Mourning the Loss of Trayvon Martin
In 1995 I met my son for the very first time, although I had known him for some months – his movements, his growth…his potential. Across the country, and unknown to me, another expectant mother was taking a parallel journey; adventuring through morning sickness, her unborn’s first noticeable kicks, contractions, and finally…the welcoming of a new life. Within weeks of this other mother, we received the same miracle – a son.
This other mother, her name is Sybrina. As I celebrated my baby’s first crawl, first tooth, first word, first step, and first birthday – she was doing the same with her own baby. As I nervously handed my excited five- year-old over to his kindergarten teacher for the first time – she also handed hers over. As I cheered loudly for my little football player, and then slowly watched him become a big football player – she cheered and watched that growth in her own son. My little midget of a boy grew taller than me – and so did hers. My son’s squeaky voice deepened and his hands, once held inside of mine, now envelope mine – and her son’s transitions were equally as precious to her.
So we both travelled down our given paths, experiencing similar joys at the same time, separated by the landscape of the miles that divide us. Blessed to be the mothers of our sons; simultaneously appreciating their pasts, enjoying their presence, and envisioning their futures…and that is where our journeys fork. No longer is it just the miles between us that distinguish our experiences, but the future separates us as well now.
The nightly prayers of protection for my son – no longer does she recite for hers. My dreams of college, career, and family for my son – no longer the same visions she sees when she closes her eyes at night. While my voice prepares the screams and cheers for my son’s touchdowns – hers cries out with the injustice of her son’s MURDER.
Her right to imagine someday holding her son’s son, swept away in a massive storm of racial profiling, ignorance, stupidity (and yes, those are different things), fear, mistaken authority, misused authority, and a trip to the corner store for some skittles and tea…leaving behind it the lifeless body of Sybrina’s baby boy. The hole in his chest also leaving a hole in the heart of his mama; neither will ever heal.
Trayvon Martin was gunned down by a sad, scared, self-appointed watchdog of the neighborhood who thought that the seventeen year old looked “suspicious” which, sadly, still means black. Trayvon was armed with only a bag of skittles, some tea, and a cell phone that would later ring and ring with the frantic calls of the boy’s father, who did not yet know his child was dead. The phone, in police custody, was taken off the John Doe’s body. John Doe – since there’s just no way that kid actually belonged in that neighborhood – so who could he be?
I’ll tell you who he was. He was Sybrina’s son. He was my son. He was your son. He was a child, with a promising life still to live, adventures to discover, love to fall into. He was a young man with no criminal record, no troubling past, and a mother who loved him, loves him, and will always love him with her whole soul.
As I look back over the life of my own child, with all of the chaos, blessings, and milestones, I can also see the life of Trayvon. I know how much light he let into the life of his mother, because Tony has brought just that much light into my life. I was Sybrina, but she is no longer me. I weep for her. My heart aches with the knowledge that Trayvon has been robbed of the beautiful potential of his life, and I remain prayerful that Tony will never have that taken from him. Please, Lord.