A Mother’s Love: Navigating Grief After Losing An Angel With Jessica Garland

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Jessica Garland | Mother’s Love

 

Join us for a deeply moving episode as we explore the profound journey of Jessica Garland, whose life was forever changed by unimaginable tragedy. From the joys of motherhood to the depths of grief, Jessica bravely shares her story of love, loss, and resilience in the face of adversity. Jessica opens up about the loss of her daughter, Kendra. From the surprising discovery of Kendra’s pregnancy to her vibrant interests in basketball, dancing, and singing, Jessica paints a vivid picture of her beloved daughter’s life. However, tragedy strikes when Kendra is senselessly murdered at the age of 17 while working at the airport VIP lounge. Jessica courageously shares the harrowing details of the event and the profound impact it had on her and her family. Through her raw and heartfelt storytelling, Jessica navigates the complexities of grief, finding solace in unexpected sources of support while emphasizing the importance of self-care and cherishing every moment with loved ones. Despite her profound loss, Jessica finds comfort in her daughters’ achievements and offers invaluable advice on parenting, relationships, and finding gratitude amidst unimaginable pain.

I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide

Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

A Mother’s Love: Navigating Grief After Losing An Angel With Jessica Garland

Our guest is Miss Jessica Garland, and she is going to share with us her journey and the loss of her daughter. There is a lot of conversation. There’s a lot of information to cover. Be prepared. Take notes. You will find yourself in this conversation, and you will be able to relate. Let’s get into the conversation now.

 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Jessica Garland | Mother’s Love

 

Our guest is Miss Jessica Garland. She is going to take us on a journey of her experience of grief. She is sharing the death of her daughter with us. I know from the conversations I’ve had with so many people that you also struggle with this type of grief. You are not alone. We are on this journey with you. If you are interested in sharing your journey, please email me at WidowhoodRealTalk@Gmail.com. If you have a particular topic you would like me to cover, please use that same email address. Let’s get into this conversation now.

Jessica, welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me.

Thank you for being here. Where are you currently in the world?

I’m in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Are you from there originally?

No, ma’am. I was raised in Connecticut.

From Connecticut To Georgia

That’s a bit of a way. How do we get from Connecticut to Georgia?

This is a story. I had my daughter on April 12, 1990, and shortly after having her, I started getting these headaches that would not go away, that get worse and worse to the point that I wasn’t even able to lift my head off the pillow. That’s how bad the headaches were. I got rushed to the hospital because it had gotten so bad that my eyes had rolled back in my head. I was jaundiced from head to toe. They rushed me to the hospital.

My father, who lived in Hartford, Connecticut, at the time, met me at the hospital to be able to help with the baby because she was a baby at the time. They told me that I had meningitis in my brain. They basically said to my father and to my mother, who came to the hospital, that if I lived, I would probably be a vegetable.

Your daughter was born in April. When did this transpire, you said again?

June of 1990. It was because I was in labor with her for 16 to 17 hours. They were thinking that we’re going to give you an epidural for the pain. I didn’t have any pain. “This is why we want you to get some rest so that when it comes time to push, you’ll have the energy to push.” I was like, “I’m young. I’m only twenty years old. I’m by myself.” Basically, the nurses, techs and staff were my birthing support team because I was by myself. I was technically coming out of being homeless, a week and a half shy of coming out of being homeless. I was in a shelter pregnant with her. The story is so complex. It’s weird. I didn’t find out. I found out that I was pregnant with her actually by accident.

I was working at a company called Record World. I got offered a job in their advertising department in upstate New York, which was $100,000 a year. I was like, “I’m about to be making some money at a young age.” I’m a manager and district manager, so I was quickly moving up the chain. These are braids, but my hair was a little bit longer than what these braids are at the time. I washed my hair and conditioned it, and I’m getting ready for this interview. I put the curling iron in my hair, and it slid so fast out, and it popped back in my eye.

What Black woman has not had an electrical burn in her eye? I’m telling you, I have. I can tell you when you said that, I remembered. It was right here, across my eye, across my eyebrow. I’m like, “There’s no amount of makeup that’s going to hide that because that burn is there.” You see a sister and go like, “I know how that happened.” We digress, but I couldn’t help the electrical burn.

It happened so fast. Do you know how something jars you? My eye was so open. It burnt my eyelids. I was rushed to the hospital, and I was bodybuilding thing and working out very heavily. I was practicing Kung Fu at the time. I was extremely in shape. You could wash clothes on my stomach. I had so many ripples in my abs. That’s not the case now.

At any rate, I get rushed to the hospital, and they’re doing their blood work because they’re thinking they’re going to have to do optic surgery and the other and remove the lens and stuff. They come back, and they say, “You’re pregnant.” I was like, “I’m not pregnant. I had had my cycle yesterday.” They were like, “No, ma’am. saying that you’re pregnant.” I was like, “Somebody made a mistake in the lab. That’s somebody else’s test.” They were like, “We’re going to do it again.”

The phlebotomist comes back up, and she draws more blood again. The actual head phlebotomist does the test, and he comes back up. He comes up and says, “Ma’am, we did it again. This is you. You are very pregnant. Your hormones are so high. You’re far into your pregnancy.” I’m like, “You all are tripping.” I lift the covers up. I lift my gown up, and I show them my stomach.

I’m like, “Pregnant where? What do you mean very pregnant? I am not pregnant.” They turned around and sent me for an ultrasound, and that’s when I found out my uterus does this little tilt backward thing. There’s a pocket down in there. She’s in the pocket, chilling this whole time. They turn around, and they do the measurements, whatever. I was five and a half months pregnant. I didn’t even know it.

Your daughter’s name?

Her name is Kendra. Kendra Leanne Mason.

Do you have any other children?

I have two younger daughters. Kendra was my firstborn. I have two other children, Makallah and Ivaria. They are Irish twins.

Favorite Memories Of Kendra

Kendra comes into this world on April 12 and your life is forever different. Tell me some of your favorite memories of Kendra.

She was a ballplayer like me. Me and her father used to play basketball together on the weekends for money. We used to do little team things and stuff on the courts.

That’s streetball.

We used to play streetball at the street courts and stuff on the weekends. We had so much in common. I actually had a crush on her father when I was in the second grade. I used to look over at him because he’s four years older than me. I used to look over at him, see his little Chinese eyes, and be gazing. He would snap me out of my little daydream.

It was so funny because he was far ahead of me as far as years were concerned back then. I used to follow him because I still love to watch him play basketball. He went to a different high school and everything because I was in West Haven, Connecticut. He was in New Hay, which is a couple of miles away. He went to a different school district, and I used to go to the games, where I would yell from the stands. “Come on, D up. Gary, come on, D up. Watch your side.” He’d be looking around like, “Who is this yelling at me?” It was me the whole time. He never knew it until I was nineteen years old.

I was working at Record World in the mall. It was the Chapel Street Mall in New Haven, Connecticut. I was a district manager at the time. Him and my cousin came into the store. Record World was the equivalent of what they call a Camelot music store. I don’t know if you know the name. It was a music store. You can go get tapes and CDs and whatever back in the day when they used to do that.

I must say, when you say Record World, I was like, “That does not exist anymore,” unless it’s online. Favorite memories of Kendra. That’s what you’re going to tell me.

Just watching her. She ended up wanting to play basketball. I gave her choices. As she was growing up, she tried dancing school because I went to twelve years of dancing school myself. She tried dancing school, and she couldn’t tap dance like Gregory Hines. One day, she wanted to give up. I was like, “I spent a lot of money on these tap shoes and ballet shoes and stuff.”

She thought about cheerleading. I was like, ” Mom is not about wasting money. Let’s go to the football games and see what the cheerleaders do. If you decide that you want to be a cheerleader, then we will invest money into it.” Dancing school thing, I was like, “That’s a lot of money out the window.” She looked at it, but she didn’t quite like the attitude of the cheerleader. She was like, “I don’t like the way they act. They’re mean, mommy.” At the time, cheerleading is expensive.

You learn. Note to parents. If your children want to do all these different things, do a little recon. Go check out the stuff they’re doing before you put the money down on it.

Let them see what goes on in that particular area so they can make a decision whether or not they want to do it or not. I took her to some basketball games and stuff. She was like, “I could do that.” I was like, “You think so?” I didn’t say anything. I let her make her decision. She was like, “I want to play basketball.” Basketball at the time, recreation was only $50. Cheerleading was $300.

I was thinking at least it had to be over $50. We’ll take basketball for $50.

I told her to take basketball. I was happy about that. She was a dancer. I’m the singer. She could hold a note, but she’s not a lead singer like me. I’m a lead singer. I’m a vocalist. She’s basically more of a background singer. The way that she sang was through dancing. My sister used to call her the pop locker.

I remember that.

She can pop lock and do all that ticking and everything. I have a video of her before her passing with her friend. She was fifteen at the time. It was her friend’s sweet sixteen birthday party. One of the guys at the birthday party challenged her, and she was sitting there looking at him like, “Yeah.” All of a sudden, my brother goes, “Get him, Kendra.” She starts ticking. She took him all the way to a chair and made him sit down. I was like, “Yes, that’s my baby girl.”

Her fluidity was amazing, and she had it naturally, never going to dancing school. Never any official or orthodox dance. She naturally had it. It was a gift for her. It’s like singing is a gift for me. Dancing was a gift for her. Basketball was a gift for her. She was one of the youngest that was playing AAU at a very young age. They actually drafted her. They were like, “We want her.” I was like, “I can’t afford AAU.” They were like, “Don’t worry about it.” They paid for everything because that’s how bad they wanted her.

What age was this when she was drafted?

She started playing basketball when she was eight. At ten years old, she got drafted in AAU. She started playing there because she was playing recreation before that. They felt like, “We want her. We’re going to take her with us.” I was going through quite a bit at that time already. At this particular time, I now had my two youngest daughters. I had heart failure massively after that. That’s another ordeal in itself.

Kendra’s Passing

We’ll circle back to something you said as we have this conversation. You mentioned the video being taken before Kendra passed. I want to tell you thank you for being willing to have this conversation because a lot of people experience the death of their child. I don’t want to ask a lot of questions, but I would like for you to pick up as far as where Kendra is and what you want to share about her passing at your own speed without me asking questions. Would you prefer me to ask you questions through that?

It probably would help me to ask to keep me in the moment. There’s so much information. It would help me to stay focused.

You have that video of Kendra. How old was she when she left this world?

She was seventeen.

What was the nature of her leaving this world?

She was murdered.

How did you find out about this?

She was at work. She started college early. She was jointly enrolled in college and in high school at the same time. She worked two jobs. She worked at a VIP lounge in the Hartsfield Atlanta airport. She also worked at this area urban store at Greenbrier Mall. She was such a busy little girl. Everybody used to always be like, “Slow down. Take time. You got plenty of time.” She would always be like, “No, not enough time in the day as it is already. Got to go.” I used to call her baby girl about her business. She was always like, “Got to go.” She was at her job, her second job at the mall, this little urban store. It was June 16th. That particular year, it was Father’s Day. She was born on Easter Sunday and murdered on Father’s Day, 2007, June 16th.

There was a young man who approached her at her job at the airport. She worked in the VIP lounge where the stars came through. She was often asked to do a particular position at the job that she was not legally of age to do. She could not be a server or a waitress, even though they wanted her to because she wasn’t old enough to serve alcohol. She constantly had to remind them, “I’m not old enough to do that job.” They were like, “We keep forgetting.” She was extremely mature for her age. Most people often thought that she was older than what she was because of her conduct. Her speech was well beyond her years, even when she was a baby. Her speech was well beyond her years. I used to always call her young with an old soul.

One of the guys that worked in this airport at another place, whatever, in the kitchen somewhere, he had approached her and asked her to be his girlfriend. She said, “I don’t attach myself to people that I don’t know. Present yourself, and when I’m ready, I’ll make my decision.” He says, “It’s because I got dreadlocks.” She was like, “No, I actually like locks. I like them to be manicured and neat and clean. I don’t have any problem because you have locks. I don’t know you. I don’t attach myself to things that I don’t know what it’s about.”

She came home, and she told me what she had said. I was like, “Good girl.” That’s what I taught her. I taught her that you’re going to meet lots of people. You have the right to choose who you attach yourself to and why. I said, “Some people are there for a reason. Some people are there because they see where you’re going. They want to ride your coattail. Not unless you’re planning on feeling like you got a 500-pound sack of potatoes on your back all the time, you might want to be mindful of what attach to you and what you attach yourself to. You’re obligated once you start attaching yourself to things.” She was like, “That makes sense, mom.”

Some people are there for a reason. Some people are there because they see where you're going. Share on X

I could have the most logical adult conversations with her, even though she was a child. Her professors and her teachers used to call me all the time. One of her professors actually brought her home one day. He was like, “She had to stay after,” because she was using his computer because something was wrong with the printer. I didn’t have a printer. My printer was out, so she needed to print off an assignment. She was using the teacher’s. He was like, “I had to bring her home because I wanted to meet this great woman who raised such an awesome, prolific child.” You pray that when you raise your kids a certain way. You give them these morals and these values. Sometimes, they go out in the street and act the fool.

Represent what we’ve been giving you.

At first, when they pulled up, I was like, “What did my child do?” I was ready to go in on her. He was like, “No, everything is fine. I wanted to meet you. She said that you raised her by yourself.” I was like, “Yes. Her father was pretty much absentee the whole time.” He said, “I had to meet the woman who raised such a wonderful child. Do you realize this child has a way of pulling out of you things that you have no intentions on sharing with a teenager?” She had the same gifts as I do.

Do you want me to keep you on track? I’m going to pull you back a little bit. She comes home, and she tells you what this young man says. What happens from there?

In a couple of weeks’ time, he’s presenting himself, and he’s wanting to come by. I say, “I want to meet him.” He wanted to take her out on a date. I said, “You’re not going anywhere with someone I have never met.” She brings him to the house, and I meet him. He’s this skinny little dude. He barely has any facial hair. It’s like peach fuzzy. His speech was even of a teenager, not of a 25-five-year-old man. He tells me that he’s nineteen. I asked him, “How old are you?” He says, “Nineteen.” If there was something about him, he looked older than nineteen, or his speech was giving more than nineteen, I probably would have been like, “Let me see some ID.” There was nothing about him that rang a flag for me to say, “Let me see your ID.” I didn’t even find out how old he was until he had murdered my daughter.

The young man that she brought home was the one who actually murdered her. How long had they been dating before that took place?

Give or take 30 days. It was not long at all.

Do you know why he did it?

Two days before he did it, he had come to the house. It was a beautiful, hot day. I had all the windows open. I’m in a house, not in an apartment or what have you. I’m in the front room where my office was. I’m on my computer. I was actually in the middle of writing my first book. That book was going to be titled To Be Found Worthy. Once I get further into who my daughter actually was, which is weird. Some people may believe me. Some people may not. I don’t care. When I found out who she was to God, I was found worthy of that. The title of the book was To Be Found Worthy. I was about on Chapter 9. I’m typing away. He comes to the house. He has some flowers. He has this little knockoff pocketbook. He was trying to buy her affection.

The week before that, he was saying that he wanted to go to Le Cordon Bleu School to become a chef. She, being the supportive person that she was, had actually taken a day off of work. I didn’t know this until after the fact when she came home. She actually stopped at the bank. She had taken out $200 to put his deposit down for the classes and everything. She was going down there. She gets down there to support him in going to school. She’s literally on her way to Harvard. She had a full ride to Harvard. She was going to college. He was like, “I want to go to cooking school.” She was like, “Okay.” She’s supporting him. She gets down there with him and finds out at this interview for him to go to this school that he does not have a high school diploma or a GED.

There were so many things that she was ticked off when she got home. She was like, “He got me wasting my time. I got things I got to do. I get all the way down there, Mom. He doesn’t even have a high school diploma or a GED.” I was like, “That is the reason why I asked you when people approach you and want you to be their girlfriend, that you have them present themselves so that when you do make your decision, you’re making a sound decision whether or not you want to put up with that.” That’s going to be conducive to the life that you’re taking.

Dating is that. It’s getting to know somebody. It’s not a commitment.

My point exactly. She did exactly what I had been training her and teaching her to do. I was not upset with her at all when she came home upset. She did let me know that he was definitely not in alignment where she was going. A couple of days later, he’s at my house, and he’s on the porch, and he’s begging her to accept him and to be his girlfriend. He’s got these flowers in this little knockoff pocketbook, and he’s trying to buy her affection. I’m listening to the whole thing because my window is open. I can hear everything. I’m not interfering because she’s now seventeen and getting ready to graduate. She has to learn how to make her own way and make sound decisions for herself. I wasn’t going to interfere unless I felt necessary.

I’m listening to her. He was like, “I brought you these flowers and this pocketbook,” and whatever. She said, “You’ve got me twisted. I’m not high maintenance. I’m maintenance. I can buy all this for myself. I got two jobs.” She was basically talking to him. I’m sitting here thinking to myself like, “Jess, you did a good job.” I’m over here typing, but I’m like, “Tell him, baby.” I’m listening. He turns around. He’s upset because he said, “You said to give you time, and you’re going to make your decision.” She said, “Now, after everything that I have obtained knowledge-wise concerning you, my decision would have to be no.”

She said, “I can’t even help you get into a community college where I’m going. I’m going to Harvard. You have no high school diploma or a GED.” This is not in Georgia. This is all the way in Boston. She’s trying to explain to him that you’re not going to be able to keep up with me where you are in your life. She said, “I don’t think it’s fair for you to ask me not to go to college because you didn’t do what you needed to do. I put in the work.” I’m listening to her. He made a statement of, “You’re saying you’re judging me.” His tone changed. I was like, “Okay.” I grabbed the dog and went to the front door, and normally, my dog would post up a little bit if he doesn’t know you.

I guess he felt the energy. I was like, “She said no. She’s made her decision. Please leave her alone. If you continue to harass her, I will call the police. We’re in Georgia. It’s 20 women to every 1 man here. If she is not the one, you got nineteen others to choose from. Move on.” It’s not that serious. I didn’t think anything of it. He left and sulked away. He got into his old Beat-up Crown Vic and scurried on away. I didn’t think we were going to have any problems after that.

I figured he probably would still be calling her and harassing her. The normal stuff. I thought it was normal. She was off to class, and she said, “Mom, I have got to go to work.” I’m like, “Okay.” That particular day, it was a Friday. I had to go to Emory because I had a massive stroke before this all happened, before I moved to College Park in Georgia, where that’s when I had died, and I was dead for 48 minutes and all of that, and what have you.

There’s probably going to be part two to this conversation, but we’re going to stay on to he leaves. She goes to school, and you had a medical appointment because to go any more beyond that, we will be here for five hours. We have to partial this out because you also talk about who your daughter was. I want to get space for that. We’ll go back to this part where you had the medical appointment.

I had a medical appointment. She’s letting me know she’s going to work and what have you. I’m like, “Okay. I’ll see you when you get out of work.” It was going to be an all-day appointment. I’ve got to go to four different floors in this hospital for different tests every time I would go. I said, “I’ll see you later on. You have a good day. Be careful.” She was like, “Yes, ma’am.” Normal day. She calls me. “I’m home now.” This particular weekend, a friend of mine’s church wants me to come and sing for the weekend at this program that they were having, a revival type of thing for the making.

My car was not in the best shape at the moment. I was like, “How am I going to get all the way to Gwinnett County? It’s a fifteen-minute ride.” He was like, “I’ll come get you. You guys can stay in my spare bedroom for the weekend.” I was like, “Okay.” She doesn’t get off her work until 9:00. By the time she finishes working and you get down here, she’ll be home. Her bags are already packed. Mine are packed. He’s on his way. It’s about 8:15 or so that he’s calling me, letting me know that he’s on his way to come pick us up for the weekend. She was like, “I’m about to get off work in a minute.” I said, “Let me know when you get off, and I’ll meet you at the train station.” She would take the train to the mall to go to work.

I said, “Let me know when you get ready to go to the train station, and I’ll meet you at the train station, and we’ll walk the little way home together because it’s dark outside.” This was at 9:00. She calls me at 9:00 to tell me, “I’m off work and I’m on my way to go catch the train.” I said, “Meet you at the train station. How did it go?” Here it is, Father’s Day weekend. All she ever wanted all her life was the affection and the acknowledgment from her father. She never seemed to get it. She would ask me all the time, “Mommy, why doesn’t my daddy call me? Why doesn’t he call me? Why doesn’t my daddy do this for me?”

I would never speak ill about him. I would always answer her honestly. I said, “I don’t know. You have to ask him.” I would give her the number. The number has never changed. All these years, it’s never changed. It’s the same number. She never could get him to answer the phone or to respond to her or what have you. This was the very last thing that she did. She bought all the fathers at her job Atlanta A’s hats. She had their name embroidered on it at the mall. She gifted them all these hats in honor of being a father. One of the young men that she gifted this hat was a new father. His baby was only a month old.

I said, “How did it go?” She says, “It went well. They loved it.” I said, “I’ll meet you at the train station.” She says, “Okay.” I’m putting on my sneakers and got ready to leave out the door. As soon as I touched the doorknob, it felt like someone had snatched my heart out of my chest. I physically felt it. My face began to hurt. I was holding my face, and I was holding my chest. Instantly, I knew something happened to her. I started calling her on the phone, but she wasn’t answering. I was calling it back-to-back. I was like, “Answer your phone. You know not to answer your phone. Why are you not answering your phone?” I kept calling. It would ring, and it would go to voicemail. I picked up the phone again.

Now, I’m calling the minister who’s on his way to my house to pick us up. I’m like, “Where are you?” He says, “I’m coming down now. I’m right here.” I’m like, “Put your flashes on and hit the gas. Something happened to Kendra. We got to get to the mall. Something happened to her. I could feel it. I know it.” He was like, “No, I don’t say that. It’s all good. I’m coming.” I said, “No. Put your flashes on and speed. You need to get here right now.” He pulled up to my house, and he comes up here, and I said, “Something’s wrong. Something happened to my daughter.” I go in, I grab my purse, and we’re getting ready to walk out the door.

As soon as I stepped my foot out of my front door onto my porch, I saw a black unmarked go by. It stopped towards the top of the street, and I was literally close to the top of the street. I lived in one of those like you go to the top of the street, and it’s a sharp turn. The one house right after that. I saw the brakes hit. When I saw the brakes hit and I saw the black unmarked, I knew it. I went back in the house. I threw my purse and my phone on the sofa. I know it’s not my language that I prefer to use on a regular. My exact words were, “Son of a bitch. My daughter is dead.” He was like, “Why would you say that? Don’t say that.” The black unmarked went by. I saw the brakes, and then I saw the reverse lights. They had passed the address that they were looking for.

I instantly knew it because I could feel that something happened to her. She knew, because of my health issues at the time, to never not answer the phone. She knew that we were all each other had. We depended on each other even to the point that when I was in the hospital for very lengthy times, no one could be in my room. I would end up having these double rooms all the time with two beds. One of the beds would be hers in the bed at the hospital with me. She said, “I’m not leaving my mom. I’m eleven years old.” She would be with me the whole time. She would get the work sent from school and do her homework, classwork, and everything at the hospital. She was not leaving her mom.

When I saw the black unmarked hit the reverse lights, that’s what I said. I was like, “Son of a bitch. My daughter is dead.” He was like, “Why would you say something like that? Don’t say that.” I said, “They don’t send a black unmarked for a police report. This is a regret to inform you.” I absolutely knew it. That’s exactly what they came and said. I wasn’t with her when it happened. What they said to me was that the young man who had been pursuing her, because she did not want to talk to him, and she did not want to date him, be his girlfriend, he approached her in the mall and was harassing her in the mall. I was telling her where I was. It was a lot of noise. I was hearing her, but it was hard to hear everything.

I was telling her, “That’s what mall security is for. Inform them and let them know that this young man is harassing you. They will escort him out of the mall. He doesn’t work in the mall. If he’s causing problems, they can escort him out. Just tell the mall security, and they’ll escort him out, and it won’t be no problems.” I think that’s what happened. They escorted him out, and she continued on with her day.

When she was leaving work, her and her male co-worker, seventeen years old as well, the one that had had a baby, were both leaving out of the mall doors. There was this little breezeway before you got to the end of the curb. They were walking through the breezeway and getting ready to both go catch the train. They weren’t dating or anything like that. They were co-workers at the same place. He approached them as she was coming out of the breezeway. He sat there and stopped and waited for her to get off. As soon as she came out, he approached them. From what I was told, he was close in her face. The young man stood in front of her. He guarded her, and he stood in front of her.

He squared her off, and he was like, “Back up, dude. What’s wrong with you? Get out of her face like that.” He took a 22-caliber gun out of the pocket of the hoodie. He had a black hoodie. He shot him three times until he dropped. When he dropped, it exposed my daughter, and he shot my daughter in the face. The bullet went in her face and it came out here and severed her artery in her neck. She actually was dead before she even hit the ground.

I want to pause for a moment, Jessica, and take a sip of your beverage and breathe a little bit. I thank you for being so willing to share this to help other people. It cost you something to have this conversation. It cost you because your daughter was your daughter. Even though telling this is important to keep telling her story, it still hurts to do it. I want you to give yourself a moment to catch yourself.

For people who are reading this conversation, it is so important to find a safe space to be able to share your journey. Do not allow grief to mute you. These conversations are hard, but they are also very healing, and it is extremely valuable to know that somebody cares and wants to hear your story. That the person you love has not been forgotten, and their journey is important.

 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Jessica Garland | Mother’s Love

 

That is why I’m intentionally having these types of conversations because widowhood is not about only the loss of a spouse. It is a loss of your child and parents. We all have relationships that have been severed because of death that we put on our good face. We come and show up in society, but a part of us has been ripped to shred as we still try to continue on in this journey. I am so grateful for Jessica being willing to share her journey in this process.

I thank you for actually giving me this opportunity because I never got it. Basically, she was murdered, and it was society, family, churches, people was moving right along. Don’t worry about it. She’s dead and gone. Suck it up. No one ever gave me the opportunity to fully grieve or to even process what was happening. I kept going to the door. I had this door on the house that had almost like a prism-like glass piece in the middle. A frosted prism-like glass. What I did was I actually sprayed it, but I kept the middle diamond piece clear. I used it like a peephole.

You have more people seeing through your house, so it’s like you want to feel safe because somebody can see a shadow going by. I get that.

I used it as a peephole because the door didn’t actually have a peephole. If somebody rang the doorbell or whatever, at least I could look out and see who it was. For so long, I kept going to the peephole because if I looked a certain way through it, I could see right up to the corner of her coming around that. I was like, “Here she comes.” She’s always had her little headphones on, and she’d be ticking and pop-locking her way down the street to the house. She was a music buff like me. I kept going to the door, thinking that this was a bad dream and I was going to wake up. I was literally hitting myself on the forehead like, “Wake up, Jess. Wake up. Come out of this.”

I felt like I was in the worst dream trance possible. I was in this coma, dream-like trance where I was like, “Wake up.” I kept hitting myself, telling myself to wake up. “This is a bad dream. This is not happening. She’s got to be in that corner any minute now. She never does this, but she is a teenager. They do stuff like this.” It was so unreal to me because she was such a good kid. I know everyone wants to know their kid is an angel or whatever, but she literally was. I don’t even know how to explain that.

I’ll say something while you catch yourself and you gather your thoughts. The grief is so much more than the burial of our loved one. It is that every day unpacking the reality that they are no longer here. It is every day when we have to sit down at the kitchen or dining room table or the counter where we would have breakfast, lunch or dinner and have that alone. It is the false narrative that our brain will play because the memory patterns have not shifted or changed enough to be able to accept that this person is not here.

Grief is hard. It is something we endure. It is a place that we will always carry with us some form of fashion. It doesn’t mean we have to stay stuck in that particular moment where it happened. When we visit it, it is raw and real. It is like it just happened when we dive into it. Once again, I want to thank Jessica for being willing to travel back into that moment to be able to share that with us. It’s also important she’s sharing it with you so you know your feelings are important and to not have to hide those to find a space where your voice is heard. The longer you hold it inside, the more difficult it becomes to carry. It is good when it gets released, but hopefully sooner than later for you.

I’ve held it for so long. It’s what caused the syndrome that I actually have at this current moment. I held it for so long, I dealt with so much.

Advice To Parents Struggling After Loss

Let me do this. Let me ask you this. From what you have experienced, if someone has recently lost their child and they are struggling to sleep at night, they are struggling to wonder if anybody cares. What advice would you give them or share from your own experience, however you want to phrase that?

I’ve come to know that my experience has been extremely isolated and lonely. Considering where I’ve known many people who have lost children and lost loved ones, even the mother of the young man that stood in front of my daughter and took three bullets for her, I surrounded myself around her. I girded her. I made sure that we did everything for his burial and everything first.

I did not do them at the same time. I wanted to give her, and I helped her financially with those costs and things. I took care of the baby as much as I bought all these things and stuff for the baby because I felt like I owed him that. He laid his life down for my daughter. I’m positive that he did not think that that was going to happen. He thought probably, at most, he was going to have to box with this guy. I don’t believe that he felt that was even on the table. I felt like I owed his mom all the respect and honor to do, to help her, and to gird her as much as possible for what he did for my daughter. I then took care of my daughter’s burial stuff. I put my daughter on the back burner to put him first.

Is that the advice you’re giving?

The advice that I’m giving is to try to remember all the moments that you can, good, bad, ugly, or indifferent. That was part of her growing up. It was part of her being and learning who she was as Kendra. Take every day and enjoy and take advantage of every day because you don’t know. Even the Bible says, “Tomorrow is promised to no man. No man knows the day or hour when the Lord cometh.” That cometh doesn’t mean for the last coming of cracking the sky and going to carry everybody up. It means when he cometh for you. Our days are numbered here on this Earth. I learned a lot of things about her death about her that puzzled me all her life.

 

 

From the time I was pregnant with her to birthing her, throughout her life, people would always refer to her as an angel. They would say, “She looks like an angel. She’s an angel. That’s my angel.” She even got the name. They called her the angel who walked College Park. Every time somebody saw her, “Where are you going?” “I’ve got to go to work.” She was busy. She was like, “I got to go.”

It was the angel that walked College Park. That’s what they called her. I used to look at her myself as mom. Sometimes, I would be staring at her, and she’d be going, “What? I got a booger?” I would say, “No.” It was so funny because she would always say that. I said, “Sometimes you look so angelic to me. I look at you, and I swear the heavens are going to open up.” She was like, “Mom.”

Every time someone referred to her as an angel or looking like an angel, she would hurry up and pass them off and hurry up and dip off somewhere. She’s saying, “I got to go.” She would leave. I didn’t pay it much attention. I thought that she was one that didn’t know how to receive compliments like that. That’s the way I first received it.

She never gave me a day of trouble. She literally potty-trained herself. She was like, “I don’t want to wear diapers. I want to wear panties, mommy. I’m a big girl. I promise. I’ll stay dry.” I said, “Just put the pull-up on, in case.” She said, “No, that’s for babies. I’ll be good. I’ll stay dry.” She’d be on the toilet, her little, tiny feet hanging out of the toilet because the rest of herself was in the toilet.

She never wet the bed. She never went to a pull-up stage or the whole, “Come on, go potty.” She would literally tell me, “I’ll go potty.” I’m like, “Okay.” I take her in. She’d be like, “I went potty.” Bottles were not an issue. When I got rid of the bottles, I literally was like, “We’re going from bottles to sippy cups and everything.” I put all the bottles in the trash and I waited until trash day, and she says, “I want baba.” I said, “The trash man took them,” because the trash man actually took them. She would be in the window, cussing that trash man out, like, “Bring back my bottles.” I was like, “I know. He took your bottles. It’s okay, Mommy got a new cup for you.” She was like, “Okay.”

She was so compliant her whole life. She never gave me any trouble whatsoever. She was an excellent student. She was the captain of her color guard and the sergeant of her drill team at ROTC school. She actually got the attention of the general. They had her lead the parade, but she didn’t have proper rank on her uniform. I’m following the parade, and I’m so happy for my baby. “Look at her. She’s doing that thing.” She’s twirling the rifle. They got the gold stars on their uniforms. Actually, her uniform is in this closet behind me, covered up and everything. They actually let me keep her uniform with her books and everything. I should have put it out and hung it behind me, but I’m sorry. I wasn’t even thinking.

No. You can take a picture if you would like that.

She got the star on their uniforms because she twirled the rifle and things at one of their competitions. This general comes at the end of the parade, and he says, “Whose child is this?” I was like, “What does she do wrong?” I’m like, “Mine.” He was like, “Awesome job. Who’s your commander?” We pointed right over to him, and he was like, “She did an awesome job. I want to know why she doesn’t have proper rank on her uniform. What happened?” She made rank instantly. She had become ROTC. She would do leaps and bounds amazingly. It literally amazed me some of the things that she would do so far ahead of her time. I would tell her to calm down. I said, “Relax, don’t worry. You got plenty of time.” She was like, “No, it’s not enough time as it is already.”

She was always wanting busy. “I want to do this. I want to do that. I want to experience this. I want to experience that.” Bless the Lord, she got to go to a prom. It was not her prom. It was a prom. She got to experience going to a prom and doing her dress, and I did her hair and everything. The young man that took her, he came, and he asked properly to take her to the prom. He was like, “Tell her not to worry about anything. I’m paying for everything. Her dress, her shoes, whatever.” It was funny because they both used to model for the JCPenney’s catalog and didn’t even know it.

Life Goes On

Those are some beautiful memories. I know we have been talking for a while. How have you learned to continue living in your daughter’s absence?

I had no choice. I went through massive heart failure afterwards. My heart failed massively. They diagnosed me with Broken Heart Syndrome. Basically, it shattered my heart what happened to her because she didn’t deserve that. She didn’t position herself for that. As people say, she wasn’t a young lady who was out there being grown and fast or anything like that. I felt like life had cheated her, so to speak. I understood things better when I found out who she was. This is a little off from what people would probably expect me to say. I told you, I always looked at her and said she looked angelic. People would always refer to her as an angel.

I have come to find out there was a guy who used to come by my house every day from the very first night that I moved into this house. He walks by the house, and he was always walking slow. He would stroll. He stopped right in the middle of the walkway and never crossed the curb. He stayed in the street. He was like, “Hello, this lady. I’ve been waiting on you. God is good.” I leaned over. I said, “All the time.” He said, “All the time.” I said, “God is good.” He said, “Amen.” He would keep strolling down the street. Every single day, he would either be strolling up or strolling down, and he would stop and say the same thing all the time. This was from the very first night that I moved into the house. I put a little stool out there to see what the neighborhood was like at night. I wanted to see what the neighborhood was like at night.

It wasn’t until my daughter was murdered that he crossed the curb and he was knocking on my door. My mother, the pastor’s wife, and her arm bearer had come to my house at the time. They had gotten there. He then stole somebody’s flowers out of their yard. You can still see the roots and everything on it. He’s at the door. If you look at him, he looked like he might have been a homeless man or someone who was on drugs or something.

A couple of weeks before it happened, his language changed, which made me start looking at him differently. I said, “This is not who I think it is.” He may look like a homeless man to you all. I’m like, “I don’t know.” I beg to differ because his language changed, and it was hitting my ear a certain way. I was like, “I need to find out who this man is.”

I found out what his real name was and things like that. Come to find out, he says to me, “I came to see the mother of the angel that walked College Park.” That’s what he said. The woman who answered my door was like, “Some crazy dude at your door.” I was like, “Let him in.” They’re looking at him because they’re looking at his countenance.

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Jessica Garland | Mother’s Love
Mother’s Love: “I came to see the mother of the angel that walked College Park.”

 

I already figured out who he was because I started seeking the Lord about this one. It rang my ear in a very different way. Come to find out, he was a recording angel. I was like, “This is so unreal. This cannot be happening to me.” By now, I’m trying to do my daughter’s preparatory for her service. I had to go to the mortuary and reconstruct my daughter’s face myself. I did it myself because what they did at the mortuary did not look like my daughter.

I asked them to take it off and if I could do it myself. They were like, “Yeah.” They never had that request forever. I took sculpting when I was in high school twice. I had this overwhelming feeling of taking it twice when I was in high school. I never knew that that was why God had let me take it twice because of the same techniques that I learned in high school, I ended up using them with wax and sculpting tools to reconstruct my daughter’s face.

He knocks on the door. He says, “I came to see the mother of the angel that walked College Park. I’ll be back. I’m going to let the family come through, but I’ll be back.” Every day, he still comes by. He says, “Where have you been?” I said, “I was at the funeral home trying to get her ready.” It was late at night. I’m sitting out on the porch on this little stool. It’s a little bar stool. I’m sitting on it, and I’ve got my feet on the spokes of it. I’m hearing this noise like bat wings. It was so loud that I was like, “That’s a big old bat. I got to move.” They got bat this size over here. I’m in hell.” It literally startled me so much that I almost fell off the stool. It was so close, and I was like, “I almost fell off the stool.”

He came to me. He said, “Sorry about the other night. You almost fell off the stool. I was running late. I have to make my report at 3:00.” I was like, “I’m not figuring out what you’re saying. I’m trying to put it together.” My mind is everywhere at this point, but I’m trying to figure out what he’s saying. He was like, “They’ve been trying to get me for years, but I stay on my post. I make my reports at 3:00.” I was like, “Okay.” Fast-forwarding a few days, funeral time is here. Mind you, my daughter, I said I did the young man first. Everybody had plenty of time to take off for work, schedule their flights or whatever to be here.

My daughter’s telling me it’s funeral day. Limousines are here. I’ve got an apostle’s hand and a bishop’s hand, and we’re about to do the prayer before we leave the house. Somebody is telling me, “We got to wait. So-and-so is not here.” I was like, “Look.” My language was so raw at this particular time. I had no filter, and I had no grace for anyone. The bull was not getting ready to happen at this particular time with me.

I was angry, and it was bothering me even more that people were so callous, saying at a time where I needed you to gird me and undergird me, you were being so callous like it was about you. I was left at the house by myself to do everything by myself while everyone was at my sister’s house, as if it were a family reunion down there.

There was a church between my house and a neighbor’s house. Their parking lot was between us. She used to do their summer Bible camps with the kids. She would go and help with the little kids. The pastor of this church comes to the house to give us condolences, and that church took up an offering for her. He came and he was like, “How are you doing?” I invite him in. I said, “Come on in, sir. Thank you for coming.” He realized that I was here by myself. He was like, “Are you alone?” I said, “Yes.” It was so disturbing that the pastor started cussing. He said, “Where the hell are they at?” He’s asking where people are. I said, “Apparently, it’s a family reunion going on down at my sister’s house in Ellenwood.”

He was like, “What are they doing down there? They need to be with you.” I said, “Evidently, it’s not important. At the end of the day, what can I do for you, sir?” He was upset. My daughter is telling me, “Mom, don’t be late. You cannot be late for the funeral. You have to be on time. I have to make my report at 3:00.”

Her funeral started at 12:30. My mind was thinking that she was talking about roll call for ROTC. I’m saying, “No more ROTC, baby. No more roll calls. You can rest now.” She says, “No, mom. I can’t be late. You have to leave on time.” To the point that people were literally talking about, “We got to wait for so-and-so because they’re not here yet.” I literally stopped the entire room. I said, “She didn’t half-ass her life when she was here. We’re not going to half-ass in her home. Whoever is not here is getting left.”

It’s not like her father didn’t know that she was his or that it was in question or anything. She looked exactly like him. He shows up literally three minutes before the limousine is leaving. I told him, “Your ass almost got left.” I meant it because I would have left him as well. “You didn’t help me raise her. You weren’t there for her when she was living.” Whatever. He didn’t help me bury her. I incurred that whole cost myself.

You bring up a good point that the people we think are going to show up and do things may not be there. The question I asked you, how has it been living and trying to exist after Kendra’s death that you had to? It sounds as if you had to carry because things had to happen. Things had to get done. It seems as if you’ve probably spent a great deal of time since that day continually carrying and getting things done. Have you learned or had the opportunity to start taking care of yourself?

The people we think are going to show up and do things may not be there. Share on X

It’s so weird. I’ve been taking care of myself for a very long time. Even as a young lady, before even her being born, I was taking care of myself in my own apartment, paying my own bills and rent.

Not being able to self-care as far as journaling, taking care of your mental health, not being able to take care of yourself in the capacity of that way. If I heard you correctly, this is the beginning of new conversations of you giving self-care for yourself.

It is because I never had the time or the opportunity to stop and take care of Jess. I was never given the grace or assistance at that moment. It was basically keep going, pay the bills, go to work, do this, do that, go to the doctor, figure it out, whatever. In the midst of people stealing from me, I had the pastors who actually eulogized my daughter steal $30,000 from me.

At that time, my own mother stole from me. At that time, she got caught in the drawer, taking the money out of the cards people gave me. I begged my mother to put it back. She basically says some choice words at me. She was saying some choice words about people who have shown up for my daughter because they weren’t dressed a certain way. People were literally leaving their jobs.

She was deflected from what she was doing and trying to turn it on to what’s going on there.

Deflected about what somebody was wearing or what someone looked like or whatever. I was like, “Literally, are you serious?” Her second-grade teacher was in Japan. This man saw her story on CNN and took a flight from Japan for a student he had in the second grade. He brought her assignment, which he kept as an example, to his class regarding the type of work he was looking for. He brought it, and he gave it to me. It’s actually in another room in my house right now, behind a puzzle.

It was a puzzle that her and I did. It was the last thing that we did together. I have it literally in the frame behind the puzzle, this particular art project that she did for this teacher. This man flies all the way from Japan. My mother is talking about what somebody’s wearing and who’s trifling this, that, and the other. I’m like, “I got no time for none of this foolery.”

When your person dies, the things that may have seemed to catch your attention don’t anymore. They don’t even hold weight. Maybe, if you were at somebody else’s thing, but when it’s your person, and you’re sitting in the front row, the dynamics of life have changed altogether. Have you been able to find joy in life?

When your person dies, the things that may have seemed to catch your attention don't anymore. They don't even hold weight. Share on X

I have tried. I’m still in the fight for trying.

Finding Happiness And Seizing Opportunities

What things are you happy about in life? That’s fair because this journey of losing our loved ones is not something that happens quickly.

No, I am happy that despite losing her, I still have two other daughters who have done well. One has her Master’s degree. She is a fifth-grade teacher now. She is now Miss Riden, a fifth-grade teacher. She called me and said, “Mom, these students are getting on my nerves.” I was like, “You’re going to work it out.” She’s got some issues, and I’ve been trying to help her work out those issues with her class. She has a large class, which is, I think, over-capacitated. I’ve been trying to give her mom wisdom of how to orchestrate her class to help her work for her, having that many students and only being one teacher in the room. The youngest twin is in law school. She wrote a book on how to prepare and what you need to know about getting into law school and professional school.

What if somebody buys that book? Can they message you or email you, or how can they get a copy of it?

Yes, they can email me, and I can forward them any information that they need. It’s currently an eBook. It is in the process of being printed. I do highly suggest to anyone who is considering going to law school or professional school that you get this little pamphlet book. It’s not a big book. It’s not a large read, but the information is straight to the point. It’s exactly what you need to know that you’re often not told.

There was a lot of information. She is first generation of getting a degree of this sort. She’s not getting an Associate’s degree or a certificate. This is Juris Doctorate, the highest degree you can get. I am super ecstatic about that. She’s doing well. Now, I’m working on getting her married and getting me some grandbabies.

Let me ask you this, Jess. If you could pick any period in your past, what period would you pick, and what advice would you give younger you? Your advice doesn’t allow you to change anything that’s going to happen but gives you advice on what you need to do and how to handle life.

I actually do it already. It’s weird that when you ask that, that’s why I say ask it again so I can make sure that I’m thinking correctly because I actually do it. Live every day as if it were your last. There are colloquialisms that we say, clichés that we say, that some opportunities are once in a lifetime. Yes, we are because they say certain things in life come full circle. We say the full circle is like a clock.

Imagine this being a round item. It’s like a clock. An opportunity presented itself at 1:00, and you didn’t jump on that opportunity. You don’t know if you’re going to live long enough for that same opportunity to come back around and represent itself if it represents itself. Some opportunities truly are once in a lifetime. I actually have lived by that my entire life.

My father spoke in parables like Jesus all the time. My father was so funny. He reminds you of Bill Cosby, but he spoke in parables like Jesus. He never cussed, either. He would get so mad at my mom because even my mom was like nine sailors in one. He would be like, “Lane, stop cussing in front of them kids.” He would get upset. My father would be like, “Dad blaggot.” He said, “Freaking fracking kids. Get on my blasted nerves.”

 

 

The dad blaggot thing used to be the funniest thing to me. He wasn’t a cusser. My mom was. I messed around and repeated something that my mom said once. He was like, “Didn’t I tell you about cussing in front of these kids?” He taught me about having opportunities that present themselves. If you can do it, do it if you have the money, if you have the time. I was a person that I learned a lot of stuff for free. Without telling my age, I’m old enough that where apprenticing was still very valid in the land at the time.

When opportunities present themselves, do it. Share on X

No, that’s some good advice. What you’re saying is when the opportunity presents itself, take it. Don’t put things off because you don’t know if you’ll ever have an opportunity to do it again.

I apprenticed a lot of things. I met someone who was doing something that interests me. I was literally humble myself and be like, “If I come every day, can you show me how to do that?” They were like,
“You want to learn how to do this?” I was like, “Yeah, this is so cool. I think I can do it.”

I love the application on how to do it because a lot of times, people say, “I want to do something.” You’re saying find somebody that knows how to do it and let them show you. Be in there with it.

I didn’t get the opportunity to go to college. That’s another whole story in itself. I got into Juilliard.

We have literally not even brushed the surface of it. We have already been talking for just about two hours . I want to have the second part of that conversation because I want to give it the honor that it requires. I know this much has been draining on you. We will have a part two to this because we haven’t talked much about you, your daughter’s wonderfulness and a little bit on your other two. You have a whole story on top of this because, like anybody else in this world, you have your own journey. I would ask you this. For you to close out this conversation and speak to the people that are reading to this and speak to them, however, you would want to end this conversation.

Having A Child Is An Honor And Privilege

Know that it is an honor and a privilege to be found worthy to have a child, to be responsible for a child, to take on the role of leading, guiding, and structuring this child. Biblically speaking, train up a child in the way that they should go that when they get older, they won’t depart from it. Know that one of the biggest honors man could have on this Earth is to raise a child.

 

Widowhood Real Talk with Tina | Jessica Garland | Mother’s Love

 

To birth a child from a female’s perspective, from a father’s perspective, to cover a child, to shield and protect a child. If you ever have the opportunity to bring a child into this world or to be the father of a child, take that responsibility fully to heart and don’t take it lightly. Don’t throw that opportunity away because everything that child is actually a direct reflection of you.

When your child grows up, and people come in contact with your child, they’re like, “You’re like your dad. You look like your mom. You sound like your mom. You sound like your dad. Your dad used to do this when he was little as well.” Our children are direct reflections of us. I literally say one of the books that I was going to be writing is What’s Your Reflection? That’s the title of it. Literally, it’s the essence of your children because what they do in the street is going to let people know basically what’s being allowed at home.

I had an opportunity one time when someone saw my two youngest children at the mall. One of the ladies from the church. She was at the mall with her daughter, and she saw my two youngest daughters there. She came up to me and she said, “I saw your daughters at the mall this weekend.” I’ll be honest, my first thing was like, “What is she going to say?”

She turned around and said to me, “You would be so proud. They were such ladies. They were so ladylike, and they enjoyed their little meal, shopping, and everything.” It’s the worst thing you want to hear if someone says, “I saw your child at the mall and girl, she had on this old ratchet outfit.” I don’t want to hear that. “I caught around down in the alley with somebody or something.”

I’m thankful that the report was a good report. They represented me well. I would say honestly, be mindful of what you’re rearing into your child, what you’re rearing into the people you love, the people in your house, your family, your wife, and even how a husband cares for his wife. Even if you’re not married to this woman, but she’s carrying your child. Even how you, as a father, baby daddy, whatever you want to put it, care for the woman who’s carrying your seed, says volumes about you without you saying a word. How you treat people and how you care for people speaks so many volumes about you and the character within you. I would say make sure you spend as much time with them as possible and listen to them.

How you treat people and how you care for people speaks so many volumes about you and the character within you. Share on X

We spend so much time on the phone gossiping and doing things like that. Your child is saying, “Mommy, can I talk to you? Daddy, can I talk to you?” You’re like, “I got no time. Go play, go watch TV.” You’re putting them off when you spend more time parlaying on the toilet. You finish what you must do in the bathroom, but you’re sitting there, marinating. That’s the same amount of time it could have taken you to answer the question that this child has.

We are the adults. We are the ones who are learned. Some of us are highly educated. We’ve got degrees and all kinds of technical knowledge and things like that. It takes two seconds to answer a simple question rather than leave them open to go somewhere and get their answer out in the street. You don’t know what answer they’re going to get.

Is it going to be sound wisdom or is it going to be something that’s going to land them in jail or in the grave? Be mindful of that and love on them as much as you possibly can. Never let a day go by that you don’t explain to them how much you care about them and how proud you are of every little accomplishment. They need that. Our children need that. They need to know that we are aware. We see them that we’re not so caught up in pocketbooks and outfits and cars, and this, that, and the other, that they’re not a concern or a factor.

I watched some people walk by their children like their furniture, and it irks me. My daughter brought home kids. Most kids bring home stray cats and dogs. My daughter brought home kids every day. She brought home somebody’s child from school, saying, “My mom can help you. She knows everything.” I was like, “Stop saying that. I don’t know everything.”

She saw them like you saw her. Your daughter made a point to see people right where they were. She mimicked what you showed her how to do.

She sure did. Even to the point right before this happened, there was a young man that he had an argument or something with his family members, and they put him out of the house, and he didn’t have anywhere to go. Instead of her saying, “Mom, can he come and sleep in the spare bedroom?” She thought I was going to say no. She snuck him into her room. It’s scary because that particular morning, I had gotten sick, and I had vomited. I got it all over my pajamas. I grabbed the little teddy thing that was in the bathroom on the back of the door. I figured my husband was sleeping. I’m not going to wake him up.

She’s leaving to get ready to go to school. I’ll lay down in her bedroom, which was closer to the bathroom anyway. When I go in, I’m all exposed on the bottom half with this little short teddy on. I go to crawl into her bed, and out of the peripheral of my eye, I see this young man holding the screen to the window. I

snapped. I got him by the throat. He’s off the floor. I’ve got him up against the wall. I’m trying to assess how old he is. Take his head off. Not take his head off. Am I going to jail? What’s happening here? First of all, if you didn’t come to that front door, you’ve got no business in here. It was really funny. She was like, “Mom, don’t hurt him. He didn’t have anywhere to go.” She’s was constantly helping someone all the time. I’m constantly still doing that to this very day.

You have helped so many. You did it in this conversation. Thank you. We will get together. This may be 2 or 3 conversations. I don’t know what it will take us, but I want to have several conversations so we can give full breadth to be able to share your journey. Thank you for being here and having this conversation. We will have some more.

I’m realizing literally in this moment that this was so neat. It’s almost like I lost twenty pounds. I’m feeling like light. Thank you so much for reaching out and giving me this opportunity that’s been needed for a long time. You’re talking many years. That’s a long time to hold something and never get a chance to fully release it.

You are welcome. We will have a few more conversations. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much for having me.

You’re welcome.

 

Important Links

Thank you for viewing this post. I am not a licensed therapist or professional life coach.

I am sharing my experience of loving the same man for 32 years, a mother to two adult children, a retired military officer, a breast cancer survivor, and my connections with others.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts should reach out to a suicide hotline or local emergency number in their country https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/suicide/suicide-prevention-hotlines-resources-worldwide