This will probably be the most transparent blog ever. When I tell you the last 2 years have taken me to a
whole nutha level of mental anguish, it has. In 2018 I watched my daughter go through absolute hell as her s best friend was murdered right in front of her. As I layed in the bed waiting for her to come home, I called her phone. 10:00, 10:15, 10:45...I kept calling with no response. Then I finally call her older sister Jazmine and ask her to track down her sister. She said, "something happened, I think Latifah got shot". I immediately jumped up, grabbed my keys and began driving. I had no idea where I was going. Then, I get the call no mother wants - "Hello, this is Officer XXX and I am with your daughter Maya". both her and her friend were at the store when Latifah was shot". I screamed!!! You see, that little girl was at my house almost every day. They were the best of friends. Some nights, she would come and sit at the foot of my bed and just talk about everything. From her mom, grandma, sisters, goals for the future, doing makeup - you name it, we talked about it. So to hear she was shot was like it was my daughter. Then, he said something that ripped out a part of my gut. He said, "she did not make it". I was at a lost, I drove around in circles so confused for about 10 minutes - up and down Broad St. - lost, afraid, sick to my stomach - thoughts from all directions clouding my mind. I was in utter disbelief. To hear the grief moan, screams and wailing of my daughters left me limp and lifeless.
After this night of terror, the nightmare became more intense. Not only did we have to deal with the death, but now the stigma and threats from people that we did not know. My daughter was accused and our lives threatened. Keep in mind, she was there when the young man shot her and then ran. Maya did CPR for 20 minutes, even while the EMTs and police were on the scene. To be blamed for the death done at the hands of someone else, live through feeling her die in your hands, threats to your life and to the family - it was too much to bear.
Easter 2018 - the night before the resurrection of Jesus, we lost someone that left a hole in our lives forever. Not only this, now as a mom my job is to protect and help her to heal. This was not something I was equipped to do. She was taken out of school - 3 months before her graduation. We literally lived in horror every single day - no freedom, no friends, no life. Just me and my 2 daughters - alone and afraid. My prayers to God came from the core of my being. All I had (all I needed was God) and that's what kept me from losing my complete mind. For the next 3 months, I struggled to keep Maya's grades up to par. We were told she would not graduate from the ACE Center for Cosmetology because she had missed too many hours. BUT GOD! You see, God had another plan for her. While her classmates were prepping, studying and taking the State Board Exam for Cosmetology, Maya was at home - traumatized, dealing with PTSD, severe depression and anxiety. As a mom, I could not let her lose everything - so I pushed her to study. We studied all worksheets, notes and study guides to help prepare her for the exam. After graduating from Varina High School, then being selected to be a commencement speaker at the Technical School graduation, Maya not only took the State Board Exam, she passed and received her cosmetology license.
So, you're thinking, well that's alot. Alot is an understatement - that enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came that we would have life. My faith in God is strong and despite all I have gone through, I am still here. Oh, but wait, that's not it!
Nope, I've dealt with losing my job, house and car all in a 3 month period. We were homeless! I went from 6 figures to food stamps. College graduate, 2 Master's degrees and on top of my game - single mom, doing the doggone thang! It all came crashing down and in the blink of an eye, we were broke. I went to food banks every week for free food, sold all my shoes, jewelry and even books - yard sales became my new hustle. No matter what I did, it was not enough to make ends meet. I found myself staying with my boyfriend at the time and completely miserable. My daughter's bedroom was in the living room. No closet - makeshift room - trying to make her comfortable. How in the hell did I get here? My oldest Jazmine had to stay with my mother during her senior year of highschool. Imagine having to separate your children so you all would have some where to live - it was the most difficult thing I had to do. I'm sitting here laughing - I remember him asking me to pay rent after I had finally gotten a job. 200+ job applications and I finally got a job. Right after my 2nd paycheck, he asked me to sign a week-to-week lease - wow! What a jerk! Now, this particular story has a strange twist - but, God stepped in yet again. I'll have to come back to this one.
Now, 2019 - engaged to the love of my life. We got engaged in 2018 and all I can remember was, "my life is finally becoming normal and God is restoring all Satan stole". Funny thing about God, he doesn't necessarily restore, but he revives. He did something new in my life. Then, the twist - haters are going to hate and plant seeds of doubt. No, not for me - let's just say, families can be interesting and create division in relationships (most times for selfish reasons). Yep, they got in, but God took over. Wedding plans moving forward for 2020.
Guess, what, I got a NEW job! Revived by God - the job of my dreams. I'm starting to feel normal (well not really). All the while, Maya is still fighting all the same emotional battles, Jazmine is trying to be strong and now, my parents and their illnesses and just getting older. Here we go again - its too much! Just a week ago, someone put something my my daughter's drink while she was at work and she almost died. Yes, I said it - someone poisoned my daughter Jazmine and I had to perform CPR on my daughter. OH GOD!!! Why is is this happening? I've screamed, cried and fallen out in the floor. What if was not there for her? I don't want to think about it - God, stepped in and breathed life into her body.
You see, my life has not had its share of tragedies and these are just a few - but God has been there to bring all 3 of us through time and time again. I wanted to share this because I felt like I needed to get this off my heart as I decided, you know I need therapy. I need to unpack all these years of hurt, tragedy and disappointment. Also, I hope my story of resilience, determination and mere human nature shows you what God can do. My faith never has and never will waiver. Even if things don't always turn out the way I expect, I know God is present. I have been suffering through all of this crap for years. Friends at church, work, community partners, no one ever knew what I was going through. I have a testimony and I hope that my story will help someone to see the power in prayer and faith in God. God is the source of my strength!