“I love you so much,” my husband  whispered in my ear that morning.  It was August 11, 2014.  “I love you too, baby” I said as I leaned back into his embrace.  He grabbed me close to him and began to gently kiss the back of my neck.  Every touch from him gave me this static electricity that pulsated throughout my entire body and made me feel as though his soul was entering mine.  I loved this man from the pit of my soul and I was honored to be carrying his life inside of me.  It was very early in my pregnancy, during the trimester where food was my enemy and nausea hung in the air like a thick fog.  I was always tired and sleep was never enough, yet I was happy to be growing another little person inside of me that would one day come into this world.  We had 5 children between the two of us; his 4 children were some of the smartest and well-behaved children I had ever met, and they loved my 2-year old son.  The new baby was the link that brought the whole family together; we were all excited.  It was a Monday, but neither of us had to go to work so we stayed in bed all day making love.  We were newlyweds.  Had just tied the knot June 20, 2014 in a small intimate ceremony with just the two of us.  We were planning to surprise our families with a nice and simple ceremony to commemorate our love and eternal union.  The baby was a wedding present we had given ourselves, and the fact that we conceived so quickly felt like everything was written in the stars; like we were doing the inevitable, living God’s plan.

I loved my husband because he was gentle, kind, and humble.  He builds houses, so his hands had a rough callousness to them, but his gentle spirit made them softer with every touch.  He stands at just above six feet with a body that was sculpted by God.  His smooth dark skin really complemented the tattoo of my name on the right side of his chest.  I remember tracing it with my finger as I laid my head on his chest that afternoon.  It was a hot beautiful day outside so we opened the large picture windows in our bedroom, laid across the bed and watched the world go by.  It was calm and peaceful.

“How much money is in the account?” he asked me.  This was not an unusual question because we were having some minor financial issues and we both took the responsibility of managing household money in order to make ends meet.  As a student, my refund checks only lasted so long, and he was between jobs at the time.  The current contract he was under incurred some problems with the building permit, so the gig was put on hold.  The sexiest thing about my husband was that he was able to make money in other ways.  He was a licensed barber who always figured out a way to make ends meet.  I had no worries because I knew he would take of us.

“I’m not sure but whatever we have needs to stay there because rent is due,” I said, to which he replied  “I was just asking because I got some money coming in this Friday and then I have some clients lined up for the week, so we gon’ be straight baby”.  I knew we were going to be fine.  He always took care of things and made sure money was coming in the way we needed it.  “I don’t want you to work while you’re pregnant.  You gonna be straight, I’m a man, baby and I’m gonna take care of my family…I’m gonna give you the world, I’m so happy you’re pregnant”  I remember these words so vividly because these were the last words I heard him say before I drifted off into one of my first-trimester “I’m-too-tired-to-do-anything” naps.

I woke up about 3 that afternoon but I didn’t see my husband anywhere, so I went to call him.  I didn’t see my cell phone; he must have taken it with him, so I grabbed the house phone and called him.  No answer.  Nothing was out of the ordinary, so I sat in the leather recliner chair in our bedroom and waited for him return.  While waiting for him, I decided to do log into my class and do some studying.  I reached for my laptop but it was not in the spot where I left it.  In fact, it was nowhere in the house.  After searching frantically, I called my husband again.  No answer.  I didn’t panic.  We didn’t have the internet so we had to use the free wifi at the local coffee shop.  Maybe he was there.  I went to the coffee shop, but I didn’t see him anywhere.  That’s odd.

I called him again and this time I called three or four times in a row.  No answer.

On my way back to the house, I stopped by the ATM to withdraw $20 to order food.  Transaction denied.  Maybe I put in the wrong pin, so I tried again.  Transaction denied.  I swiped my card in the ATM to check my account balance.  $14.56.  This can’t be real.  I checked again and then I checked my savings.  Still $14.56 and $0 in my savings.  Suddenly I felt as though there was no air; like I was gut punched.  My ears were ringing, face was hot, I couldn’t even feel the tears as they fell down my face.  It wasn’t until a stranger pulled me off the ground that I even realized I was screaming at the top of my lungs.  I didn’t bother calling my husband anymore.  I knew what happened.  I knew he was gone and would not be coming back.

Life got real for me after that.  I had no money and no job.  I cried constantly for the first three days, but I couldn’t afford to grieve, it was crunch time.  Somehow I came into $300.  I used $150 of that money to buy a refurbished computer so I could finish my classes.  These were online prerequisites for the acupuncture program I planned to enroll in.  I used that refurbished computer to search for jobs and emergency assistance, but I didn’t qualify for any of the grants.  Months were passing by and rent was not getting paid.  Finally, I found a temporary position that paid enough for me to stabilize my finances.  I got accepted into the program I planned for and used my refund check as a cushion to maintain my financial stability.

My youngest son was born healthy at 6 pounds 10 ounces on Saturday March 7, 2015, which was the middle of my school semester.  Everyone at my school knew my story and was supportive of me in every way.  With the help of the school administration, I finished my work from home, earning a 3.67 GPA.  I started a business, and it’s growing into something great.  My children are healthy and happy, and my family is more supportive than ever.  For the first time in my life, I see my purpose so clearly that it’s like I’m watching it in a movie.  I did not allow myself to become a victim although he tried to victimize me.  Black motherhood gave me that strength.  My children count on me in ways that they cannot count on anyone else, therefore I cannot let them down.  It was not an option to just give up and let this tragedy tear me apart. so I overcame it.

I conquered, I am victorious.