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Berdine's Corner

The Greatest Birthday Gift Ever

by Deborah E. Dennard

berdine dennard
Berdine Dillard Dennard

Life Lessons from a Matriarch

Berdine Dillard Dennard and Deborah Dennard

Birthdays have always been special to me. My parents, especially my mama, made sure that we had a cake, a present, and on some years, a party. She wanted our birthdays to be special. Even though we were grown, my mama still bought us presents every year. Even my last birthday when she was so sick, she gave me a check for $200 and told me to buy something since she couldn't get to the store to buy a gift. With the money she gave me, I bought the curtains for my dining room and living room. In addition to that, on that day, my mama gave me the best gift I have ever received. She wrote me a letter. This month (October 2) will mark the fourth birthday since she passed away, and I still cannot think of a better present than the letter she wrote on that day.

Oct. 2, 2008
6:10 P.M.
To my darling daughter Debbie,

I would like for you to know how very much I love you. I could not have ordered a sweeter child. You were so easy to raise, never gave me a bit of trouble. How many mothers can say that?

You've done so much for me that no one would believe it. You are going to be blessed in a special way. We do a lot of things together and have such great times.

Debbie, I talked to you some about the direction your life is going in. You have so many friends; they will fill your life up. I think that’s great. I must have done something right. I always wanted you to get married, maybe someday you will. You'll make some many very happy. But if you never marry, just be happy and loving. Men are crazy anyway (smile).

I also told you I wanted you to get closer to God. He will always lead you. You already have the basics. You also have a good job and education, and I know you are going to get your doctoral degree soon.

Just try to save more money. Of all of the kids, you have the most, so always share with Roy and Kenney. No matter what you make, just know that 10% is not yours, it belongs to God. Always try to help someone else; that's what God wants us to do. Share and help others.

You've been so good with Octavia. I hope she appreciates all you've done for her. Continue to love and help her. I want you to take better care of your health. I tried to but it didn't; maybe it will with you. We have to break this generational curse of cancer. Get all of your checkups early. Try to get Roy and Kenney in for checkups, too.

I wanted to adopt a little child, so you would not be alone if not married, but I guess that was not for you.

All of my personal things belong to you. Do whatever you want with them. Give some jewelry to my sisters, and remember the car goes to Kenney and the land goes to Roy. You are everything to me, and I leave everything up to you.

I know you will be in charge of your father and the house and the bills. Do the best you can. Take very good care of your father. I love him very much. He's always taken care of us. He's a very special man, and he's ours.

With all my love,
Your Mother


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