Ginny and Me: Reflections of What God Can Do is a deep personal story about my troubled relationship with my mother, who lived with a severe mental illness. Ginny, died unexpectedly at Christmas season, and buried later on Mother’s Day weekend. My story addresses how God carried me, and several social issues including mental health, child neglect and abuse, domestic violence, loss and grief.
Abuse is damaging. It comes from cycles of abusive behaviors learned and repeated through generations. Because of shame and embarrassment, many people do not speak about the cruelty they endured. In my case, most of the abuse I suffered resulted from my mother’s mental illness. For my entire life, people told me to excuse my mom’s abuse because she was mentally ill. However, mental illness does not give anyone the right to abuse you (in particular, your child).
Ginny had childhood paranoid schizophrenia with multiple personality disorder. She lived in the Buffalo State Hospital through her adolescent years. When released from the hospital, she had me. She was twenty-six, and my dad was thirty years older. My mother was white, and my father was black.
As a child, I struggled with my mixed heritage. My mom would tell me that white people did not like me because I was black. Even from a religious standpoint, I was raised as a Catholic and Baptist. On Sundays, my mom and I attended mass without my father and Baptist service with him.
I always felt like I had to choose. Was I black? Was I white? Was I Catholic? Was I Baptist? My mom told me that her side of the family disliked my dad because he was black and my dad’s side of the family disliked my mom because she was white. Here I was stuck in the middle.
I share my life story with the world through God’s glory. My story is about how faith enabled me to overcome extraordinary struggles, pain, and loss. Faith, hope, and forgiving the unforgivable through prayer and trusting in God are the keys to healing.