Ferguson, Motherhood and Stomach Aches

Here we are again.

Waiting on a decision from a jury about the fate of a white man that has killed a black man.

This time, it’s Ferguson, MO. The black man that died is named Michael Brown and his killer is named Officer Darren Wilson.

That word “killer” makes you cringe? Makes me sound like I’m saying Officer Wilson is guilty of murder? Makes you feel like I have already made a decision in my mind about facts I can’t be sure of?

No, it’s just a word of fact. Officer Wilson killed Michael Brown, no matter whether you believe it was justified or use of excessive force.

But that’s not what this article is about. It’s about Ferguson, motherhood and stomach aches.

I hate what’s happening in Ferguson, as I hated Sanford, Florida, Staten Island, NY and countless other towns before that, where the deaths of other black men highlighted the great racial divide in this country and helped all us Americans grow further and further apart.

Ferguson is in the spotlight today, but it may be coming to a town near you next week.

Sitting waiting for the grand jury to decide whether Officer Darren Wilson will be indicted and face a trial for the killing of Michael Brown awakens a fear in me that touches to the core of my being…to the core of my motherhood…the fear that someone will harm or worse kill my child.

I remember I sobbed for Sybrina Fulton because I felt so connected to her pain. I can’t explain why because I haven’t endured that type of pain, but Sybrina was the mother who’s pain and strength shook my core and changed me. I would later meet Sybrina and even host an event for the Trayvon Martin Foundation. To this day, it’s hard for me to be around her and not cry…not sob. It happened again when I met and interviewed Lucy McBath, mother of Jordan Davis, his killer’s trial known as the “loud music” trial. Lucy’s pain could be seen straight through her eyeballs, so deep and so red and so exhausted with grief. Before I could even hug her from the doorway, I was in tears. She would text me during the trial and her texts would send me to my knees.

Motherhood tears, my baby is gone tears, you yanked my heart out of my body tears. That’s what I call them.

Now, I see that pain all over Lesley McSpadden, Michael Brown’s mother and I sob again for another mother who I’m bound to meet, interview or have to present to an audience because of what happened to her son and now what her life represents. I know a fathers grief is equal, haunting and guilt ridden. But for me, I identify with the mothers in a way that makes me ache.

It’s an actual stomach ache. The kind that makes your appetite go away, makes you clutch your middle and for sure makes you grumpy. It’s the stomach ache that keeps me up at night watching TV for hours upon hours just in case there is breaking news, a verdict. It’s a stomach ache that no medicine can take away because it’s based on a problematic past and a not so promising future. It’s a stomach ache filled with the stress I feel over the racial divide in America and the scarce signs of progress I see for the future.

It’s a Ferguson, motherhood pain stomach ache and I’m sick of feeling this way.

Sad thing is, I’m starting to adjust to this stomach ache, learning how to cope with it until it goes away.

Then I just sit and wait…for the next one, always praying that things will one day change.


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