Dear Mama: Black Women Share Letters of Thanks for Their Mothers

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“Dear Mama, Lady, don't cha know we love ya? Sweet lady. Place no one above ya, sweet lady. You are appreciated.”

-Tupac Shakur, Dear Mama

In honor of Mother’s Day, I sought out to find a way to express to all mothers just how much their children appreciate their sacrifice and dedication. As a tribute to them, I gathered volunteers to write thank you letters to their mothers. These are their words.
Kayla Peebles
“And I appreciate, how you raised me. And all the extra love that you gave me”
Dear Mama,

I met someone new recently and he said, “You look like a daddy’s girl,” I told him I was raised by my mother. The next day it sunk it: I had an amazing mother and because of you, I know the power of strength.

As I write this today I can only imagine what our conversations would be. Would you proud? Would you be disappointed? Would you be over-protective? Would you be honest? One thing I know for sure is you would still be my queen. Although ten years have passed, I am still in disbelief that you are gone. I remember the phone call like it was yesterday. I don’t know how at 13-years-old I was able to comprehend that my mother had transitioned from her natural life. I’ve had people say to me they wouldn’t have known what to do if their mother passed away. My only answer is you don’t know until you’re forced into that situation. It’s not something you prepare for, you just adjust. That’s the challenge, knowing that you have to adjust to a permanent situation. There is nothing temporary about going the rest of your life parentless—everyday is an adjustment.

I don’t believe my highest point of strength was closing your casket. My truest form of strength is found in the way I live my life. It’s when people tell me that by my personality they would have never guessed I went through something so traumatic. You taught me that from a grave and I am forever grateful. Mommy, some of your greatest teachable moments came after your passing. See when you were alive, I had it repeated over and over again with opportunity to hear it again. But now that you’re gone it’s all just memory and I have to know how to make decisions on my own without you. You taught me discipline, responsibility and maturity, mother - all from your grave. Your address may have changed but your home is still the same.

I don’t love you mommy, I am your legend.


your baby girl.

Valerie Robinson

“There are no words that can express how I feel. You never kept a secret, always stayed real.”

Dear Mama,

I feel like “thank you” doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the gratitude I have for you, but I'll state it anyway - “thank you” from the bottom of my heart and soul. You taught me the importance of family and sacrifice. Without you in my life daily as a stay-at-home, praying and present mom, I honestly do not know where I would be. Thank you for being all up in my business. You taught me the importance of good character: doing the right thing even when nobody sees.

You taught me how to follow through on my word and to be a good friend in order to have one. You pushed me towards excellence - everything to the best of my ability. If you had moments of weakness, I did not realize because you never missed a beat. You always showed up and then some. You taught me how to love God, and that no matter the circumstance, He is the source. You lived by faith and not by sight. You taught me skill. I know all that I know because of you; because you loved me enough to ensure that I was ready for the world. And although I gave you a helluva run to the crazy house, I was listening...and observing. You loved me unconditionally and advocated for me to the ends of the earth.

Today, as I raise my own children, I smile inside as I see “mom” reflected in me. Mom, well done. And I smile inside because I was blessed with a one-of-a-kind gem. I hit the mommy jackpot! And although I can never repay you for all you've done, I'll be damn sure to make you proud. You are honorable and respectable- I aim to be an even better version of you, my shero.

I love you, mama.

Indigo Smith Mettellus

“You always was a black queen, mama .”

Dear Mama,

Thank you for paving the way for me to do everything that I set my mind to do. My first thoughts of you are you all glammed up wearing a stunning black cocktail dress, your hair giving all sorts of life and your beautiful smile. So confident, so regal, so black and beautiful. Thank you for showing me that it was better than okay to accept my skin and relish in the coils of my hair. Thank you for wanting greater for me when I didn’t know that greatness lie in everything you taught me. Thank you for the 32 years that I got to love on you.

The year 2014 - when everything became silent. I have tried so hard to remember your voice, to recall your memory in my head to keep you fresh in my thoughts, to not lose you again. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss you. I would have never thought that you wouldn't be around for me to continue to show you or lavish you with my words of thanks. I'm so grateful that before you passed away, I was able to tell you thank you and give you your flowers while you were living. Thank you for showing me how to be me. For introducing me to God, for saying all the things that needed to be said so that I could become a phenomenal woman like you.

I can honestly say that your guidance in my life has helped to shape a woman that will continue to make you proud. I strive for excellence because you expected excellence. The standard has not changed because of your passing. Your life has only risen the bar so I will always be thankful. I love you too, Mommy and I can't wait to see you later when that time comes. Hopefully, if you’re watching me now, I have shown you how thankful I am. God truly blessed my sibling, my father, family, friends and myself with a woman who lived by example, only asking for what she herself was willing to give. So thank you for being the world’s greatest mom to me, the world’s most extraordinary woman.

Love always,

your baby

Devon Young

“I finally understand for a woman it ain't easy tryin to raise a man”

Dear Mama,

In a time where a lot of people lack the mental fortitude to see goals through or feel as though someone owes them something, I remember fondly that you always said to never forget to work hard and go after what you want. You never for a second allowed me to think that things in life came easy; you were always upfront with me about the things that were in this world, both good and bad. While some think that I never had a childhood, is in fact better that I grew into a man early and enjoyed life later.

You showed me how to maneuver around people's attitudes and own self agendas. I don't bend to their needs and wants because in a world where people are more and more likely to cross you off their list, you showed me that it's alright to be off that list - that I never really needed them anyways. Of course there was a bunch of stuff you did wrong, but as I've grown up and realized that you were indeed just a human, just like me, and I came to respect you more and more.

The best piece of advice you ever gave me was to always try my best and to try a lot of different things because eventually something will work out the way I want it to. I learned from that to never dream just one dream, be interested in so many different things that when you dreams fade, there are other dreams there to fall back on. So at the end of the day when I think of mothers and how everyone else mother is, I wouldn't trade mine for anything in the world.

Thanks for being tough.
Ann Alexis McMiller

“And all my childhood memories are full of all the sweet things you did for me.”

Dear Mama,

It's something about Sunday's. Their mornings usually call for coffee makers and fresh biscuits, phone calls from grandmothers asking if they'll see you in church this "mawnin'" or calls from your mother making sure you made it in alright from the party last night. The evenings are filled with home cooking, stick-to-your-ribs good, wholesome and hearty. Thoughts of your work week consume you by 7pm, promises to be asleep in an hour by 8pm, but the best shows are on then. By midnight, your Sunday is complete; your #RegularPeopleProblems are over. You can begin again.

But, what happens when Sunday's change? When there's an interruption in the usual, when the normal is so darn new? When mornings aren't about coffee or no biscuits, but a conversation between the present you and the past you? Comparing notes, revealing that what you thought didn't happen actually happened. No phone calls from grandmothers or mothers as they're both no longer. You know they were there before, but there's something about the correlation of not seeing, but believing, that you hadn't quite mastered.

I haven’t recognized Mother’s Day as simply being the second Sunday in the month of May since October 2012 – it now appears to me as the amount of days, months, minutes, and seconds since you were last with me, physically here beside me. To say that I am grateful for your love is an understatement. You know what else is an understatement? The fact that you were young, so young; you graced this earth for only 47 years. I laugh at the thought of you cracking a joke, you only believed in youth, and your opinion that “nothing gets old but clothes and Cadillacs”! You were funny in that way, always finding the humor in even the most awkward of situations. I miss that.

Most of my memories revolved around being compared to you, I was told I look like you, sound like you, walk like you. As an adolescent, I despised those comparisons. Little did I know, as an adult, I would yearn for them – come to appreciate them, want to protect them. Nowadays, I’m usually the first to point it out. I’ll see an old photo of you and quickly say “I look like Ma right here”. I’m so fortunate to have had you as my Mother, the thought of knowing and truly believing that is what keeps your memory alive in me. I'm forever grateful for your love, for your protection, your direction; if only for but a short while.

Missing you all 1,296 days, 31,104 hours, 1,866,240 minutes, and 111,974,400 seconds.

Happy Mother’s Day

“And there's no way I can pay you back. But my plan is to show you that I understand. You are appreciated!”

Ashley Cobb is a freelance writer from North Carolina. She's a lover of ratchet TV and all things DOPE. Catch her on her site

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