Herstory Reflections: Letter to My Mother

Beloved Mother. Goddess. Before you I kneel. Before you I prostate. I worship the blessed vessel that concealed the mystery of my creation. Great Mother. Before you I am humble.

Forgive your daughter for not writing you these past many years. 25 years. I could not face the reality of your demise. The reality of my loss. How could you leave me? I could not bear more than a shallow conventional relationship.

All these years. I could not feel your love. I longed to remember your voice, your touch, the smell of your hair. Your arms around me. Yet you watched over me. My Guardian Angel Great Goddess. Your love was everywhere around me. Light in my darkness.

Forgive my self absorption Mother. It took me a while to see your pain beyond my own, to see my anguish reflecting your own. Is it too late for us to have a relationship? Do I have to speak Russian?

There is so much to tell you. Don’t be sad anymore Mother. I’m not sad anymore. I’ve had a really great life. I was protected from the malicious spiteful racism that you and father endured for your love.

Instead I was extremely privileged to grow up with a proud and noble old family in rural Africa. They’re local royalty usurped by white racist colonialists. It was a safe place to grow up. In the US they had put me in a black foster home in down town DC for awhile.

I’ve been shielded from the sort of racism that killed a young black man in America recently. His name is Trayon Martins. He was shot 9 yards from his house. I’ve been shielded from the sort of fear you faced each time my brother stepped out the door in Soviet Era Moscow.

That is till recently. Now I face fear each time my sons go to church or out on Friday night. You feared racist white people. I fear racist black people. They wouldn’t call themselves racist but as mothers its all the same to us isn’t it? Fear for the lives of our children.

I’ve travelled a lot Mother. I went to South Africa some years ago. I went to the Apartheid Museum. They had a photo display of the Soweto Riots in the 70s. Black and white pictures of cops and dogs attacking children. What if those had been mine sons? How did the mothers of South Africa cope with the daily fear?

Indeed I have been well protected from white racism. Yet I fear the cops here in Nigeria might shoot one of my sons because he doesn’t give them NGN50. It seems to be only a racist outrage when white people do it to black people or people of color. Don’t we all have a little bit of color?

I went to America during the current Presidents campaign. He’s black. His father was an African much like my father. My boss asked me what I thought of a black man running for their Presidency. I thought – black men run for President everyday where I come from. So what?

Yet everyday I spent in America I noticed the absence of black people in decision making. As glaring as the absence of women in decision making here. They were labourers and menial workers. A few in middle management.

I went to Brazil. The same thing. Black men were in positions I was used to seeing black women in. So Barack Obama (that’s the US President’s name) is a Big Deal. Just like a woman President still is anywhere in the world.

None of this should make you sad though. I’m a ‘white woman’. That gives me privilege in Nigeria. In my fathers village they always treat me like a goddess. A bit tedious when going to the market but I know its love.

Even in the anonymity of urban living I am treated well. I have travelled Africa extensively, I was protected by your magic. The magic of your DNA. The magic of your love.

When I grow up I wish to be like you Goddess Mother. Strong. Brave. Nurturing. Caring. Wise. Cosmopolitan. I am in awe of your resilience, your courage, your open minded all embracing love.

There is so much I want to tell you. About life. And love. And death. I will write. Again. And again. And again. And often. I know you write back. It is your voice I hear. In the morning bird song. In the sound of trees growing. In the yelp of a puppy. I am listening Beloved Mother.

I send love, hugs and kisses.

J’ai t’adore. A bien tout Maman.

Beloved Mother

Beloved Mother

Posted by MzAgams with WordPress for BlackBerry.


9 thoughts on “Herstory Reflections: Letter to My Mother

  1. This had me in tears , and I’m at work ;).Beautiful, she and you.And a worthy accolade to mother.To Mother.Your honest blogging is cathartic.She must be proud of you.Peace.

  2. You know I love your writing; the way you effortlessly weave in political and historical context into personal narrative. A rare gift 🙂 I’m also very interested in some of the themes re: reverse racism (though you don’t term it such i.e. black people reacting to white people). Full disclosure: I don’t believe the two are equitable (and I don’t think you do either — you allude to the effect being more personal than political to mothers who fear for their sons, regardless of racial background), but curious about your thoughts. Again, wonderful read. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comment. And thanks for the question.

      I try to allude to how black people treat white people in how I’ve been treated in Africa which is pretty darn well. With privilege. Like a celebrity. Sometimes its opportunistic but its never been hateful. I am conscious that the feeling towards a white male maybe somewhat different.

      Of course a lot of my Africa travels were in the 90’s before worsening insurgency problems. Today I cannot visit my fathers village because kidnappers in the south east and the Niger Delta target ‘white people’ thinking there is more ransome available. .

      My mother and South African mothers lived in fear because their sons were black in a white racist world. A world I say I was shielded from living in Nigeria, Yet I suffer like them. I fear for my sons when they walk out the door.

      I fear trigger happy cops. I fear intolerant haters. And religious fundamentalists. I fear black people hating on black people. Hating on themselves and on each other. This is the racism that threatens my black sons daily. The other racism my white female privilege shields me from.

      Our colonial ‘masters’ were kinder than our democratic leaders. We kicked them off the continent and the world supported and applauded us. The outrage is missing in our reaction to our oppression and exploitation by our black brethren. And I wonder about that.

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