Tragic Loss Of A Child

Loving Your Child Forever
This brief writeup on the loss and love of my son in an open letter format a few days before this awful massacre of  “our”  20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.  This massacre is nationally mourned by us all; it is the worst  massive school shooting in United States’ history.  I share this post right away, especially for the family of the victims.  I do hope something from my experience or something I share from such a similar experience where my child was the victim of a homicide,  that  there is something that  can help in one way or the other, have an impact.

My only biological son, I speak about.  Of course, I have loved you from the time that you became a part of my life.  Ever since that night when you became the victim of a homicide, my love for you have been in the highest degree.  It has been 20 years since that awful moment but I have to say that I love you every day of my life and I will always love you as I exist.  When you were no longer physically with me, of course, it has been very painful and just unbearable at times.  However, I asked Almighty God to help me  through all of what I will have to through in this terrible loss of you in my life, this void in life.  One of the first things I did is that I thanked Almighty God for ultimately blessing me to have you as my child for 19 years.

Even though his life was abruptly taken, I still want to say I appreciate every moment that Almighty allowed me to have Michael as my son.  He is not with me physically to this day but to this day and until the end of my life I will continue to love you, my son.  I realize I am not the ONLY parent who has lost a child, but still there is something that is different about you that makes me hang in there.   Oh, that awful horrific act where the gunman shot that fatal bullet and you were the victim of a dastard act, a homicide, your spirit is with me everyday.  Almighty God knows the very inner essence of me and my heart when it comes to my LOVE for you.  Sometimes I smile and many times I cry but somehow I am able to dry my eyes and allow for just one more smile that you were  a part of my life.

It does not matter if you had been with me for the short time of 19 years or 100 years.  I love you no less. In fact, I love you the most.
I think about when you were born as a premature baby.  You were in the incubator in the hospital’s care and  the hospital soon became my second home.  I would make visitations as long as I could and watch the doctors and nurses as they took care of you in the incubator.  You weighted only 3 lbs 4 oz when you were born.  However, I felt confident that you would soon gain your weight and continued being healthy  and I would then take you home.  I would care for you and watch you grow into the young man you were at nineteen years old.  (To be Continued)

I Thee Wed, 4 January 1870

Because Of You, I Am

Shelby Buchanan married Mary Payton, 4 January 1870, over 130 years ago. They lived on a plantation in West  Feliciana Parish, Louisiana.  My great great grandparent’s marriage license means so much to me!  This  memorabilia would verify several things that I was unsure about.  I will cherish it forever.  I can now verify this  connection on this side of my family, the maternal side.
As a young child I was raised in Washington Parish, Louisiana.  I knew nothing about West Feliciana Parish.   There were no oral stories passed down  to me.  Possibly, no one knew any.  My Mother could not answer questions I asked her.  She said when she was a child growing up and if grownups were talking, kids had to leave  the room; they were not allowed to join in conversations with them.  Apparently, her mother did not  tell her   much about her ancestors, specifically, her great grandparents.
However, my mother remembered some things, though; that her maternal grandparents  Winnie
Buchanan married to Ike Washington; she was born in Adams County, Mississippi.  Grandpa Ike was born in Bayou Sara, Louisiana. When she was a  young child about four years old, her mother traveled to Zachary, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana.
She would meet family members that she would never visit again.  Not even as an adult. Why, we don’t really know.  It was not a priority.  I would think  she  never made a return visit  because her mother lived a long distance,  married and was raising her own family.  Perhaps, she knew nothing else to
tell her. Image

The  “Bond” certificate was enclosed with   the marriage certificate. My grandpa, Shelby Buchanan,  paid a bond of  $100 to marry my grandma, Mary Payton. He marked an “X” in the space his name was written apparently by the Clerk of the Court.  James Payton was the co-signer.  An “X” was Imagemarked by his name, too.  James Payton was a sibling of my grandma.

My roots are from the general locale where they got married; that my great great grandfather was a “freeman (Col)”; that my grandmother was a “free woman (Col).” For they both were former slaves now free.  My grandpa was born about 1845 in Mississippi; my grandma was born about 1847 in Louisiana. They were  born  before slavery was abolished, **Too, they could not write; they marked an “X” in the signature space. This instilled  a sense of pride in me.  I can now share this piece of memorabilia with members of my family.

Adoption, Really?

Wonder what my siblings think about open and closed adoption? I will ask them that question one day.  For now, I will just savor the joy of sharing the rest of my life with them; no questions asked.  Most likely by them being my younger siblings, they would not care to answer too much about this adoption thing. This  thing was part of my life when I was young, about ten years old.  A Closed Adoption of my youngest sister  took place.  I did not see her again until 36 years later.  Of course, I would learn this was a  Closed Adoption.   Believe me,  it is “closed.”  There is no communication, no visitation. I did not understand all the ramifications.  I heard our Mother say many times that she would never sign any papers giving her children up, where she would never see them.  I just remember a social worker took my little sister  from my mother’s arms.   After  realizing she was not going to return her,  my mother  was crying;  I cried, too. Not my “dad,” though. That evening when he came home from work, he was angry and fired up.  He stated he was going to paint “this town red!”  Things were tense and seemingly no one had any answers.

Why would anyone take my sister away?   I loved her dearly.  She was like a beautiful doll; she was very special to me.   When I initially experienced Closed Adoption, my sister was three years old and  I was ten years old.  A successful search would not be made until 36 years later.

Our mother was a woman of minimal means, was doing the best she could to support her  family.  No such thing as public assistance or welfare. We never knew of anything like that.  Our Mother was a domestic worker. She was also a sharecropper and  held  a job title as a “field hand.”   At the age of seven, I  worked on various plantations with my mother picking strawberries and cotton, whatever. We had to fill the pints in the strawberry crate heaping. When picking the cotton, I remember the sacks of cotton were heaping.  She would use the money I earned to help make ends meet.  This was a way of life.  It

was not unusual that our grandparents would raise the kids.  Also, it was the norm  that other family members, friends, and neighbors  would reach out to help you raise your  kids. I never knew of any strings being attached. Or maybe I was too young to know. For there were times when I would stay with other relatives, like, my Aunt Nell.  She was such a wonderful aunt to me. She would also babysit for my mother.

She cared for my youngest brother while my mom went to her job.

Now, Open Adoption is just that, open. The child of concern is inclusive with all parties.  We tacitly understood someone other than our parents were raising our siblings; that they were living in a different household. I would not know that this was known as Open Adoption. All I knew when I was young is that one of my brothers were living with an aunt. My sister  was living with someone my mother knew.

She was about forty miles away.  My brother was about 70 miles away.  I visited both my sister and brother as I was growing up, while I was in middle school and high school. I would travel the 40 miles to visit my sister.  Many times I would sleep overnight and share my sister’s bed. Then I returned  home the following day.  My brother was living farther, about 60 miles from me. Our bond was very close, too.  Never were any problems.  Throughout the years we visited each other.

I felt I was always welcome to visit my sister. But there was always the eerie feeling I had when I was young.  I began to wonder why my sister would not visit me sometime. I may have misdirected my thoughts. I just felt my Mother was not  able physically to care for my sister.   A big part of that time, my Mother was a single parent. She and my dad had parted ways.  She

Adoption, Really? Mystics of Open And Closed Adoption
Wonder what my siblings think about open and closed adoption? I will ask them that question one day. For now, I will just savor the joy of sharing the rest of my life with my siblings, no questions asked. Most likely by them being my younger siblings, they would not care to answer too much about this adoption thing. This adoption thing was part of my life when I was young, about ten years old. No, I was not adopted. Adoption took place with  three of my siblings, one by closed adoption, two by open adoption. My siblings are younger than I. When I initially experienced Closed Adoption, my youngest sister was three years old;  I was ten years old.   A “Closed Adoption” took place with my youngest sister.   A successful search would not be made until 36 years later.
As for Open Adoption, I like and appreciate more. However, years ago when I first experienced Open Adoption, I was unaware of it by that name.  I only knew that two of my siblings were living in someone else household; that someone else was helping my parents to raise some of their children. That was a practice that was known in my community as “raising a child up” as you would your biological child.
Part of the time, my Mother was living  with one of her sisters in cramped conditions.  They shared a two or three-room shot-gun type house.

All For Money

I told him where I was going, and he hurried me out,  pointing  to the door with the gun, but what he didn’t know was I replaced the real money with fake bills.   Our safe has real legal tender as well as bags of fake money.  It is in there for such an occurrence as this, a robbery.  I was afraid and trembling.   However, I knew I had to keep myself together. I had to save myself and  the other hostages.

I was his choice hostage.  As his eyes focused on me,   I told him I knew the combination to the safe in the back room.  At that point, he rushed me to the safe.  He was still pointing to the door with the gun; the other hostages  dared  not to move. There were five of them frozen in their footsteps.
If there was anything I could do to stop the worst from happening, I  was all for it, ready to take my chances. So I handed him five bags of money. He turned and ran out the door.  Then I called the  police; they caught up with him and arrested him.  He may have turned  the gun on all of us had he not gotten the “money,” the fake money,  that is.

“Did it really  happen?”  Some were breaking down in tears to find out I am a survivor of such a robbery, such an ordeal.  That’s the scenario several classmates and I opted for in a high school play, “All For Money.”

The Neighborhood Where I Live

There’s something about my neighborhood that I have grown  to love over the years.  It’s been about 22 years I have lived here.  There’s the Detroit River and its beauty,  the serenity and, of course, the hustle and  bustle.   I enjoy riding the large boats, like,  the Princess and Diamond Jack.  Whenever they travel down the River,  I can  see the area where I live  very clearly.  I enjoy watching  the  boats, ships, water jet skiers,   and the fishermen in  boats;  oh, I   don’t want to forget the fishermen  along the banks of the Detroit River. After a good  catch or two,  it’s time for the fish fry That can take place at the neighborhood park parallel to the River.  No one can forget the boat racing that takes place each year; and the planes that fly overhead as the boats race up and down the River.  Too, the 4th of July fireworks can be seen  from my neighborhood. Each year many families come to claim a spot at the park.  Some families  arrive early  and they barbecue, have a fun cookout until the fireworks  began. Then just look at the  fireworks as they shower the sky with glowing colors.
As for the hustle and bustle of the River,  there are the tug boats carrying large cargo.  Once I was surprised to see the tug boats carrying large train box cars.    From my home, I can look  across the river and see  the shoreline of Windsor, Canada.  Also, there are beautiful peacocks that take a stroll  and grace us with beauty by spreading their colorful   feathers and prancing.
Besides  domestic  dogs and cats, there are  the rabbits,  many squirrel.  I have seen white and brown rabbits  in my neighborhood.  As for  the squirrels, the y are brown, black and gray squirrels who are here.   I call the latter, our “tightrope” walkers and runners.  I can look out my front door  overhead and see the squirrels doing their great balancing act,  running across the telephone  and cable wires.  Oh, I almost forgot to mention this gray squirrel who visited  us each day.  He would come on our front porch  and wait for  me or some one to come to the door.  Of course, we would offer him some treats, nuts and pecans.   And if he did not see our car parked out front, he would wait until we returned home. As I  stepped out of my car, that’s when he would come up to me. He became one of my favorite squirrels and I started calling him “Smokey.”
Most of the yards  in my  ‘hood  are well-manicured.  The flowers  and plants are   beautiful;  landscaping is on point.    Some of the yards would win first place if a contest were held today.  Recently, with camera in hand, I  took  a snapshot  or two of the most picturesque  yards or, at least where the  flowers and plants really stand out.   Also, I  snap a few shots when I visit the closest suburb  to me  which is less than a two-minute drive. The yards there are different in that many of them are much larger than the ones in my neighborhood.  So the landscape of flowers and plants must be sculptured  for the home magazines!   Of course,  the Detroit River  is  flowing in the background and gives even more beauty to the landscape.
Then there are the birds, many varieties  and colors.   I see them afar and before I know it, the birds fly closer to me and they bring a song with them.  They seem   to  assure me that we are going to have a beautiful sun shiny  day. As the birds fly closer  around me,  some walking near my feet, I feed them some bird feed.
There are the people in my neighborhood who are  of all ages,  ethnic and racial backgrounds.  The people here are great. They go to church  on Sunday and they work the rest of the week.  They have busy lives.   There is a minimum of traffic on my street and at night I can only hear the chirping from the crickets and frogs.  No cars coming and going on my street and that lends for a peaceful night’s sleep.

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