about to enter into with Aaron was not going to be easy for me. Never
in my wildest dreams had I thought the day would come when I would have to put a son
of mine out of our home. It was the three of us who made our relationship so special, and
to think—one of my sons might be sleeping on the street! Well, let’s just say, a tomorrow
will come for sure, but only God knows what will be. Had I known what my tomorrow
would bring, God knows, I would have done things differently. But then again, maybe
everything went as planned.
I knew the time would come for my boys to spread their wings and fly, but I wanted
it to be when they were ready to leave the nest. I didn’t want to force them to stand on
their own, but the handwriting was on the wall. I was reading it very clearly. Aaron didn’t
want to work, and I was at my breaking point. I knew that I could no longer allow him to
think that his mother accepted his attitude.
My heart had broken into pieces. Weeks went by and Aaron still wasn’t working. I
knew then that, in order to show Aaron he would have to find another place to live, I was
going to have to come down hard on him.
One day, coming from a friend’s house, I saw a three-bedroom house for rent with a
lease-to-own option. It was close to where we lived and in a very nice neighborhood. I
pulled into the driveway, got out, and peeked in the windows; it was really nice inside. It
had a fenced-in backyard (for my grand boys), so I rushed home to tell Aaron about it. I
told him we could fix it up really nice.
After my divorce, I knew that I would never remarry. Bringing someone in over my
sons was not going to happen. I wanted all my focus on Aaron and Kendrick. I learned to
do many things on my own, so I could teach my sons. I bought every kind of saw (jigsaw,
table saw, circular saw) and the different kinds of sanders that one can buy. Then I taught
both of them to be handymen, so that once they had a home of their own, they would
know how to be Mr. Fix-It Men. I wanted them to be able to take care of any problems
that might come up, from plumbing, to putting in electrical outlets, to building an
entertainment unit and putting up crown molding. I thought it would be good for us to do
a project together, but that didn’t happen. It wasn’t meant to be.
As time went by, I could see Aaron sliding in and out of his sad moods. There were
times he would be so happy, and then he would be depressed. Aaron and I sat down one
day and had a long talk about life, his three sons, his future, and where he was heading.
After we talked, he seemed to have gotten better. Talking things out was one thing we
could do. My sons knew that no matter what time it was, they could always come to me
I did everything I knew to show him we all have hills to climb. “Some of them are
harder to climb than others,” I said. “But if you just keep on climbing, you will finally get
to the top. Once you reach the top, you will find out that the hill wasn’t so hard to climb
after all. It’s just the mind-frame you’re in.”
The next day Aaron got up and went out looking for a job; he came home as happy
as if he had won the lottery. God was shining on Aaron that day; the job paid very well
and had great benefits, with health insurance. He was able to get overtime whenever he
wanted to work, and the best thing of all, it was right around the corner. At that time, I
worked the evening shift at my job and, since Aaron didn’t have a car, I was able to let
him take my car in the mornings. At lunchtime, he came home, and I took him back to
With the new job, I guess Aaron felt like he could take care of the boys the way he
wanted. He had started back going to church, which always makes a mother happy.
Aaron had worked for about a year then one morning I woke him up because he had
overslept, and he told me he had taken the day off. The next day he went to work, but for
the rest of the week he stayed home. When I would come home from work, he would
have a few of his friends over that I didn’t know.
I watched Aaron for a week or two; he was back in his sad mood. He had started to
spend the nights elsewhere with some friends, which was okay. I knew the family around
the corner, and they didn’t mind; she worked a midnight shift, so the guys played video
games all night. Her two sons were a year younger than Aaron, who was twenty-one at
the time. She told me she liked it when Aaron came around because she knew he would
keep them from getting in trouble when she wasn’t there.
As time went by, I felt that I had given Aaron enough time to get himself together.
Being a mother who had seen her son go through many different changes, I felt it was
time for me to show him he couldn’t just stay at home and do nothing. I explained to him
once again that he had three sons who needed and depended on him for their welfare. On
that day, I gave Aaron a short version of the talk I had been giving him for a while. He
already understood all of it, yet there was something making him not want to be the
young man he knew he could be. I know he loved his sons dearly and wanted to be (and
was) a good father, but I didn’t know how to help.
I asked him “What is wrong? Why do you feel like the world is against you?” At one
point I thought I had made it too easy for him. I know I spoiled both of my sons, but I
always told them that I did the things I did because I loved them that much. I explained to
them that outside that door was a whole different ball game. I was at my wit’s end on
what to do or, shall I say, how to jumpstart Aaron.
Until that point, all through our relationship, everything had been perfect; I would
lead and they would follow. I think I did a great job. It wasn’t easy being mother and
father, but I managed. I worked two jobs when I had to in order to keep the lifestyle that
the boys were accustomed to. I did it with poise and with no complaints.
I didn’t know what to do anymore. Aaron had always come to me with any problems
he had, and we could sit down and solve them together. But this was something I couldn’t
figure out. It wasn’t about Sabrina or the boys. I think he had gotten over that his father
chose not to be in his life. I knew he wanted his father to be in his life, but that was
something I couldn’t fix. I had divorced him, and he had divorced his children. Their
father moved to New Mexico without telling them he was moving. It was awhile before
we knew he had left Atlanta, finding out when Milton’s father passed. But other than his
father-issues, I really didn’t know what sent my son in and out of sad moods.
One day we were sitting around, watching a football game, when the doorbell rang.
Aaron got up to answer it, and it was his friends, Blake and Jonathan. It was such a
welcome surprise to see them! The three of them went and played basketball. When they
are together, it’s like magic for them. They have always been able to lift each other up.
By the time they came back a few hours later, Aaron was rejuvenated. He wanted to go
see the boys, which he did, along with Blake and Jonathan.
After coming back from Sabrina’s house, Aaron told me he was going to start
looking for work, and that he would work anywhere he could. It was just getting into the
holiday months, and I’m sure he wanted his sons to have a nice Christmas. Once again,
he found a job near the house, and I let him use my SUV as long as he had a job. Once
again, Aaron worked for a while and then fell back into the old pattern again. This time I
really didn’t know what to do.
All along I had been telling him that if he did not get a job and keep it, he was going
to have to leave and find somewhere else to stay. I know Aaron thought I was just
talking, but I had to show him that I was serious. Finally I told Aaron if he wasn’t going
to work, he had to leave.
I know in my heart of hearts that I made it too easy for him to be comfortable.
Everything he wanted, I got for him. When he wanted my SUV, nine times out of ten, he
got it. If he needed money, I gave it to him. Many times I came home from work and
there would be a house full of his friends. I didn’t mind them coming over because I was
used to my home being the hangout spot. I was glad because that way I knew where my
boys were at all times. And I wanted to have a chance to see the kind of company they
When Aaron turned twenty-two, I began to see some new faces in my home. When I
inquired about them, my sons called me nosey. I had always asked questions about all
their friends. I wanted to know everything about them. If they were going to hang out in
my home, I wanted to make sure there was nothing going on that wasn’t supposed to be
Some of Aaron’s friends were not who I wanted him to hang around with. I have
never tried to pick my sons’ friends for them. I knew I had done an excellent job of
raising them (I think so, anyway), so I trusted that they were level-headed young men.
I never wanted my sons to feel like they couldn’t pick their own friends. But when I
got off early and came home to see cars in my front yard that I had never seen before, that
concerned me. As I opened my front door, what hit me was the smell of cigarette smoke
and music so loud you couldn’t hear yourself think. The first thing that came to mind
was, “Okay, I have a problem with this.”
My son and I had a long talk, and I told him it was time for him to get a place of his
own. It surprised him when I said that, but I felt it was time for him to see that playtime
was over. He asked me why he had to move when he didn’t have a job. I told him, first of
all, he had had plenty of time to find a job. And I was uncomfortable with the company
he was keeping. We went on and on, but I knew I had to stick to my guns. If I let Aaron
continue down the path he was on, he was never going to understand how important it is
to be responsible. With three beautiful sons of his own, it was time to start making some
type of life for them. I knew that living with me was only making it more difficult for
him in the long-run. Although my son was a very warm-hearted guy, something was
trying to pull him down a path that I couldn’t agree with. I know Aaron was upset, to say
the least, because I was making him move out of the house. Believe me, it hurt me more
than he would ever know. I never dreamed I would be forced to do such a thing, and
knowing how close Aaron and Kendrick were, I hated sending Aaron away. I think at
times even the phone ringing all night long bothered Kendrick. School had just started,
and he was already get sleep deprived.
But considering his age, and the fact that he wasn’t preparing himself for the future,
I felt I had no other choice but to put him out and hope for the best. So many times I
wanted to change my mind and let him stay, but I knew in my heart of hearts it was the
thing to do. If I had changed my mind, it would have given him the wrong impression of
me. That evening Aaron left with some of his friends, and I didn’t see him for a couple of
days. That night I didn’t sleep at all, not because he wasn’t at home, but because I had to
do something I had never dreamed of doing. The next day he called his brother while I
was at work. I knew he called hoping I had changed my mind, but I wasn’t going to do
that. I didn’t worry about him. I knew he was always either at Sabrina’s or his Aunt
After Aaron felt I had calmed down, he came home. I told him that I loved him very
much, but he still had to find another place to live. He told me he would find a job, and I
told him that it wasn’t only about getting a job. It also was about life—growing up and
being dependable. When I told Aaron he had to find somewhere else to live, it broke my
heart. He never knew how I cried when I told him that. All the years we had been
together, and it finally came to me putting him out of our home.
We both struggled for the longest time. Me, as a mother who loved her son dearly
but knew she had to cut the cord.
I asked myself, “Do I just wait and let him come to grips with what life is about? Do
I sit and just let him make up his mind to do the right thing? Do I continue to press him
by telling him that I’m going to put him out if he doesn’t get a job? What does a mother
do in a situation like this? If now, at the age of twenty-two, I don’t cut the cord, when do
I cut it? When Aaron’s twenty-five or thirty?” I would ask myself these questions a
thousand times, but I knew the longer it took, the harder it would be on me, so I cut the
cord, and started the thing they call “Tough Love.”
Aaron knew how much I loved him and his brother, and I know deep in his heart he
didn’t think I would really put him out for good. Other than not wanting to work, my son
had never, ever given me a bit of trouble in his life. He was a great guy! People tell me I
spoiled my sons too much and that I made it too comfortable for them.
Aaron called his friend Blake to ask him if he could stay with him. I had known that
was probably where he would stay, and I was happy that Blake said yes right away. In
fact Blake came and got him the next day. I gave Aaron some money, and he did his
grocery shopping in my refrigerator and cabinet. I let him take whatever he wanted. With
what he took, I knew they probably could eat for a few days.
I went to the window and watched them drive off. A big part of me wanted to run
out and stop the car, but the other part knew I was doing the right thing. Once they got to
Blake’s apartment, Aaron called me to make sure I had Blake’s telephone number. I told
him how much I loved him and that I hoped things would work out for him.
The holiday was upon us, and this was going to be the very first Thanksgiving the
three of us would not be together. Aaron called me on Thanksgiving to wish Kendrick
and me a Happy Thanksgiving, and we wished him one too. Aaron told me he was going
to spend the day with Jonathan, and I was happy he wasn’t going to be alone. I hid the
fact from Aaron that my heart was breaking; I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks, and all I
did was cry. I missed him so much! I never knew what hurt the most, letting him continue
on what could turn into a dangerous journey, or his living away from my home.
Since Aaron began to spend more time over at Sabrina’s, I saw him every day. If he
wasn’t stopping by the house, I was going over there to see my grandsons. To be honest
with you, I made myself sick because I worried all the time. Like mothers do, I wondered
if he was eating. I wondered if he had one of those migraine headaches that he got every
so often. The more I thought about it, I really didn’t know which worried me more—
Aaron being across town where I couldn’t see him every day to make sure he was okay,
or his just being in my house, not willing to work and show some responsibility. But I
had made up my mind to let him stay with Blake and learn just what the other side was
about. I was hoping that he would see how to become more responsible.
Christmas time came, and here we went again! I worried that Aaron didn’t have
transportation, so I wondered how he was going to see his sons on Christmas Day, who
he was going to spend Christmas with, or if he would even have Christmas dinner. As I
sit here, even now, writing this story, I’m wondering why I didn’t just go and get him. I’ll
be the first to say that I wished I’d done a lot of things differently. When I tell this to my
friends, they ask me what more I could have done. They say I gave him my whole life
and then some, and that I was trying to do the right thing by making him see that it was
time for him to get up and stand on his own two feet.
Time went by, and one day the telephone rang. It was Aaron calling. We talked for a
few minutes, and I could tell by his voice he wasn’t calling just to say hello. I waited for
him to say what was on his mind, and he finally got around to asking me if he could
move back home. He told me he couldn’t find work, and he didn’t want to keep
depending on Blake for support. I told Aaron that I would call him back in a couple of
I couldn’t sleep that night for trying to figure out what to do about my son. I knew I
didn’t want Aaron and Blake’s relationship to go bad because Aaron couldn’t find work,
but I also knew I didn’t want Aaron to think that he could come back home, just like that.
To be honest, I didn’t know the answer and really didn’t have anyone who could help me
or give me some direction. At this point, my patience was wearing thin, and I was at a
loss about what to do.
I called Aaron and told him he could move back home. That same evening he was
back in the house. It took all of twenty-four hours before the phone was ringing off the
hook again. I don’t know if it was the fact that I was so close to my boys, but it seemed
that once they got to be over the eighteen-mark, they stopped listening to what I had to
say. Or was it the fact that they wanted to be grown and make their own rules—but in my
house? Whatever it was, it couldn’t work because as much as I loved Aaron, I was still
the mother and it was still my house.
Nothing changed with Aaron; it was the same all over again. He continued to
struggle to find work and was still without transportation.
I understood it was hard to get around, so I had started to think about getting him another
car, although, after watching him just trash his first two cars, I really was in no hurry to
get him another. One evening, coming home after work, I saw Aaron walking toward a
place where he once worked. I came on home and Kendrick was in the front yard. I asked
him where his brother was going. He told me that the company he used to work for had
called him to update his application because they had started hiring again. Well, Aaron
came home with a job! He was happy, and I was very happy.
I was happy with Aaron because he had walked a good six miles to his old job. I
must admit that told me he was at least trying. So I let him use my car to get back and
forth to the job. Once again, things started going in the right direction. At that time he and
Sabrina were on again, which made Aaron twice as happy.
They would take the boys to the park, and they had started back going to church—
and Aaron had even started going to evening service. I look back now and remember
looking in his eyes. He was at peace with himself.
For the first time, I felt that Aaron was getting strong in the direction he was going;
and since he had a family to support, he knew how important his being a father was to
them. His sons were the most important people to him. He asked me one day what kind
of father I thought he was going to be. Knowing why he asked me that question, I told
him, “The same kind of mother I have been to you and your brother.” I told Aaron he was
going to be a wonderful father to his sons. I explained to him that people make their own
choices and he had to make up his mind on what kind of father he wanted to be. (One
thing I have never understood is why parents don’t seem to understand that their children
are watching them. They are depending on us to lead them, so we have to walk straight
and make it easy for them to follow.)
As a mother, I’m going to say I raised two adorable young men. Ever since they
were boys, people have always commented on how well-behaved and respectful they are.
Born and raised in the South, we Southerners believe in courtesy at all times. We never
meet a stranger, and we speak to everyone. Sometimes mothers of Aaron’s and
Kendrick’s friends would even tell me, “I wish my sons were like your sons.” My sons
made me very proud to be their mother, so when I think about how their father chose not
to be in their lives, I cannot understand, and never will. I can only say that my boys’
father really lost out on something special. When we were married, no one could have
convinced me that Milton would be like he was after we divorced.
Sometimes a person looks down the road and can see some of the things coming
their way. They know already it’s not a good thing, so they have a decision to make. At
the time they ask themselves, “Do I leave now and avoid the thing I can see on the
horizon, or do I stay around, let it get worse, and then get out?” Believe me, I’ve seen it!
A few of my friends stayed until the situation got out of control. Then years down the
road, they said admitted that they should’ve gotten out when they saw that things were
starting to go bad. They spent just about their whole adult lives being miserable. And all
they are left with are bitter memories—and the rest of their lives to look forward to with
I would ask them, “Why go through life like that?”
And they would reply, “I don’t know.”
I would then ask, “What about the kids? Didn’t putting them in jeopardy concern
Now that I’ve gotten older, I’ve taken the time to reflect back on my own situation,
and I would have still made the same decision to divorce my husband. I only wish for the
boys’ sakes that their father had been in their lives. I tried many times to get him to put in
time with the boys, but he didn’t want that. I divorced him and he in return divorced his
sons. So probably he would have been no better as a father if he stayed my husband.
Once Aaron went back to work, he worked for a long time, saved up his money, and
purchased a car, all on his own. He was proud that he was getting it together and feeling
like he belonged. It truly made him feel like he had a reason to do better.
Then one evening after I came in from work, he told me he had gotten laid off. I
gave him the benefit of the doubt, but on the other hand, I had my suspicions because I
knew my son very well. Again, I gave him some time to look for another job. As time
went by, it seemed that he wasn’t willing to get a job. Aaron would sit around the house
all day watching videos with his friends, and when I would come home they would get up
and leave. I wouldn’t see him until the next day.
One of my renters called to tell me the showerhead and the kitchen faucets were
steadily dripping. Since Aaron wasn’t working, I told him he didn’t have a choice
anymore. He was going to become Mr. Handyman once again, and he would be going
around to the properties and doing whatever needed to be done. That lasted for a little
while. He told me he enjoyed fixing the small things, but the bigger ones were too much
But I knew that wasn’t the problem; the problem was my son wanted to work only
when he felt like it, and that was not acceptable to me. It wasn’t as if things needed to be
worked on every day.
If he had been in his own house it would have been a different story, but he was still
living with me. For the first time in my life, I became very displeased with Aaron. I
wanted to shake him and ask him just what was going on in his head. Did he think that
life was going to wait on him to make a decision about living like a man? It doesn’t work
that way at all. One minute he was doing really well, and the next he just wanted to throw
things to the side as if he thought he could deal with it when he got ready.
Realizing that letting Aaron think he could just lie around all day, coming and going
as he pleased, wasn’t what I had planned, I knew what I had to do. Just the thought of it
made me sick to my stomach. I let time go by once again, and the situation became
harder for me to deal with. Just as I was at the breaking point, my sister Christina called
and wanted to know what we had planned for two weeks from then. I told her I had not
planned anything; I was working and had not put in for my vacation yet.
She replied, “Well, Brady [her husband] and I were talking about coming for a visit
when the boys get out for spring break.” I told her that would be fun. The boys would
love to see their cousins, and Brady and I hadn’t had one of our long talks in a while.
Christina is next to the youngest in the family. While going to the University of
Southern Mississippi she met and married Brady Jordan. They live in Jackson,
Mississippi, and are very proud of their eighteen years of marriage. They have three
attractive sons—Baron; Derek; and Donovan.
Aaron and Kendrick always looked forward to visits with their cousins. It didn’t
matter whether they came to Atlanta or we drove to Laurel; but when we went to Laurel,
there were a lot more cousins.
The youngest girl of the family still resides in our hometown. Paige and her
husband, David Turner, met while he was serving in the Army National Guard. They
later married and are also proud of their eighteen years of marriage, and three attractive
sons, Matthew; David II; and Raymond. Our sister Charlene met and married Dr. Herbert
Townsend, and they reside in Marshall, Texas with their daughter, Cassandra.
So you see, when the cousins get together, it’s pretty much one big party. All they
were saying was, “Let the fun begin!” They could play their video games all night long,
and when I say all night, I mean until daylight shined through the windows. And talk
about games! They could open up their own video store. If one of them didn’t have a
particular video game, the other one did.
I was so happy to hear that Christina and her family were coming for a visit! When I
told Aaron, he was pleased too. The first thing he said was, “Uncle Brady and I will have
a nice man-to-man conversation.” I told him he could always have a man-to-woman talk
with me. He said, “I know, Mom, but a young man needs a man to sit down and talk
things over with.” I told him I understood.
Two weeks seemed like it was going to take forever but the time finally came
around. I took off half a day to try to get ahead of the traffic and stop by the store one last
time. I didn’t even have any more room to put anything, but I knew it was only going to
take a few hours for my full refrigerator to become an empty one. I believe in having
everybody’s favorites, so I was ready. Plus I wanted to get some last minute rest before
they hit town, because I knew once the party started, it was not going to stop until
Christina and her family left town.
I do believe in cooking big dinners, so I started cooking a few days before they got
to Atlanta. With three other boys to feed and already knowing they eat like my two sons,
I was getting prepared. Not to mention my brother-in-law—hide the ice cream and cakes!
I love you, Brady, but you didn’t put on twenty pounds by eating vegetables, right?
When they finally got here, it was Friday evening, and we had a ball. Our sister
Stacy and her daughters came over, and we didn’t see the bed until 4:00 in the morning. I
had set my alarm clock for 7:00, so I could get breakfast started. Stacy had told me that
she and the girls were going to be coming back in the morning. We had everything
anyone could want for breakfast—biscuits, waffles, eggs, grits, sausage, and oatmeal.
When you have guests in the house, someone will always want something different
Christina had told me they were going to stay about a week, and I noticed Aaron and
Brady were always closed up in Aaron’s room talking, doing the man thing. But after one
of those talks, I noticed a look Brady had on his face. I asked him what was wrong, and
he told me that he would tell me later. Later came, and Brady and I talked.
He was concerned about Aaron, and he asked me why my ex-husband Milton had
just abandoned his sons like he did. He went on to say that’s why Aaron was having so
many problems in his life—he needed his father. I told Brady that their father was out of
On the day they left, Brady told me that he and Aaron had a talk after I went to
sleep, and Aaron told him he was going to do better. Brady told Aaron that the next time
he came to Atlanta, he wanted to see him on his feet and doing something with his life.
Aaron said he was going to get himself together and take care of his responsibilities.
Weeks and months came and went, and nothing changed. It was now June 2001.
One evening after getting off work, Aaron had some friends over. They played video
games for a while and then they left. I had done a few loads of the boys’ laundry earlier
and told Aaron to fold them and put them away before I got home. As I was going toward
the kitchen, I noticed the basket of clothes was untouched. Instead of getting upset over
it, I was just going to take care of it myself.
I opened the door to Aaron’s room, and I could tell they had been smoking. As I was
putting the clothes on the bed, I noticed his bedspread pushed under the bed as if he had
put something under the bed. I bent down to look, and I saw a few beer bottles. First, I
could not believe that there were beer bottles in my house! Then I said to myself, “I must
be dreaming, because I know Aaron knows better.” If my sons did not know anything
else, they knew the rules of my house. Both Aaron and Kendrick knew that in my house,
smoking and drinking were not allowed—even though I admit I bent the no-smoking rule
on occasion—so to find beer bottles under his bed…I really didn’t know what to do.
I went to my room and started to think about it. I knew I had to calm myself down
and think about how to address this problem; believe me, this was the biggest problem I
could have with either of my sons. I sat for a moment thinking of all the times Aaron
came in late after going out to a club. I thought I was always being smart by getting a
good sniff when he would bend over and kiss me goodnight and tell me he loved me. I
would see if I could smell anything on him, but I never did—not even those loud-
smelling mints to cover up alcohol. It got late and I had to go to work the next day, so I
went to sleep. That night when he came into my room to kiss me good night, I told him I
had something to talk about tomorrow. I went on to work and when I came home that
evening, I asked him about the beer bottles I found in his room. He told me that a friend
had brought them over, and I let him know that I was very upset. I let him know that if I
ever saw any kind of alcohol in the house again, he was going to have to go.
As a mother, you always want to believe your child is following your orders and the
rules of your home. At the same time, in the back of your mind, you know sometimes that
they’re not being up front with you. Nevertheless, you keep giving them one more
chance. I have always been one who believes if a person does something once, they will
do it again and again.
In Aaron’s case, he had always been a good son, but he knew if I let him get away
with something once, when he did it again the most I would do is fuss. I will admit he
was right on that part, because the times I had to fuss were so few and far between.
One weekend Aaron and Kendrick were spending the night with friends. I was
happy because I was going to have the house to myself. I thought I could do some spring-
cleaning, wash all the windows and windowsills, throw away clothes that I knew they
would never miss, and all.
I started in my room first, just in case I decided not to do the entire clean-up project.
It didn’t take me long in my room, so I moved to Kendrick’s room, turned on some
music, and I was in a zone all to myself. Next I moved to Aaron’s room, where I started
by hanging up clothes, not that he had a messy room, but there were some clothes on the
chair. As I continued to clean, I started to sweep. As I was sweeping on the other side of
his bed, I saw quite a few beer bottles. I stopped dead in my steps and just stared at them.
I stopped sweeping, turned the music off, and just sat in his room.
I think I must have stayed in there for least thirty minutes, going over everything in
my mind, wondering what I was missing. I asked myself, “Why is he forcing me to do the
unthinkable? Did he not think I would go through with what I told him? Maybe he didn’t
think I would put him out on the street.” He still wasn’t working, and I think he had just
given up on looking. With three sons of his own, I just could not understand how he
thought he could support them without working. It frightened me to think that he was not
going to make any kind of effort. Heartbroken and in tears, I was weak in the knees, so I
went to my room to lie down. I felt like I would pass out. I knew I couldn’t listen to any
excuse Aaron was going to give me.
A few friends and I were planning on going out to dinner and a movie. Later that
evening the doorbell rang; it was my friends coming to pick me up. Having dinner was
the last thing on my mind. I could not eat, even if I wanted to. I opened the door and told
them I didn’t feel well. They could see that I was upset and asked me what was wrong. I
told them I didn’t want to talk about it.
They said to me, “Okay. If you come and have dinner with us, we’ll go to your
favorite place.” I told them I really wanted to be alone and that I would talk with them
later. I closed the door and lay back down. The telephone rang a few times, and it was my
friends. They finally stopped calling when they saw I was not going to pick up the phone.
I didn’t sleep all that night and don’t remember even eating. In one way, I was ready
for the night to be over with, but on the other hand I wanted it to drag out as long as
possible. Sunday morning came, and I looked at the clock. It read 7:40. I felt like I had
just closed my eyes. I thought to myself, “Can I really put my son out of the house with
nowhere to go?” I sat in my chair thinking, “How many chances have I given Aaron to
get himself together? How many times have I given him a chance to get a job? How
many times have I told Aaron to respect the rules of my house?” This was ripping my
heart out, because I knew it had already gone as far as it was going to go. I felt like it was
my fault in so many ways. I hardly ever told my sons no because I usually didn’t think I
needed to. I knew they knew right from wrong, and they were both great guys. So now I
was feeling like a person who was between a rock and a hard place.
Sunday evening I was in the kitchen cooking dinner when I heard the front door
open and close. Kendrick called my name to see where I was. I told him I was in the
kitchen. As soon as he came into the room, he asked me what was wrong. He leaned
over, kissed me, and asked me again. I told him that I was feeling a little under the
weather. He went toward his room and said, “I can smell the Pine-Sol; that means you’ve
been doing some spring-cleaning.”
He put his bag down, came back into the kitchen, and asked if my asthma was
bothering me. I told him no and that I was going to be okay. The evening dragged on, and
Aaron didn’t come home. I lay down for a while. Watching the clock, the time just
seemed to move so slowly. I got up and got ready for bed and went to sleep. Kendrick
came in my bedroom at some point to tell me that Aaron had called and said he was
going to see me tomorrow. After waking up, I couldn’t go back to sleep. My mind just
started up all over again with the questions. Really, I didn’t know what to do! I knew he
couldn’t move back with his friends because he wasn’t working.
I think that when I let it go the first time and just gave him a warning, he thought,
“She didn’t mean what she said.” I say that only because he did it again and again. I had
told Aaron very clearly what would happen. If I found beer, or any kind of alcohol, in my
house again, he would have to go.
The alarm clock went off at 6:15, and I got ready for work. Of course, the day at
work was everything but good, but I managed to stay focused. The 4:00 hour took forever
getting around, and I decided to call home just to see if Aaron had made it there.
Kendrick picked up the phone and told me that Aaron was in the shower.
Since he was at home, I realized he knew I had seen the beer bottles in his room. On
the ride home, I felt as if my world was coming apart. Half of me was saying, “Just leave
it alone, the problem will straighten out eventually.” The other half of me was saying it
was time to let Aaron see that he had to stand on his own two feet.
All of his life, I thought, we had always been on the same page. Never once did we
even think of being on opposite pages. But here we were, about to get into a whole new
phase of our relationship, and it wasn’t going to be easy for me. I thought to myself, “Just
maybe he’ll realize it’s time to sink or swim.”
I remembered talking to a friend a month or so earlier about my dilemma—when I
had first seen bottles in his room. She told me something her mother had told her. Her
mother had asked her, “Do you know how birds learn to fly?”
She said, “No.”
Her mother told her that the mother bird pushes her babies out of the nest, and they
either learn to fly or they fall to the ground. I thought about that all the way home. What
if that’s what Aaron needed, just a push?
As I pulled up to the house, got out of the truck, and went in, my stomach was in
knots. I knew Kendrick was in his room doing schoolwork, and I didn’t want to upset
him. Knowing how close they were, I wondered how my putting Aaron out of the house
would affect him. Normally, the television would be on in the family room, but this time
it wasn’t. I knew then that Aaron realized it was serious, so I went to Kendrick’s room
first to see how school had gone that day. I told him I loved him and said, “I’m going to
be in Aaron’s room for a few minutes.”
I went to Aaron’s room, knocked on the door, and told him we needed to talk. He
said, “Let me explain,” and I told him I didn’t need an explanation. I told him he was
twenty-three now, and I thought it was time for him to leave the house. I said that he
needed his own house, his own space, so he could make and break the rules whenever he
wanted to. I stayed very calm about the whole thing, although my heart was breaking into
pieces little by little.
Aaron pleaded his case, and I let him say whatever it was he had to say. He
explained to me how and who brought the beer into the house. I told him I had given him
a warning the first time it happened, and yet he did it again. He talked and I listened, but
as I listened, I was looking into Aaron’s eyes and I started thinking. It seemed like it was
only yesterday I brought him home from the hospital. I had watched the baby nicknamed
“Two Teeth” turn into a young man. And now the young man was about to start making
it on his very own, because after all was said and done, my decision was the same. It was
time for him to find a place to live. You know, the funny thing was, as I sat looking at my
son that evening, I knew without a doubt I was doing the right thing. As hurtful as it
seems, maybe, I knew it was time to let him spread his wings. He looked at me and asked
if he could stay the rest of the week. I told him, “Yes, that won’t be a problem.” That was
the month of August.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Crying tears as the sun was going down.
Something terrible was growing inside of me. It had gotten so bad, I couldn’t eat,
couldn’t sleep. I didn’t really want to do anything.
If I looked forward to one thing every year, it was the tennis matches. I would
usually get excited every time a match would be on. I lived to watch my favorite players
play. The biggest tournament, the U.S. Open, had started; but in the year of 2001, I
couldn’t tell you who won any of the major tournaments. I even lost interest in watching
the baseball games.
It was during the middle of August, around my birthday, when one day I felt so sick
I thought I was going to pass out. I had been planting flowers and pulling up the dead
ones. I had not eaten, but I wanted to finish working in the yard. Still feeling like I was
going to pass out, I knew that with the riding mower I could get through in about forty-
five minutes. I finished, went into the house, and went straight to bed. I slept the rest of
the day, and when I woke up it was getting dark outside.
After eating, I sat in the chair beside my bed trying to make sense of what was going
on inside of me. Was I sick? I knew whatever I was carrying was growing, but just what
was it? I asked myself, did I have cancer or some other illness? All I knew was that it was
now starting to scare me. I didn’t know what to do about it, but I had made up my mind
that I was not going to the doctor for fear she would tell me some bad news. I knew that
whatever it was, it was growing, so I was just going to let it do whatever it was going to
do to me.
With each day, the thing in the pit of my stomach got worse. Thought I had gotten
used to the feeling, but I begin to realize that wasn’t so. Weeks went by until one day I
got so sick to my stomach I was afraid. And from that point on, I knew something terrible
was going to happen. I had started telling my friends and my sisters that something bad
was going to happen. They would ask me why I continued to say something bad was
going to happen, and I told them that something in the pit of my stomach was growing.
My friend Nicole kept telling me to go to the doctor. She told me she was getting
From the very first time I felt it, I knew that the something in the pit of my stomach
was not normal, and I would ask God to please intervene. Believe me, as I sit and look
back, I realize that God knew all the time what was going on. I believe it was his way of
preparing me and letting me know what was about to happen. All the time I was asking
him to intervene, He was giving me the answers to my prayers.
The end of the week came and Aaron asked me if he could stay until he got a job. I
looked at my son and told him, “I’m sorry, but you have to find a place of your own to
live.” I had thought all along that he had been making plans, but as we stood there and
talked, I realized he had thought I was going to change my mind.
For the first time, my son and I had words. He felt that I was wrong for telling him
to move out. I explained to him that it was time and gave him many reasons why. I told
him that I even felt I would be doing him more harm than good by letting him stay. I told
him I loved him and I knew he didn’t understand it now, but one day he would. I told
Aaron I was not going to change my mind, and my son left the house.
After he left I went into my room and cried my eyes out. I was glad that Kendrick
was at work at that time. About an hour later there was a knock on the door, and it was
Aaron. He asked me if he could use the telephone to call one of his friends. He used the
phone and left, but before he went out the door, I told him again that I loved him and he
said he loved me too. He went and stood outside. About fifteen minutes later, his friend
pulled up, Aaron got in his car, and they left. I stared out the window once again,
wondering if I had done the right thing.
Kendrick came home from work, and I told him that Aaron had gone. I tried to see a
reaction in Kendrick’s eyes, but I couldn’t read it. He just said, “Yes,” went into his room
and started doing his homework.
Later that night I knocked on his door and asked him if he was okay; he said he was.
That whole weekend was a nail-biter for me. I didn’t know where Aaron had gone. I
had a few ideas, but as a mother, I wanted to know for sure. Each time I talked to God, I
asked him to watch over Aaron and please make sure that he was okay. After awhile,
Aaron would come by the house and if he did not come by, he would call. I was happy
for that; when I had first found out I was pregnant with both of my boys, I promised God
I would never miss a day without telling my sons I loved them. I can truly say that I have
never broken that promise. I still tell Aaron and Kendrick I love them every day.
A week had gone by, and I guess I saw Aaron maybe three times (not seeing Aaron
everyday was really hard for me). I would ask him how he was doing, and he always said
he was doing okay. One day he came by the house looking for his wallet. That was very
unusual; over the years I often got on to him for not carrying his wallet. (I can’t tell you
how many times he lost his wallet.) I asked him why he wanted it, and he told me he felt
like he should be carrying one. Before, he would just put his driver’s license in his pocket
and be on his way. Many times I could find his wallet on the floor in his room, in the
washing machine when I did laundry, or just anywhere. So when he told me he felt he
needed to start carrying a wallet, I stopped off at the mall the next day and brought him a
very expensive one.
Just as Aaron was leaving, I asked him where he was living. It turned out that he
was living with Mr. Russell, Sabrina’s father, which was maybe three miles from where
we lived. He seemed very happy, and I think it was because it was like a bachelor pad.
Sabrina’s father was divorced, and his youngest son lived there also—three single guys in
one house. I began to wonder if that was the place Aaron should be. I wanted him to get
out in the world and start being responsible, and not just think of the single life. After all,
he had three beautiful sons who needed their father to be there for them. But I could see
that Aaron was happy and content with himself, so I just continued to hope for the best.
If a few days would go by and I hadn’t heard from him, I would call around to the
house to see if he had been eating. Sometimes I would tell him I had gotten in the
cooking mood. (He knew that meant I had been cooking a variety of foods all day long.)
It wouldn’t take him long to come to the house; all he had to do was tell one of his friends
that I had cooked, and they were glad to bring him around. Every time Aaron came to the
house, he cleaned out the refrigerator, and that was fine by me. At least I knew he was
It was now the end of August, and the pain in my stomach had become unbearable.
There were times I had to bend over because that made it feel better. Still I was not going
to the doctor.
I was now crying at home all the time, and I would even start crying at work. I
could just be sitting, and I would suddenly start to cry. I began to lose weight, and then I
really became terrified. For some reason, I knew that I wasn’t losing the weight because I
was eating less. It was something about the way I was feeling that was causing me to lose
it. I even thought about letting Aaron come back home so that when whatever was going
to happen happened, he would be here with Kendrick.
One evening after I came home from work, Aaron came by to tell me that Mr.
Russell was moving across town, and he asked me if he could move back in. I told him I
didn’t think that was a good idea. He asked me why not, and I told him that by moving
back in the house, he would be defeating the purpose of his moving out in the first place.
Again I explained he needed to take responsibility for his life. He told me that he
understood, and we talked for a while. I went into the kitchen and started dinner. Aaron
stayed, and we all ate together. He asked me if he could stay for the night because he
wanted to spend time with Kendrick. I told him yes, and he and Kendrick played video
games half the night. It was so nice to see both of my sons doing what they loved doing.
Mr. Russell moved across town, and Aaron moved in with a neighbor who lived four
houses up. To be honest, Aaron was always going between my house and the neighbor’s
house anyway. If he wasn’t here, he was there, and once again I was in a dilemma of
what to do.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day
that he is among his sheep that are scattered;
so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver t hem out of all places where they have
been scattered in the cloudy and dark day.
It was the first week of September. One morning I was in the yard, getting ready to
cut the lawn, when Aaron walked down to the house and asked me if I needed any help.
Jokingly, I asked him how much he was going to charge me.
He said, “Nothing,” and we mowed the lawn together. After we finished, he
showered and left. Every evening I had seen Aaron and his friends walking up the street
with their basketball, headed to Nickajack Park. And it seemed like when I saw Aaron,
that thing in the pit of my stomach just spun out of control. I began thinking to myself
that I had a fatal disease and it was spreading all through my body. It had now been five
months since this feeling started, and I worried all the time.
One day as I came home, the telephone was ringing. It was my neighbor next door,
Mary. We talked a minute or so, then she got into what she had called me for. She told
me that Aaron had asked her about renting a house she owned, right next door to her
house, one house down from mine. She told me she wanted to ask me some questions
about Aaron. She said that he told her I had put him out and he was looking for a place to
stay. He told her he had been working, and that he could afford to give her the deposit
and pay the rent.
Mary asked me if I would be able to help if Aaron couldn’t come up with the rent. I
told her I would help him if I saw that he was really making an effort to get up on his
feet. She told me that Aaron had also told her he only wanted to rent the house for a little
while because he was thinking about joining the Army. She said he went on to tell her
about his three sons and how he wanted to support them, and by joining the Service he
could get a good education also. We talked for at least thirty minutes, and I told her that
Aaron was a very good young man; it was just time for him to have his own place. She
told me that she was going to let him rent the house. Mary also told me that Aaron had
told her not to let me know because he wanted to surprise me by showing me he had
finally gotten himself together. Mary told me that Aaron had saved over $1,000. I
couldn’t believe it! If my son had saved that kind of money, he had indeed changed.
Aaron came by the next day and never said a word about the house, nor did he tell
me he was working. I never brought up the fact that Mary had called me inquiring about
him. I asked him when he had last seen the boys. He told me he had seen them the other
day, and they were asking when they could come over to the house to see me. I told
Aaron I would call Sabrina and ask her if they could come over for Sunday dinner. I did,
and she said, “Yes, the boys can come over.” (At this time Aaron and Sabrina were in one
of their break-up modes.)
Saturday, September 1
I put together a menu for Sunday dinner and made a list of things I needed to do.
Since I was going to be cooking the boys’ favorites, I thought about trying to bake some
oatmeal cookies and get them to taste like Pax’s, but once again I didn’t. This was the
second time that I had thought about making the oatmeal cookies. I went ahead with my
planning of the meal. It was going to be so nice—I was going to make it a special day! I
kept remembering what I knew about Aaron’s job and the house, but I was not going to
say anything because I had told Mary that I would wait for him to tell me.
Monday, September 3
Labor Day, I had a barbecue and made all of my boys’ favorite items—from their
favorite vegetables to desserts and everything in between. In one sense, I was on top of
the world—it seemed my tough love tactic was successful. Aaron was moving into his
first house on the first of October. He had been working everyday, and I felt he had
finally gotten it together. But still that thing in the pit of my stomach was bringing me
The sickness got worse, it seemed, by the minute. Before I went to bed that night, I
called Nicole and told her I had to make a doctor’s appointment the next day. I told her
that I could not continue like this—I had to go and see what was going on with me. The
next day came and went, and I didn’t make the appointment. With each passing day, I
found myself not able to eat or sleep. I cried all the time. It didn’t matter if I was at work
or out shopping.
Tuesday, September 4
The thing in the pit of my stomach was so bad that sometimes the pain bent me over.
I couldn’t take any more. I called and made a doctor’s appointment. I was determined to
go to the doctor, find out what was going on, and deal with it. I got the first opening she
had available, which was on September 21 at 11:15 a.m.
Tuesday, September 11
I was sick at work all day. I couldn’t keep anything down. Nicole and everyone else
had gotten so concerned about me, at times my friends didn’t know what to say. When
everyone knew that I had made a doctor’s appointment, they were relived that I was
going to find out what was going on.
One evening Aaron came to the house, and I asked him when was the last time he
had seen the boys. He said it was last week and that he was planning on seeing them the
following day. I told him that I was going to cook a big dinner on that Sunday
(September 16) so he should tell Sabrina to come for dinner.
(Just watch what having faith will do for you.)
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
And as he was yet a-coming; the devil threw him down, and tare him.
BAM! The Devil Made Me Do It!
Wednesday, September 12
At home on Wednesday evening, I started getting ready to mow the lawn. Kendrick
was at work As I passed by the front window, I saw Nicole driving down the driveway
coming in from work. She was living downstairs from us. I guess she had left work early,
which was very usually for her; she’s normally the first one in the office and the last one
to leave. We talked for a minute and she went on inside. She hadn’t been inside ten
minutes when she came back out. I had gone into the back to make sure there weren’t any
big sticks that could get caught in the mower. Our yard is full of pine trees and oaks, so
there are always limbs falling down in the yard.
Nicole said to me, “Kathy, please be very careful.”
When I told her I would and asked her why she had said that to me, she told me she
didn’t know. I got onto the lawn mower and began to cut the lawn. Nicole continued to
stand there and watch. She had never done that before.
I finished the back yard in about twenty minutes and was starting up to the front
when I stopped the mower and asked Nicole why she was just standing outside. Once
again, she said to be careful. I laughed and said, “Okay.” I told her it was going to only
take me about fifteen minutes to do the front, so she should go on in. I would be okay.
I had nearly finished the front. One small area remained. Usually I would use the
weed-eater here, but this time I decided to just get it over with on the mower. As I headed
toward it, I don’t know how it happened, but all of a sudden the mower was going off the
edge of a retaining wall. One second I was turning the wheel to the right, and then I was
airborne and going to the left, headed straight for the gas meter!
The first thing I thought about was that when I hit it, it was going to explode. I
thought of my brother, Jimmy, whom we had lost in a house fire. In a split second I
pictured a huge explosion, and then I heard a voice saying to me, “Kathy, move your
legs, or they will be broken.” When I heard the voice, so calm, something came over me,
and I attempted to jump while turning the wheels, so the mower couldn’t hit directly on
Bam! It hit and hit hard, but I had managed to deflect the full impact; the mower
only hit a small piece of the gas pipe, although it almost went into Nicole’s kitchen
window. To my surprise, there was no explosion, just the loud bang of the collision.
As I got off the mower, Nicole ran out to see what had happened. I fell to the
ground, and she asked me if I needed her to call 911. I told her no, that I was okay. Then
in just a few minutes, I could feel my legs burn. That’s when I got scared.
Nicole helped me inside, and I took off my pants to look at my legs. Right before
our eyes, we could see them reddening and feeling hotter and hotter. Within thirty
minutes both of my legs were so inflamed we could not believe our eyes. To tell the truth,
I was afraid to go to the hospital because I thought they would have to do some type of
Nicole suggested I get into a bathtub of warm water and maybe that would stop the
swelling. She ran the water for me, but it took me a few minutes to get to the tub because
I could hardly move my legs; in fact Nicole had to help me walk. She went back
downstairs to get some Motrin for me to take. Lying in the warm water seemed to make
my legs feel worse. Before she could get back, I began sweating like crazy and feeling
dizzy, so I got out of the tub and lay down. Then I called Nicole to tell her I was in bed,
and to come and check on me in about thirty minutes if she didn’t hear from me.
I lay there just looking at my legs, wondering if I should go to the doctor. By the
time Nicole came back, she couldn’t believe the way my legs looked. She asked me how
I felt, and I lied because I could tell she was afraid. I told her I felt okay.
She asked me how we were going to move the lawn mower. It was still up against
the gas pipe. If we moved the mower and the pipe was cracked, we wondered, what
would we do next? Nicole went next door to tell the neighbor what happened and to get
his opinion. When no one answered, we decided to just move it ourselves. I smelled
around the gas pipe to make sure there was no gas seeping out. The way the mower
landed, it hit so hard it actually made a big hole in the ground.
Starting it up and trying to drive it was not going to work. We had to hook a chain to
the mower and to my SUV to pull it out. As we moved it very slowly, Nicole had the
telephone in her hand, just in case we smelled gas. We got the mower back up on the
driveway and tried to start it. Whew! It started up, and I rode it to the back and locked it
I looked down at my legs again, and they looked unreal. I came back in the house and lay
down again. After a while, Kendrick came in from work. He came into my room to tell
me goodnight, and I told him what had happened. He fussed at me, as he and Aaron did a
lot when I was doing some work they would have done. Later, when I got up to go to the
bathroom, I was in severe pain, but I never said anything to Kendrick about it. I really
should have gone to the emergency room, but all I could think about was that I had to be
at work at 8:00 the next morning. Then I thought, “If I can even make it to work.”
(Just watch what having faith will do.)
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Be still so you can hear your assignment.
Prelude to Dinner
Morning came and the alarm went off. My legs were a mess! They had colors on them I
didn’t even know existed, and they truly looked like they had been burned. By the time
Nicole heard me up and walking around, she called upstairs. She asked me how I felt and
why I wasn’t still in bed. I told her I was going to try to go to work. She said that I should
stay in bed if I wasn’t going to the doctor. I told her that if I felt worried once I got to
work, I would leave and go to the doctor. Barely able to get dressed, my mind kept telling
me that going to work should be the last thing on my mind. But “Dedicated Kathy” was
once again being stubborn.
I went to work, but by 10:00, after going up and down the steps, I realized I wasn’t
going to make it through the whole day. I left work and headed home. On the way home,
I started to think about the dinner on Sunday. Was I going to be able to stand up and cook
the Sunday dinner I had planned?
On the ride home that thing in the pit of my stomach was worse than ever before. I
remember wondering if the accident had caused it to get worse. Little did I know what
was about to take place! I went on home, got back in bed, and slept for a few hours; then
I woke up and looked at my legs.
As I lay there in a great deal of pain, I heard a voice saying to me, “Call the dinner
off—you’re hurt.” First, I thought I was talking to myself out loud.
But then I heard that same calm voice that I had heard earlier that evening when I
had the accident that told me to move my legs or they would be broken. “Kathy, have the
dinner,” it said.
I sat up and said, “I’m hearing things, but I heard one of the voices yesterday.” I lay
there trying to make sense of it. It didn’t taken long at all before I realized that it was
God’s voice that I had heard. He had spoken to me, telling me to move my legs, then was
now speaking to me, telling me to have the dinner. It also came to me that the other voice
was the devil. Trying to make sense of it all was confusing and with the pain that I was
in, I finally struggled to the bathroom and took some Motrin. Eventually I went back to
Later that day, when Kendrick came home from school, he asked me about my legs.
I showed them to him and he started fussing, telling me to go to the doctor. (I will admit
I’m very stubborn.) He went out to pick up something for me to eat, and while he was
gone, I again heard the voice saying, “Kathy, call the dinner off.” And once again I heard
the other voice say to me, “Kathy, have your dinner.” That went on for the rest of the day.
Instead of being concerned about my legs, I started thinking I was going crazy; the voices
were very real to me. Later that night I went over the whole accident again. Maybe I had
hit my head and, in the midst of it all, didn’t realize I had done so. That was the only
explanation I could give for the voices. In the middle of the night, I got up to get
something to drink. On my way back to the bedroom I again heard the voice saying, “Call
the dinner off; you know your legs are hurting.”
And again, the calm voice said, “Have your dinner, Kathy.”
Friday, September 14
I got up once again to try to go to work. I thought that since it was Friday, maybe I
could work and then, on the weekend, rest and just stay off my legs. I called Nicole and
told her I was going to try to work, and she called me crazy for trying to work, but I felt I
could make it. The morning was slow, but lunchtime came and the rest of the day went
by pretty fast. On my way home I debated about the Sunday dinner, actually waiting to
hear the voices, which I didn’t. At home, I went straight to bed, saying I would make up
my mind in the morning.
Meanwhile, the coloring of my legs was a very big concern to me, though I guessed
still not enough of a concern to go to the doctor. It was obvious to me that nothing was
broken, so I felt that if I could walk and go to work, my legs must be okay. The swelling
was still unreal, but I was moving along.
Early Saturday morning I was awakened by a voice saying, “Kathy, have your
I was frightened that time, and I said “Okay.” I stayed in bed until later that morning.
When Aaron came by, I told him I was still planning on having the Sunday dinner. He
and Kendrick tried to make me change my mind, but after the voice I had heard, there
was no way I was not going to have the dinner. Once they knew I wasn’t listening to
them, Aaron got very excited. He told me that he wasn’t going to eat anything that
evening because he wanted to be good and hungry when he came over the next day. I got
up and went to the store, making sure I got the ingredients for the oatmeal cookie recipe.
I came home about an hour and a half later, and Aaron was still there. He and
Kendrick had taken out the Play Station, so I knew he would be staying for a while. I’ve
always enjoyed hearing them laughing out loud over those video games.
Later, Aaron walked back up the street to his friend’s house, because it was getting
time for them to go and play basketball at the park. Just before he left, he kissed me and
said, “Mom, I just want you to know that you are the best mother anyone could ever
have. And I want you to know that I truly appreciate you with all my heart.” He kissed
me again and told me he would see me early the next morning.
I remember going to the dining room window to watch him; something about his
kiss made me just stop what I was doing. As I watched him walk up the driveway, he
turned around and came back. When I asked him if he had forgotten something, he told
me no, he just wanted to give me a big hug and another kiss.
I told him, “Well, a mother can never get enough hugs and kisses from her sons.”
Aaron went into Kendrick’s room again to give him one of those big brother handshakes
and told him he would see him later.
In the pit of my stomach, I felt like everything inside me was going to come up. I
didn’t know which was worse—the knot in my stomach or my legs that looked like they
had been burned. As the day went on, I began to have severe pain in my legs. I knew it
was from standing on them as much as I had, so I decided to lie down and take some
Motrin, which seemed to diminish the pain some.
While lying there, I started going over the different things that had been happening.
Then I got back out of bed, got down on my knees, and started to pray. I began to talk to
God, telling him I didn’t understand what was going on. I knew He was giving me signs,
or perhaps He was preparing me for what was about to happen. I felt like either Aaron or
I was involved in some terrible event that was about to happen.
I went back to when I first started feeling the thing in the pit of my stomach. Now it
had gotten so bad that I had a funny taste in my mouth. I told God that I had always said
in my prayers that the three of us (Kendrick, Aaron, and I) were soldiers in His Army,
and that when He needed one of us, I would understand. I had taught my sons to
understand that if God took me first, they would have to understand. I told Him I was
going to hold on to His unchanging hand, and I would have the Sunday dinner no matter
what kind of pain I was in.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Praise the Lord God Almighty, I heard
His voice and followed His instructions.
The Final Meal
Sunday, September 16
I had set the alarm clock to wake me up early that morning because I knew it was
going to take some time for me to do the baking. I had never tried to bake oatmeal
cookies, and I wanted to have them for one of the desserts. I was planning on trying out
two or three recipes I had found in an old cookbook of mine.
The oatmeal cookies at Pax’s tasted like they had a bit of a country-syrupy taste to
them, so at the store I bought a special type of syrup that I thought would give it that
flavor. In the kitchen, I first cut up the collard greens (one of Aaron’s favorites) and got
them to cooking, then I started the chicken for the chicken spaghetti. I baked the sour
cream pound cake, and once the cake was in the oven, put on the collard greens to cook.
Finally, I started on the cookies. Once I mixed all the ingredients together, I tasted
the dough. It was okay, but it wasn’t there yet. I added a little more cinnamon and a little
more syrup until it tasted like oatmeal cookies, then I baked a batch. It was nowhere near
the taste I wanted. I added a little more this and a little more that; but by the time I had
added this and that, I had messed up the cookie dough completely. Now, I’m a person
who, once my mind is made up to do something, I’m determined to carry it out. I went
ahead and finished baking that batch because I knew they would be eaten. They didn’t
taste bad—they just didn’t taste like I wanted. I started batch number two, remembering
what I had done the first time. I added some ingredients and left out some of them. By the
time I finished that batch of my very own oatmeal cookie recipe, I had the taste! Now all
I had to do was bake them and hope they tasted like Pax’s cookies. I cooked the first
batch of those, and they were perfect—they tasted just like the oatmeal cookies from
home. I was very happy!
I knew my sons would be fighting over who was going to eat the most cookies, and
to tell the truth, by the time I would be able to fix my grandsons their plates to take home,
there would be very few left. Then there would be Nicole to give some to, and when I had
told my friend Lolita I was baking oatmeal cookies, she asked me to bring her a plate
when I came up to the store where she worked. Lolita, who worked in a pharmacy, knew
I had to pick up a couple of my prescriptions that evening. After realizing all that, I baked
another batch, so if my sons wanted to fight over who got the most, they could. (It does a
mother’s heart good to see them enjoying something so much.)
It was still morning when Aaron walked in, and I teased him by saying, “You’re
here for dinner mighty early.” He laughed and gave me a big hug. But I noticed a look
about him that prompted me to ask how he was doing; he said he was okay. I asked him if
he was in a hurry, telling him I probably wouldn’t have dinner ready until 3:00. He told
me that he hadn’t eaten anything yet, so I went into the kitchen and fixed breakfast.
Kendrick woke up, then, and we all sat in the kitchen and talked. After breakfast,
Kendrick went back to his room while Aaron and I continued to talk. As I look back now,
we were getting everything out in the open. We talked a lot about my putting him out.
Aaron told me that at first he had been very annoyed with me because he had not
known where to go. He talked about the fact that he didn’t get his high school diploma,
and that he felt like that was the only thing I had asked of him and his brother.
I told Aaron, “Yes, I was disappointed, but son, let me give you a list of Human
Degrees you have given me.” I told him what I thought of him and the things I saw in
him that a lot of other young people don’t even have a clue about. I’ll just list a few of the
things for you, readers; this is what I told my son in his last days.
Sunday, September 16
As Aaron sat in the kitchen that morning and watched me cook for the last time in
his life, I said, “You have a Degree of the Heart. I have never heard you turn any of your
friends down when they needed your help. Whether or not you have plans of your own,
you always put other people first. No matter what time of day they call—it could be in
the middle of the night—you are there for them. That makes me very proud.
“You have a Degree in Fatherhood. Yes, you have three handsome sons of your very
own. No, you and Sabrina are not married, but what you are, Aaron, is the best father I
have ever seen. You have always been there for Sabrina and the boys. You wanted to be
in the delivery room to see all three of your sons being born, and not just because you are
their father. Lots of guys your age refuse to acknowledge that they are the fathers of
children, especially if they’re not married to the young ladies. But you, Son, have stood
up and have done your very best with what you have. You could have easily made up
your mind that you did not want any part of it, like some young men do. But you wanted
to be a father, which makes me very proud of you.
“You have a Degree in Brotherhood. Don’t think I have not noticed that you have
tried to be both a father and a big brother to Kendrick—when you have always wished
you had a big brother yourself, someone you could look up to in a manly way.
“But the biggest degree you have is an I-Am-Very-Proud-To-Call-You-My-Son
Degree.” I told Aaron about a verse in the Bible, I Samuel 16:7 which says, “But the Lord
said unto Samuel, ‘Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I
have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward
appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
“So don’t you know you have made my life fulfilling? Every time I look at you and
Kendrick, I think of the very first time I felt the both of you moving inside my body and
my love grows a little more. I’m so grateful to God for sending you boys to me.”
We continued to talk for a few minutes, then the telephone rang; it was for Aaron.
He went in his room and stayed on the phone for a while while I started up the rest of the
dinner. It was now early afternoon. As I cooked, I thought of the conversation we had just
had, and I was feeling good.
Aaron still didn’t know that I knew about the house he had rented, nor did he know
I knew he had been working for a while to save up the first month’s rent and the deposits
he was going to have to put down—that was a lot for Aaron. He had been like a lot of
other young men; once they got paid, the money went straight through their fingers.
So thinking about our talk and knowing about the house, I felt he was starting a new
beginning. I remember saying to myself, “I think he understands about life now.” I was
ready to celebrate, jumping up and shouting from the highest mountain.
Aaron left, going to get the boys, and I got on the phone with Nicole to tell her about
the conversation Aaron and I had just had. I even told her that I thought Aaron was on his
way to doing better things. The job, the house—he actually had saved his money, and he
did it on his own and didn’t even ask me for help! I told her as that soon as Aaron and the
boys arrived, she could come up and have dinner with us. The boys lived only about six
miles away, so Aaron was back in no time at all.
At dinnertime I fixed the grand boys’ plates, so that then the adults could fix theirs.
(Here at my house, children eat first.) I don’t know who was happiest—my sons or my
grandsons. We had collard greens with ham hocks and okra, macaroni and cheese, butter
beans, creamed corn, yams, fried chicken, baked chicken, baked ham, and Aaron’s
favorite—chicken spaghetti, rolls, and cornbread. And for dessert we had sour cream
pound cake, German chocolate cake, oatmeal cookies, brownies, and ice cream. And to
drink, some of the boy’s favorites: grape kool-aid, tea, and homemade lemonade. After
Aaron finished his dinner, he came into the kitchen and got a few cookies. Then he asked
me, “Mom, when did you go to Laurel?”
I told him I hadn’t been to Laurel.
He said, “These cookies taste just like Pax’s oatmeal cookies!”
I can’t tell you how happy that made me feel—I was ecstatic! After he said that,
Kendrick rushed into the kitchen asking, “Where are the cookies?”
Now, I must tell you that my boys grew big! Aaron stood 6’1” and weighed 205
pounds, while Kendrick is 6’6” and 275, so I moved out of the way and let the argument
start about how many Aaron could have. Aaron said he should have more because
Kendrick lived here, and he could get cookies whenever he wanted them. They went back
and forth while the little boys and I laughed at both of them, who acting like two little
When we had finished eating, Aaron and the boys moved outside to play basketball;
it seems to be the boys’ favorite thing to play (I wonder why). For whatever reason, I
kept going to the door to watch Aaron play with his sons. As pretty as the day was,
something was gloomy about it. The sun was out and shining brightly—you couldn’t
have asked for a better day than God had given us that Sunday. As I looked at Aaron, I
began to notice a distant look in his eye. Kendrick had gone out and was playing with
them, so I called Lolita to see if it was a good time to come up to take her a dinner plate,
and to pick up my prescriptions.
At the store, Lolita was slow at the time, so we talked for a few minutes while she
munched on a cookie. The first thing she said was the cookies were excellent! She
wanted to know what bakery I got them from, and I told her “Kathy’s Bakery.”
She looked at me and said, “Girl, these are the best cookies I’ve ever tasted!”
Back at home, as I turned into the driveway, I saw that Aaron and the boys were still
playing basketball. I sat in my SUV just watching them, and once more I focused on my
son. I said to myself, “If nothing else, I raised them right—to be caring human beings.”
My mind went back to the talk Aaron and I had had earlier that day. In my heart I felt that
he really knew I loved him as much as a mother could love her child. But looking at him
that Sunday evening—even though the sun was shining—I saw a foggy mist hanging
When I got out, I went over to him and gave him a big hug. He asked me what that
was for, and I told him, “For many reasons, but mainly because you’re my son and I love
you very much.”
He hugged me back and told me he loved me too. I went in the house and went
straight to my bedroom window; I sat in the glider rocker beside my bed and continued to
watch Aaron and the boys. I just sat there.
I think I knew that the thing in the pit of my stomach was there for a reason; it was
telling me to get things in order. The thing was worse than ever. It had grown with each
day, but I wasn’t going to let it put a damper on this day. After a little while, Aaron
brought the boys in and washed them up so he could take them back home. While he was
doing that, I was in the kitchen fixing them some “to-go” plates along with one for
Sabrina. Aaron told me to just give them the cake and brownies for dessert.
He said, “They’ve never tasted Pax’s cookies, so they don’t even know what we’re
Kendrick added his two cents. “That’s right!”
Well, needless to say, my grandsons got the cake and brownies. The cookies stayed
home for my sons.
For those of you who are cookie-lovers, here is our favorite cookie recipe:
1 cup of plain flour
2 sticks of butter
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
3 cups of Quaker Oats
1 tablespoon of any country syrup
Preheat the oven to 350.
First I take my butter and an egg out to so they can get to room temperature,
about an hour is good. In a larger measuring cup I measure my flour, salt and baking
powder-sifting them together twice. In a mixing bowl I fluff my butter until creamy. Next
I add my sugars, then my eggs to the butter mixture, beating them until light and fluffy.
Next I add my flour mixture and then the oats, mixing well. Finally I add my cinnamon
and then the syrup.
Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about fifteen to twenty minutes. Enjoy!
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
And God said to Noah, The end of all
flesh is Come before me…
Aaron’s Eerie Bequest
Aaron left to take the boys home and I lay down. To my surprise, he came straight
back home. I said to him, “You didn’t want to stay for awhile with the boys?”
He said that he was going to play basketball when his friends came by to pick him
up. Aaron sat on my bed that very evening and said, “Mom, if anything happens to me, I
want you to donate my organs. I checked it on the back of my driver’s license, so I want
you to make sure it’s done.”
“Nothing is going to happen to you, Aaron, so please don’t talk like that.”
He said, “You’re the best mother in the whole world!” and hugged my neck.
Then he got up off my bed and went into Kendrick’s room, and I heard him tell his
brother, “Man, if anything happens to me, you make sure you take care of my weights
and my CDs.”
Right then and there, I said to myself, “Oh, God, it’s Aaron!”
I heard him tell Kendrick, “Stand up so I can give you a big-brother hug.”
I couldn’t move because it was all coming together. Aaron stuck his head back in my
room and told me he loved me, and he would see me later. Again, I got up and watched
my firstborn son leave the house.
When he was out of my sight, I told Kendrick I was going to take a nap. I closed the door
and cried my eyes out, and I stayed in my room the rest of the evening.
Later that night, around 9:00, Aaron came back to the house, where he and Kendrick
played football on the Play Station. As Aaron was getting ready to leave that night, he
stood in my doorway and we talked about the 9-11 terrorist attacks from the previous
week. We talked about his sons and how they had enjoyed themselves that day. We
talked about him and Sabrina one day getting married. He told me he wanted to get
married but felt it was not the right time. I told Aaron that only he would know when it’s
the right time for him to marry, because it would not be good to marry if he wasn’t ready
to give up hanging out with his friends. I think the whole conversation took about forty
minutes, and then he told me he would see me tomorrow. Little did Aaron and I know
that that would be the last time we saw each other.
Still, he had never said a word about renting the house and planning to move in on
October 1. I had really wanted him to tell me, so I could tell him how proud of him I was
and that I would help him in any way I could. I had already gone and picked out a new
television for the family room because I was going to give Aaron the one I had—he
enjoyed watching the bigger television so much. I would tease him all the time by saying
he had a very nice 19-inch with surround-sound hooked up to it, and speakers on the wall.
Knowing me, I could not have stopped until I had furnished the whole house for him.
My son walked out of the front door, and this time I just lay in bed in a miserable
mood, going over everything that had taken place that day. How for the first time I had
made the Pax’s-style oatmeal cookies and how Aaron told me that they tasted just like
Pax’s. The voices I had heard—one telling me not to have the dinner and the other voice,
so calm and peaceful, telling me, “Have the dinner, Kathy.” Everything that night came
into play after hearing Aaron telling Kendrick to take care of his weights and CDs Then I
began playing over in my head the lawn mower accident. To understand just how bizarre
that was, you would have to understand how our yard is laid out. Atlanta is very hilly; the
top of the yard is flat, and then it slopes down about five feet, then it’s flat again for about
seven feet. In one spot is a drop-off of about four inches, then it goes back into a slope.
As I was remembering that, it dawned on me why I was to have the dinner and have
my grandsons over. And how I continued going to the door, looking at Aaron. At one
point that night I was so worried and scared, I thought I was losing my mind. I remember
that I couldn’t fall asleep; at some point I got up and took something to make me sleep.
Monday, September 18
It was “back to work” on Monday morning where my coworker Lilly and I were
talking about our weekends, and she asked me if I had ended up cooking on Sunday. I
told her, “I surely did,” and how everything went.
She told me that she didn’t see how I could have done all that cooking with the way
my legs looked. She told that it just seemed like it would hurt to stand on them at all, to
say nothing of cooking for hours.
I told her, “We mothers do what we have to do for the kids, don’t we?” Then I went
upstairs and began to work. That day went by fast.
That evening I was outside looking for a place to plant some flowers on the next
weekend when I heard the telephone ringing, but by the time I could get to it, they had
left a message. It was Aaron telling me that his friend Antonio was going to come down
to the house to get his blue North Carolina basketball. He told me that he had it on the
side of the house. By the time I went back outside, I could see Antonio walking toward
the house. I looked on the side of the house, but I didn’t see the ball, and by that time
Antonio had made it to the house. I told him I didn’t see his basketball outside and that I
would go and see if it was in Aaron’s room.
I went in the house and looked in Aaron’s room, but it wasn’t in there, so I looked in
Kendrick’s room but didn’t see the basketball there either. I went back outside and told
Antonio that I didn’t see his North Carolina basketball, but if I came across it, I would
bring it to him. I told him I was also a big North Carolina fan. We talked about the NBA
for a few minutes, about the NBA basketball player who had played with North Carolina,
and then he walked back up the street. I went inside, lay down, and for the first time I
cried uncontrollably, to the point I went into an asthma attack. I got to my medicine and it
calmed me down.
That evening I called my sister, who lives here in Atlanta, and was telling her what I
had been going through. My sister told me I was in mourning. I asked her what she meant
by that, and she told me she had been feeling like something dreadful was getting ready
to happen too. I asked her how long had she been feeling that way and she told me for
about a week. We hung up then, and I called Nicole to tell her what Stacy had said.
This thing that was inside of me had gotten so strong that the only time I didn’t feel
it was when I was asleep.
Tuesday, September 18
I was so sick and weak from being up all night with my stomach, I really didn’t want
to go to work. My thought at the time was that I’d been able to suffer through the whole
day each day so far and this day would be no different. I went to work and came home at
the end of the day, called Kendrick on his job to see how his day at school was, and
finally climbed into bed.
Wednesday, September 18
Again, I got home from work at immediately started my chores as if I were in a hurry.
Everyone had left the house and, feeling like I wanted to talk to someone, I called a
friend. We talked about Aaron for a few minutes and made plans to have dinner over the
As the conversation continued, he asked me how Kendrick was doing. I told him that
Ken was in his last year of school, and I was looking forward to seeing him walk down
the aisle in his cap and grown.
After saying that, I went right back to talking about Aaron. I told him that Aaron
had rented a house, one house down from ours. He and I joked about how close the two
Then I told Ralph, “Aaron thinks he’s smart. I know the only reason he got a house
so close by is so he can just hop over and eat whenever he wants to. He’ll feel free to
come and get anything he wants.”
We both laughed and Ralph said, “Right. He doesn’t want to get too far from his
I went on to tell Ralph how proud I was of Aaron for finally realizing that he had to
take responsibility, and that I felt like that was his first step.
I hung up the phone and went back to working, thinking of Aaron and of how I was
feeling. My legs were not hurting as much, but the thing in the pit of my stomach had
reached an all-time high.
Being bored, I flipped through a few magazines, but nothing was holding my
attention. I thought about going to the mall or the movies, but neither one sounded all that
good. I decided to go by Stacy’s house, not knowing if she was at home; I was just going
to take a chance and go by there. As I was knocking on her door, around 5 p.m., I began
to feel a little faint.
She opened the door and was surprised that I was standing there. First she thought
something was wrong; I never stopped by like that without calling first. She told me to
come in, and we sat and talked for a few minutes. Then I asked her if she wanted to have
She said yes, and I asked her where she would like to go. They had recently moved
into a new apartment and there was a coffee house right up the street from her house. The
coffee house just happens to be one of her favorite places, too. This particular coffee
house was one that I had only been in once before; being there with Stacy made it my
second time. When we walked in they were not busy, so we had our choice of seats; we
decided to sit in the back booth. We both ordered our dinner—I ordered the All-Star
breakfast, which comes with eggs, grits, bacon or sausage, toast, and a waffle. I order the
same thing every time; it never changes. (In the coffee house near my home, when they
look up and see me, they know my order already.) And I always end up bringing a doggie
Once we ordered and started talking, I told her about Aaron renting the house, and
that I would be glad when he told me about it. I told her he didn’t know I knew, and we
went on from one thing to another. We sat at the coffee house for three hours and talked
about nothing but Aaron. We talked about what I had been going through for the last five
months. Me crying all the time, loss of weight, not eating or sleeping, etc. My sister Stacy
sat there and told me once again that I had been in mourning. I looked at her and, again,
asked her what she meant. She told me that although Aaron was still here, he’s not here.
At that time, she said to me that she hadn’t wanted to tell me when she had begun to feel
that something terrible was about to happen. After we sat a long while, I had a cup of
coffee and we left. I took her home and headed home myself.
I knew Kendrick was at work, so I stopped by to see how his day was and to ask
him if he had seen Aaron earlier. He told me that Aaron had been at the house when he
got out of school, but he had left with some of his friends. I left and went home.
As I passed Antonio’s house I looked for Aaron, but no one was out in the yard, so I
went on home and turned on the television. There wasn’t anything on that I wanted to
watch. I flipped through some old books, and that was boring. I thought that since Aaron
was going to be moving into his house on the first of October, I’d start getting some
things ready. I went into the kitchen and made a quick calculation in my mind of what he
was going to need—everything. I remember thinking that I couldn’t start packing; when
he would come by and see the boxes, he would know that I knew. So I made a list of
things that I was going to have to replace.
After that, I took a shower and put on a movie, though I still felt like I was supposed
to be doing something. I heard Nicole come home, so I went downstairs to talk to her for
a while. By the time I came back up, I felt a little better.
“I’ll try again to watch a movie,” I told myself. I put in one of my all-time favorites
and enjoyed it. By now it was around 8 o’clock, so I lay down and tried to go to sleep. I
went from one side of the bed to the other—my mind just wouldn’t shut off—so I finally
just got up and called Tanya. We had talked for about an hour when I told her I felt like I
could fall asleep, so we hung up, but about thirty minutes later she called back; she had
forgotten to tell me something. She asked me if I had gone to sleep yet and I told her no. I
was just lying still. We started back to talking, and we talked about everything from
baseball to the 9-11 immorality. While talking with her, I kept looking at the clock and
was wondering why. The hours slipped by. and then my life changed forever, with the
knock on my door.
They knocked so hard she asked me who was at the door this time of night. I told her
that I didn’t know but they must be crazy. All of Aaron’s and Kendrick’s friends knew
not to come here after ten. They knocked again so hard I thought the door was going to
Tanya said, “Peek out of the window and see who it is.”
I did so and told her it was the police.
She said, “What? The police!”
I said, “Yes!”
She said, “Go see what they want, and call me back.”
They knocked again and I told them to please just wait a minute. My heart was
racing fast as I put on my robe and slippers and went to the door.
Before I begin Chapter 23 of this book, I would like to say that during the journey of
writing A Mother In Mourning, not only did God give me the gift to write this book; He
also has given me the gift to write poetry. You will read a few of my poems in this
intermission. Throughout my fifty-one years here, I have learned what it takes (in my
opinion) to get to heaven. My feelings are expressed in “Understanding the Key to
Also, I would like to take the time to give thanks to each and every one of you for
purchasing A Mother In Mourning. Thank you for caring about my story.
“I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and
which was, and which is to come, the Almighty” (Revelation 1:8).
“O sing unto the Lord a new song; for he hath done marvelous things: his right hand, and
his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory” (Psalms 98:1).
Understanding the Key to Eternal Life
A is for Able—to love and, more importantly, to know how to express my love.
M is for Miracle—when a man and a woman unite and, ultimately, create a new life.
O is for Overflowing—one description for the amount of love a Mother feels for her
children. Yes, my cup runneth over!
T is for Thanksgiving—just pure gratitude to God for the opportunity to be the
mother He has allowed me to be.
H is for Heart—through the journey of life I have seen much pain; but through
Jesus, I have had the heart and the courage to go on.
E is for Endless—this measures the amount of love I feel for God, His son Jesus, and
for everyone else who has been there for me.
R is for Rejoice—let us rejoice in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, and know
that our loved ones are with the King of all Kings. Let us lift up our voices and sing
“Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Amen!”
I is for Imagine—imagine how happy we will be when we are finally reunited with
our loved ones.
N is for Never—never give up on the tasks that lie before you. Stand strong and take
one step at a time.
M is for Merciful—know that God is a merciful God and that when He carries out
His plan and calls some of His children home, His Son has already prepared a better
place for them.
O is for Open—open your hearts and your minds and let the words of our Lord Jesus
Christ baptize you over and over and over again.
U is for Understanding—knowing that the word of God is always true and should
never be questioned.
R is for Real—four words can definitely be described as such: (1) Heaven (2) Hell
(3) Life (4) Death
N is for Necessary—it is necessary for us to go through ups and downs because only
then will we learn who we really are and display the character we have built along the
I is for Inspiration—read your Bible, let the words of Jesus touch your heart, and
take control of your every thought. That will enable you to inspire and touch the hearts of
the people you meet. If nothing else, you will leave the words of Jesus with them to think
N is for Narrow—if your road appears narrow and you are afraid that you may drift
from your path, drop to your knees and ask God for the strength to complete your
G is for Giving—give all that you can on every day that God has given you. Do your
very best for yourself and your fellow man on each day that is at hand so when night falls
and you lay your body down to rest, you can say to Jesus, “I did my very best.” By giving
100% in all you do for yourself and others, your reward will be more than you ever
For the Ones Who Mourn: may God be with you and give you the strength and the
courage to take the steps you need to continue your journey. Yes, death is a devastating
thing, but remember: we shall all meet again on the other side—it’s just a matter of time.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next section)
Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven:
for in the manner did their father unto the prophets.
OH, WHY KATRINA? WHY!
The sun was shining and there was very little wind;
The beaches were full for the entire weekend.
Time went on as the day had just begun,
Looking over by the park, people were going out for their morning run.
Miles and miles away, whirling out in the gulf waters,
Was something that would devastate three states—
killing fathers, sons, mothers, and daughters.
This thing will destroy everything that gets in its way,
She gave off warning signs and still, some people decided to stay.
She zigzagged for days, picking up wind and speed,
packing 175 mph winds as she sat out there until she was ready to proceed.
Many prayers were sent up for the people, who had nowhere to go,
Her plan was to make history as she sat out in the Gulf of Mexico.
Morning came, her time became right, and she headed toward land;
Her winds were so strong a wife was forced to let go of her husband’s hand.
She came ashore, leveling everything as far as the eye could see, and made so many cry,
The levees gave way and flooded the city
Oh, why Katrina? Why!
Evening came and chaos was all over town,
People were on rooftops crying out for help as the sun was going down.
Little did they know help would come, but for some much too late,
The devastation was so overwhelming, it was hard for the law to communicate.
Katrina, you, like the Tsunami, did some things that were unheard of,
I hope the people still look up to the light from up above.
But on that day the people sat there crying, hoping that someone would come up with a
As the waters came rushing through, you trapped them as if you were quicksand.
The Fourth of July had come and gone, and the people celebrated all about,
An unseen tomorrow such as you, Katrina, has ripped our hearts all out.
You left people in total disarray and many without a bed to sleep in,
Children are sitting, crying because it’s hard for them to comprehend.
You’ve been gone for days now, and the water is still above ground,
The number of dead bodies goes up every time we look around.
The old, young, and children, we all wonder why so many had to die,
You came and turned their worlds upside down
Oh, why Katrina? Why!
ALL YEAR ROUND
I was awakened this morning by a beautiful sound;
I peeped out the window, but no one was around.
I stopped to listen carefully as I began to smile to myself.
Outside my bedroom window were birds bathing in an old fountain someone had left.
I lay there for a moment to let my mind run free,
And with my eyes closed, I wondered how heaven must be.
Yes, springtime is here, and the flowers are in full bloom.
April showers bring May flowers, so I guess the showers will stop pretty soon.
The smell of fresh flowers, birds singing, and long walks in the park,
Make me feel like the past is behind me and I’m beginning a fresh new start.
I love this time of the year; the people are at their natural best,
After being shut in for the winter when all they did was work and get plenty of rest.
I think I’ll hop in the car and go for a ride through the countryside.
Just being all-alone with my music makes me feel so relaxed and extremely alive.
While riding I’ll stop and pick up lunch in a small town;
I’ll sit outside in the warm sun and thank God for His love
All year round.
The weather is getting hotter each day that comes around.
Some people like to bath in the sun; me, inside is where I can be found.
But going to the beach always seems to comfort me.
Just lying, listening to the waves roll in, to me is pure serenity.
I can’t wait for the Fourth of July to watch the fireworks show.
Watching the dark light up in so many colors as I sit and watch from below.
God bless America, baseball, apple pie, and the colors red, white, and blue.
Stone Mountain, Lake Lanier, Six Flags over Georgia—oh, there’s so much we can do.
Yes, summertime is here, and it’s the best time for families to get away.
Take a trip to a State Park, go camping or fishing off of Old Man Canyon Bay.
Get out and enjoy life just as much as you can,
Take your family to a Braves game, buy peanuts, popcorn, and become one of their fans.
This time of year brings a whole new life of it’s very own,
Go to a music festival, and you’ll hear people singing their favorite songs.
Looking at all the happy faces and knowing that I’m heavenward bound,
It’s so very easy for me to say, “I love You, God,
all year round.”
Walking through the park, I’ve noticed the leaves are all turning brown.
I decided to sit on a park bench and watch a show being put on by a clown.
Yes, autumn is here, and this season’s weather is better than any of the other three.
There’s an autumn wind blowing, and I feel it’s blowing just for me.
So many leaves have fallen; they’re everywhere you look.
I’ll turn up my coat’s collar and continue reading my A Mother in Mourning book.
The chipmunks are gathering their food in anticipation of the season.
It’s awesome how God created those nuts and berries for that reason.
As I sit here watching the kids throwing leaves on one another,
I remember when, as a kid, I did the same to my sisters and brother.
Yes, the seasons have a special way of making you feel God’s love.
I guess I should be heading home now and, while walking, I’ll think of the man above.
An early frost has killed off the summer flowers, and the grass is no longer green.
If it’s God’s will, I’ll be around to see them bloom again next spring.
But if I’m not, then my spirit will be in heaven where the sun never goes down,
Where the flowers are always perfect and in season
all year round.
Everywhere I go, the Christmas lights are glowing so bright.
I sit here looking at my first winter wonderland, and it’s truly an amazing sight.
The snow is coming down and the wind chill is at something below,
So I’m going to sit here by the fireplace because there’s nowhere I need to go.
Yes, wintertime is here and the lakes are frozen over.
The weatherman is predicting that tomorrow could be even colder.
From a distance I can see my neighbors out gathering snow to make a snowman.
Maybe I’ll make some eggnog and go over and lend them a helping hand.
I wish the weather would lighten up so I could finish my Christmas shopping.
I watched It’s A Wonderful Life this morning and it reminded me: I need to fill my
Some people think that Christmas comes only once a year; Me, I hold up my glass every
day and give Jesus a very special cheer. For the 365 days of the Winter, Autumn,
Summer, and Spring, Thank You, Thank You, God, for the special love You always
bring. Yes, tomorrow is Jesus’ Birthday, and I can’t wait to hear the church bells sound.
I’m happy to see it come again, but to me it’s Jesus’ Birthday
all year round!
(I’M READY TO) GO ON HOME
I played all through kindergarten, and first through fifth grade was a breeze.
Still, being the tomboy I was, I was the fastest at climbing trees.
Playing outside all day was always all right by me.
If I wasn’t chasing the ice cream truck or playing ball, I was listening to music—feeling
For kids the summer time zoomed by way too fast.
One evening you’re playing hide-and-go-seek, and then all of a sudden you’re sitting in
Year after year, you’re in and out of school
Doing what you are told and trying not to break the “Golden Rule.”
Now you’re in the twelfth grade, and the teachers say you have to take an SAT test.
For it will determine your future, so study hard and do your very best.
The test went on for hours; I felt it took all day long.
Being tired, hungry, and mentally drained,
(I’m ready to) go on home.
Oh, Lord, I overslept this morning, so I’m rushing out the door.
I have to drop the kids off at school and go to work from eight to four.
When I get to work, I know the phones will ring all day.
I promise you, Lord, before I answer one line I will take time out to pray.
Eight hours on this dreadful job make me feel as though I’ve worked twelve.
While on my lunch break today, I’ll write my bills out and drop them in the mail.
I’m watching the small hand on the clock, and it’s moving mighty slow.
I sit here daydreaming of being at a Broadway show.
Working on a job five days and putting in forty plus hours a week.
Sometimes I wonder if there’s a better life out there or am I just too tired to seek.
It’s four p.m., and I’m walking to the time clock; I wonder if this is really where I belong.
I have to get some energy for “Round 2” but truthfully,
(I’m ready to) go on home.
I’m no longer that little girl
Who once climbed trees and wore Shirley Temple curls.
My hair has thinned; it’s stringy and gray.
I now sit on my front porch and just rock away.
I gave birth to ten kids and watched them have families of their own.
I taught them to be loving, respectful, and responsible and to know they will never be
My better half left here about a decade ago.
The pain from these weak and aching bones now pierces my very soul.
At times the pain seems to shoot from shoulder to shoulder;
Rheumatoid Arthritis is so bad now it has me all bent over.
The little girl, the young lady, the woman who once was so full of life has long gone.
All that’s left now is a tired, used-up old woman, and
(I’m ready to) go on home.
NOW I SEE
Somewhere along the line, I took a wrong turn,
No one was there to teach me the lessons I had to learn.
It took me a long time to get on the right track,
but now—thanks to You, God—I’ll never look back.
Sometimes, late at night, “bad times” knock on my door,
I get up, knock right back, and say, “Bad times don’t live here anymore.”
I tell bad times, “Just go away and please just let me be,
For I have learned the words of God, so
now I see.”
So I thank You, God, for guiding me along my righteous way,
Without Your kind and gentle heart, I couldn’t make it through the day.
I thank You, God, all through my day and especially when I’m on bended knee.
My heart is so full of Thanksgiving because, for me, You’re always doing good deeds.
I want You to know I love You from the bottom of my heart.
You came into my life and have given me a fresh new start.
With the things You have taught me, I’ll stand strong like a tree.
I’m going to go out and spread Your words, Lord, because You have opened my eyes and
now I see.
THE TREE OUTSIDE HIS WINDOW
2001 was the coldest winter I have ever known.
My heart gets ripped apart every time I read his name on his tombstone.
No one can imagine the pain that I live in each second of the day.
He left so quickly! I looked around, and he was going through heaven’s gateway.
The shock of it all has left me in somewhat of a frozen state.
There are no more birthdays now, but once a year we have a gathering to celebrate.
I can’t sit here and say I remember things all that well.
Now all I have is our memories but, boy, the stories I can tell.
From the first day he was born until the last day he was here,
His first cry, first day of school, and his twenty-third birthday—those memories are oh,
When I think of Aaron, I can picture him with his white gown and wings sitting on the
And passing by his room the other day, I saw
the tree outside his window.
Now, this was truly an amazing thing to see,
But, then again, what I was looking at really puzzled me.
I was looking outside and there it was, on top of the carport,
Green leaves, branches—it was a tree of some sort.
With tears in my eyes, I sat on his bed and wondered how; because there’s no soil
A tree growing on top of a carport is unreal or, should I say, it’s
Sometimes days would go by and it was hard to go into his room.
Looking at his unmade bed made me remember him in his very first
I can tell you, when I think of September 19, I’m consumed with pain.
But what I’m standing here looking at is a mystery that no one can explain.
When I close my eyes, I still can hear that baby crying when I gave him birth.
He resides in heaven now, but we sure miss him down here on earth.
The rest of my life, each day will always be touch and go.
Nevertheless, I know I must cut down
the tree outside his window.
I’m sitting here on a park bench,
Watching the leaves falling behind a chain link fence.
So many leaves have fallen they’ve covered the ground.
Leaves of all shapes, colors, and sizes I see as I begin to look around.
They remind me of how life really is
While on my journey of cheers and tears.
The summer has ended and the autumn is here.
There’s a chill in the air, and I know winter is near.
For most of us, we take life one day at a time
And think of our futures in the backs of our minds.
My journey, unfortunately, has had many downs;
But I’ve held tight to God’s hand while wearing a crown.
My destination is Heaven; this I really know.
Besides, God has His eyes on me everywhere I go.
So, I’ll continue to listen to my heart and take good advice.
What it is is what it is—it’s my journey, and I call it
Like the flowers that will bloom each spring,
I’ll keep the faith with each new day God will bring.
This journey of mine, no, it hasn’t been fair.
But as long as I can feel His presence, I’ll spread His Love everywhere.
And now, as I sit here staring off into space,
I can feel my body being lifted to a whole other place.
With my eyes closed, I feel the breeze that’s moving through the trees.
And, once again, God is reminding me that He will never leave.
You come into this world not knowing where life will take you.
You look around and you’re grown up with a child or maybe two.
I taught my sons to be strong, and I loved them with all my might,
But in a split-second there was an accident, and I got the news in the middle of the night.
My life now has become unbearable, to say the least.
The loss of a child makes you want to hide from the world to search for your own peace.
Your heart feels as through someone stabbed you with a very dull knife.
What it is is what it is—it’s my journey, and I call it
Running away won’t work because of the loved ones you’d leave behind;
For they have always depended on you for love, strength, and their peace of mind.
Through this journey, it’s been hard to walk the straight and narrow line,
But I’ve done so with pride as my two sons walked closely behind.
While going through my ups and downs, life has taught me some hard lessons. But in my
heart I know God is stacking up all of my many blessings.
When you lose someone you love, there are days you can’t remember your own name.
You spend much of your time praying and hoping you don’t go completely insane.
Many things have happened to me that I don’t understand,
At this point, all I can do is look straight ahead as I make my way to the Promised Land.
As I sit here enjoying this beautiful autumn day,
The sun is beaming down on me so I know I must stay.
I’m a leader, a friend, a sister, a mother, and I have been a wife.
What it is is what it is—it’s my journey, and I call it
JUST PASSING THROUGH
There’s this thing called life that no one can explain.
Some days you get stormy rains and others you wish you could frame.
The seasons will change forever; they’ll come and they will go.
How long will your heart continue to beat? Only God knows.
Some days you just want to take off with nowhere special in mind;
just hop in the car, take off, and try to leave all your troubles behind.
There are days when you work hard, but you take it all in stride.
Then one day your whole world is turned upside down, leaving you helpless and barely
You’ll forget the month of the year, but the days you’ll always count.
As you sit all alone in your lonely room, you feel the pain as it mounts.
Still, we prepare ourselves for each day that will come anew.
One day this body will lie down because we’re all
just passing through.
You’ll experience the joy of love, laughter, and the pain of sorrow.
Losing someone you love makes it difficult to imagine a better tomorrow.
Some of us will grieve in silence for the rest of our lives,
Leaving our minds in such disarray that even the simplest things must be pondered twice.
The two words love and laughter are great when you find them all in one.
But that word pain, I’m sure everyone can agree, provides no fun.
Each new day will bring us closer to our last,
And when this day has ended, then it too will become the past.
You listen to people of all races and religions, who want to express their points of view,
And you look into their eyes as you listen, but we all know we’re
just passing through.
The Bible teaches us all about a new beginning,
But the loss of a loved one can bring forth the feeling of a painful ending.
We do the best we can to keep up with the day-to-day pace,
But time goes by so quickly, you look in the mirror and barely recognize your own face.
You touch your face and see yourself as if for the very first time.
Your body has become so weak, you’ll think of the loved ones who’ll be left behind.
The face in the mirror is one you’ve seen before.
It’s the picture of your grandmother, the one that was hanging by your mother’s front
You were sitting in your rocking chair with a quilted blanket your mother had pieced
This old quilted blanket has been in four generations and will probably be passed down
It’s early morning as you sit, looking out at the mountains in the morning dew,
Wrapped inside your grandmother’s old quilted blanket—it’s then you realize—we’re
just passing through.
Life sometimes pushes you so hard, you long for a walk on the pier,
To feel the ocean breeze upon your face that let’s you know God is here.
You’ll think of the things that have hurt you and wonder what lies ahead.
You’ll have to hold tight to God’s unchanging hands and remember the things He said.
So with the faith I have in Him and the belief in His every word,
If my tomorrow never comes, to my loved ones, remember the God that I have served.
The clock is ticking down and this you can believe,
We’re on this thing called planet earth, and one day we’ll surely leave.
Every baby, child, woman, man, and yes, even you—we’re the people on God’s journey,
just passing through.
9-11, BUT LORD JESUS, EIGHT DAYS LATER
Eight o’clock in the morning, people boarded the plane coming to town for a visit.
Maybe there was a grandmother on board showing off her grandchild’s blanket she had
Everything started out smoothly; no one seemed too concerned.
Little did they know the evilness on the planes, but they would soon learn.
Some of the passengers read books or went to sleep, while others thought about
What was about to happen to them would forever keep us in sorrow.
Once you’re in a plane, your faith is in God’s and the pilots’ hands.
I’m sure the passengers on two of the planes were expecting to reach dry land.
But the predators hopped out of their seats and took everyone by surprise;
I’m sure people were calling out to God and moms were telling their children to close
By then the people knew something terrible was about to happen, but they didn’t know
Maybe a feeling that they wouldn’t make it out alive they felt deep down in their gut.
They all sat there quietly in their seats looking at the instigators.
This day would make history.
9-11—but eight days later.
Eight a.m. in the morning the alarm clocks were still going off from state-to-state.
Moms and dads peeping in the children’s rooms making sure they were awake.
The kids hurried to the kitchen because Mom had breakfast on the table,
Some Moms called in sick and said they were feeling a little unstable.
As the sun came up and a new day was just beginning,
People rushed into the Trade Center and Pentagon Buildings because the eight o’clock
bell was ringing.
As the morning was unfolding, people were stopping at coffee shops and newspaper
I’m sure there were many of them thinking about making their dinner plans.
Perhaps a young lady getting to work early on her new job as she sat there beaming,
Or were there people conversing about what they would be doing that very evening.
Imagine there were all nationalities in the buildings and out walking around,
Not knowing what was about to happen to them or that many of them would never be
People came to work that day by car, taxi, subway, and train.
They had no idea this attack could never be explained.
On all four planes were natural-born haters.
The predators had laid low and planned this for a long time.
9-11, but Lord Jesus, eight days later.
As the day went on at 8:45 and 9:03 in the morning,
Two planes lined up perfectly and drove them into the Trade Center buildings without
People scattered in all directions as they looked back to see what was happening.
Debris flying all over the place as the buildings began collapsing.
Thick smoke filled up the sky; you could see it for miles.
The people who were standing around looking, I’m sure, wanted to go into denial.
If only everyone knew just how the time clock had been ticking.
The chaos that was going on left everyone panic-stricken.
Fire trucks, ambulances, and police alarms were going off all throughout the city.
As the news spread across the U.S., the Oval Office was filled with its committee.
We all sat staring at the television in total disbelief.
Many families lost their loved ones; the florist shops began to make flower wreaths.
I dropped to my knees and began to pray to my creator.
I said, “Oh God! Oh God! Look at what has happened on
9-11.” But Lord Jesus, eight days later.
For the next few days I felt like I had been hit by a truck,
I thought of all the people who were on all four planes and how they had run out of luck.
Being unable to eat or sleep, I found myself in a place I never knew.
The TV coverage showed the attacks day and night; I sat and watched it on channel 32.
I remember holding my sons, Aaron and Kendrick, so very tight,
Thanking God Almighty that they were here with me as I kissed the both of them good
The next morning the three of us talked about how the predators executed down to the
I explained to my sons those types of people are brainwashed by a different kind of
Never in our history had such madness taken place on U.S. soil.
Now the year is 2004; we’re at war and still everything is in such turmoil.
In the midst of my mourning for all the victims, there came a knock on my door.
The officers said something to me that made me feel like I was hit by a two-by-four.
My son, Aaron, had been killed on September 19 in front of spectators.
I will now mourn the rest of my life. “Why
9-11? But Lord Jesus, eight days later!”
BECAUSE I LOVE HIM SO MUCH
I wake up in the morning feeling truly blessed.
Because of my Lord Jesus, I sleep peacefully; that I must confess.
I’m able to see, smell, taste, hear, and feel,
The sun, rain, laugher, and tears; I understand it’s all part of the deal.
I’ve seen the sun come up, go down, and I’ve laughed all day long.
Then there have been days when the sun came up, went back down, and everything went
At times I’ve wondered what I’ve done for my road to be so rough.
The death of my child and the loss of jobs, family, and friends; I guess you can say all the
Lord, as broken as my heart is, You have given me the courage with Your magic touch.
Friends ask me how I get up each day, and I say that it’s You, Lord, and
because I love Him so much.
Sometimes—when I find myself surrounded in a cold, dark place,
Feeling like no one cares—that’s when I feel Your warm and sweet embrace.
With this heavy heart I carry around twenty-four hours a day,
I still see the glass half full, although my mind is always in somewhat of a haze.
Lord, I’ll continue to breathe in and breathe out while moving at my own pace.
Taking it step-by-step, I know, eventually, I’ll win my race.
Day after day, I’m holding on to your every word.
And when I’m unable to see a fastball coming, Lord, You somehow make it curve.
Every time I think of You, Lord, my heart feels so touched;
I tell friends I’m on my knees day and night giving thanks but, more importantly, it’s
because I love Him so much.
Lord, I want You to know that my journey I’m now beginning to understand.
Bottom line, my life is still and always will be in your precious hands.
I’m so happy that over the years my roots (faith) have grown into the soil so deep,
That I’ve taken blow after blow, and I still have the courage to stand on my own two feet.
There was a time when the wind blew me so hard I began to tilt,
But in matter of seconds I stood tall again, because of my faith in You—I’m custom built.
There are times when I sit in Your house, Lord, feeling so good I begin to blush.
I’m often asked what it is I’m thinking about and I tell them it’s You, Lord, and because I
love Him so much.
MY OH MY
I understand that, in the beginning of time, there was peace and tranquility.
Now, these days, you work your life away and, to me, it’s such a pity.
Forty, fifty, even sixty hours you put in working your fingers to the bone.
We’re the ones who work and live from paycheck to paycheck,
and yet we go unknown.
Families are coming unglued because their hopes and dreams are fading away,
Unpaid bills are stacked up sky high; they’re on the streets, because the rent they cannot
It’s not that I’m questioning God, but I do at times wonder why
We have homeless people and hungry children; boy, all I can say is
my oh my.
We have children having children, and now they sit and cry.
Some moms are selling their bodies just so they can get high.
Many dads are in jail for selling drugs when they were just trying to put food on the table.
Mom was working two jobs, now she’s hurt, lying in bed and disabled.
Kids killing each other and their parents for no earthly reason at all.
Drive-by shootings are everywhere, so watch your children while they’re out playing
Many times I’ve looked up at that big, beautiful, blue sky.
The Tsunami, 9-11, boy, all I can say is
my oh my.
Divorce, welfare, and unemployment lines break new records year-in and year-out.
This young generation of ours still hasn’t a clue of what life is all about.
If you are like me, you have to wonder how much longer we can stand.
Once you got help at the drop of a hat, now no one will lend you a helping hand.
As hard as times are, we’re still God’s children, so let’s all pull together.
Help the families who are living outside in the cold and freezing weather.
Growing up, it was so simple then, but how the time just flew on by.
Aaron Wendell Watson, Hurricane Katrina, and Jesus being nailed to the cross, boy, all I
can say is
my oh my.
SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY
I came into this world crying my eyes out.
When will I leave? I don’t know, but I will without a doubt.
I started out crawling then learned to walk;
I started out gurgling and then learn to talk.
The days turned into months, months into years;
Decades have come and gone, and I’m still shedding tears.
No one told me that life would always be right.
After being knocked down so much, I’m now too weak to fight.
But there’s that spirit I feel that keeps me holding on.
Although the flesh can be weak, my spirit is forever strong.
When one looks around and finds out that they’re all alone;
Wanting to have a family reunion, but how can you when you never had a home?
So I’ll keep climbing up this mountain although I keep sliding down.
The only way I’ll stop now is for my heart to no longer pound.
Climbing up this mountain alone I’ve gotten strong, I must say,
Thank God almighty I found Jesus
somewhere along the way.
And now that I have reached the top,
Through the many thorns I’m glad I never stopped.
I took all the criticism and abuse the flesh could take,
And through it all I stayed true to God and never tried to be fake.
Each time I found a place to sit, so I could get some rest,
Satan sent his workers to tie me down and, believe me, they tried their very best.
But there was always something there to propel me up just in the nick of time.
It was as if someone put wind beneath my wings and gave me peace of mind.
Yes, I’m standing on top of this enormous mountain today.
The view from here is so astonishing, it will take your breath away!
I can see clearly now the journey I was forced to travel.
I feel like, through all my bad times, I’ve been all-alone, yet my head stayed level.
As I drop to my knees and the tears now begin to fall,
I’m standing close to heaven, so I won’t have far to go when my name is being called.
Yes, looking down this mountain I’ve climbed that took forever and a day,
It was very rough going! But thank God almighty I found Jesus
somewhere along the way.
A LETTER TO GOD
How are You today? I just got up off my knees from worshiping You, (but You
already know that). After talking to You and Your son, I began to climb into bed and, as
soon as I laid my head down on my pillow, there were so many things that began to run
through my mind. Of course, the first thing was just how much I love You, and how You
have done so many great things for me, God. You have given me the strength I need to
We know this journey of mine has been so unkind. I’ve learned, God, that when I am
standing on the edge of a dark street and I’m “alone”—and I’ve been on quite a few dark
streets—well, in my heart I wasn’t afraid because I knew you were there. I would always
feel Your presence with me. There were times when the wind was knocked out of me so
hard that I didn’t have the desire to take another step; but it’s times like those when I
think of your son, Lord Jesus, and I’m rejuvenated. I hurry up and get ready for rounds
two, three, four, etc. Thank You, God, for being so patient and understanding with me; I
know that so many times I have wanted to throw in the towel and call it quits, but instead
of calling it quits I get back on my knees and ask for the strength (not to make it easier
for me) to continue down that long and mysterious road.
You know that, for the many times I thought I was all alone, deep down inside I
knew that I was never alone, for it is me, born Kathy Diane Clayborne, your child. I do
realize that it is the times when I get the wind knocked out of me that I’m being carried
until You feel that I can stand up on my own. No, I’m never alone, God, for I have You
holding me up; and when one is as blessed as I am to know that Jesus lives in me, there
are no dark streets, just another hurdle I have to get over. I don’t know what may jump
out while I’m taking that walk of life, but I know one thing—You will give me the power
to deal with the unexpected. So, to say I walk alone, “no way” (no way), not now, not
ever. For someone, something, or a matter of an event to separate us, “I don’t think so.”
Having You and knowing that Your eyes are on me, boy, there’s no battle I won’t fight
for You in Your name, God. There will never be a time when I won’t praise Your name.
God, there’s no mountain I won’t climb and no ocean I won’t swim for You. No matter
how brokenhearted I am, this scarred-up, bruised-up, battered body will see this journey
through. I’m coming, Lord, because I must see Your face. I know that one day I will hear
my name being called, and I can’t wait to hear You say to me, “Welcome home, Kathy,
I know You are God, the Alpha and Omega, The First and Last, the Beginning and
the End (Revelation 21:22). God, please know that I’m so appreciative for each day that
You’ve given me to become an even better person than I was yesterday, and if it’s Your
will, I’ll wake up in the morning and I’ll be a better person than I am today.
Well, God, so tell me, how are You enjoying Your son Aaron? I know he’s on his
uninterrupted journey by now. I smile a lot now that I know You have him with You. Oh,
the pain in my heart will be with me the rest of my life, but that’s okay; Your son, Jesus,
said, “I am the resurrection, and the life: He that believeth in me, Though he were dead,
Yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believeth
thou this” (St. John 11:25-26). I believe in every word Your son spoke, so therefore, God,
Aaron lives, and that brings a joy to my heart that only You know. I can only imagine
when Aaron went through the pearly white gates and there You stood. You said to him
“Welcome home, my son. Aaron, welcome home.” I can picture him with that big smile
that I loved so much.
God, I know Aaron has been made perfect now; but God, as You know, toward the
end of Aaron’s life, at times I had my hands full with him. For the most part, though, the
three of us were inseparable; I was the leader and they walked closely behind. With
Aaron, God, I think that over the twenty-three years he was here with us (if my memory
serves me correctly) there was only one thing that Aaron did that made me want to kill
him myself. With you being God Almighty, You know what that was, so that will stay
between You, Aaron, Kendrick, and myself. Thank You for always being there and
giving me a hand in raising my sons. I’m proud of the job I did with the both of them.
Hey, if I say so myself, they turned out to be two fine young men; everything and a lot
more than I could have ever asked for. Although Aaron would get stubborn at times and
wanted to test his mother’s patience from time to time, for the most part, he was a great
son. God, I can’t help thinking of what kind of man he would have grown into. His future
was just getting ready to begin and finally, at twenty-three, I think he had just started to
put it all together.
But as You know, God, I never and will never ask why. I do realize it is You God,
who says, “Go,” and we go. If You say, “Come,” we come. We are Your children
(soldiers in Your army) and we will obey; we have never done it our way. I taught my
sons that we must without a doubt do it Your way to the best we can.
God, the more I think of the life that I have lived, I can see why the devil tries so
hard to knock me down. I wonder at times, God, when he will see that I was your child
long before I was born. I have heard (and I believe) that the ones that he has turned
against You are trapped in his web. God, I’m proud to say that over the years I, single-
handedly, have entrapped a few of Your children who old Satan thought he had in his
powers, and I put them on the road to righteousness.
You know, God, I will always stand strong in Your name, and maybe one day Satan
will see that. I can say one thing about him that I know for a fact; that is how dumb he is
if he thinks that he will wear me down. The more he throws at me, God, the stronger I
get. I guess he hasn’t figured that out yet; maybe one day he’ll grow tired of me laughing
at him and move on.
God, as You know, I’m often asked what religion I am. My response to that is,
“Why? What does it matter? The only things that matter are the words that are coming
out of my mouth.” I tell them just listen, be still for a moment, and the King of the
heavens is inside of them—so stop and listen, because only then will they hear their
assignment. I tell them, God, that it’s You who has given me the courage to carry on. I
thank You, God, for being the God that You are.
I tell them, God, that You put me in a body cast that shapes me from head to toe.
This specially made body cast only allows me to look two ways: up and
forward. What has passed has passed, and the thing about the future is we can plan to do
better; the past we can only learn from and do our best to move forward. God, my friends
ask me, “How do you carry on?”
I say, “I take it one day at a time,” and I tell them it is You who kept me moving toward
You. Every time I think I’ve been hit so hard that if I hit the ground it will shake my
surroundings, there’s that reshaping of the spiritual body cast again, making me stand
straight up with my head pointed to the sky. It’s like I can hear You say to me, “It’s okay,
Kathy, just keep walking toward Me.”
And I know, God, it’s You who is with me because on this journey I have been hit
so hard time after time. I can truly say that when the breath is knocked out of me and
when I think I’m about to be down for the count, at that very second, God, I feel that I’m
being lifted, floating in a way. The reason I feel like that is because I can’t feel the
ground under my feet.
Wednesday, September 19, 2001 (they said the time was approximately 8:20 p.m.),
was when You called Aaron’s name out and told him to come home. God, from the
second I got the news that Aaron would never come home to Kendrick and me ever
again, I have to be honest with you; I can say that I still haven’t felt the ground under my
feet. I’m beginning to wonder if I will ever feel the ground again, but You know, God, I
love You so very much that if You were any other God I don’t think I could be this
person that I am. Losing Aaron so unexpectedly and the way I lost him, God, has made
me, at times, distraught. Like I said, if You were any other God and if I was any other
person, there’s no telling who or what I might be. So since you are who you are and I am
who I am, I am an eagle and I will continue to soar. Thank You for being the God that
You are; thank You for Your son, Jesus Christ our savior; thank You for Aaron and
Kendrick, because the four of you have made me the person I am. And so my journey, I
will carry on.
ZZZZZ On the right hand side of the page
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green
pastures: he leadeth me beside the still water. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in
the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley
of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff
they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
All things are
created by Him, and for Him.
XXXXX (Note to layout: the following precedes the next chapter)
Blessed are they that mourn:
for they shall be comforted.
XXXXX Layout: (the following precedes the page on the next right hand side)
The Bell Tolls for Aaron
XXXX Layout (the following precedes the next page on the right side)
Here We Go
XXXX Layout (the following precedes the next page on the right hand side)
When I opened the door, the policemen introduced themselves and asked for my name. I
told them I was Kathy Watson, and they asked me if I knew an Aaron Watson. I told
them, “Yes,” and they asked me how I knew him.
I replied, “He is my oldest son.” They showed me his driver’s license and asked me
if this was my son. I said, “Yes.”
They asked if he had any tattoos, birthmarks, etc. I told them, “Yes, he has three
They asked me what they were, and I told them, “He has his three sons’ names
tattooed on his arms.”
They asked, “What are their names?”
“Tavion, Aaron, and Quinton.”
After I answered they said, “May we come in?” I had a very bad feeling then.
I said, “No. Where is my son?”
They said again, “May we come in?”
“Please tell me what has happened to Aaron.”
They asked me if I was home by myself and I told them no. They wanted to know
who was home with me, and I told them my other son, Kendrick, was asleep in his
They wanted to know how old he was and when they asked me that, all I could say
is, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” as a terrible feeling came over me. I can’t tell you what it
was I felt, but I knew that Aaron was not ever coming home. The officers stepped into
my den as I ran to Kendrick’s room, screaming out his name as I began banging on the
door. When he opened it, I told him the police were in the den and they had something to
tell us about Aaron. All I could do was call on God. They told us to sit down, and I knew
then by the tone of the officer’s voice. He confirmed my worse fear; Aaron would never
be coming home again. As the officer explained what had happened, I couldn’t
understand what he was saying to me. I kept saying, “What are you saying?” (Even now
as I’m writing this part of the story, I feel as if the accident happened last night; my heart
is being pulled out of my chest and the tears I am crying seem like they could fill a river.)
One of the officers then said to me, “There was a car accident, and your son didn’t
make it.” The other officer had no compassion for my feelings. I guess he just wanted to
hurry up and leave. He didn’t try to soften the blow or anything. When I tried to stand up,
I started wheezing. Kendrick rushed to my bedroom to get my medicine. I remember
being so traumatized that the thing in the pit of my stomach left immediately, and I
haven’t felt it since.
One of the officers then asked me if there was anybody he could contact for me. I
told him my friend Nicole was asleep downstairs, and he went to get her. She came up,
and by that time Tanya had called back. One of the officers answered the phone for me,
and I asked him to explain to her what had happened and to tell her I would call her later.
Soon everyone was finding out, and they were in total disbelief! I had people
coming to my house at 2:00 and 3:00 in the morning just to see if what they had heard
was true. My son Aaron never met a stranger. Once he met someone, he was calling him
or her his friend within five minutes.
Aaron was a kind-hearted young man. When he was in school, his teachers always
told me he was very respectful, always saying “Yes, Sir,” and “No, Sir.” He truly was the
kind of son any mother would be proud of, and I was very, very much so. I think that I, as
a single mother, did a very good job with both of my sons. If you knew one, you knew
the other. They were just alike and would always team up together against me.
And now I sit looking back on the baby and then the young man who brought so much
happiness to my life, who is no more. A permanent scar is on my heart, and every second
of the day is filled with the reminder that we were three and now we’re two. I am always
a mother thinking about the horrible sound of that knock on my door that early morning.
After the police left, and I was alone in my room, I put into words my past, present, and
future with Aaron. I guess you could say this poem was a precursor for this book.
ZZZZZ Right hand side of the page
A MOTHER IN MOURNING
The birth of her baby who seems to be crying, “Just let me be!”
A tomorrow that will come but no one can foresee.
The sound of her child’s cry.
She’s a mother who drops everything as she rushes to find out why.
He kisses her good-bye as he walks out the door.
She knows he’s only going to school and yet she paces the floor.
She wonders what he’ll be as he grows up and becomes a man.
She’s prepared him for this thing called life, but on the other hand...
On the other hand, who knows what dark cloud is on the horizon.
He turned out to be a pretty good guy with just a little chastising.
It seems as if it was just a little while ago she sat and watched him play.
She had so many hopes and dreams for him, not knowing what was on the way.
Loud knocks on the door startled her in the middle of the night.
Her eyes looked at the clock, it read 12:45 a.m., and she knew something wasn’t right.
The words the policemen said to her will forever ring in her ears,
The fun, the laughter, and the love they shared only lasted twenty-three years.
Now she wishes to be left alone, as a new day is dawning.
Tears running down her face because she’s now
a mother in mourning.
She sat there on her bed for hours without moving.
She felt the room spinning round and round, but really it was her mind she was losing.
When she felt like she was able to move, she got on knees and bowed her head.
She repeated, “Lord Jesus, Lord Jesus, my son Aaron is dead.”
At that time a few Bible verses entered into her mind.
Things that had taken place the last five months, I guess she knew it was only a matter of
time. She taught her son that we must always follow God’s direction,
In grieving times like this, it is He who will hold and keep us in His protection. There’s a
hole in her heart that can never be refilled,
but she’s proud to say her love and faith in God she will always reveal.
She knows her faith will get her through these devastating times,
Each morning she opens up her eyes, it’s God that’s always on her mind. No matter what
happens, it’s God she’s always choosing,
In this game of hard-core life, with God she’s never losing.
Each night she talks to her son until she starts yawning.
She still sometimes sits in a dark lonely room because she’ll forever be
a mother in mourning.
As the next morning unfolded, I knew I had to start making the phone calls. I called
the only family member, Stacey, who lives here in Atlanta first, and then my sister who
lives in Laurel, Mississippi; she called the rest of the family, spread out across the
Midwest, for me. My sisters called me, not knowing what to say; I told them I would call
them later. Really, no one knew what to say to me. The one thing people knew about me
was that I loved both of my sons and that I would go up against anyone or anything for
them. They were my life, and the three of us were an inseparable team.
Thursday, September 20
The Lifeline Organ Donor Center kept calling that morning; it seemed like every
five minutes. They told Nicole that Aaron had checked on his license that he wanted to be
a donor. They needed to speak to me immediately to find out if they could start the
procedures right away. All I could do was think about what Aaron had come to me to say
about a week before the accident; if something happened to him, he wanted me to donate
his organs. He said he wanted them to have whatever they could use because he wouldn’t
need them anymore, and he wanted to help someone else who was in need. Once they
started calling, what they told me about using the organs just whirled around in my head.
In a way, I wanted to ask them to please not call, to say, “I can’t take this right now.” But
my son had spoken to me about this very thing. I sat there for a minute or so longer, and
then told Nicole and Stacy, “When they call again, I will talk with them.”
They called, and I talked with them and did precisely what Aaron told me to do.
After they finished asking their questions, they thanked me very much. The sun was
beginning to rise, and telephone calls were coming in nonstop. Kendrick and I were still
sitting in shock at the end of my bed. Nicole had gone back downstairs to make a few
calls of her own. Over and over, I kept remembering every word the police had said. I felt
like an eighteen-wheeler had run over me again and again. Although I finally understood
what they had told me, it wasn’t until the florist knocked on my door that it really and
truly hit me. I was the only one home at the time, and when I opened the door and saw
the flowers, I said, “Oh my God! Oh my God! It is really true; it wasn’t just an awful
nightmare,” and lost control. Seeing the flowers made me weak in the knees.
I called Nicole and asked her to come upstairs. I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone
the rest of the day. I only wanted to make sure that Kendrick was okay. I asked Nicole
and Stacy to help me look after him.
It was getting to be around noontime; Kendrick had gone out to be with some of his
friends, and I was sitting in our family room when I thought to myself, “I must go and see
Aaron with my own eyes.” I just couldn’t accept what the police had told me. Maybe they
had made a mistake in identifying the body. Stacy and Nicole drove me to the funeral
home, but first they told me that Aaron was still over at the Coroner’s office. We went
there and they told me that he could not be seen until he reached the funeral home, so
they took me back home.
Between the telephone ringing, the running around I was having to do, and the
knocking on the door, I felt like I was losing my mind. All of Aaron’s friends called or
came by, and they were all in total disbelief, in complete shock. Later that day I was
sitting in the same rocking chair that I had sat in only a few days before, going over the
things that had happen, like watching Aaron come back and tell me how much he loved
me two or three times. I remembered how I kept watching him on Sunday. Now I knew
why he looked so far away, and why Stacy and I sat at the Coffee House that very
Wednesday evening and talked about nothing but Aaron. The unexplained lawn mower
accident; I feel that it was the devil that really caused that accident. He was trying to stop
me from having my last meal with Aaron. I do feel that God knew it was time for Aaron
to come home. And knowing me like I do, if I had called off the dinner on that Sunday
before September 18, missing the chance to spend time with Aaron one last time, I
probably would have lost my mind. And what I heard Aaron tell Kendrick about caring
for his possessions, the voices I had heard, and Aaron coming to me telling me the things
he was telling me that Sunday when we sat in the kitchen and talked like we used to
while I cooked dinner. It all made sense now.
A few weeks before, Aaron had come to me, asking to borrow my SUV to go and
get his driver’s license. It was like he was on a mission to get his license, and now I know
why. It was the same driver’s license the policeman held in his hand when he asked me if
this was my son. As I sat there, I began to notice that the thing that had been in the pit of
my stomach for all those months was no longer there. I cried a little more, because I
knew then it had been Aaron’s death that was inside of me.
After Kendrick came home, I called him into my room. We sat and talked. I told him
that his brother was okay, because in my heart of hearts, I knew that Aaron was with
God. I talked to him about the Bible, how God makes no mistakes, and that we serve a
perfect God. I told him we will continue to serve a wonderful God, and that our lives are
still in God’s hands. Also, I wanted Kendrick to know that any time he wanted to talk
with me, no matter what or how I was feeling, I wanted him to come to me. This was
Kendrick’s first time losing someone very close to him, and I knew I was going to have
to do my best to hold myself together for him.
By Thursday evening, my family room was so full of flowers, I wanted to put a note
on the door and tell the florist not to deliver any more here. Between the flowers, the
telephone, and people coming over to see if what they had heard was true, I felt like it
was all pushing me too fast.
Really, though, it was making me face the fact that I was going to have to start
making plans for Aaron to be laid to rest. I knew I was going to have to make
preparations, but all I wanted to do was close my mind. The words that the officers had
said to me just continued to go ‘round and ‘round in my head as if I were on a merry-go-
round. The message had two speeds—fast and faster. I could hear what the policemen
came to my home to tell me. And I saw how one held Aaron’s driver’s license in his
hand, asking me if it was my son’s.
My head was swimming; it was hard for me to even breathe. Three things were in
my mind at this time: (1) I think the biggest thing that was hurting the most was that I
wasn’t there to tell Aaron he was okay, and that we couldn’t go with him, or let him
know that one day Kendrick, his sons, and I would join him, when God calls out our
names. All of Aaron’s life I had been there to kiss the hurt away when he was a little boy
and to give him advice as he grew up, still kissing the hurt away in a motherly way. (2)
The way God showed me signs the last few months. It seemed like when I didn’t want to
follow the plan, I always ended up doing it anyway. It came to me that the other voice I
had heard, that told me not to have the dinner—well, I will just say the devil stays busy.
I’m so glad that God will always lead his children to do the right thing. (3) I was happy
that I decided to bake oatmeal cookies and was able to make them taste like Pax’s
cookies. For Aaron to ask me when I had gone to Laurel to buy cookies from Pax’s—the
memory still warms my heart. People, please believe me when I say we serve an
Later that evening Antonio, Sr., and his wife came by to talk with me. Their son,
Antonio, Jr.—the one who came looking for the North Carolina basketball—was only
sixteen and had also died in the accident. The Halls and I had never met before the
accident, just gave each other a friendly wave in passing one another’s house. They told
me the story of how the whole thing started. It seems that Dwight, the young boy who
was driving the truck, pulled up just as Aaron, Antonio, and a couple of other guys were
getting ready to go and play basketball. They were walking toward the car to get in, when
Dwight said to them, “Come and go with me; I’ll take you to the park.” They went and
got on the truck as Antonio’s mother watched and heard the whole thing. She said Aaron,
Antonio, and a third guy climbed up onto the bed of the truck, and they left.
As they were telling the story, Kendrick asked them if the truck was red, and they
said, “Yes.” It turned out that two weeks before the accident, Kendrick and Dwight were
walking to the parking lot after school. As they were walking, Dwight, a new friend of
Kendrick’s who proved to be reckless, laughingly said, “This is my new truck; my mom
and dad just got it for me. I wrecked my car going too fast, so they got me a truck this
time.” Two weeks later, the same boy who joked to Kendrick about how fast he drove
killed Kendrick’s brother…in the truck his parents had bought for him because he had
wrecked his car driving too fast.
The three of us—Aaron, Kendrick, and I—have always loved antique cars, houses,
and such. One day, before either of the boys were even sixteen, I had gone over to a
friend’s house, and in his driveway sat this a beautiful car. It was a 1987 Cadillac
Fleetwood that his father had given to him brand new. Years later, still in mint condition,
the car looked like it was only five years old.
I immediately told him that if he ever wanted to sell it, to please call me first. One
evening that friend called and asked me if I still wanted to buy his Cadillac. He told me
he was ready to sell it. He told me a few of his friends wanted to buy the car, but since I
had told him six years ago that I was interested, he was going to give me first chance to
buy it. I told him yes; I wanted to buy it. He told me how much he was asking. The
following weekend I went and brought the Cadillac. Kendrick was a senior then, so I
gave it to him as an early graduation present (we just never know sometimes quite how
things will play a part in our life). I had just started letting Kendrick drive his car to
school…just a couple of weeks before the fatal crash involving his new friend and
Nicole and Stacy continued answering the telephone and making calls for me. Then
Stacy came to me and said, “Kathy, have you thought about starting to make
I told her I wasn’t ready to talk about that just yet. She told me that I had to because
there was a lot to do. I told her that I would talk about the preparations in a little while. I
went into my room, got on my knees, and started to talk to my God.
I said to him, “Okay, God, you gave me Aaron Wendell Watson on a Thursday
afternoon at 2:31 p.m., so I will proudly return him to you on Thursday afternoon, also at
2:31 p.m.” I asked God to please give me the strength to make it through this part of my
life. I asked him to please get rid of the headache I had; I couldn’t even think straight.
After talking with God, I was able to think and the headache eased up. I made
arrangements for the Family Hour to be held on Wednesday, September 26, with the
funeral on Thursday at 2:31 p.m.
Since I had a week to get everything in order, I also had some time for myself. I
needed the time so that I could try to breathe again. I had had the wind knocked out of me
so hard, I still felt like I was suffocating. The week I thought I had, I didn’t know what
happened to it. I lay down one night to try and get some sleep, and when I opened my
eyes, my sister Stacy was telling me that Aaron’s programs were ready for tomorrow. She
said that she had been able to do them in Aaron’s favorite color, purple.
People were standing in the yard and in the house. Someone came in and said that
one of Aaron’s friends, Boris, was outside and wanted to speak to Aaron. It was obvious
that he had not heard about the accident and they didn’t know what to say, so they came
in to get me.
I asked Nicole and Stacy to go outside to tell Boris about Aaron. It turned out that
Aaron had applied for a job with Boris’ father; Boris had come to tell Aaron he had
gotten the job and that he would be starting on Monday. They were starting Aaron at $15
an hour with all benefits. When they told Boris about the accident, he broke down and
cried for a while. The two young men had gotten to be close; Boris had often played
basketball with Aaron and his friends.
Wednesday, September 26
Wednesday came so fast, the time I thought I had was gone. Mid-morning, I had to
go and make sure the arrangements at the funeral home were correctly done. Nicole went
with me, and once I was there all I could think of was how I wanted to stop time. I didn’t
want to go any farther. I just felt like I had to figure out how to make time stop. All I
could do was call on God and ask him to help me get through the next forty-eight hours.
Nicole took me to the funeral home, but Mr. Jones, the funeral director, wasn’t there,
so we left to go and pick up Tanya from the bus station. We then returned to the funeral
home and Mr. Jones was back. He and I went over all the final arrangements and at last,
everything was in order. My family had just gotten into town from Mississippi and Texas.
I had four hours to try and get some rest before Family Hour was to start.
I know only one God; the God that I serve when I’m sitting on a high is the same God I
serve when I’m really, really low.
Thursday, September 27
Thursday morning came, and if you can imagine feeling like a tractor-trailer truck
was running over you again and again and again, that’s how I felt. I didn’t get any sleep; I
was dreading what the day was going to bring. The sun came up bright and early as
normal, and while the rest of the world was getting ready to start a workday, or to just get
out and have some fun, I was having to sit and wait. And when the time was up, I had to
do something that would stay with me the rest of my life.
I had slept on the couch that night. Tanya had come in Wednesday afternoon, so I let
her have my bedroom. Kendrick was still sleeping and so was Tanya, so I put on my
clothes and decided to go outside. Feeling like I was somewhere in another world, I
began to talk to God. All I had on my mind was the time—2:31 today. I thought about
Kendrick and my grandsons (although the children were too young to know what was
going on today). I thought about how a week had passed and I had not heard Aaron’s
voice nor given him a hug. And I thought about how that would never happen again in
my lifetime. As I was looking up at the sky, I thought about the young man who had been
driving the truck, and how angry I was at him. I knew that because of him, Kendrick and
I were going to hurt the rest of our lives. I’d been in this world for forty-seven years at
the time of my son’s death. Knowing God like I do, I knew that I would have to forgive
the driver for the part he played in Aaron’s last few hours of living; lives will never be
the same, but maybe, just maybe, the young man would now stop driving like he does. So
I put this young man in God’s hands.
Still outside sitting in the chair, I started to think about Jeff, one of Aaron’s closest
friends who had passed a few years earlier. He had always been at the house, spending
the night whenever he wanted to. I didn’t mind at all when he came over because I
thought a lot of him. He was a very nice young man, full of energy and with his whole
life in front of him. Although Jeff had been battling with a cancer that kept him in and out
of the hospital constantly, he had so much fight in him! I could call him at the hospital,
and he would tell me he was going to beat his illness. When Jeff and I talked last, he told
me he was feeling fine and hoping to get out of the hospital the following week. Even on
the last day of this young man’s life, he told the preacher that he was going to go down
fighting. For a young man who was trying to fight with all his might, even he didn’t
know what was just around the corner. God called him home too.
I had arrived at Jeff’s funeral an hour early, and no one else was there. I went over
and sat beside Jeff’s casket in disbelief that it was the same young man who had spent so
many nights at my home and my dinner table. I knew that it would never be again. Jeff’s
favorite food was also the chicken spaghetti. Boy, he and Aaron would go at it about Jeff
having too much food on his plate. Sitting there looking at him, it was hard to believe that
it would never be again.
There he lay, looking like he was sleeping and didn’t want to be disturbed. I sat there
so heartbroken, thinking of Aaron and how hurt he was losing one of his best friends.
As the time drew closer, I thought of how Jeff’s mother must have felt on her way to
do the unthinkable. I said to myself, “I know her feet had to be very heavy.” He was an
only child, and it seemed as though he and his mother had a great relationship also.
Readers, I do understand that our life is not our own. Here on earth we own nothing,
but in heaven everything is ours. We’re just passing through on our way to our final
resting place. Sure, we buy cars, houses, and clothes, but one day you look around and
they’re gone. So please put your life in God’s hands; one day someone will look around
for you, and you’ll be gone. It’s just a matter of when. The word time has been here from
the beginning and will be here for eternity. You can’t buy it, you can’t save it, you can’t
put it in the bank to draw interest on, and you can’t put it in a bottle. In order to own
eternity you must turn your life over to our merciful God and get to know his Son, who is
That, my friends, assures you that one day you will know heaven and eternal life. On
the day I meet my Lord Jesus, I will drop to my bended knees. I will wash his feet with
my tears and dry them with the very breath that he will breathe back into my eternal soul.
I sat outside thinking of how Jeff’s mother had to be feeling the day of her son’s
funeral. Now, here I was, waiting on the hour to leave to go to the funeral home myself to
do the unthinkable, or should I say, every parent’s nightmare. I continued walking around
slowly in the yard, just listening to the birds singing. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the
birds sing in such harmony as they sang that morning.
I started smiling, thinking about how Aaron would always try to find ways not to cut
the lawn. He had come up with every excuse he could dream up. I think my son lost sleep
thinking up ways to get out of the yard work. One day I came home from work to find the
grass uncut. It had been Aaron’s day to mow the lawn, and I went into the house and
asked my son why the lawn wasn’t done. Aaron told me that he had seen a snake back
there. Well, my son had finally come up with the perfect excuse when he said “snake.”
That changed the whole discussion about whose turn it was to mow the lawn. Aaron and
Kendrick knew me well enough to know the word “snake” would put a stop to them
going into the backyard; I remember telling Aaron and Kendrick, when they were little
boys back in Mississippi, snakes are the only things in the world I am afraid of.
After we had bought our first house in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, I would tease them
by saying that if they ever saw a snake when they were playing outside, they had better
take off running the opposite way, and when they had put enough distance between them
and the snake, to call me (not before, because I probably would have fainted).
As I continued to walk along in the backyard that sad day, the tears started rolling
down my face, and at the same time I was laughing. I went back into the house and
Kendrick had gotten up. We talked and held each other, and I asked him if he was okay. I
reminded him that we would be saying our final good-byes to Aaron later. He told me he
was okay, and that he knew Aaron was going to heaven.
Within a couple of hours, the telephone was ringing off the hook and people were
streaming in and out. It seemed like questions were being asked every time I turned
One-thirty didn’t take any time coming around. I was dressed and ready to do
what is beyond a parent’s nightmare. I couldn’t keep from calling Kendrick into my room
to make sure he was okay. As I was standing by my bedroom window, I looked out, and
pulling up in the yard was the Family’s Car from the funeral home. I remember someone
coming into the house and saying, “Tell Kathy they’re here.”
I told Kendrick to come on. “Let’s go and get Aaron’s departure started.”
Kendrick, Sabrina, Tavion, Aaron, Quinton, and I all rode in the Family Car. I talked to
God all the way to the funeral home, where part of me would be left forever. Once we got
to the funeral home and began to line up, the door opened and I saw that silver and
bronze coffin. Part of me died right there on that spot.
Thursday, 2:31 p.m., God started breathing eternal life into
the body of the child born with the name Aaron Wendell
I took what seemed to be a very long walk to the front row to be seated, my heart
full of pain and joy. As I sat down, I thought of the Man on the cross and how much He
loves His children. I guess I can say that because of Him, I was able to stay in my seat. I
thought of how I love God so much, and how He had shown me that I have never walked
alone. Even on that day, God was working on a miracle that was to come to me later in
life. Believe me when I tell you there is a God. God’s eyes and ears are forever open.
Faith is the key. As I sat there, I listened in my head to the words of Aaron, Kendrick,
and my then-favorite song, which was “I’ll Meet You at the Crossroads.” Where Aaron
was going, he didn’t need anything but his faith in God.
It was on a beautiful afternoon that God came for this child of His. I sat there staring
at Aaron’s picture and watching the candles burn down. The service was beautiful. Aaron
was so well thought of, in such a special way. Sitting there Thursday afternoon at 2:31, I
couldn’t help thinking about the baby I had given birth to and watched over, and how he
had grown to become such a well-mannered young man.
I’ll always remember the very first time I felt Aaron move inside of me. Now, here I
sat, knowing that in an hour or two it would be over, except for the beginning of Aaron’s
new eternal journey. It would be a journey that my son would be taking without his
mother. You can best believe me when I tell you that Kendrick and I will join Aaron at
the crossroads one day. Eternity! What a phenomenon that life goes on, but in a totally
different direction. The Bible teaches us about the new life.
Thursday evening after the service was over and we were back at home, the house
stayed full of people until the middle of the night. Some of Aaron’s friends just sat there
on the couch. I could tell by looking at them that they were still in shock. I guess I should
say everyone was still in shock. It was hard to take in what we had all been a part of.
For a week after the accident, I was the one comforting everybody, but on that day I
had very little left. It was very hard for me to put one foot in front of the other, but what
little I had was going to Kendrick. I tried to keep smiling as if I was okay but, to tell the
truth, when everyone finally left, I wanted to dig a hole somewhere and crawl in.
When everyone finally left, I lay down and I couldn’t move. That thing that had
been in the pit of my stomach was gone. My legs were almost healed; the swelling was
down and the color was almost back to normal. I never would have thought from what
my legs looked like a week ago that a week later they would look 80% normal.
All the strange events of the past few months had now come together—the thing in
the pit of my stomach, the accident on the lawn mower, the voice I heard telling me not to
cook the dinner, the voice I heard telling me to cook the dinner and bake the oatmeal
cookies, all the tears I had cried for months, the reason I couldn’t eat or sleep at night. It
all came together and made sense now. And thank God Almighty I stood still and listened
to my assignment (just like now, in writing this book).
One morning I was sitting at work talking with God, and I told him that I wanted to write
a poem about Aaron to put in the book. No sooner than I said it, I picked up pencil and
paper and this is what I wrote. ZZZZZ
MY SON AARON
Aaron, you finally made it home to rest,
Where your life is prepared only for the best.
I must admit, I miss you more and more each day;
The pain I’m suffering, I’m afraid is here to stay.
I cried myself to sleep each night,
Until God spoke to me and said, “Kathy, he’s here with Me. And he’s all right.”
My tears now are tears of joy,
But oh, how I still miss my beautiful baby boy.
I have never questioned nor wondered why.
God has shown me “it was his time to die.”
God gave us His only Son;
That has made it easier for me to continue my run.
The Bible says we shall all meet again.
I can’t wait to start my new journey; it’s just a matter of when.
The next time we get together, there’ll be no sad faces;
We’ll walk hand-in-hand, adoring heaven’s beautiful places.
You’re now in heaven where there is no shortage of love,
Where, when you walk now, you’re walking on the clouds up above.
Your visit here, Aaron, wasn’t very long.
God made no mistake; He just wanted you home.
He was looking for someone with a good, pure heart.
He had a front-row seat for the one who could fit that part.
He looked around, and around He looked.
You had such a glow about yourself it was you He took.
I can only imagine the beauty of the rainbows,
As you stop, look, and listen to cascading waters flow.
You will never know how deeply I was crushed,
To know I’ll never see you again, nor feel your loving touch.
And so, for now, I’ll do my best to carry on,
Until God has another empty seat and calls me home.
Friday, September 28
With all the running around I had done for a week—making sure everything was
done, having to make all the arrangements and take care of all the details while people
were dropping in and out—I thank God for His hand in it all. I don’t know how I would
have gotten through it without His help.
My family went back home on the following day, so the house was empty except for
Tanya, who left on that Saturday. Saturday came and went, and now it was just Kendrick
and I. I remember sitting in my room feeling completely in a daze; emotionally, I was
For the next few days, Kendrick and I didn’t go anywhere or do anything. The only
thing I did was make sure he was okay, and we talked and talked. I didn’t want him to
start thinking of doing anything out of the ordinary. I knew what he was going through,
because I knew what I was going through.
Although I knew what had taken place on September 19, I still sat in my room and
thought to myself, “Maybe the police made a mistake, or maybe this is a really bad
dream.” I could feel that, in a way, I wanted to go into denial, but I didn’t really want to
go down that path myself and I wasn’t about to let Kendrick take it. I had heard that some
people take that path until they are able to cope with the reality of losing a loved one; but
I think, for me, that would have really sent me over the edge. So, as painful as it was, I
would talk to Kendrick. “You understand your brother is not coming back?” I knew he
understood that, but I wanted to make sure he really believed it, and that he knew that
here on earth, Aaron’s job was now complete. Looking in my son’s eyes, oh how I
wished I could take Kendrick’s pain away! As much as I was going through, it was also
excruciatingly difficult for him! All I could think about was that Kendrick had had his
brother (his soul mate, best friend, partner-in-crime) and then lost him. I would have done
anything in my power to put all the pain on me.
The following week, Kendrick and I were outside planting a tree in the front yard
when the telephone started to ring. I told him I would answer it. I picked it up and said
hello a few times, but no one said anything. I hung the phone up and walked off, and
before I had taken six steps, it was ringing again. I went back and answered it—the same
thing. That happened seven times in a row. Kendrick came in and the phone was ringing
again. He asked me, “Who keeps calling?” I told him they wouldn’t say anything. He
went and picked it up, but he got the same thing; no one would say anything. That
continued for about thirty minutes. The last two times it rang, when I answered it and said
hello, still no one said anything, so I sat listening, trying to hear anything I could. The
silence on the phone was like nothing I had ever heard before. It seemed like someone
was calling me from space. It was an eerie kind of silence. I pressed my ear to the phone
to listen better. I stood there holding the phone, waiting to hear some kind of noise, but I
never did. The last time I picked up the phone I said to myself while holding the receiver,
“I wonder if this is Aaron calling to hear our voices?” I hung up, and it didn’t ring
anymore—not like that, anyway. We never know what God has in store for His children,
but if we just believe in Him, God answers all prayers, even at a little Coffee House. We
have all heard the old saying, “The only two things in life that are certain are death and
taxes.” Well, I say, what about time here on earth? Time will always be here, but sooner
or later we will each run out of it so, people, get ready because no one escapes death. The
words “God,” “heaven,” “eternity”—oh, what beautiful things! They bring music to my
ears, just knowing I will experience them, one day, Lord, one day!
A few days later I was cleaning my room when I came across a white envelope at
the head of my bed. I didn’t know how it had gotten there. Inside it were a few newspaper
clippings, reports of Aaron’s accident.
When I saw my son’s name, I fell to my knees. I couldn’t breathe. Seeing
it in print in the newspaper sent me straight into an asthma attack. As I
think back, I don’t know which damaged my heart more—the policemen
telling me about the accident or reading about it in the newspaper.
ZZZZZ THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION
Friday, September 21, 2001
PASSENGER KILLED, 2 HURT IN COBB CRASH
Atlanta—One man was killed and two others suffered critical injuries when the
pickup-truck they were riding in left the road and flipped into the woods about 8:20 p.m.
Wednesday near Mableton, Cobb County police said.
The three victims were all riding in the back of the 1992 Dodge Dakota pickup truck
when the 16-year-old driver, who was not identified, lost control of the vehicle on Six
Flags Drive, said Officer Dan Black, a Cobb County police spokesman. The driver and
another 16-year-old riding in the cab of the truck were wearing their seat belts and were
not injured, Pierce said.
Aaron Wendell Watson of Mableton was killed when he was thrown from the bed of
the truck. Daniel Richard, 17, of Powder Springs was listed in serious condition at Well
Star Cobb Hospital.
And a 16-year-old Mableton youth, who was not identified, was taken to Grady
Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.
Thinking about the day I read the newspaper article and how losing Aaron devastated his
friends, family, his sons, and most of all his brother and myself, the words of this poem
came to me. ZZZZZ
MY SON KENDRICK
There’s so much I want to say, I don’t know where to start.
But I’ll do my very best with my bleeding heart.
Losing your brother, I know, devastated you to say the least.
I’m sure for you, just like me, with each day the pain increases.
That’s why, Kendrick, I wish I knew so I could make you understand.
All I can say, son, Aaron is in heaven now and that’s the way God wrote His plan.
I wish I could have put a cushion of clouds under you to soften the blow;
I sometimes feel that Aaron’s spirit is with you everywhere you go.
Thinking about the time Aaron first saw you; there was such love in his eyes.
I held the both of you as we sang you your very first lullabies.
We’re all God’s soldiers, and the day came when Aaron was specially handpicked.
I wish I could carry your pain inside of me. I love you,
my son Kendrick.
He held our I’ve watched you from a distance and I want to say, I’m very proud.
You’ve stood strong, but it’s okay to cry; believe your mother, it’s allowed.
It was so much fun watching the two of you grow to become two fine young men.
Death will come to us all; the good thing is we shall all meet again.
And when the time comes, and you and I are anew,
Then it will be my time to follow the both of you.
I’m so glad we serve a God who has taken care of all our needs.
Long before the three of us were born, in God’s hand he held our deeds.
I picture your brother just walking around through the many flowery meadows,
and sleeping on clouds made just for him that is as soft as marshmallows.
Then there are times I think about Aaron so much that I begin to get sick.
And it seems that, at those moments, you say, “I love you, Mom.” And I love you, too,
my son Kendrick.
Yes, Kendrick, Aaron’s journey was very short-lived,
I’ve been putting two and two together, and I can see the things now that are being
I’ll make sure the both of us will stay intact, although it’s been hard to survive.
There have been many days I, myself, have just wanted to stay inside.
When the time is right, we’ll sit down and talk about that day
I heard the last words Aaron said to you as he stood inside your doorway.
I’m sure when you think of your brother your heart begins to burn.
Please know my door is always open for you, son, because I’m always concerned.
I realize time wasn’t on our side this time; Aaron was gone so fast.
He’s walking around heaven now amongst the stars and God’s full cast.
You guys grew up to be so close; you guys were each other’s sidekick.
Just know, son, I’m your crutch, so lean on me at anytime. I love you so much,
my son Kendrick.
[Note to layout: Page Break]
Aaron Goes to Heaven
I was still in my room, and when I got over reading the article, I began to think of
how life really works. I started imagining how it might have been when God decided to
call Aaron home. To kind of help me deal with the death of my son, this is what I
One early morning, God was walking around heaven looking at the beauty of the
rainbows, and what bright colors they were! As He was walking and listening to the birds
singing, He stopped to admire the beautiful flowers that were growing in the gardens.
There were all kinds of flowers with all kinds of colors. Finally, some of God’s disciples
saw Him walking and looking around. They came up to Him and said, “Good morning,
God, what a wonderful morning for walking!”
God said to them, “Yes, indeed, it’s a wonderful morning to take a walk, but I must
tell you, I feel an emptiness in my heart today. It’s an emptiness that I haven’t felt in a
“God, please tell us what we can do, to make the emptiness go away,” said one of
the disciples. “If there is something you’re looking for, we can help you find it.”
God said to them, “I don’t know really what it is I’m looking for. It just seems to me
that the sun isn’t too bright and the colors of the rainbow seem to be just a little faded.”
One of the disciples said to God, “My Lord, what can we do to make everything
As they continued to walk, they came upon a beautiful waterfall. The disciples
gathered around God, and God said to them, “Let’s sit for a minute, and I will tell you a
story about a little boy named Aaron.” The disciples got excited, waiting to hear His
God said that while walking around, He felt like something or someone was missing
in His life, and the more He walked the more it became clear to Him what was missing in
heaven. They started looking around at each other in confusion.
One of them said, “My Lord, what could possibly be missing from Heaven? Heaven
is everything anyone could ever imagine in one’s wildest dreams, and then some. But, if
You feel that something is missing, please tell me what You think it could be and I will
gladly go and get it for You.”
All of the other disciples stood and said, “Yes, my Lord, tell us and we will go right
away, and we won’t return until we have it.”
God smiled at his disciples. “I am very pleased with each and every one of you, and
I know in my heart that if I said, ‘Go,’ you would go. All of you fill my heart with much
joy, but what is missing from heaven is my son, a young man by the name of Aaron
Wendell Watson.” God said, “I realize he’s only twenty-three years of age, but I need
him here with Me. I have picked out a perfect place in My kingdom for him, so that he
will always be within My reach.”
One of the disciples stood up and said, “But Father, he’s so young!”
God replied, “Yes, he is, but I need children of all ages to keep heaven beautiful and
cheerful.” “I will call upon you when the time is right.”
The next morning God called some of His angels to His side and said to them, “I am
getting ready to call one of My children home.”
The angels got so happy because they knew what was about to take place. When
God calls one of His children home, they celebrate. The celebration lasts sometimes for
days, and sometimes for months. The angels asked, “God, which child is about to join our
family for eternity?”
God said, “I’m bringing Aaron Wendell Watson home on September 19, 2001, at
8:20 p.m. He has served his purpose on earth, and I need him here now with Me, to
become part of My family. I’ve watched him ever since I put him in his mother’s womb.
It’s time for him to come home now, because I have a place that only Aaron can fill.”
The angel said to God, “But what about his mother, brother, and his three sons,
God spoke. “I’ll make sure they will be all right. I have made preparations for the
angels to stay with them.”
One angel replied, “But, God, what about Kathy? She has been a faithful follower of
Yours ever since she was a little girl. Remember, God, when she was outside listening to
her very first radio? She was looking up at the sky when she said to You, ‘God, to show
You just how much faith I have in You, I will never break my promises to You. I will
stay as untainted as I possibly can, and no matter what, I will always praise Your name.’
God, she has done just that. Remember how she would go to the store for the elderly
people who lived on her street when they were unable to go for themselves? And what
about when her grandmother, Mrs. Cecil Smith, was unable to take care of herself, and
her two daughters had no other choice but to put her in a nursing home? Kathy stepped in
and said to her mother and her aunt, ‘Grandmother doesn’t want to go to the nursing
home.’ So Kathy and her family moved in with her grandmother and she took good care
of her, God, until she was no longer able to take care of her by herself. She has kept her
promises to You; she has spread Your word. She has made people believe when they had
doubt in You. She has done everything You’ve asked of her, and she will be so crushed!
She is always talking to young people, trying to keep them on the right track and, God,
they listen to her.”
God said, “Yes, yes, and yes. In Kathy I am very pleased! She will continue the
good work and spread My name. But now it is time for My son Aaron to come home and
join his eternal family. With the loss of her son, Kathy will now go and spread My name
even more. She will tell people of the events that took place, and the event that will take
place in the future.”
One of the angels said, “What event will that be God?”
God said, “In due time, My angels, in due time.
By that time one of God’s disciples walked up to God and asked, “My Lord, what
must I do next?”
He told the disciple to go and tell everyone that His son Aaron was coming home
soon. They should get ready to have a celebration like no other. God went on to tell them
how special Aaron was and that for him, He would pull out the best of everything.
God stood and said to the angel and the disciple, “So, go and spread the word all
over heaven that soon and very soon, there is to be a big celebration. We shall celebrate
for days before and days after Aaron arrives.” He looked to the right, where there were
two other angels, and said, “Make sure we have Aaron’s wings ready for him. I want
them on him as soon as he enters the pearly white gates of heaven. I will be there waiting
for him, to put them on Myself. Upon Aaron’s arrival I want to hear the harpists playing
like they never played before. I want to hear the horns blowing all over the heavens. I
want the flowers smelling like never before. This is to be a superb homecoming for My
child, Aaron Wendell Watson.
“Tell them to play the song, ‘Nothing Can Separate.’”
While God was still talking with those angels, another of the angels appeared. She
asked, “What is the excitement about? I ran into one of the disciples, and he was
overcome with joy. I asked him what was going on, and he said ‘Aaron is coming home.’
I tried to ask him which Aaron, but he had taken off running; he said he had to spread the
news. The disciple told me that I must come to the North Gate to find out which Aaron is
to become part of God’s holy family. So tell me, God, which Aaron is about to come
home so I can also go and spread the word that the heavens are about to open the pearly
white gates again.”
God spoke and said, “It is to be Aaron Wendell Watson.
The angel asked God, “The son of Kathy Diane Clayborne Watson?”
God replied, “Yes.” He looked at his angel’s concerned face and said, “Well, maybe
you don’t agree with the others?”
The angel said, “God, I know You are God of Gods and King of all Kings, and that
You never make mistakes—but he is so young! Plus, God, he’s just now started to stand
on his own two feet. He’s working full-time and just about to move into his very first
home. And what about his mother, brother and, God, he has sons! They will all be so
God spoke again. “I know, but it’s time for Aaron to come home. His mother has
been a follower of Mine ever since she was a little girl. I’m proud to say that she is a
child of Mine. I’m calling her son Aaron home to join My family here in heaven, and I
know she will be truly devastated.”
The angel said, “But, God, it’s been just the three of them against the world. And if
you call Aaron home, that would just leave the two of them all alone.”
God said, “That’s where you are wrong, Angel, because Kathy knows I have never
left her side for a moment. I’ve held her hand and I’ve given her strength when she
needed it. I’ve been there for her all of her life, and I will never leave her side, for she has
shown Me just how faithful she is to Me.
“In the future she will ask something of Me, and I will proudly give her the answer.”
All of the angels but one got quiet. She stood up and said, “My God, what would she
ask of You?”
God smiled and said, “A few months from now Kathy will be in deep sorrow one
Friday night. While she will be lying there crying, she will get up out of her bed and
begin to pray. While on her bended knees with her head bowed, she will ask this of Me.
She will ask Me to send an angel to her, to let her know that I have her son Aaron, and
that he’s all right. Then she will be able to continue to carry on.”
The angel was about to ask, but before she could, God smiled and said to her, “I
have already answered her prayers, but before she receives her answer, other things have
to take place. Her angel will be waiting for her in one of her favorite places, and indeed,
she will be very pleased. There will be no doubt (not that she had any doubt) the son she
gave birth to with the name of Aaron Wendell Watson is here with Me and lives among
The angel said to God, “But what if she can’t read the sign that You give her, God?”
God smiled and said to the angel, “My child will read the sign.” By this time all of
the angels were looking forward indeed to meeting Aaron at the pearly white gates.
One of the angels said to God, “Well, God, once again You’re right, and You have
planned far ahead of time. Which one of us should be at the North Gate, my God?”
God looked around at each of the angels and then He put a big smile on His face.
God said, “I know how all of you enjoy meeting the new arrivals, but this time I will be
at the North Gate to meet My child Aaron. This is the son of My beloved daughter, born
with the name of Kathy Diane Clayborne, who has taught him from Day One about Me. I
will be at the gate to put Aaron Wendell Watson’s wings on myself.”
God said to the angel, “So I need all of you to go and start the preparations. Once the
gate opens, I want the doves flying all over the heavens. I want to hear the trumpets and
the harps playing like never before. I want rose petals floating through the air. This is
going to be a very special day for Me.”
One of the angels said to God, “Yes, we can tell. We will make sure everything will
be in place and will go as planned. Once again, God, when will Aaron be arriving?”
God said to the angel, “Aaron was born on a Thursday at 2:31 p.m., so his mother wants
to return him to Me on a Thursday at 2:31 p.m.”
“Okay, God,” said the angel. “We will get started right away.”
As the angels left to get ready for the celebration, one angel said to the other, “Boy,
God is really happy! I’ve never known Him to be at the North Gate himself, to actually
put the wings on the new angel-to-be.”
Another angel said, “God has kept His eyes on the three of them all their lives. Now
He will be keeping His eyes on Aaron’s three sons. Just wait until they all get to
heaven—that’s going to be something to see!”
A third angel said, “In one week, it looks like there is going to be such an amazing
They all looked at each other and said, “We can’t wait!”
Later on that day, three of the disciples were on their way to see God. They had been
walking for a little while when they saw Him over by the waterfalls. God was sitting,
listening to the harps play. As disciples approached Him, they noticed a huge smile on
One of the disciples said. “We heard the great news, Father, and we can’t wait for
the celebration to begin! What can we do to help the others?”
The other angels joined in, and said, “Yes, Father, tell us what we can do to be a part
of preparing Aaron’s homecoming.”
God told them that when the time was right, He would let them know.
One of the disciples said to God, “But Aaron is on his way home now, isn’t he,
God said, “Not just yet. His mother will be starting Aaron’s departure from Earth on
Thursday, September 27, 2001, at 2:31 p.m. The angels will escort him to the Front Gate,
and I will personally be there to greet him and say to Aaron, ‘Welcome home, My son,
welcome home!’ What a glorious day this is!”
Jesus and Me
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve known about how almighty God is and how He
created the whole world in just seven days. I’ve learned how, just from sand, He created
man, took one rib from Adam, and made woman. I also learned about the home where He
lives called Heaven.
As a little girl, I remember my mother telling me about all the wonderful things He
did. As she talked about God, she made me envision just what heaven would look like—
how the sun would shine all year ‘round and how what we thought of as wild animals
here on earth walked around freely there. I could see how in heaven the sun shines like
gold and how everything in heaven is peaceful and beautiful. The flowers bloom all year,
and the waterfalls are never dry. There are no words in heaven like “hungry, sick, abused,
hateful, and angry.” The most common words in heaven are, “love, beauty, harmony, and
After telling me all that, she told me about a man who goes by the name of Jesus
Christ, the savior of all mankind. She told me the story of how Jesus walked on water and
how he parted the Red Sea. And although he was the Son of the living God, he came to
John the Baptist to be baptized by him in the holy water.
What did John the Baptist say to the Lord Jesus? He said, “It is I who should be
getting baptized by you, Jesus, because you are the Son of the living God—God of all
Gods, the Kings of all Kings, the Savior of all Saviors, the Ruler of all Rulers.” Yet, he
wanted to be baptized by man. The only Son of our God, the holiest man ever to walk in
heaven or here on earth, Jesus wanted to be baptized by John in the Jordan River. In the
end, for being only who he was, Jesus was nailed to the cross.
As a child, the outdoors was always one of my favorite places to be. I remember we
had a blue and white swing set in the yard. After we did our chores, of course, we could
go outside and play. Once I was just ready to sit and rest, I would go and sit on the swing
set. The swing set was mostly for my younger sisters, and I was the oldest child living at
the house at the time. I would sit and look up at the sky, wondering if God could see me.
I would sit in the sun for hours, listening to the birds singing. With my eyes closed, I
could name every sound I heard. One day, when I was sitting outside, I made my
promises to God that I would never drink, smoke, etc., and to this day, I have faithfully
kept those promises.
After I married in 1976, I was watching television one day when a commercial came
on about a movie that was to be on the following Sunday. As I watched the bit, I told
myself I had to remember to watch television that next Sunday night. It was during Easter
season, and the movie was called Jesus of Nazareth.
At the time I was twenty-three years old, and even to this day I have never been so
touched as I was by that movie. It’s about six-and-a-half hours long, so they had it in two
parts. After watching Part One, there was no way I was going to miss Part Two, which
was to be aired the following night. After I had watched the entire movie, I went into my
bedroom and cried my eyes out. I think I cried just about the whole night. I had heard the
story of Jesus and how his life here on earth was just pure torture. I thought I had loved
Jesus before, but let me tell you, my love for my Lord Jesus Christ tripled and has grown
ever since I saw that movie.
The movie originally came out in 1977. I looked for that movie for years and had no
luck. One day about a year ago, I was watching television and they were running a list of
movies you could order. And Lord, behold, there it was! I ordered it right away and
received it three weeks later. It is one of my most treasured possessions, and I will pass it
on to Kendrick. I hope he can feel what I felt so many years ago.
Jesus didn’t have to do what he did; he did it just because he loved us. He knew no
other way but the right way. He’s the son of the almighty living God, and what did man
do but nail him to a piece of wood!
What I feel is that God is a wonderful God, and He surely has made my life
beautiful. I will love my God until the day I die, and even after. I still know that my life
has been and always will be in God’s hands, and every time I think of bad times or the
things that have hurt me so deeply, I think about the man on the cross. I’m a true believer
that one day Aaron and I will be reunited, along with Kendrick, when God calls us home.
I know without a doubt there’s a place called heaven.
I can never repay Jesus Christ for what he has done for me. Every night when I’m on
my bended knees, I always tell God that we are His marching soldiers; when He needs
one of us, we will be ready. I ask Him to do as He pleases with us, for I will stand strong
because He has always been there for me.
My journey has been a difficult one, but on the other hand, it’s been a paradise. I
think I have experienced a lot of love from my sons and now from my grandsons too.
We’ve had a lot of laugher and good times with family and friends. Why? Because of the
Almighty Living God. So believe me when I say, whatever task He puts in front of me,
I’m willing and able to do. Why, you ask? At the cross. I need not say anymore. How
much do I love my God, let me count the ways.
Since the loss of Aaron, I’ve had a lot of conversations with people of different races
and religions, and I try to explain how I have always understood about life. I know
everyone knows the word “death,” but until you have to lay a child to rest, a child you
have loved and prayed for, you can’t know what it’s like.
NOW READ ABOUT WHAT HAVING FAITH
WILL DO FOR YOU
Months passed. One Friday everything that could go wrong at work had gone wrong.
I thought of Aaron every second, and I cried all day long. I couldn’t wait to go home.
Once I did get home, I locked the world outside, called Nicole, and told her that I
wanted to be left alone. We were supposed to meet up with some friends for dinner that
night, but I just couldn’t—I was in absolutely no condition. Thank God, Ken was at
work. Nicole asked me what I was going to eat for dinner; and I told her that I had no
appetite and that I just wanted to go to bed. I took a shower and got into bed. I cried my
eyes out some more, and when I couldn’t cry anymore, I began to talk with God. I got out
of bed and got on my knees. These are the words I said to my God.
“God, okay, here’s the deal. You, one of Your angels, or somebody, it doesn’t matter
who, must come to tell me that my son, Aaron, is in heaven with You, and then I’ll be
okay with losing my son, but You have to show me that You have him.” I got up off my
knees and got into bed and went to sleep immediately.
Saturday morning came and I was up early, as usual, on my off day. The phone rang
midmorning; it was Nicole. She asked me how I was feeling and I told her better. She
then asked me whether I had eaten. I told her no. She asked if I would like to go out for
breakfast and, since I hadn’t eaten since lunch the previous day, I said yes. I told her that
I could be ready in twenty minutes, so she picked me up at the top of our driveway.
We decided to go to a Coffee House (go figure), and she asked which one I would
prefer. It was funny that she asked me that; we always went to the one right up the street
from us. But that day, something inside me told me to go to the Coffee House way down
by where my sister Stacy lived, which was the same one Stacy and I had eaten at on
September 19, 2001, the night Aaron died.
Nicole began to ask me, “Why should we go all the way to that Coffee House and
not the Coffee House we normally go to, up the street?”
I said to her, “Nicole, I want to go to the Coffee House way down there!”
Nicole looked at me and, with an attitude, said, “Kathy, I don’t know why we should
drive way down there when you are going to order the same thing that you always order.
Why not eat at this one right here?”
Something inside me kept telling me that I needed to go to the Coffee House down
by Stacy’s, so I said once again, “I want to go down to that particular Coffee House.”
As we drove in the opposite direction of the usual Coffee House, Nicole kept telling
me that she couldn’t understand why we were going so far. As we continued to talk about
it, we passed another Coffee House that was not busy at all. She wanted to stop there, but
this thing inside of me was pushing me to get to the other Coffee House miles away.
Finally, we pulled up in the parking lot of the right Coffee House and walked
through the door. Nicole asked me where I wanted to sit; I looked back and saw that the
table in the back where Stacy and I had sat months ago, on that awful September evening,
was available, so I pointed and said, “Let’s sit at that table.”
Most Coffee House’s have an L-shaped bar, so we had to go in the door, take an
immediate right, and then a left at the end of the bar to reach our table. The booths were
on the right side in that section and the bar seats were on the left.
I noticed an elderly man sitting on the very last barstool. I noticed him for a few
reasons. For one, he looked very homeless. It was in the middle of the summer and he
had on a tan trench coat that looked like he had been sleeping in it. He had on a white
shirt, white pants, and white tennis shoes. He had long, white shoulder length hair and a
full beard that looked like he hadn’t shaved in years. His hair was the exact same color as
the beard on his face. But what got my attention most of all was that he looked as though
he was bending with his head bowed, praying.
We took our seats, placed our order, and in a matter of minutes we had our food. All
along, I’m looking at the man on the barstool, wanting so badly to ask him if I could buy
him something to eat because he sat there with just a glass of water in front of him with
his head bowed the whole time.
As Nicole and I talked and enjoyed our food, all of a sudden I heard the man speak.
One of the waitresses had come to get something out of the refrigerator that was directly
in front of him and he said, “Betsy, do you believe in heaven?” I froze as I looked toward
Betsy continued reaching into the refrigerator and ignored him. Once again, he
called her name out very loud. He said, “Betsy, do you believe in heaven?” Betsy
answered him and said, “Yeah, yeah,” as if she only wanted him to leave her alone.
I was still frozen in my seat and looking at him, as the old man sitting on the
barstool began to nod his head very slowly as he said to Betsy, “Heaven is really a nice
place.” With the way he was nodding his head, it was as if he had been there.
At this time, Nicole is calling my name over and over. I could hear her, but I
couldn’t respond because I was completely focused on that man; Nicole continued to call
my name. I looked at her and she asked what was wrong. I said, “What did he just say?”
Nicole repeated every word the man had said and then asked me, “Why?”
I told her what I had prayed for that night, and she began to look at the old man. She
said, “Well, I guess you got your answer.” At this time the old man began to get up from
his seat, and I got a clear view of him. Still thinking of what he had just said to Betsy, I
knew then that he was the answer to my prayer, my “Angel in Disguise.” God had sent
him to me. He passed by me and I was still in awe of what I had just witnessed, when all
of a sudden I heard a song on the jukebox playing about going to heaven and how nice
heaven is. I sat there saying to myself, “I have eaten at many Coffee Houses over the
years, in Alabama, Mississippi, and in Georgia. I have played lots of music and heard lots
of music in every last one of them, but never have I ever read on a jukebox nor heard on a
jukebox a song about going to heaven.”
I was there listening to the words, just thanking God that He had answered my
prayer, when Nicole said to me, “Kathy, are you listening to that song?”
I answered, “Every word.”
She said, “Do you know who played it?”
I told her, “No.”
She said, “The old man that was sitting on the barstool.”
“Are you kidding me? He didn’t look like he had a penny!”
She said to me, “Yes, I watched him walk up to the jukebox, then walk around to the
other side of the restaurant.”
He was gone for, maybe three or four minutes, then Nicole looked up and saw him.
“Kathy, he’s coming back.” As he passed me, I glanced up at his face again. As he sat
back down, he bowed his head once again. Of course I couldn’t eat anymore because I
was so full of joy. When we left the coffee house and had driven halfway down the street,
Nicole asked me if I wanted to go back. I told her, “No, because I know in my heart that
he won’t be there.”
When I tell the story about my angel, people ask me why did I not go up and talk to
him and ask questions. I say to them, and I will always say, “I didn’t need to ask anything
of him, for God had sent him there as an answer to my prayer. I needed no more
confirmation, for I asked and my God delivered as He has, always, throughout my life.
That’s why I had to go to that particular Coffee House.”
Once again I follow my instructions, and by doing so my angel was waiting for me at my
favorite Coffee House. After a few weeks had passed and I was telling a friend about my
angel, I wrote this poem. ZZZZZ
Sitting here by the ocean just watching the wind as it passes by,
I was feeling so empty. I searched my soul as I wondered why.
It came to me that I was yearning to have a child of my very own,
To love, cherish, honor, and make for him a happy home.
God blessed me not with one child; He was generous and gave me two.
He is God, and farther down my journey, He knew what He had to do.
I named one son Aaron Wendell and the other Kendrick Jevon;
I can remember when they were just little boys and how together they had so much fun.
It seems that time took a concord jet one night as I closed my eyes,
Only to open them again to tell Aaron a final good-bye.
I looked up at the heavenly sky as the darkness turned into day,
And I thought of our Lord, Jesus Christ, and how he loves us in his own special way.
As he was being nailed to the cross, Jesus knew that just wasn’t fair.
For he’s the son of our living God in heaven
I look back at my past, and then look at the future that’s ahead.
My mind and body wish to go back, but my spirit moves me forward instead.
Life has a way of giving us different highs and different lows;
September 19 made me drop to my knees as the night began to unfold.
Sometimes I feel like I’m standing in the middle of the woods,
With no one around to hear my cries for help; oh, how I wish someone could.
Thank God I can still look up into the sky and realize, “Oh, what a beautiful thing.”
He has put the wind back into my lungs and has given me a voice to sing.
For twenty-three years, my oldest son walked the grounds of this earth.
I sit and reminisce on the days I watched my sons as I gave each one his birth.
Now, with just one son, we talk about going to heaven and how Jesus really cares,
For my angel came and told me that my son,
Looking Back On It All
I asked God for a boy, and God generously gave me two of them. And because I
believe that they were God-given gifts, I knew that one day He would ask for them back.
I have heard over the years that a child is not supposed to die before the mother or father.
Before I lost Aaron, I would say to myself, “Boy, how can a parent live when something
devastates them in such a way? How can they even think straight?”
Here I am remembering all the times I’ve overheard conversations about a parent
losing her child or the reports I heard on the news or read in the paper about a child
killed. I can say one thing—you never think it’s going to happen to you. You say, “That’s
for someone else.” Never in your wildest dreams do you think it could happen to you.
Until you get a knock on the door.
Then you know, yes it can and has happened to you. You have lost a child that you
held in your arms every time you saw him. You’ve watched him come into this world,
this child whose eyes you have looked into just about every day of his life, and with
everything inside you told him you loved him. From Day One you just told him, but over
time you could also proudly prove how much you loved him, this child who returns his
mother’s love, just like she gave it to him.
The word “death” is a word we human beings never think about until we start to
reach our middle-age years. It’s now a word that I can no longer put in the back of my
mind; it’s here for the rest of my life.
Death will not escape anyone; one day we will all be laid to rest. The question is,
have you done your very best? Have you stood up for what is or was right? Have you
asked yourself, “Do I deserve for God to breathe eternal life back into my lungs once He
takes my last breath away?” Are you one who, on your deathbed, will call on God and
want to say to Him, “Oh, God, please forgive me for I’m only human and I have sinned?”
You would not want to be calling on someone you don’t even know to save you. I can
say this—I know Jesus, and what a friend I have in him! He’s the best thing that could
ever have happened to me.
Although I have gone through some tough times and have had to fight my battles all
alone (but was I really all alone?) I can say one thing—God has never let me down. There
have been times when I needed someone to hold my hand, just give me a hug, or to tell
me that everything is going to be all right. God was there.
I’ve had people call on me to help them up, and with much pleasure I can say God
has always given me the strength to help and to continue my journey. If it had not been
for the promises I made to God so many years ago, to tell the truth I really don’t know
whether I would be “special” now.
I had never thought of writing a book before I lost Aaron. After he was gone, I
started thinking about telling the story of Aaron’s life. I recognized it as a path God was
directing me to follow, and just like everything God has put before me, I have followed
this path too. Writing has forced me to remember things I had put so far to the back of my
mind. We all get so busy in our lives that we tend to put off things, to forget things we
should have remembered, to bury hurtful things in our minds. Writing A Mother in
Mourning has helped me in so many ways, but at the same time it has made me face the
truth about death.
I have lost my grandfather, Mr. Hebert Smith; both grandmothers, Mrs. Cecil Smith
and Miss Lily White; my uncle, Mr. Hebert Smith, Jr.; and a brother, Mr. Jimmy Jones.
These people I loved dearly, but as much as I loved them and miss them, I got over the
shock, and time just kind of moved me right along with it.
On the morning of September 20, 2001, after the knock on the door and the news
that I received about Aaron being killed, somehow time just stood still in my mind
because what the officers had told me couldn’t sink in right away.
I sometimes find myself shaking my head, because, right out of the blue, I’ll hear
that officer tell me again that there was a car accident and Aaron didn’t make it. I can be
at work or driving to the store, and my heart begins to race, and once more, mentally, I’m
back again to that early morning of September 20, 2001.
I talk to God many times throughout the day. Sometimes it’s for just a minute,
sometimes longer. My faith has never, and will never, fade away. But I am human and I
have human feelings. I’ve never once questioned why my son died, but the void I’m left
with is excruciating at times. Being human, also, I’m forced to live with this pain the rest
of my life. I’m sure that each day will be challenging, but I’m going to continue to hold
on to God’s hands. Every hour of every day brings the sentence that swims around my
head. “There was a car accident, and Aaron didn’t make it.”
The only time I don’t hear the voice of Officer Sherlock is when I’m sleeping, yet
sometimes I hear it even then. I’ve spent many hours trying to think of ways to kill the
pain. I thought about drinking myself into oblivion, but that wouldn’t do because I made
a promise to God. Besides, I have Kendrick and Aaron’s three sons to think about. My
mind always returns to the Man who was nailed to the Cross and thought only of us as he
talked to his Father. That has always eased my pain in the past, and I am confident that it
will continue to work. He has kept His promises, so I will do my best to follow suit.
I have had many people tell me that with time it will get easier. I look in their eyes
and say, “Is that right!” Then I follow up with the question, “Have you ever lost a child?”
They tell me, “No.”
And I say to them, “I pray it never happens to you. I loved Aaron (and love
Kendrick) with all my heart; the only one I love more is my God.” There are mothers,
and then there are Mothers. There’s the word love, and then there’s the word Love. There
are mothers who just give birth—and, to be honest, I don’t know why they have children.
But then there are Mothers who start loving their children the second they know they are
going to have a baby.
I believe I’ve shown you what kind of mother I was to both of my sons. As strong as
my faith is, September 19, 2001, will never leave me. For so many reasons, I’m glad I
love my God like I do. It’s been God who has given me the strength I needed to get
through this torment. I can say that still today, Jesus is the best thing that has ever
happened to me.
Now if anything will make the pain easier, I think about the day they crucified the
Son of God. No one will escape pain and death. Knowing that, I’m extremely grateful for
God, who has proven Himself to me again and again. I thank God for Heaven, Eternity,
Mercy, Love, and Peace.
Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and months will turn into years.
There will come a day when God will call my name, but until then I still have my
assignment ahead of me. I do realize that the spring in my step will never be what it used
to be. The most important thing is taking small steps and learning to balance myself
again. I know I’ll continue to put one foot in front of the other; and eventually I will get
to where I’m going. Slowly, yes, but I will get there. And I will guarantee you this—with
God’s hand in it, I will reach my destination right on time.
No one really knows what tomorrow will bring, but we must keep moving forward
and doing the best we can. Maybe the sun will shine a little brighter; maybe an old friend
you haven’t heard from in years will call you up, and the two of you will laugh and talk
for hours on end. Or maybe a friend will pick you up and take you to your favorite place
for dinner, movies, the beach, or just a long quiet ride—the two of you just riding down
life’s highway, listening to music.
It could be a number of small simple things that ease your burden and start you to
slowly take a step in the right direction. They say time heals all wounds. I don’t know
about that, but what I do know is that some days I do smile, laugh, and clown around like
I always have. I used to feel guilty when I smiled or felt like I was having a good time,
but I know Aaron wouldn’t want me to stop smiling. That’s my trademark, and who I am.
One day while talking with God, I started telling Him how I felt so guilty when I laughed
or acted like a clown (being silly and making everyone around me laugh). I would be
watching a television program and I hear myself laugh aloud. I would stop laughing and
immediately turn the television off. By the time I finished talking with God, I knew it was
okay to smile when I felt like it. If I don’t feel like smiling, I don’t smile, and if I am
having a bad day, that’s okay too. You know what? I had good and bad days when Aaron
was with me. I think that whether you’re having good days, bad days; whether you’re
crying tears of joy or tears of sorrow; if you’re feeling energized or feeling like you want
to stay in bed all day—accepting the bad with the good is what life is all about.
I must say that, at one time, I thought I knew the lady named Kathy Diane Clayborne
Watson; but in writing this book, I found out who I really am. In spite of all the things
I’ve had to go through (and I do think all things happen for a reason), I’ve always come
away with a positive attitude.
The most important thing for me was to understand time. Time will always be here,
so I’ve learned not to rush myself. At one time in my life, I thought I would never breathe
normally again, but now I feel the time is right for me to learn how to breathe again. I
know it is very important for me to continue my faith, to make sure that Kendrick is still
on the right path, and that Aaron’s three sons are well taken care of.
The little boy named Anthony Marshall (“Little Anthony”) who started it all is now
twenty-eight years old. He graduated from college, is happily married, and now lives in
Atlanta with his beautiful wife.
Kendrick is now twenty-one and doing as well as the days allow him. After we lost
Aaron in Kendrick’s senior year of high school, Kendrick was unable to focus on school
so he didn’t graduate. He did get his GED, and now he is getting ready to go to college
this fall. He wants to major in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology.
I can hear Aaron now, saying just how proud he is of his little brother. He would talk
to Kendrick about many things; he told him that two of the most important things in life
are getting a good education and keeping your head in a level position at all times. Aaron
would really be surprised and proud to see what a great (self-taught) mechanic Kendrick
Aaron’s oldest son, Tavion, is eight years old, looks identical to Aaron, and is
outspoken whenever he feels something is wrong. He is still asking questions about his
father. He tells me he can still remember what his father look like. Aaron is seven and
acts just like his father; he is quiet and set in his ways. He’s stubborn yet loving and
caring. Quick to tell you how beautiful you are, but also sneaky. He still wants to know
why his father wanted to live in heaven and not here with him and his brothers. Quinton
is five now; he carries Aaron’s silliness. Whenever he feels like being a comedian, he and
everyone around him is sure to laugh and, as Aaron would say, “Q” got his brains.
Quinton was too young to understand when his father passed. He does remember him,
though, and he hears his two brothers talk about their father quite often.
It breaks my heart sometimes when I go and visit; all three of them have a little of
their father in them. The more they grow, the more I see my son growing in them, and it
takes me back to when both of my sons were their ages. I often wonder what Aaron
would be saying if he could see them now, growing up and developing their own
Going back to work was really a test of strength and courage for me. Just getting up
and getting dressed that first day of work was pure torture. Trying to make myself go
through the day without breaking up after losing a loved one is so hard, but life does go
on. Somehow, you have to pick yourself up and go back to the job. A job is what you’re
paid to show up for and paid to perform well in, so, Monday through Friday, I got up out
of bed and did the best I could. Kendrick has done his best too; I haven’t in any way
expected him to be able to concentrate on anything but holding on to God’s loving hands.
Some months after the accident, I received a brown envelope through the mail. The
return address read Cobb County Police Department. As I removed the envelope from the
mailbox, I remembered being at the Coroner’s office with Stacy and Nicole. I don’t
remember what the man was saying to me. What I do remember is going there because
someone had told me they had taken Aaron’s body there. I had to go and see for myself if
what the police told me was true. We had walked in the front door and a man came from
the back and said, “May I help you?”
I told him who I was and that someone had told me my son’s body was there. The
man confirmed it, and I don’t remember anything else he said.
When we got back to the house, I remember my sister Stacy saying to me, “When
they mail you the police report, let Nicole or me read it first.”
Well, I brought the envelope in the house and sat and stared at it, thinking of what
Stacy had said to me after we left the Coroner’s office that evening. It was days before I
told anyone I had the report. One day Nicole came upstairs and saw it on the bookcase in
my bedroom. When she saw Cobb County Police on the envelope, she asked me when
the report had come.
She noticed it was still sealed and asked if I wanted her to open it. I told her I wasn’t
ready for her to read it, and I wasn’t ready to know all the details about the accident.
Nicole told me that when I was ready to know, to let her read it first, and I told her okay.
I guess it was a few months later when the police report came up again. I asked her
if she wanted to read it, and she said yes. As Nicole read the report, I watched her
expressions and knew then that I didn’t ever want to read it. She finished it, put it back in
the envelope, and told me that whenever I got ready to read it, to tell her, and she would
come upstairs to be with me. I put the report up once again, with the intention of never
reading it. When I decided to honor Aaron by writing this book, I asked a couple of
family members and friends if I should put some of the police report in. They all said yes,
because they wanted to know what happened. Here is the actual police report that I
received in the mail. I won’t put all of it in; I’ll just include enough so you can get an idea
of what happened on that dreadful day of September 19, 2001.
ZZZZZ (Note to layout: Please make the following look like a chart or formal report)
CASE NUMBER: XXXXXXXXX
DATE AND TIME: September 19, 2001, at 20:26
LOCATION: Six Flags Drive, West of Six Flags Parkway
VICTIMS: Aaron W. Watson, Ronald Rockwell, Bill Houston, William Roscoe
INVESTIGATORS: Officer Ross, Officer Roger
On Wednesday, September 19, 2001, at 20:26 hours, a fatal collision occurred on
Six Flags Drive, west of the intersection of Six Flags Parkway, Mableton, Cobb County,
Georgia. Officer Sherlock initially responded to the scene of the collision and asked for
Sgt. Stevenson to respond to the scene. Due to the seriousness of the collision, Sgt.
Stevenson requested that the Cobb County Police Department Special Operation
(S.T.E.P.) Unit respond to the scene of the collision. Sgt. Stevenson, Officer Sherlock,
Officer Ross, and Officer Roger responded to the scene of the collision. Officer Ross and
Officer Roger were assigned the investigation.
Six Flags Drive is a county-maintained roadway that runs primarily east and west.
The roadway at the site of the collision is constructed of asphalt and is divided into a
westbound traffic lane and an eastbound traffic lane by a solid double yellow painted
line. A solid white painted fog line borders the roadway. The roadway edge is bordered
by an unimproved grass shoulder. The grass shoulder of the roadway is bordered by a
ditch. The ditch is bordered by small trees and shrubs. The roadway at the site of the
collision is curved and has a downhill grade when traveling eastbound. The roadway was
dry and in good repair and did not contribute to the collision. A D.O.T. approved speed
limit sign, stating “SPEED LIMIT 35,” was located on the ground in the area of the
On Wednesday, September 19, 2001, at 21:15 hours, the following was observed and
A 1992 Dodge Dakota pick up truck, bearing Georgia tag ###xxx, was at a final
uncontrolled rest, facing in a southwesterly direction, east of the collision area. The
Dodge truck was at final rest astride the ditch on the south side of Six Flags Drive. The
right rear tire was elevated eight inches above the ground. The left rear tire was elevated
16 inches above the ground. The front tires of the Dodge truck were on the ground. The
left front tire was at rest against a small pine tree, about eight inches in diameter.
A tire mark was observed originating in the westbound traffic lane of Six Flags
Drive, west of the collision area. The tire mark traveled in an easterly direction, arcing
clockwise. The tire mark continued traveling in a southeasterly direction, crossing over
the solid double yellow painted line and into the eastbound traffic lane of Six Flags
Drive. The tire mark terminated in the eastbound traffic lane of Six Flags Drive, southeast
of the origination point and west of the collision area. The tire mark contained striations
and appeared to be made by a tire that was free to rotate and was side slipping.
A second tire mark was observed originating in the westbound traffic lane of Six
Flags Drive, northeast of the first tire mark. The tire mark traveled in an easterly
direction, arcing clockwise. The tire mark began to travel in a southeasterly direction,
crossing over the solid double yellow painted line and into the eastbound traffic lane of
Six Flags Drive. The tire mark continued in a southeasterly direction, crossing the solid
white painted fog line and terminating at the roadway edge, of the eastbound traffic lane
of Six Flags Drive, west of the collision area. The second tire mark contained striations
and appeared to be made by a tire that was free to rotate and was side slipping.
The second tire mark became a furrow mark on the southside grassy shoulder of Six
Flags Drive. The furrow mark offset to a southerly direction. The furrow mark arced
counterclockwise and began to travel in a southeasterly direction. The furrow mark
terminated west of the initial collision area. The furrow mark appeared to be made by a
tire that was free to rotate.
The second furrow mark ran partially parallel to the first furrow mark
A seventh furrow mark was observed on the southside grassy shoulder of Six Flags
Drive, east of the secondary collision area. The furrow mark, arcing clockwise, traveled
in a southeasterly direction. The furrow mark terminated northeast of the left rear wheel
of the Dodge. The furrow mark appeared to be made by a tire that was sliding sideways.
A ditch was located at the southern edge of the southside grassy shoulder of Six
Flags Drive. The ditch ran parallel to Six Flags Drive, terminating west of a small area of
trees. The ditch began again east of the area of trees, still parallel to Six Flags Drive. The
ditch contained small trees, brush, and pieces of concrete slab.
A large area of the ditch was disturbed near the termination of the third furrow mark
and the origination of the fifth furrow mark. Numerous small trees were broken and the
dirt from the ditch was displaced, indicating contact with the Dodge.
Two trees were located southeast of the initial collision area on the southside of Six
Flags Drive. The trees were in the area of the offset of the first plow mark. The smaller of
the two trees displayed scarring and a large section of missing bark in the trunk area. Red
paint transfer was located in the bark around the area of missing bark.
The body of a black male, later identified as Aaron Wendell Watson, of Mableton,
Georgia, was observed lying at the base of the two trees. The body was in a seated
position and bent over at the waist. The upper body was face down, facing in a
northeasterly direction. The left leg was on the western side of the trees and the right leg
was on the eastern side of the trees. Mr. Watson was unable to survive the injuries he
sustained in the collision. Cobb County Medical Examiner Investigator Michaels
pronounced Mr. Watson dead at the scene at 21:45 hours on September 19, 2001. Cobb
County Medical Examiner Investigator Michaels removed Mr. Watson from the scene of
the collision and transported him to the Cobb County Medical Examiner’s Office for
One evening one of Aaron friends that I hadn’t seen in a while came by. He told me
as he was getting out of his car that he was wondering how I was going to react when I
saw him (he was another one who made my house he second home). He said he thought
that I was going to still be in a state of shock; but to his surprise, when I opened the door
I was smiling. He and his new wife came in, and we talked for a while. They both seemed
to feel very relaxed around me. I told him that a friend once asked me, “How is it that
you always seem to have good days?”
I had asked, “What do you mean by that?”
She had said, “You are always smiling and looking as though you don’t have a thing
in the world to worry about, even after losing your son.”
I had answered, “Well, first of all, I did not lose my son Aaron. God only took back
what was His in the first place. Aaron was a loan to me from God. And, secondly, I have
to continue to be the same person I have always been, for it is still my destiny to see the
face of my God.”
Yes, I am looking forward to seeing God, who has shown me so many amazing
things; the most amazing of which is a woman’s ability to give birth to a baby. I’m
talking about the entire process, from the beginning to the end of it. It is truly mind-
boggling that, just because of one encounter—whether you were making love or just
having fun, whether it took five minutes or thirty minutes (usually depending on who was
telling the story)—nine months later you are having a baby. You are able to bring this
bundle of joy home with you and, day-by-day, watch this little creature grow from being
a baby to an adult (if it is God’s will).
Yes, I must stay on my course to see God; Aaron is already there. The rest of us are
just waiting for the time when we can all be together again—and this time around, glory
to God, it will be for eternity. To be honest with you, I can’t wait! I feel comfortable
saying that because of the life I have lived serving the Lord as I have done.
Some people say I act as though the sun is following me wherever I go, and I tell
them, “Yes, the sun does shine down on me every morning, and I give thanks to the Lord
for it every day.”
It’s true that I have had very few people in my life that I could consider as friends,
and I haven’t traveled to many places nor done nearly as many things as most people
seem to have done during their lives, but I am happy with and proud of the way I turned
out. I guess that’s because I believe God showed me how to live, and I learned how to
love from the way He showed us how He loved us. He let his Son, Jesus, die on the Cross
asking God to forgive us and to wash away our sins; for that reason, I’m the person I am
I often sit and think to myself, “Why don’t we get a second chance to do it all over
again?” I know that I was a very good mother to Aaron, but now I sometimes wish I had
gotten him that game he wanted or I wish I hadn’t missed his basketball game when he
scored the winning point and he came home all beside himself, feeling like he was Mr.
Michael Jordan. Of course, regarding the basketball game, I told him that he took after
his mother and that I had taught him well, to which he always smiled and said, “Yes,
I can sit for hours on end and say, “If only, if only,” but you know, I refuse to let
thoughts of the things I wish I had done or not done encompass the remainder of my life.
One thing I can say without a doubt is that we had a ball during his short life! I’m happy I
can make that statement as his friend, his substitute father, and most importantly as
Aaron’s mother who loved him with all of her being. As I said earlier in the book, God
made it so easy for me to love my sons by setting an example with His love for you and
We were the Three Musketeers, and now we are just two. There is a void in my life
that will always be there. The pain will never go away because there is a hole in my heart
that nothing will fill. Ever! Even with the faith I have in God, even with the answer to my
prayers in the Coffee House that beautiful day. I can say that when I get really sad
thinking about how much I miss Aaron, I think about my Angel at the Coffee House and,
believe me, it puts a smile on my face and then the low doesn’t seem quite so low. It
becomes more a mixture of tears along with a smile, and it seems okay.
And I could drive myself into the crazy house. There is no word in the human
language that can describe the hurt, the longing to hear Aaron’s voice, to see his face
smiling at me, asking to borrow the SUV to go and play a game of basketball. He just had
a way of smiling and calling my name when he wanted something; and nine times out of
ten he got what he wanted. And, oh, I’m so very glad that out of all those times he asked,
that I usually said, “Yes,” that I could grant his wishes.
I don’t get out of bed until I talk to my God. I don’t care what time it is. Even if I see
that I might be running late, I still put in my word with God although I might have to
shorten something else, like maybe not eating breakfast or not watching ESPN, the sports
channel I watch every morning to see the scores from the night before.
I will not shorten God’s time! If I have to get up earlier in the morning, then that’s
what I do, but to get started without talking to God—that, for me, would be insane. So for
the people who think that the sun shines every day for me, they should know it’s because,
through all of my lows, God has made it easy for me to carry on. I really would hate to
think what and where I would be if I hadn’t had God in my life, for all of the years that I
have carried His love inside of me.
A childhood friend of mind once told me, “Girl, I don’t see how you have survived
your life!” She said I should have been in a nut house somewhere.
My reply to her was, “Jesus is doing great things for me every day. This life is but a
tiny price to pay for what I will receive when I get to Heaven; for God said, ‘Believe!’
and I do believe in Him, trust in Him and I do love each day that He brings, and try to do
well in every one.” For what we do today is preparing us for a better tomorrow. I know
people who get up in the morning and think it was they who got themselves out of bed.
And when you ask them about God, it’s as if they have to think about who God is; to be
honest, they don’t think about God, which is so very sad to me because a lot of people
don’t think they need God until something goes wrong in their life. Only then do they
want to call on God. They try to get to know God really quickly. And even then, God
hears their prayers.
It is written in Psalms 50:15, “And call upon Me in the day of trouble: I will deliver
thee, and thou shalt glorify Me.” I’m sure we all have friends or know someone who,
when trouble shows up, they are the first to call upon God. And then they are the first to
forget the second part of the verse.
I, myself, truly have worked on being a soldier in God’s army for as long as I can
remember, and I wish that everywhere I looked I would recognize other soldiers. I wish I
could stand on top of a mountain and tell the world just how good God has been to me.
I have often wondered what I will do when I come face to face with Jesus. If I know
me, and I do, I will drop to my knees and begin to cry, washing his feet with my tears, for
so many times he has shown me that he has his eyes on me.
Whether through a dream or when someone says something to remind me, or I turn
on the radio and the message comes from a song, I can always count on God to let me
know He is here. It is written that, and I believe it to be true, God works in mysterious
ways. I’m certainly a witness to that statement! As you have read, He was trying to show
me what was about to happen, although the event took five months to complete. For the
whole five months, God was right there with me, every step of the way. I can stand here
and say these things because, like I said, I witnessed firsthand just how God works when
it came time for Him to take one of his children home. I love you, God!
When I wrote my son’s poem, “Aaron,” I was so proud of it that I was reading it to
everybody I knew. Like I said I had never even thought about writing a book. But then
one day, I was at work thinking about Aaron, and I suddenly knew I wanted to write a
poem. As I sat there, I began writing the first line and after the first line, the whole poem
felt like it wrote itself. It took every bit of fifteen minutes on a Wednesday morning.
One day I was talking to a friend I had not spoken with in awhile, and I told her
about the poem. As soon as I read the second line, she stopped me and said, “How can
you read that?”
I asked, “Read his poem?”
She said, “Yes, Girl, there would be no way I could read it—and forget about sitting
down and writing one about a child I had lost!”
I asked her, “Just how much do you believe in God?”
She said, “I believe in Him, but still I would not be able to do what you are doing.”
I replied to her, “Oh, ye of little faith.”
“Say what you want,” she said. “I just know I could never read a poem or anything
like that after losing my child.”
In writing this book, I have had a relative tell me that I’m in another world because
he couldn’t do it. It really amazes me that people say they do love God, but when it’s
time to show Him or even praise His name, it seems to become very difficult for them.
And they wonder how I can do what I do.
I taught my sons to be soldiers in the army of God, like me, and we can never go
wrong. The world that we live in today is full of crime, the everyday pressure of working,
coming home and taking care of kids, and wondering if you will have a job tomorrow or
And I’m so grateful that He awakened me so that I could try to be a better person
than I was the day before. If you are a believer, God has a way of letting you know that
everything is going to be okay. As long as I can remember, I have praised the Lord. I
wake up each and every morning, and the first thing I do is start talking to God. Before
my feet even touch the floor, I’m giving praise to the Lord.
I was in church one Sunday afternoon; the preacher read a section out of the Bible
that I have carried in my heart every day. The verses were Psalm 100:3-5: “Know ye that
the Lord, he is God: it is He that hath made us, and not ourselves; we are His people, and
the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with Thanksgiving, and into His courts with
praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; His mercy is
everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.”
I have lived by a number of verses, and for the people who think that the sun shines
for me everyday, it is because of my faith in Jesus. But I can say that those same people
now know the scars I have to carry. I have carried them just about all of my life, and I
made a vow years ago that the scars would not bring me down. God has made it so that
He rules in the end.
When friends and I get together and talk about our children and the happy times
when they were little kids, the first thing I say to them is that I have always loved when
they would put their little arms around my neck—like when putting them to bed, getting
ready to leave, or when I would lean over to kiss them goodnight. Boy! Those were the
simple times of my life, when everything seemed so pure.
But those were the old days; children do grow up and have children of their own, as
Aaron did. I wanted him to marry so that he would be there for the boys in every way
whenever they needed him. One day we were on the subject of marriage, and Aaron told
me he would marry Sabrina if I wanted him to, but he would still go out with his friends
whenever he wanted to. I told him that, yes, I wished he were married because of the
boys, but I wanted him to be ready to take that step. Love is truly a wonderful thing if
you can find the right person.
But all in all, I’m glad that Aaron did what he wanted to do, for no one knows when
he or she’ll be called, or how many days we’ll be on our journey. Aaron’s journey was
very short here on earth, but I feel it was well traveled. He was very happy as a baby, a
boy, and a young man, and I really think he had made the turn to stand on his own two
On many occasions I have heard that sometimes your loved one (child, brother,
sister) knows that no matter what happens, they have someone who will bail them out.
All they have to do is pick up the telephone and someone will come running—and I guess
you can say that about me. My sons know (knew) that no matter what problem they have,
without a doubt, I would be there—in the rain, snow, tornado, it does not and did not
matter. If they needed me, I was there in a heartbeat. I don’t and didn’t care if I have
something planned for myself. My needs and wants were always secondary when it came
to my sons.
In my life, God has always been first, and I taught my boys the same thing—to put
God where He belongs, up on a pillar because He is the Kings of all Kings, and the Ruler
of all Rulers, and the God of all Gods. After God come my sons, and I have thanked God
for giving me the chance to be the kind of mother I am and was to them.
Besides, it was God who made it easy for me to love the way I love. I have been told
that I love with such passion! Others have told me that, for the people I let in my heart, I
cover them with such love, as they have never seen before. I normally give them the short
version of the way I have it in my heart—a promise is a promise, and I am a person of my
word. If I tell you I am going to do something, you can believe it will get done. No matter
what, I’m there.
Aaron used to ask me why I didn’t go out and party like his friends’ mothers, and I
told him what I had promised God when I was very young. That, to show God just how
much I loved Him and believed in Him, I would never drink, smoke, etc., and that I
would always be true to Him and the ones I loved. I can say that today I have kept my
promises and, believe me, no one wants the road I have had to travel all alone.
I also shared these words with him, “The fewer people in your life, the fewer
problems you will have. That’s not saying that you should have just a handful of
friends—have as many of them as you want—but also have a few people you know will
always show up when you are in the middle of a storm. Those are the ones you can call
I gave him an example of what I meant in a true story. We were still living in
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and the boys must have been around eight and four years old.
My best friend and I worked together in a sewing plant called Big Bob’s. She and I were,
and still are, very close. One night the telephone rang; it must have been about 2:00 in the
morning. It was my friend; right away I knew something had to be wrong and it was. She
had gotten into an argument with her then-husband in a public place, and the police were
called; they took both of them to jail.
My friend had called and asked me to come and get her out. She didn’t need bail; all
she needed was a ride home. I told her I was on my way, and she told me to be careful.
As I was getting out of bed, my husband had asked me, “What do you think you are
Knowing he had heard the conversation, I simply said to him, “My friend needs a
ride home, and I’m going to get her.”
He replied that I wasn’t going anywhere but back to bed. I told him, “Just go back to
sleep. I should be back in an hour or two.”
“Do you see what time it is?” he asked.
“Yes, I do.”
“You are not going anywhere,” he continued to argue, but I put on my clothes. By
the time I finished getting dressed, he realized that no matter what he was saying, I was
going to help my friend. I had never been out at that time of night before, and I remember
feeling the stillness of the night; it was a very nice feeling. I turned on some music, and I
would have driven all night long if time had stood still. I made it to the jail and sure
enough, when I went in and told them who I was looking for, they went and got her. I
took her home, which was on the other side of town, and we talked and laughed. I
remember her saying that she knew, first of all, I was the one person she could call and I
would be there. And she knew I would not ask any questions, and wouldn’t have her
business all over town—that I would keep it right as it was, between her and me.
This lady is still my friend after twenty-five years, though I divorced my husband
after fourteen years of marriage. I would tell both Aaron and Kendrick that in the eye of
the storm you will find your true friends, helping you find a way out.
I must tell you now that when I lost Aaron and we called my friend to tell her what
had happened, she was the first one here, other than my sister who lives here in Atlanta.
She called three times that evening and, like everyone else, she was totally in shock. I
must tell you that Tammy doesn’t drive too far by herself as a rule, but she got in her car
and came to me. In fact, when she came that very evening she came with the intention of
spending the night; she didn’t leave until late the next evening, and only then because she
had to be at work the next morning.
I moved to Atlanta first, and then Tammy came a few months later—not because I
was here, but she was looking for a fresh start. We had been out of touch for awhile
because she lived an hour away and what with day-to-day routines, we did not see that
much of each other, nor did we talk that much. But the eye of the storm is where you will
find a friend. (I love you, girl!)
Since I lost Aaron we talk a lot more, though she still hasn’t been able to talk about
his loss. When we were in Hattiesburg, her son and Aaron were friends. They would
come over a lot, or we would get together and go to the park and have a picnic.
Aaron’s friends still come by the house from time-to-time. As we talk, they tell me
he was such a good friend to them and that he helped them out so many times. And even
now, one of his closest friends, who lives here in Atlanta, told me that, because of my
son, he has turned his life around.
In so many ways, both of my sons have followed in my footsteps. Aaron was always
coming home, getting food out of the refrigerator, and taking it to someone he had seen
standing on the side of the street. He would heat it up, just feeling free to take my bowls,
forks—whatever he needed to feed them. And I must admit I have a thing about my
bowls, but he didn’t care. He would say to me, “Mom, we can get more bowls,” and he
would leave out the door. Sometimes Aaron would clean out his closet and tell Kendrick
to do the same thing. He would gather all the clothes and take them to the homeless
people who lived under the bridges. As a mother who is very proud of her son, I really
cannot say enough about him. And it’s not that I am saying these things only now. I
always expressed them to Aaron. I know he realized that it was important to me for him
and his brother to be the kind of young men they both had turned out to be. The world has
more than enough of the so-called bad guys, but there is a shortage of young men who
put other people first, before their own needs.
Sabrina and I talk about Aaron a lot; in fact, I asked her what kind of husband she
thought Aaron would have been. She told me he would have been a very good husband,
an attentive one, and that he would have been a great father. I could certainly agree with
that when I would watch him with his sons. When they came over for the weekend, he
cooked for them, bathed them, and did the whole father thing. I would offer to help
Aaron, but he would say to me, “Mom, you raised me and Kendrick, and now it’s my
time to do the same with my sons.”
I started writing this book a year after I lost Aaron. I would write and stop, write and
stop, until one evening, when I was sitting around thinking about it, and heard a voice
say, “Write the book.” After that I continued on steadily with it.
Although it’s been very painful, it’s also been helpful; I have come to realize just
how very special my son is to me, not that I didn’t realize it before, but now I smile as a
way of saying to myself, “I raised a good son.” He had good friends, a good heart, and
most importantly, Aaron had a very good spirit. I tell people, “When you look at
someone, you really see their spirit because what’s inside a person is what comes out.” I
can also say that, because of the kind of person my son was, his sons will always
remember him. They say to me that he was a good dad. And I will do my very best to
keep his memory alive.
I would like to share a story with you about keeping Aaron’s memory alive. I wanted
to do something special on the first anniversary of his passing, and I told Kendrick what
was on my mind. I thought about how I wanted to make his anniversary a very special
occasion, each and every year. I would invite Aaron’s friends and our family members to
be a part of the anniversary, but this first year I wanted only Kendrick, Nicole, his boys,
Aaron’s favorite color was purple, so I went to the store and bought some purple
ribbon, twenty-three purple balloons, and one white balloon for the first year. Kendrick
and I made a white dove and then we put the purple ribbon around the neck of the dove.
We went out to the gravesite at 2:31 pm—the same time Aaron was born—read verses
from the Bible, sang a few songs, and just visited for a while. After we left, I came home.
I can’t remember why I went outside, but I did. I was walking out in the yard when I
looked up to see a white bird circling over my head. I had never seen a white bird flying
in our area of town, and I had never seen that kind of bird. As I watched it fly, it was not
flapping its wings; it was just gliding, and then it landed in a tree. Feeling like the bird
was a sign from God, I said to myself that I was going to watch and see which way the
bird would fly. As I stood there, I waited and waited, but the bird never did fly out of the
I smiled and came back into the house, trying to remember why I had gone out there
in the first place. Maybe I was just trying to make sense of the bird flying over my head
like it did. Was that a sign that God was still saying, “I have My eyes on you, My child”?
I’m sure everyone has a story to “explain” the unexplained, but this story I have
shared with you is real. The things I have told you are all true. Am I one of those who can
say I have had many unexplained things happen to me? No, I’m not, but what I am is a
child of God. I look at my perception of these things as a gift.
I followed the signs that were put in front of me, as I have always done, and will
continue to do. About the Coffee House story, I now tell my friends that I wish I knew
what I had been going there for, because I surely would have taken a television crew with
me so that everyone could see the miracle that God had waiting for me at that little place
called the Coffee House. But then again, He already knew all along where He was going
to send me. And we think that God is not at work! I’m here to tell you He never stops
working. It’s like I was on a mission to get to that Coffee House that morning, and I was
going to complete it one way or another. I guess you can say it’s the same Force that’s
making me continue to write this book, even when I want to stop. Losing Aaron—I’ll just
say there are no words to explain what I feel, but if you read the police report carefully, it
said my son’s body was lying at the base of two trees, at the base of two trees. And the
people who witnessed the accident told the police Aaron went head first. With what I
have to live with every second of the day, I thank God that Aaron didn’t have to suffer
for even one second. And when I think of the accident, I think of my Jesus and how he
did suffer just for me, my sons, my grandsons, and everyone else.
My sons often called me preacher; this was just a in-house joke. Many times when
we would start to talk about God, I would get carried away, caught up in the words.
Aaron and Kendrick would sit there as if there were in church. I remember my sister
called me from Michigan one night, and I was in the word of God. She ended up listening
for fifteen minutes before she hung up the phone. That has always touched me. Many
times I’m carrying on a conversation with people, and if we talk long enough I will bring
up the Bible.
People often ask me what religion I am. I’ve always smiled and asked, “What does
it matter? My words are coming from the Lord; that’s all I know, and that’s good enough
I tell them, “I’m going to tell you about Jesus, who I know healed the sick, calmed
the sea, made the blind see; he fed thousands of people, and he raised the dead. In any
religion, it would be the same thing. I’m Baptist, but I could be Methodist, Jewish,
Seventh Day Adventist, or any other religion. My words would be the same.” My sons,
Aaron and Kendrick; my grandsons, Tavion, Aaron, and Quinton; everything I possess;
and everything I eat comes from the Lord. Every time I’ve needed God, He has been
there. “Oh Lord, He’s right on time every time.” Wednesday, September 19, at 8:20 p.m.
was no different; God’s will was done right on time. Your life is written long before you
ever think about being born, that’s the way I see it.
This little girl, born in the town of Laurel, Mississippi—just an ordinary person who
has spread the words of the Lord Jesus from Mississippi to Oklahoma City, back to
Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and on to Atlanta, Georgia. I’m not a preacher, but I am a small-
town girl who allowed Jesus in her heart at a very young age, who tries to tell everybody
about somebody who can and will save every person. My son Aaron is, without a doubt,
in heaven. I could tell that from the miracle at the Coffee House, and I’m praising the
At this time, reader, I wanted to write a poem to Aaron describing just a few things I
remember about his growing from a baby to a young man, but I realized the poem could
have taken up the whole story. So I decided to shorten it and write it somewhat in the
form of a letter to him, so here I go:
I’m sitting here remembering that the Thursday you were born was one of the
coldest days we had that winter. As I watched you come into this world, I saw my whole
life change right before my eyes. Then as the doctor walked toward me with you in his
arms and I saw your face for the very first time, I got so excited; I just couldn’t wait to
hold you! Although we had bonded while you were inside of me, I longed for the day I
would see your face.
It was, of course, February 2, 1978, at 2:31 p.m. Remember when you came into this
world and you were crying your head off? As soon as the doctor put you in my arms, you
stopped. It seemed as though you felt comforted because you went right to sleep. These
memories began when I felt my very first labor pain, and they will always be part of me.
I remember that after we brought you home, I couldn’t take my eyes off you. I’m
glad I decided to breast feed because that meant you were always in my arms, which is
where you always belonged. I remember the very first time I took you to the grocery
store; it was about three weeks after we brought you home. The day was very windy, so I
really bundled you up. Actually, I had so much wrapped around you that I was afraid you
might suffocate, so I kept my hand on your little heart to make sure you were still
As we were going into the store, a lady who was walking in the same direction, said
to me, “Make sure your baby is covered up! It’s really cold and windy out here, and you
don’t want him to catch colic; you’ll be up all night with him if he catches that!” Oh boy,
believe me, when she said that, I made a u-turn so quick I got dizzy my own self. We got
in the car, and we went right back home where I made out a grocery list for your dad so
he could go to the store when he came in from work.
I remember, Aaron, when you were five months old and I would lay you on your
stomach on the bed, and then I would get on the floor. I would begin to play the Peek-a-
Boo game with you by crawling around the bed from side to side, then sticking my head
up and saying “Peek-a-Boo!” That made you laugh so hard, and you would kick your feet
all around! When you started to crawl, we would play Peek-a-Boo every day. That was
your favorite game for a long, long time. Once you really started to crawl, I would put
you on the bed and, before I could get down on my knees good, you were already at the
edge of the bed so you could see the direction in which I was crawling and you would
crawl along with me. You just thought it was so funny!
Oh, Aaron, I loved to hear the sound of your little feet going pitter-patter when you
learned how to walk. And what about when you cut your very first tooth, then cut the
second one? It took you forever to cut the third one! We had given you the nickname
“Two Teeth,” and I had begun to think you were never going to have any more teeth.
Then there is the picture of you in your pajamas that I took when you were
rummaging in the refrigerator. I said “Two Teeth!” and you looked up at me with the
biggest, guiltiest smile on your face. I remember thinking to myself that your smile was
so big, all I could see was those two teeth! You looked as though you had gotten caught
with your hand in the cookie jar.
I remember going back to work when you were four years old. I worked right around
the corner, so if anything happened to you I was within running distance. I would walk
around the corner at lunchtime, just to watch you play in the yard with all the other kids. I
don’t think I ever told you that I did that before, but here I am now, remembering when.
Remember Grace Christian Elementary School? That was the first school you ever
attended, and on your first day I was so nervous, I paced the floor all day. It seemed that
the hands on the clock just stood still. I went from inside the house to outside. I drove by
the school two or three times, and then I walked up the street to see if I could see you
outside playing (the school was up the street and on the corner). The time finally came
for me to pick you up, and I couldn’t wait to see you and hear how your first day of
school went. You were so excited! You had met some new friends, and you told me all
about your new teacher. You were all ready to go back the next day.
My little feelings were so hurt because I had missed you so much that day, and there
you were, being a big boy ready to go back to school! I guess it’s safe to say I knew that
the first day of school was, in a way, the beginning of your journey. How I wish I could
have held back time!
I’m remembering when I had your brother Kendrick, and you spent a few days in
Laurel. Your father went to get you and bring you back home, and as soon as you ran into
the apartment, I heard your voice ask, “Where is Mama?” I told you I was in the
bedroom, and your next question was, “Where’s my little brother?” I could hear you
running up the stairs to see Kendrick. You jumped on the bed and touched him so gently.
I didn’t have to say a word to you. You already knew to be careful. And from that
moment on, the two of you were thick as thieves. If you made a move, Kendrick was
right beside you; the two of you became as one.
How about Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and the little girl you met? You said you
wanted her to be your wife! Winter came, and the weather was producing snow. The city
was not able to handle the kind of snow that was on the way, and the neighbors were
telling us it had never snowed like that in Oklahoma. And so many people played it
down; they were all telling us not to worry. (They knew we were from Mississippi, and
the South doesn’t get snow.) I had never seen weather like what they were talking about.
Your father was working in Michigan at the time and was not due back until two weeks
later. Three days before the snow was to hit the city, everyone was convinced that it was
going to happen soon. We bundled up and went to the store, and so did everyone else. By
the time we got there, the store was packed, and the food was flying off the shelves.
We went home and started to get ready for the snowstorm. You and Kendrick were
so happy because you guys were about to see snow for the first time, and you couldn’t
wait to play in it. Me? I, on the other hand, was one of those who didn’t want to see it
happen. Remember the day it was supposed to happen? The day came and there was no
snow. Night came, and we stayed up until 11:00 looking out the windows. Both of you
were so disappointed that there was no snow!
We went to bed, and when the next morning came, you got up first and looked out
the window; snow was everywhere! I heard you waking up your brother to see it, and
then I heard little feet running toward my bedroom. You guys jumped on the bed, and the
first thing you said was, “Can we go out and play in the snow?”
We all got dressed and went outside. The wind-chill factor was minus thirteen
degrees, if I remember right. I will never forget the cold! I never felt anything like that
before or since, but the two of you acted like it was nothing at all. The next-door boys
came out, and you guys had a snowball fight. After awhile you came in the house, and we
ate grilled cheese sandwiches and homemade vegetable soup.
For the next three days, the city was not able to do anything because they didn’t
have the right equipment to clean the streets; everything was shut down for days. Once
they finally got the streets in drivable condition, people started getting out. You boys
wanted to get out and go for a ride so you could see all the snow. Always wanting to
please my boys, I said “Okay.” (Keep in mind, I had never seen snow on the ground
before. And to drive in it, well, you see…) We jumped in the car, and I really didn’t think
twice about how it would be to drive on an icy road. We made it out of the driveway and
turned the corner and—Boy! How many cars and trucks we saw that had slid off the road.
Oh my goodness! I panicked; the streets in Oklahoma are farther apart than in
Mississippi. Well, let me tell you! I thought I was going to take you boys around a couple
of blocks so that you could see the snow around the neighborhood, come back home, and
enjoy the rest of the evening. That was my plan anyway. (We know how plans work out,
don’t we?) What I thought was going to take twenty minutes turned out to be an hour.
Everywhere we went, cars were off to the side or in a ditch, and the wind was
blowing so hard it would move the car. Now, put in your mind a young lady from a place
where it never snowed, where she had never ever heard the wind blow like it was doing,
and put two boys in the car!
You said, “Mama, do you know how to ride in the snow? We want to go back home
now, because we don’t want to end up in a ditch or get stuck out here.” I looked at my
two sons and I saw how they were afraid, so I told them, “Mama knows how to drive in
snow.” To tell the truth, I was afraid. I’ve never been so scared in my life! Anyway, I lied
so you guys wouldn’t be afraid.
You were always full of questions, and I liked that about you. That’s how you
learn—by asking questions, right? Well, you know how at least one of your kids wants to
continue with the question, as if he wasn’t pleased with the answer you gave. You were
one of them. You said, “Mama, you told us you had never seen snow on the ground
before, so how did you learn how to drive in the snow, and with the roads being iced
The first thing I wanted to do was look back at you and say, “Never question what I
tell you,” but you had caught me in a lie. I sat there wanting to laugh because of what you
had just said and wanting to cry because I didn’t know if we were going to make it home
in one piece; so I just told you to sit and watch me get us home. We all love music so I
told you guys to just listen to the music and enjoy the ride; we were going home. It took
me, like I said, almost an hour to drive around the block because I was driving at around
five miles an hour. As we started back home the two of you began counting the cars and
trucks that were off the side of the road. We slipped and slid all over the place, but we
made it home okay.
Remember when you lost your tooth at school, and when I came to pick you up you
were so excited? We got home and you jumped out of the car so fast; you were in a hurry
to put your tooth under your pillow. Being in such a hurry, you closed the car door on
your hand, but before I could get out of the car, you had pulled it out. One part of the
door cut your finger so deep it split wide open, and I hurried you into the house so that I
could put a towel around it.
Then I rushed you to the hospital emergency room. I was so shaken up; they had to
calm me down before they could see about you. And there you were, being the big boy as
you always had been. They took us to one of the rooms and the doctor came in. After he
examined your finger, he told me that you had to have fifteen stitches. I started crying
again because I thought you were hurting. And you probably were, but looking back at
how I was reacting, I think I took your little mind off the pain. The doctor told me what
he was going to have to do to clean your finger out and told me that it would probably be
a good idea if I went back out to the waiting room. I told him I would go and stand by the
door. I stood there and never heard you say a word. After it was all over, they told me I
could come back in the room. I looked at you, and the first thing you said to me was,
“Look, Mama, look at all the stitches.” That was the last thing I wanted to look at, and I
was about to pass out, but you sat there like it was nothing. You were so excited to have
your finger all stitched up; you thought it was something so cool!
Atlanta, Georgia, was a new beginning for us—a new home, new friends, a new
life—but a very painful ending. At the time I thought, “This will be good, a new place,
new city parks, the zoo, museums, pro baseball, football, basketball, hockey and tennis,
concerts, colleges, jobs—what could be better than being in a place like Atlanta?” We
were so happy about moving to Atlanta and making it our home!
But I guess things don’t always turn out as we would like. I guess that’s life. Now,
I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t crossed my mind once or twice, “What if we had stayed in
Mississippi? How would things be then?” But, like I say, I could “what if” all my life, but
I will not live my life that way.
So remember the Old Plantation townhouse? We had a lot of fun there! We met
good friends there. One time, you had been laid off from work; your friend, Blake, who
lived across town, told you he probably could get you a job where he worked. Another
time, when you could not find work, Blake said you could come and live with him. He
said it would be like old times. But you were not young boys any more.
You were young men.
Remember when we moved to Smyrna? You met a new group of friends, and to
them I would like to say thank you so very much for being such good friends to Aaron
while he was here. I have so many memories of your life as I sit here, just remembering
from one year to the next. Toward the end, Aaron, you and I had our ups and downs, and
yet each new day that God blessed us with, we started the morning with “I Love You,”
hugs, and kisses. And that’s just how we ended the day, no matter what had taken place.
Hey, Aaron, what about the time I came in from work, and you and your brother
wanted to go to your favorite pizza place? I told you to let me take a shower and we
Remember, when we left the house it was sunny and beautiful, but by the time we
pulled out of the neighborhood, we saw dark clouds on the other end of the street.
Although the weather was looking pretty bad, you guys just had to have your pizza that
evening. As a mother I should have followed my instincts to turn back around and go
home, but I wanted to make y’all happy. Boy! Driving up South Cobb all of a sudden, all
hell (hail) broke loose!
Remember the hailstorm? It was golf-ball sized, coming down like you wouldn’t
believe; remember it was coming down so hard it cracked the windshield? We couldn’t
see a thing, but the hailstones, and the sound of them hitting the car, was just unreal.
Thank goodness I knew the area like I did and that the drugstore beside the pizza parlor
had big blue letters for everyone to see. I knew to turn to the right, and that put the hail
(although still coming down like mad) more to the back of us.
Aaron, remember we sat there in the car, so afraid. The people in the pizza parlor
were trying to hold the door open for us. We could see them waving for us to come on in,
but the storm was so intense we thought just sitting there would be the safe thing to do.
Then something hit the power box on the telephone pole, and that thought went straight
out the window. Aaron, remember I screamed, “Get out of the car and run!” and boy, we
took off running? All I could say was, “Oh God! Oh God!”
The people in the pizza parlor were still standing by the door, holding it open. We
almost knocked them down, getting inside. Once we were inside and okay, remember we
laughed so hard we were crying? With real tears!
Hey Aaron, remember the morning I woke you up to ask you if you had any plans
for the morning? You said you didn’t, and I told you to make sure you were at home
when I got back. What you didn’t know was that Nicole was taking me to get your very
first car for your birthday. We left and were gone about three hours. I pulled up in the
yard and left the car running. When I came into the house, you were in your room
listening to music.
I told you and Ken to come into the den, and I asked, “What is that I hear?” You told
me that you didn’t hear anything.
I said, “Listen closely.”
Both of you said, “We don’t hear anything.”
I opened the door and asked, “Do you hear anything now?”
You said, “Yes, it sounds like a car running.”
I just stood there looking at you. You looked at me and then ran to the door smiling
with Ken right behind you.
You said, “Mama, is that my car?”
I said, “Yes! Happy Birthday, son.”
You gave me a kiss and went and put on some shoes and told Ken to come on. And
then the two of you went for a ride.
Aaron, what about the time I was going to Phoenix, Arizona, to try out for the pro
basketball team at the age of forty-four years young? I was a grandmother then.
Remember when we were at the airport and just walking around doing some window-
You said to me, “Mama, look, there goes Cheryl Miller.” And I thought you were
kidding around with me.
And then Kendrick said, “Mama, look, there she goes! Go and catch up with her and
tell her you’re on your way to try out for her team!” By the time I finally looked where
they were pointing and I saw the back of her head, I knew for sure that was Sharon Tiller.
(I’ve followed her career as a sports announcer, and of course when she was the first
coach of the pro team in Phoenix, when she played basketball at USC College.)
She stood taller than everyone around, so I knew it must be her.
I said, “Oh my God! That is her!” By that time she was about fifty feet from where
we were standing. You and Ken started telling me to run and catch up with her.
Remember? I took off running, and by the time I caught her, I was out of breath. I called
her name and she looked around (I almost fainted). I introduced myself and told her that I
was on my way to try out for her team.
She smiled and said to me, “Good, I hope you’re in shape.”
“I am!” I said.
“Well, I will see you in the gym tomorrow.” By then you and
Ken had caught up with us.
Remember? You said, “See there, Mama, I told you!”
Time came for me to board the plane, and you guys gave me hugs and kisses and
wished me luck. I went through door, boarded the plane, and who did I see seating in first
class but Sharon Tiller? We smiled at each other, and I went on to my seat.
I had never flown before, and I felt as though I never would again. So, being as
nervous as anyone could ever imagine, I sat in my seat realizing that I was about to leave
the ground for the first time and, just as I said to myself, “This is not a good idea,” a
young man (a flight attendant) came up to me.
He said, “Hi, Kathy, how are you? On your way to Phoenix to try out for the team,
huh? Did you see Sharon Tiller sitting in first-class?”
I’m looking at this young man and saying to myself, “He knows too much about me
and where I’m going.”
Then he said to me, “Your son Aaron stopped me as I was coming through the door
and told me that this was your first time flying and you are very nervous.” I told him that
it was and that, to tell the truth, I wanted to get off the plane right then.
He smiled and said to me, “It’s going to be all right. Aaron made me promise him
that I would take care of you, and I told him I would. So if you need anything between
the times I come to check on you, just let me know. And he told me to tell you that he
loves you and he knows that you are going to do well.”
By then it was time to put the seat belts on and I thought, “Oh boy, two things—
should I get off now? Or should I go and try out for something that I have always
dreamed of?” I made sure my seat belt was locked good and tight, and thought, “Phoenix,
here I come.”
I sit here now thinking about that day and I can hear you and Ken saying to me,
“Come on, Mama, run!”
I thought it was I saying to you guys, “Come on guys, try and keep up with your
mother!” Either way it went, Aaron, my son, once again we were okay.
Hey Aaron, remember the black and white pinstripe baseball cap that I loved so
much (although you wore it more than I)? Remember I used to get on to you about
wearing it all the time. I bought you countless baseball caps, but somehow you always
helped yourself to my caps. My favorite White Sox cap became your favorite one, also.
You wore that cap every way a person could wear a cap. You wore it backwards, to the
side, to the front, and even with a little twist. Well, I have retired our favorite cap. It now
sits in your room right above your pillows. And, son, I know you knew I never really
minded when you wore that cap.
Son, what about the days your sons arrived? True, I was not happy with the timing,
but words can never say how happy I am to be a grandmother. When I hear my three
grandsons call my name, grandmamma, I tell you, son, it’s right up with the words God,
Jesus, Mama, and Love. I used to think that there was nothing in this world better than
being a mother to you and your brother, but I must say, Aaron, being a grandmother is the
same—different, but the same.
My memories of you, Aaron, from the time you were born to the last day you were
here, I will keep in my heart and my mind forever. You and your brother—from the time
of Kendrick’s arrival, up to the last day—you and he were together; and the memories I
have of you and your sons! You were there when each one was born. To me, that was
such a good thing—witnessing their births!
I thank God always for the both of you and that we had that kind of mother-son
relationships. The two of you have given me more love and happiness than any mother
could ever even wish for. True, the last few months when you were here, I really pushed
you hard, trying to make you stand on your own two feet and be the young man you and I
knew you really were. And right there at the end, you had become that man. You had
been working steadily; you had saved up for your deposit, first and last month’s rent.
And, Aaron, just knowing that you had saved up that kind of money, son, puts a smile on
my face still today. Oh! How I wish we had talked about your new home. Aaron, there
are no words that I could say to tell you how proud I was of you. We know how you
usually were when it was time for you to save money! You were to move into your very
first house on October 1. I wish we had talked about that, Aaron, but you wanted to
surprise me by telling me on the day after you had moved in. But it wasn’t to be—
September 19, 2001, had other plans for you.
But the most important thing, Aaron, is that the last words I said to you were, “I love
you, Son,” and I can still hear you answer. “I love you too, Mama.” If only I had known
what was going to happen, I would have said so much more, but life doesn’t work that
I’m so grateful that God made me the person I am; I know that you knew just how
much I did love you, and that I gave you my very all. I shared my body with you for nine
months, and I think we had the same heartbeat then.
I guess that’s why for five months I carried your death inside my body, and although
I knew something terrible was about to happen, and I think you did too, Son, there was
nothing I could do; I just wish I could have been there to tell you that you were going to
be okay and that an angel was going to be escorting you through the pearly white gates of
heaven where God was awaiting your arrival.
You know, Aaron, you were such a good person; I don’t blame God for wanting you
home, but I want you to know that I miss you more than words can ever tell. I can’t even
think of any word to describe the loneliness I feel; at the same time, just knowing you are
in the place that Jesus went to prepare for us—I tell you, Son, it fills my heart.
Son, the other night as I was getting into bed, instead of lying from top to bottom, I
laid crossways. Even as I was doing that, I wondered why; then I began to feel an unusual
feeling in the room. As I lifted my head up and turned toward my bedroom door, there
you were looking at me. I froze for a moment looking at you and feeling this strange
feeling in the room. I started to wonder if I was dreaming, but I was pretty sure that I
wasn’t; I had only just lain down and in a matter of seconds, there you were. Aaron, I will
never forget, you stood there with your big beautiful smile looking at me, and then you
said to me, “I love you, Mama.” You gave me a bigger smile and then, just as you came,
you went. I lay there wondering if I dreamed it. Was I sleeping and the dream woke me
up? I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night, trying to figure out if I had dreamed it; but you
seemed so real! Just know this, Aaron—dream or no dream, know your mother loves you
and misses you.
I wish I could just hear you say, “Mama,” like only you can say. If only I could feel
your arms around my neck, giving me one of your big bear hugs. If only I could see your
face. If only I could see that smile that would light up my heart. If only I could see you
outside playing with your sons. If only I could look out of my bedroom window and see
you and Kendrick playing basketball in the front yard. If only I could stand inside your
door and watch you sleep just like I did from the time you were a baby up until you
became a man. I tell you, Aaron, my life has been turned upside down, Son…if
only…but you know what, Aaron? I could “if only” the rest of my life, but I won’t. We
are all here for a purpose, and one day we will also complete our journey. There are no
“ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” about it.
When I dream about you, Aaron, I can see you smiling that big, beautiful smile you
had. I know you are happy.
And, as painful as it is, I thank God for the twenty-three years I had you here with
me before your job here was done. Like I’ve always said, you are a really good guy. I
can’t blame God for wanting the best. (Hey, it’s because of Him you were here.) You’re
the best. You were a very good son, a great brother, and the kind of father I wish I had
had in my life. The word eternity has never meant so much to me as it does now; one day,
my son, we will be the Three Musketeers again. To know that there will never be an
ending the next time helps me stay grounded.
Aaron, you’ve given me a lifetime of memories, and as long as I live I will
remember each and every one of them. You do live on in so many ways, but the most
important one is through your sons. Each one of them has some of you in him. I look at
them sometimes and I have to leave; it’s too painful. I can see you in their eyes, in their
smiles. Aaron, please believe your mother; they will never forget their father. I promise
you, I won’t let them. As long as I’m alive, they will hear about you.
I will tell them about the little things (and big ones, too) you used to do. I will tell
them what a good father you were and how you talked about them all the time. How all
you did was talk about them when they weren’t here with you. How you had your chest
all stuck out when you would say, “Look at my sons; they look just like their father.”
And they do, and always will. I’ll make sure that they will always (always) remember
you. I don’t think I know any mom and sons (children) that had more fun than we had.
We had a ball! But, Aaron, I do know that we’ll all be together again, my son, one day. I
love you, Aaron and we will miss you dearly!!!
REMEMBER MY READERS
Weeping may come through the night, but because of our Lord Jesus Christ our Savior (if
you are a believer), joy will come in the morning. Amen. Amen!
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
A young man driving a speeding vehicle around a curve lost control. Perhaps if he
had not been going so fast, he would have been able to control the vehicle. But on that
evening, less than three miles away from our home, was a terrible accident that took
place on the very street where we live—an accident that will leave me devastated for the
rest of my life. My son, Aaron, was thrown from the back of a truck, and was killed
immediately. The knock on my door in the middle of the night and the news that I was
given, have changed my life forever. Why? Because my son, Aaron, is dead…
XXXXX (Note to layout: Please include the following on it’s own page)
or is he?
Jesus Said Unto Her I Am The Resurrection,
And The Life: He That Believeth In Me, Though He Were Dead, Yet Shall He Live…
St. John 11:25
I am Omega, the ending.