Four months ago, my great grandmother passed away. This month was her birthday. She would have been 106 years old. She was an extraordinary woman. She bore 8 children. Her lineage extends to 25 grandchildren, 54 great-grandchildren and 32 great-great-grandchildren. Her daughter, my grandmother would have been 78 this month. She passed away when I was 19. I miss her. She was wise, loving & caring, classy & graceful and overall the greatest person I knew.

I am proud to be their descendant. Every good and decent thing about me they had a part in contributing to it. What I admired most about them was that they were strong women of faith. I aspire to be like them. Whenever I get tired, discouraged, and want to give up, I think of what my grandmothers would say. Even when I can’t think of what they would say, I know for sure I cannot give up. Too many people, my parents, siblings, aunts and uncles, friends and many more, have invested in my life and my future financially, emotionally and spiritually. My life is not my own. I owe my past and future success to them and my future descendants.

A couple of summers ago, I traced my great-grandmother’s lineage all the way back to our slave owners. I thought about those faces who could have never imagined me but pressed on for me. Pressed on so that their descendants could have better. So that I can be great. I carry their hopes and dreams. I want them to know that their trials and tribulations and struggles were not in vain. I want to make them proud. I’m devoted to this obligation because of them, I am.