I came home from taking my son to school this morning, and after crying my eyes out and collecting my thoughts, it seemed the best way to handle this is to write about it.
There are certain people you meet, in passing that simply radiate light. Beatrice Davis is one such person.
She is one of the crossing guards I have seen in passing for years. I smile and say 'Hi Ms. B.", every time I see her, and she waves and smiles back 'Hey baby!" I first met her at my son's elementary/middle school, which I pass now on the way to his high school. Ms. B gave a lot of the kids small teddy bears when they graduated from middle school to wish them well. My son was one of them. He would always talk about Ms. B, and say how nice she was. All of the kids love Ms. B.
On any given day when she is there and after she has helped them cross the street safely, you can see kids and parents giving her a hug or friendly wave. She is the only crossing guard people react to in this way. Ms. B will tell you that after being there for 30 years, she has seen the little ones grow up in front of her eyes. She has told me, the children grow up and come back to me and say, "Do you remember me? I'm married with kids now!" She is truly unforgettable.
Older, black, lovable and always greeting everyone with a smile. Parents, just like me, roll their windows down to say "Hi Ms. B". She's always reminded me of the Esther Rolle character on the 70's hit series 'Good Times'. Ms. B is the type of woman that by her presence, just makes you feel good inside. She is a reminder of the type of humanity that we all hope still exists; an old fashioned, good spirited love for thy neighbor type of person.
I pulled over to talk to her this morning, because I hadn't seen her for a while. As it turns out, she had taken some time off from work because her only son had been murdered.
My heart dropped. She explained that it had been one of those senseless acts of violence. A gunman ran into the store aiming for his target, who had just walked into the store. Ms. B's son, who was there in the store waiting to pay for his juice, stepped to shield the lady standing in line before him as the bullets were flying. The lady survived. This was the man Ms. B raised, always looking out for other people. He saved a strangers life.
Ms. B said she figures God was ready for her son to be in heaven. She went on to say that he was such a wonderful young man, working and in college. He'd never been in trouble, never involved with any bad people, always had a smile. As I stood there, mother to mother - my heart just ached. "My heart has a hole that will never be filled, he was my only son" she said.
Ms B. expressed this without the slightest hint of bitterness. There are people we encounter who gripe and complain over trivial matters. They could learn a lot from Ms. B.
Having one son myself, and with an undeniable sense of worry that all mothers of young black males feel, standing there speaking with Ms. B, and hugging her, I walked away feeling quite small. I don't want this violence to exist. These senseless acts of violence more often than not come upon young black men. Sure, people of all ethnicities are victims of violence everyday, but black on black crime, with young black males is all too common.
The people who commit these acts have no regard for human life, and if I had a magic wand, it's something I would erase. Perhaps it sounds simplistic to say such a thing, but it's how I feel right now. No parent should face this.
I just couldn't believe hearing that this nightmare could befall such a wonderful woman like Ms. B. She's the type of woman that should win the lottery and be set for life, or win an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii, or receive a makeover, a trip to a luxury spa resort or any number of good things, not this.
Her son John was buried, and leaves behind a 3 year old son. Ms. B. says he looks just like his father, and now says 'Daddy has gone to heaven to protect me". My heart sank further.
Ms. B was still radiating light this morning, in this dark time. She expressed experiencing good and bad days, and feeling she had to forgive the person who murdered her son - not wanting to let her pain and anger become a cancer. She's thinking now of how she and her husband can help their grandson.
The police worked diligently and have the murderer in custody, but as she says it won't bring her son back.
I want to do something for Ms.B. but I feel ill equipped. It's incredibly sad that a woman who gives so much love and good energy has had this happen. I know bad things happen to good people, and it's not for us to understand why, but I still wonder: Why?
If you would like to help me help Ms. B in some way, let me know.