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As some of you know my mother, the original Lovely Mrs. Shabazz,  has been fighting Alzheimer’s and its effects for the last 10 years. Last week,  that fight ended and she has transitioned to the next world.   

My mother did a lot of things.  She was a small businesswoman with her own catering company.  She sewed. She was a homemaker who collectively raised seven children.  She also had an artistic bent as she played in the marching band in high school and drawing her children on sketch pads.  She also knew how to feed an army, well five boys anyway. You will be amazed at what you can do with powdered milk and regular milk carton and no one would know the difference.  And she had this uncanny gift for packing, as evidenced by successfully moving our family halfway around the world and back. The woman could have been a world champion Tetris player back in the 1990s.

At her services this week we said good-bye to her body, not her spirit and her legacy will live on in her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.  When asked what that legacy was, it was easy to point out things like service to others, fighting for civil rights and social equity, but my mother also had a number of gems she would bestow on her children, and on occasion, some of those gems were accompanied by the switch from the tree in the backyard.

  • Use your head for more than a hat rack.
  • You don’t believe fat meat is greasy.  (Switch moment)
  • Be ready, even if you don’t get to go.
  • They won’t be babies forever.
  • If they were good enough for you in the dark, they should be good enough for you in the light.
  • A hard head makes a soft behind. (Another switch moment)
  • God doesn’t like the ugly and isn’t too crazy about the pretty.
  • Don’t be a fool’s fool.
  • In times of peace, plan for war.
  • If you are going to run your mouth, will you please go get paid for it.   

You can probably guess which child that last little bit of wisdom was directed towards.

As I said in the beginning, this week, we only say goodbye to her body, not her spirit, it is alive and well. 

And I think I can pretty much guarantee that when that spirit went to the next world it danced,  and put everyone on notice that she wanted this place cleaned up. And when everybody looked over at God, he looked back at them and said what are you looking at me for, Fatimah has spoken.


Love you, Mom.