I’m not-I’m not an eloquent speaker. But there are a few things I’d like to say about Mama. Things I’d never said to her, things I wanted to say but will never have the chance to. I find courage-In the number of people that showed up today to share how much my mother meant to me. Mama’s most admirable trait was her courage. I say courage because she always put on a brave face, a front to convince us that things would one day get better. Mama always wanted us to be happy. She tried her best to not let us see her cry. Mama’s forced smile could never conceal the unhappiness in her eyes. Me and Mama- we relied on one another a lot-I remember this one time when she was crying and had barricaded herself in the bathroom so I wouldn’t see her upset, and I slipped tissues under the door… -she, like most mothers had to let me “leave the nest” if you will. She wanted me to be happy, to be and feel safe. I could never see the love she had for me and that all her intentions were good. Mama taught me what love is. Love isn’t this fairytale. Love can be dark and painful. Love can destroy you. Love can be a monster. And most importantly you are willing to face destruction for the one you love. I loved my mother for her resilience, willingness to forgive, and to see the good in everyone. I was so spiteful towards her. I left her alone. I let her believe she was responsible for me not returning home. I wanted her to feel guilty for things beyond her control. In the last years of her life, I spent them hurting mama. I blamed her for what he---for what she could not change. I didn’t have the courage to say these words when you were right next to me, when I should have told you I loved you… I told you I didn’t need you. I always needed you Mama. I love you.