Monday, April 1, 2019

R.I.P. Mama Dell


I was planning on being very active in the blogosphere last week since I was off from work the entire time, both posting and commenting. Then the unthinkable happened. Mama Dell passed away.

I won't go into details other than to say that even though she had a number of health issues, she went into the hospital fully expecting to come home in better shape. Therefore, the turn of events that led to her demise was very unexpected and trying on my entire family.

I wanted to post something here because she actively started me on the path to becoming a cinephile, which of course, led me to this blogging thing. She introduced me to film at a very young age, and very rarely censored what I watched. The first trip to the theater I remember is going to see a Bruce Lee triple feature when I was five or six years old. All three movies were R-rated, violent (obviously), and contained nudity. She didn't show me a lot of R-rated movies back then, but she knew I loved Bruce Lee, so she was okay with it.

By the time I reached twelve, the restraints were really off, as I watched pretty much what I damn well pleased. Friday the 13th, Porky's, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Eddie Murphy: Delirious, whatever struck my fancy. She even took the whole gang of us to see A Nightmare on Elm Street. I was thirteen. My youngest brother was four. I know that makes some of you cringe, but that's how we rolled.

She was very aware of this blog. She even visited a time or two in the early days. From time to time, she would ask how it was going. She wasn't just being nice, she genuinely wanted to know, and came to value my movie opinion above most others. She was also proud when I told her that she had been mentioned in a number of posts and had been dubbed Mama Dell. The smile that graced her face when she received this piece of info was filled with warmth and satisfaction.

I was with her the night before she went into the hospital. One of the last conversations we had was about movies. We revisited our differing opinions on Green Book. She lovingly ate it up. I spat it out with disgust. We spoke about how much we both love Denzel Washington. She laughed as I admitted that to this day, when I hear the name Malcolm X, I first see his face and have to remind myself that he's not the real Malcolm. I laughed when she praised Idris Elba to the heavens and swore it was all about his talent. We had a mild disagreement when discussing Angela Bassett. I think she can do no wrong, Mama Dell found her limited. We both spoke glowingly of If Beale Street Could Talk. It was a fun exchange.

Unfortunately, we won't get to have those discussions again. However, she always taught me not to mope around being depressed whenever she left me. She wanted me to celebrate her the way one would throw a birthday party, and move on with my life. So, in the midst of making final arrangements for her - comforting some people, making others upset, trying to reconcile those on either side, and coping with my own pain - I did what I think she would have wanted me to do. I found a few hours for myself, and went to the movies.

26 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry for your loss, Dell. But this was a beautiful tribute. I'm glad she helped spark your love for the movies. <3

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  2. Sorry for your loss. This is a great tribute. Mama Dell definitely knew her stuff about Bruce Lee. We should thank her for introducing those films to you. This has also been a tough month for me as well but I'm coping and just trying to stick it out. Thank you Mama Dell.

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  3. I'm sorry for your loss. This was a lovely tribute.

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  4. Sorry to hear. It's hard to remember in times like this to celebrate the life, but it sounds like that's what you're doing, and what she'd want.

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  5. I'm so sorry to hear this, Dell. What a beautiful tribute though, and such happy memories. Thinking of you.

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  6. Oh God, I'm so sorry for your loss!

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  7. Very sorry to hear that. Nice you can look back fondly on the time you had together, not everyone is lucky to have a mum who is a friend as well. I can tell from your tribute she meant a lot to you, and that you are carrying on her legacy of enjoying movies.

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  8. My heart goes out to you Dell, this was a lovely remembrance. I'm glad to see that you found a way to honor her in a way that would have pleased her. There can be tough days ahead but truly good memories will get you through and you have so many.

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  9. Thank you to all of you for your kind words. I sincerely appreciate all of you. Moving forward won't be easy, but as many of you have said, looking back on the good times is going to help a bunch.

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  10. Our new album will cheer you up.

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  11. I'm sorry to hear of your loss, but I am glad you have happy memories of your mother and this is a moving tribute.

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  12. Oh my...this sucks and I understand since I lost my mom last year but my mom lived to be 89 a month short of her 90th and it was to be expected but I was hoping she would reach her birthday. Despite your mom’s health issues this sounds unexpected and that is just horrible. She looks like. Grand lady whom I would have loved to talk to because her face speaks of knowledge and life experiences. I am glad you had great talks with her especially with the night before. I don’t know why life happens in this manner but it does and, once life returns to the “norm” you are not because she is not there. This is when life begins to truly suck for a while. I am glad that she instilled the love of movies in you and you have benefited from someone who loved all of you.

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  13. Dell, this is a beautiful remembrance of your mother. I'm so sorry for your loss, and I hope she remains alive in your thoughts for many, many years to come. And for what it's worth, I'm with her: When I go, I want people to celebrate my life and not dwell in the sadness. I'm so glad you found the time to celebrate as she would have wanted you to.

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  14. Sorry for your loss Wendell 💛💜❤️💙

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  15. Dell, very sorry for your loss. I wish your family the best.

    Amazing tribute, my friend, as in just a few paragraphs, it's so clear how much she molded you, and consequently, us.

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    1. Dell's mom would want you to be nice to us too

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  16. What a moving tribute. So honest and real. It really sounds like she'll leave behind a lot of wonderful memories. And anyone that loves Denzel in Malcolm X gets an immediate thumbs up from me.

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  17. I'm so sorry for your loss Dell. Movies can be the best escape in our lives, not just day to day but when something extraordinarily difficult happens. Your blog will continue to be a wonderful tribute to her and your love of movies. :)

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  18. Dell, I am so very sorry for your loss. I'm sure it wasn't easy to write this, but what a lovely tribute you posted here. Please take care of yourself as you grieve and adjust. I'll be thinking about you buddy.

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