I've been thinking about writing this for a few days. The problem is I cry when I start putting the words on paper. I lost my Mom one year ago today. You probably have a great Mom. Lots of people do. But I truly had a role model, a one of a kind mentor, friend and moral compass.

You don't know Justine Curtis McCarty, but you've probably heard me talk about her. She was one of a kind. I was one of 6 children (I'm the only girl). We had a special bond. She loved me so much. Mom was a school teacher and was recruited by the federal Department of Labor to attend training at Tuskegee Institute for its emerging Jobs Corps Program. She left all six of us (including my new born baby brother) to spend several weeks at this training. She worked for years providing employment counseling for under served citizens. She did pioneering work in the Civil Rights Movement, but she did it quietly behind the scenes and wanted no credit for her service. I could go on forever talking about the groups she helped.

But the one thing I hope she has given me is her constant concern for others. Mom never once complained about her life or her illnesses. She always asked about you and what was going on in your life. And she listened. She really cared. If you asked about her, she would often change the subject and focus back on the person she was talking to.

Sure, we got into a few scrapes over the years. We would butt heads from time to time, but it was never a big deal and it would be over and forgotten almost immediately. She aggravated me when she'd come for a visit and rearrange my furniture. She would always rearrange my Tupperware stuff. I smile about that now. She liked it a certain way, and I didn't really care.

Mom was dignified and classy, I never once heard her utter a dirty word, Rarely would she raise her voice. She was dignified in death too. A year ago today, I was with her in the early morning hours. I was singing to her and rubbing her fragile hand and arm. I combed her hair and loved on her face as she was fading away. She could hear me up until the end. If I could convey anything to you on the passing of a loved one, it would be this:

It is a spiritual moment. Embrace it. Do not fear it. Mom embraced it  Her eyes would light up when I told her she would soon be with her beloved John. I told her to give him a hug for me. She nodded. I put my head down to rest right next to her. She mouthed the words "goodbye" and within 10 minutes she passed from this world and into the heavenly world. It was a holy moment for me and I'm so glad I have that moment to forever cherish.

Mom, I miss you so much and I pray that one day we will be together again. Until then, I'm doing fine, and thanks for asking.