In Memory

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Dr. Shirley Mcgee Brown, lovingly known as Madear (mother-dear)

Today marks the 4th anniversary of my mother’s death.

When mom was diagnosed with stage four endometrial cancer it was a tremendous shock.  If you knew my mom, you know that she really did not have any bad habits. She didn’t even use bad language (yes…my mother :)).  She was a stickler about routine check-ups (dentist still marvel what good care she took of my teeth!) and was an avid reader. She had a PhD in Education and was cultured, poised, and polished. She was a Sunday school teacher who walked the walk: I cannot remember a morning that she did not rise early, pray, and meditate.  She was not supposed to get cancer.

But it happened.

And my world collapsed.

Not just because my mom was dying in such an unfair way; but because everything I thought I knew was challenged.

Doctors are the experts and lead us in the right direction….

Work really hard at a ‘job’ and then you get to retire and enjoy life

Mothers are supposed to forsake their dreams 

This is some of the conditioning I had to confront when, at just barely 60, my mother’s life was cut short.  While my foundation and moral compass remain the same, I have a little different take on those very ideas:

Doctors are experts in the practice of medicine but God gives us the ability to tune in to our body.  It is important to be your own health advocate.  No blood test or MRI trumps what your gut is telling you.

Do what you love and everything else will fall into place.  Jobs are very overrated. I wish my mom had worked less and lived more. 

 I think it is critical for children need to see their parents enjoying life. 

I miss her every single day.  But I am thriving  just as she would expect me too.

Here are some really cool, less known facts about my mom:

She was silly. Really silly. Yup I get that from her. 🙂

She loved cookies: oatmeal, shortbread, lorne doone… she was a cookie monster!

She loved old Westerns. Particularly “Gunsmoke”.

She would laugh so hard at times she cried.

She wrote poetry and recorded her memories.

She prayed for her enemies. By name. No joke.  (Working on this one Ma!)

She was allergic to nuts but loved them so she ate them!

She had a beautiful voice.  I can still hear her sing “Hosanna….Blessed be the Rock” . I can also hear her sing “Ridin’ Dirty”. She had no idea what she was singing but she was silly I tell ya!

Until the day she died, we (her grown children and her grandchildren) were welcome in her lap.

When she could no longer sing, I sang to her.  One of my last gifts to her.  Here is the song I sang to her:

So grateful for the 35 years we shared Mom.

Until we meet again.

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7 thoughts on “In Memory

  1. Na'Keyia

    I cried reading this. I love my aunt she was the best. The greatest woman I have ever known. Beautiful, educated, God fearing woman. In my eyes she did no wrong. When I found out she died I cried and cried. She loved me and cared for me like I was her own. She is the reason why I am headstrong and educated today. If you had ever met my Aunt Shirley then you would know that she is the best. I know she is in a better a place smiling down on all of us. I love you Aunt Shirley. I still miss and think of you everyday. Not every day do you meet a woman who was beautiful inside and out. ~Na’Keyia Joyce

  2. So beautiful Sagdrina!! Now I have an even deeper understanding of how you got to be so wonderful. Never knew your Mom, but remember becoming more connected to you during this time of transition in your Mother’s life. This post inspired me. Your tribute to her inspired me to be a better Mother, to be a prayer warrior and faithful to myself. I see she did that and her legacy lives on in you r, your life and I am sure your children see that as well. Love ya “sista-friend”!

  3. Yvette Ruth

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute. Now I am reflecting on what I gained knowing my mother for the 38 years God blessed me with her presence, which gives strength and a new joy unspeakable in my heart. I celebrate the triumph return of your mother to God the father with you. Enjoy your day of rejoicing reflections.

  4. Karma

    Nikki,
    We can’t allow so much time to go by without communicating. You know the last time I saw you was when you were pregnant with Sky so I am just finding out you lost your mom. Your mother was a beautiful woman inside and out. She and your grandmother welcomed me with open arms when I went to Savannah with you back at school. I’ll never forget that. What a wonderful heartfelt tribute to her..:) She is smiling down from heaven. I am so proud of you Nikki and admire the strength and insight God has given you in spite of losing your mother. I must be honest with you, I gotta get my cry out because I didn’t know. Time is too precious, I can’t wait until I see you next month……I love you!

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