I Am Rhoda's Son (By True God)

By Rhoda's Son


For many of you who have read our website over the years, I have been known of course as True God, or True, or if you feel like saying it all out loud, True God Immortal. To those who I work with, make music with, and wrote articles with, I've always been True. Hell, even when I dated a woman that wrote for this site, she called me True or T. Some of my boys, who I've known nearly 20 years refer to me as True. I get that this will always be a "stage name" for me, but as I sit here currently, I can honestly say, True doesn't feel like he's here anymore. I lost my love for making music. I lost my love for writing articles. I had fulfilled so many different dreams as True, from being a radio host, working in the wrestling business, and many other areas where I succeeded. Everyone who knows you affectionately calls you True and at some point, you just become that. For me, being True was just me bringing the amplified version of myself to music, radio, wrestling, journalism, and etc. From 2012 to 2020, I've had to be True at every turn, and at times it would be exhausting. The moments I could always get away from that were the moments I'd have with my daughter or with my mother. To my daughter, I'm just her dad that she loves so much. To my mother, I was just her son, and with that came numerous nicknames, none of which were True God of course. To my mother, I was Moo, which was my grandmother's nickname for me when I was a kid. My mother adopted that name for me when my grandmother passed when I was 7 and a half years old, and the sound of her saying it would ease the hurt of being without the only other woman I adored besides my mother. Sometimes, my family would call me Mick, a play on my actual name, Michael, which a lot of people who read this do not know. Funny enough, despite my mom naming me Michael, I do not recall her ever calling me that during my younger years. I was always Moo, "hey baby", or Mick to my mother. I took solace in hearing those names because it was her personal way of acknowledging me. It seemed pretty normal then, by most standards, but the relationship I had with my mother was more than just being her son, the one she guided and tried to discipline. My mother was my best friend for so many years of my life, and even when I got older, I realized there is going to be no greater friend than your mother. My mother would pick me up from my great aunt's home, and we would just sit and talk about the day I had, which at that age, consisted of playing basketball on milk crates, softball by the alleyways, and eating pork chops and the occasional pig's feet that my mother found to be disgusting. For her, she would sit attentive and listen to me, smiling from ear to ear at whatever I would say. I'd go on and on at times, just saying whatever I thought, and I'd watch her happiness and smile as she enjoyed. I remember when I first told her how much I liked wrestling, she laughed and said "your momma used to like Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage" and then she told a funny (and hopefully false story) about Hulk Hogan once asking her for her number when she was in her 20s. Back as a kid, I used to find it funny, but looking back on it now, it was just her way of bonding with me even in something she had relatively no interest in. She'll never quite know how much I appreciated her listening to me talk about Bret Hart vs Shawn Michaels as a kid and just keeping up with me. She'll never know how happy I was to just sit there and watch wrestling on TV while she tried to keep up with it. As a kid, you just are happy to have someone there for you, but my mother wasn't just there for me, she was my everything. From her laugh to her smile to the way she would point her finger matter of factly every time she said something she dubbed important, everything about my mother I admired. Growing up in a single parent household is never easy, especially when your single parent had to work 55 hours for Mass Transit to one day ensure we left our neighborhood behind. My mother used to tell me she had no idea whether or not she was doing a good job as a parent and that she never wanted me to feel that I was being left out or that she was away too much. Looking back on it now, it brings a tear to my eye because she really worked her ass off and still managed to be the best mother I could ask for in the entire world while balancing that. She did everything she could for me and even when I drifted into the streets, she stuck by me through a lot of stuff. I was on a one way trip to a terrible fate and I'll never forget the look in her eye when I told her that I didn't even know if I would make it to 18. Here I was, a great student who knew more than my years would say, that had a one person support system which felt like 10 people, and I was scaring my mother with the idea that I wouldn't make it beyond 18. She would have moments of grief behind it, because she felt she did a great job as my mother, and she once said that there was no way that she could truly teach me how to be a man, because how could she truly lead me in that direction. As much as my mother was right about a lot of stuff, she was wrong about that point. She taught me everything I know. She taught me to be caring, compassionate, how to work hard, how to showcase love for yours, how to communicate properly, and gave me guidelines that I followed on my path to becoming what I have. So much talk goes on about the lack of fathers in the black household, and while that has some truth to it, in my case, I never felt the absence as much as most would. My mother pushed for my father to be there as much as she could. I'd overhear conversations with her saying to him "this boy is an amazing child, as his father you should want to be in his life, I don't need money or anything from you, I just want you to be in his life" and my father wouldn't really come around. That's a whole separate convo and I will not get too into that, but in response to my father's cowardice, my mother was everything for me regardless. When someone becomes your everything, you don't turn to anyone else but them for your solace, for peace, and for help. My mother was always there for me when I needed her. Even in the later years, when the early onset dementia began to attack her mind a lot sooner than I expected, she was still there for me and gave me so many great memories in spite of her regression. Going back to an earlier point, from 2012 to 2020, while True God was my focus every single day, there were always hours in each day where I could call my mother or go visit her and she would brighten my day. I could leave the whole business and True God shit at the door and just be her son, her baby boy, her one and only. We would sit and watch TV, usually it was always something like Martin or Living Single, or we would sit back and eat snacks together while listening to music. Sometimes it would be the Stylistics, sometimes it would be Al Green, sometimes it would be Marvin Gaye. I always loved listening to Marvin Gaye with her because she used to tell the story of going to a Marvin concert and seeing him come out singing Let's Get It On in some leopard skin draws, and she would always laugh about it and say "there was no reason for that grown ass man to be in some leopard skin draws", and I'd laugh every time. Those moments, where we sang together, listened to music together, and just relaxed are some of the best times I've had in the last 8 years. Those times meant more than fulfilling my dream of getting into the wrestling business. It meant more than making a number of albums. It meant more than making money for my art. Those moments were the thing that kept my sanity in check when I was on the brink of losing it. Even though I was broken by the fact she had early onset dementia and that in her situation, it was growing rapidly, I never for once thought it would ever claim her or slow her down. I just never imagined it happening honestly. I know, reality is different, but for me, I just never imagined it. She had her moments where she would forget, but she had hid it so well for years that I had never even imagined it was as serious as it was. My mother first began having signs of dementia at the age of 52, in 2009, and at the time, it was very very small. I remember thinking maybe something was a little off, but I looked up the usual age of when dementia takes hold of the mind, and I remember seeing it was rare for it to develop in those under 60, so I figured, maybe she's just getting older and forgetting a little bit. I mean, when you hit your 50s, sometimes you forget things, that's just natural as you age. So, for maybe a year or so, I never thought anything was wrong. My mother showed no signs of any issue, minus the occasional forgetting, and she was always vibrant and upbeat. She would drive all over the place and always remember where she was going. Her mind stored a lot of information, so for me, I always found it so odd that this struck her. It still doesn't make sense to me now. It probably will never. Regardless, from 2009 to 2013, with minimal showings that dementia was on the rise, my mom and I had so many good times. She and I would go out often, sometimes with the mother of my child, and we'd have so much fun together. Back then, I wish I appreciated those moments even more, but I'll cherish them forever. Just seeing the joy on both of their faces around each other let me know that everything was going to be alright in life back then. And it was. Life was beautiful then. I was happy, my mom was happy, the mother of my child was happy, everything just seemed perfect. While things weren't perfect, in retrospect, that was a moment in life that I'll hold dearly forever. From the excitement on my mother's face when my ex and I bought her the Nintendo Wii system to the excitement when we gifted her so many great things, it felt amazing to help repay the woman who gave me everything I know and am in a way. Despite how things have turned out since then, I'll always have those moments and for that, I appreciate my mother and the mother of my child more than they will ever know.

The saddest part of everything that has occurred for me was just that my mom missed out on some years as a grandmother due to a lot of bullshit between my ex and I. While both of us feel justified I'm sure in how we went about things at the time, as my mother began having issues and they grew to be more prevalent, I can only imagine how exciting it would have been for her to have her grandchild around during those years. However, the situation was what it was, and while I am regretful for how things played out, I am glad my mother got to see countless photos, videos, and video chatted with my baby girl several times. She loved her granddaughter, even if distance kept them apart as the years went on. My mother knew as the years went on that perhaps her time was shorter than expected. She never wanted to be someone who was not able to do for herself, speak for herself, and take care of herself. As the dementia began getting worse, I could see the unhappiness coming in from her. There were moments where she would forget a lot of things and she would get visibly angry at herself, feeling as if she wasn't herself anymore. It broke my heart seeing my mother this way. I'll never forget one day when she was having a little trouble remembering where the bathroom was, and she got so mad that I helped her. I guess then I knew at some point she would not want to be here like that. My mother was a go-getter, a mover, a worker, a fun lover. As much as I tried to take her places and give her as much fun as possible during the last 8 years, her frustration was visible, especially when I wasn't around. One day, she had watched a Tyler Perry movie that she liked, The Family That Preys, and she remarked that she saw Kathy Bates character and saw what she was becoming. I remember nearly cursing her out for saying this, because the end of said movie finished with the death of Kathy Bates' character. The reason I got so angry is because I knew that's exactly how she felt and that she did not want to end up like those older ladies she had seen and cared for years ago in an old nursing home. Foolishly, I remember thinking "if I could save my mother and cure her dementia, then we could restore life the way she deserves", but every avenue seemed to be too tough. I changed her diet, and it worked some for her mood at least. I gave her natural remedies, I did my best to try and help, but the reality was, dementia is one of those irreversible things. And I hated that with all my heart and soul. That finality that at some point this becomes too much to overcome never felt right to me. My mother was a fighter, she wouldn't succumb to this at all. From 2013 to 2017, aside from the occasional bad moment, I had every right to believe she would beat this and be the miracle. In some ways, she was. In 2018, doctors began telling me more about how severe this was growing and how once it gets beyond a certain point, it is just a matter of time. It was at that moment that I made a huge decision to devote literally all my free time to being there for my mother and helping her fight this. I had been coming around multiple days a week in between trips and work, but I knew more was required of me. It felt eerily similar to when my mother took off months from work to help my grandma before she passed. My grandma had colon cancer and passed at 60. In 2017, my mother hit 60. I was extremely nervous that entire year. I remember the birthday party for her that year and just being so scared. When she made it to 2018 and 61, my goal was to get her to 62 and beyond. Then, 2019 happened. Two very severe injuries occurred with my mother, one of which they said she probably would never recover from. One of those injuries hurt her ability to walk and brought her a pain that she had never felt before. With dementia attacking her mind, along with two serious injuries, I saw my mother get angry and tell me that she wanted to "go home" and "not be here anymore". This was early 2019. At that moment, I knew. I knew that if she was unable to overcome these two injuries that she would probably be ready to go from this earth. And with that, I devoted even more time to making sure she got beyond these injuries and walked again, on her own. March 2019, my mother celebrated her 62nd birthday in a hospital. I told her that by my birthday in May 2019, she would be walking again and that the doctors would be wrong. By April 22nd, she was walking again. While it was a struggle to get her up sometimes because dementia was getting worse despite the best efforts of myself, doctors, and even my grandpa, the rest of 2019 saw my mother mostly healthy, doing good, and walking. That was a great time for me. She was upbeat, singing songs with me again, and she was doing good. But, I could sometimes see in her face that while she was happy when I was there, the times I would have to leave to work or just do anything else, she would lose all that joy. It became apparent that my mother fought and was holding on for me. She knew that if she left then, I'd not be okay. I'd not be in the right state of mind. She was outside one day and reiterated what she said to me many times over, that she was proud of me. For years she had said this to me and while it of course made me emotional, hearing it in the fall of 2019 really hit even harder. She felt like at that point, she had fulfilled her duty on her earth. She had raised her son to be a man that she was proud of, one who turned his life around when things were slipping and one that devoted his life and time to be there for her when she needed him most. She used to say to me that I didn't have to come, that I should stop coming sometimes and just go live my life, mostly during that early 2019 period. My mom lost her mind one day and said all those things I mentioned earlier and I remember leaving from visiting her feeling heartbroken and hearing her nurses say that I probably wouldn't be back.

I was back there literally the next day.

I knew she needed me. I knew she wanted me around. I would NOT let her lose her fight because she still had more times, more smiles, and more laughs to share. And for the last 15 months, she did just that. She lived. She finally got her sister to come see her, she helped reunite me and my grandpa after years of being distant from each other, and she got our family together for Christmas one last time in 2019. I got to cook Thanksgiving dinner for my mother two years in a row, and she loved it. That was always something I wanted to do and I did it the last two years. No matter what, I'll always have that moment, those pictures, and those times. 2020 was a rough year, and I saw that my mother's time might be winding down. After battling back from the injuries in 2019, 2020 saw some new injuries that came as a result of 2019 and I think at that point, combined with COVID keeping my visits limited by law, she just had enough. I got to talk to her a few days before she ascended, and I remember the smirk and smile on her face when I told her "Ma, I love you". It was as if she might have been just holding on for that. I let her know that I was about to go see my daughter for her birthday and celebrate and that I'd bring some pictures now that Maryland was opening and visitation had become a possibility again after 2-3 months. She smiled, but I think she knew at that point. She was holding on until she knew I was okay, and she knew that the only way I could have been remotely okay with not having her here physically was if I had my daughter back in my life. That situation is another discussion in itself, but after years of back and forth and pain for me, I got my daughter back in my life and I was so close to reuniting my mom and my daughter. I was THIS close. For me, it felt like the victory that I was celebrating was slightly ripped out of my hands, and I remember the feeling of losing my purpose hitting me at that moment. But, a lesson hit me. My mother hung on to a life that she was not pleased with because she wanted to be there for me. She wanted to be there for me as my escape from the hurt in that situation, even with her health declining. She was such a mom in this respect. The moment I was reunited with my baby girl and had that feeling of joy wash over me, my mother knew that the only way she could be happy is if she were able to watch over me and guide me like she had years prior. She wanted to see my grandmother again, she wanted to see those we lost over the years. Her job on earth was done, now it was her time to do what she wanted to do, and now my daughter and I have an everlasting guiding angel. It stings though. Grief is a bitch man, let me tell you. My body feels weak, my heart and chest feel like someone dropped an anvil on it, my desire to continue on in life honestly comes and goes. Losing the only constant you've known your whole life is hard, especially when you adored that one constant more than one could imagine. However, I look to how my mother fought on and put her love and all into me when my grandma passed and I take lessons from that and utilize that for me and my daughter. Life is legacy. Legacy continues even after your physical is gone. Your impact can be felt and appreciated even years and years down the line, and my mother's legacy has two pieces to carry on that: my daughter and I.

The hardest part of grief is the acceptance and while I do not want to accept this, what is done is done. That is the curse of life. What is final is final and you cannot reverse it. God knows if I could, I would. But, reality is what it is. So, with that, my mother entrusted me to do an important job and that's carry on the legacy of her and my grandmother, while putting all the principles and love around for my daughter. There is no manual for parenting, there is no true guideline for parenting either, but my mother was the guideline and the manual, in my eyes. No one is perfect is the saying, but if there was ever someone who was close to perfection, my mother was that. So, as I embark on this journey and new chapter of my life without my everything, I have a job to do. I'm Zuri's father now, but until I am gone, I am always Rhoda's son. And with that, comes a legacy, a path, and a chance to continue making my queen proud as she watches and guides us. This was hard to write, but I have so many memories of my mother that this will be a series. A series that will make me smile, cry, laugh, but most of all, it will let me let the world know just how amazing Rhoda was and still is in spirit. I even made an album to uphold her memory. For now, I'll chose this chapter out saying that Ma I miss you so much and love you so much and that will never change. However, our bond transcends the physical existence and will continue on forever and ever. Keep guiding me, Ma.

-Rhoda's Son 

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