Losing a loved one is never what you think its going to be. Its hard to pick words that describe my mood right now. I received news by voice mail that my mom had passed, and it wasn't a shock like a car accident or freak occurrence, we've been prepared for a while. But it's still a think to feel. Mentally, I'm still in control of my faculties, but there's a quiet yearning for all of the amazing qualities that were the signature of my Champion. She was a beautiful, comical, crafty, survivor. She was a hard working provider with a taste for the small pleasures of life; great food, hearty fall out of your chair laughter, and a brandy and coke over ice.
Deloris Venner was a selfless advocate for her children and grandchildren s' happiness, often sacrificing everything she has so we could have the things we needed. But her loving arms of protection go miles beyond missing a meal or not buying a new outfit for herself, (though she stayed "buttasharp" as she put it). One of my Mothers favorite stories to tell about my childhood was how we were in a hotel out of town attending a beauty pageant for my gorgeous sister, showing love and supporting her, and while the family was hanging out around the pool lounging and socializing, I managed to get myself in some trouble, and ended up doing the doggy paddle in the deep end of a loft pool. Bobbing just above the breaks and splashes, probably swallowing pool water, a second or two away from a real catastrophe.
She must have scanned the whole pool area sensing something was out of sorts or that there was danger threatening one of her young ens, and she spotted me moving my short pudgy arms and legs for all I was worth, in water I couldn't see the bottom of. So without regard to any of the stretched out lounge chairs in her path, or stopping to consider the fact that she couldn't swim, she plunged feet first, holding her nose, into the deep blue water determined to save her baby boy who may or may not really have been drowning.
She always told me that she sank right to the bottom but kicked and struggled enough to push my little butt and head out of the water, not knowing or thinking about how she was going to get herself out once I was safe. Fortunately for us a big bald brother plunged in after her and got us both to safety. I'm grateful to them both.
But that was her attitude towards her children. My dad was different from my older sisters' and brothers' father, and he was slow to warm up to my big brother Curtis. There were probably "man of the house" struggles that happened before I even knew what walking was all about. But there was definitely an unfair leaning towards me, that must have been terrible for my big brother. I didn't learn about the favoritism because my brother told me about it or because I complained. I know about it because how frustrated my dad would be from fighting with my mom. She loved all of her babies and if she had to give us extra love because the world was being extra cruel, then that's what she did.
The light of her smile and bubbles in her laughter could break down the barriers in any room, and her love for music and family know no bounds. Whether it was starting a soul train line at any family function or house party, or quoting the words to a current rap song, my mom was always the life of the party, and wanted everyone else to have a blast too.
One of my biggest regrets is that after all the love, sacrifices, and support she unconditionally gave me, I didn't reach the lofty heights she knew I could reach while she was here to see it. When I made the call to tell her I had gotten in trouble, then again, then again, and again, she scolded me because she knew I was better than my behavior. She yelled because she feared for my safety, and she cried for what my bad decisions were doing to my life. But she never turned her back on me, or loved me any less. She just reminded me that I could and that I had to do better.
One of the hardest parts of being gone is remembering holidays and special occasions. Deloris Venner didn't miss a beat. She wasn't concerned about her safety to jump in the pool. So imagine how much concern she had for me living in the Pacific Time Zone. 4:00 am, 5:00 am, it didn't matter, it was a special day and she called at the butt crack of dawn to remind me.
She filled me with wisdom, courage, self confidence, and the ability to relate to anyone. She showed me how to see other routes when the direct path was blocked, and taught me to smile when everything around me sad enough to cry about. I am the man I am because of her and I love you Mom and feel you using your loving hands, still pushing me forward lifting me up so that I can take another breathe and make it to the potential you've always seen in me.
I love you