IN MEMORY OF MY MOTHER (spoken by the author Nov.11, 2016)Published November 9, 2017
Our Mother, Mary Elizabeth Ingram Rose, was a special person. She was a proud Black woman who was intelligent and gifted. Her spirit, love, and dreams were the gifts she gave to her children and they were the gifts that kept on giving. We saw the World through her eyes as children, and over the course of our lives that has served each of us well.
She was the consummate dreamer. I believe that she dreamed as her Father had to ease the pains of life’s disappointments and encourage herself to believe that the future could be better. Her fears were diminished when she wrote poetry, played her favorite hymns, or read her Bible. She shared her dreams with us of one day publishing her poems or playing the piano at her own recital. We loved seeing the joy those dreams brought to her.
From her Mother, our Grandmother, she inherited the belief that she and we could do and be anything we wanted to be. Although the World and our nation was still mired in racial discrimination she never taught us that there were barriers we couldn’t overcome. She insisted that we were each smart, talented, and destined for greatness. Just as with her shared dreams she wrapped us in visions of future success, wealth, and great accomplishments.
The realities of a struggling family living in public housing with four, five, and then six rambunctious children would be enough to dampen most people’s dreams. She refused to be a victim of helplessness or hopelessness! She played the piano for her church as often as she could and Prayed for help when it was hard to make ends meet. Although there were periods of frustration Mary Rose held fast to her Faith and her sense of Humor to try and keep the pain of those struggles from her children. That’s right, our Mother could be very Funny! She could sting you with her criticism like the scorpion she’d claim to resemble, but she could also have us roaring with laughter over her comments or antics.
Now our relationship when I was a boy was complicated. As with many children and parents it’s often difficult to understand each other when it’s needed most. And when you add to that the fact of similar personalities it can be interesting. I wrote about our relationship in my book because I learned so much from it. I still regret the pain I brought to those closest to me during those years, but when I returned to my family as the maturing Man I needed to be all was forgiven. I was embraced and loved as only a prodigal son could appreciate. Ma always called me “my William” in that loving way that mothers use to verbally caress a child. Then my Mother and I had a new beginning that blessed us with a special loving relationship.
When the graceful years of aging came after she proved to be a survivor she was able to enjoy her children and their families. She reveled in her grandchildren and great grands as she accepted the mantle of matriarch of the family. She wore that crown and lovingly embraced the role of family elder as her golden years allowed her to enjoy her enduring personal relationships, community affairs and an active church life.
Like all survivors there comes a time to let go when the body can no longer respond to the spirit. She still battled back from the end of life often and even when she quietly left her body on Oct. 22nd she knew she would remain alive in the hearts of each of her children, grandchildren, and every other life that she touched in her own special way. Goodbye Ma you will always be remembered because you will always be missed.
Mary Elizabeth Ingram Rose 11/13/1925 to 10/22/2016