Monday, March 29, 2010

Mom is Smiling and Dancing in the Heavens

This is what I wrote for my mother's funeral. I have to share with the world the great woman she was physically and now that she is in the heavens she's on a higher plain and is smiling and dancing. The picture of her is from the 70's at a show. She was in shape and this was a pic taken after she had me! Amazing!

Life With Marguerite "Sauti" Wills

Marguerite Teresa Ann Wills was born May 20th, 1949 in Jamaica, NY.
Born to the late Mr. Lawrence Wills Sr. and Mrs. Bernice Wills they were
more than tickled to receive such a blessing from God. She was a loving
sister as she was the oldest of five children. Throughout her childhood she
stayed active through dance where she took up ballet, tap and jazz at
Bernice Johnson Dance School. She also took up modeling as she enjoyed
being in numerous shows.

After she graduated from St. Michael High School in Brooklyn, NY in
1967 a shift occurred. She said between the African drums that called her
down the hall after she took ballet and the liberation movement of our
people began to transform her. Working at Green Lantern she helped out
with free lunch programs and assisted organizations such as the Black
Panther’s to help teach our children about equality and to fight for the Civil
Rights Movement. After cutting out the perm she received the name
“Sauti” which means “Voice” in Swahili as she always spoke the
knowledge of elders and advocated for what was right.

She began to dance and do lighting through the “International Afrikan
American Ballet” and they performed in the first “Dance Africa” in the
1970’s both she and the nonprofit dance troupe performed or what we call,
“Tearing up the stage” all over the state and they even ventured out to
places such as Canada. Now 30+ years later Dance Africa is known all
over the world and “Sauti” can smile down and say, “I was in the first

One day she danced and began to feel a bit tired only to discover she was
pregnant. She danced until it was time to give birth to Serena Theresa Wills
in 1975. She became a homemaker and put all her efforts into taking care
of her daughter and still was active in the ballet.

Her life then took on another shift as God called her to work with children
in need. Her sister Doretha Washington was diagnosed with AIDS in 1983
but delivered a beautiful daughter named Ayana. Marguerite stepped up to
the plate and said, “I’ll take her home.”

The doctors said Ayana wouldn’t see the age of 1. Because of Marguerite’s
constant love, attention to all of her medical conditions such as severe brain
damage, scoliosis, under developed organs Ayana didn’t pass away until 24 in

Marguerite instilled her beliefs into her daughter Serena and as she
volunteered through her high school at Terrance Cardinal Cooke in
Harlem. There Serena met Christina. Born in 1989 to a crack addicted
mother she was brought to the facility where they thought she would die or
be severely brain damaged because of the drugs in her mother’s system.
After a few visits Marguerite couldn’t bear to leave her in the facility and
adopted her in 1993. Christina was diagnosed as Autistic and is now 20 years old
and is “Nana’s Little Helper.”

She was an advocate for children that had special needs and always
envisioned opening up a group home for more children. She tried to get a
program but alas the state made major cuts. She continued to care for her
children and stayed fighting for their rights. Anyone could tell you that
Marguerite’s African name “Sauti” was appropriately given to her as she
never backed down and in the end she won.

The last turn of her path was when she was diagnosed on August 10th,
2009 with Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer that had spread to her stomach. Her
determination to live went on for months. Not understanding why at first;
she knew at the end as she smiles down on us. Her last task on earth was to
reunite her family and make it known that tomorrow isn’t promised. She
cracked jokes, was always friendly with the nurses and doctors,
understood every medical term they gave her and never complained. Her
journey ended on Friday, February 19th, 2010 at the age of 60 years old.

There isn’t enough room on the page to describe her as she ended up
touching the lives of many people. She always told her daughter Serena,
“No matter what you do in life, I’ll always be proud of you as long as you are happy and apply yourself.”

Marguerite “Sauti” Wills is survived by her mother Bernice Wills, two
siblings Hilda Douglas, Lawrence “Larry” Wills, Jr., two children Serena
T. Wills and Christina S. Wills, brother in law Kirk Douglas and sister in
law Annette Wills, three nephews Christopher Douglas, Tyler Wills and
Bryce Wills and a host of family and friends. Marguerite has a special
place in heaven and is on the hilltop looking down at us smiling saying, “I
made it home.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Divine Rebirth

This poem is a tribute to my mother, the late Marguerite "Sauti" Wills. She passed away on February 19, 2010 to Ovarian Cancer. May she rest in heavenly peace as her work here is done and God called her home. I wrote it as if I was in her shoes. Enjoy and be blessed.

Divine Rebirth

Earth Stood Still
Heavens Gates Opened
Cancer finally cured
Scared at first of the unknown
What lie ahead
Fighting for breath in my body
Saying good bye
Closed eyes once that lead to visions of more drugs, chemo, hateful needles and pain
Ability to walk was non existent
But this time
Oh this time
When I closed my eyes
I woke up to streets of gold, hugging my Daddy and my little girl as they greeted me
Feeling my full face, color restored, and my tight dancer calves have returned
I'm whole
Smiled as I felt my beautiful natural hair
Daddy and Ayana led me to a shining light
Bright as it gleamed into what was once a dark sky
Huge arms were extended
Embracing me, rubbing my head as I hugged the Lord
He said, "Sauti...job well done. You carried enough crosses in your life time and now its time for you to rest."
Staring into the eyes of the great one I asked, "what about my loved ones, those left behind? How will they do?"
He raised his arms and clouds above Him displayed a picture perfect view
I saw my loved ones as they grieved over me
Tears of those who cared for me day in and day out
I reached out and then I realized my mother saw me, daughters were startled and siblings looking around
God said, "They felt your touch, talk to them and tell them grief will be brief and your mourning one day will be replaced with healing."
Whispering the tears of my mother was suddenly replaced with her genuine smile
Family now laughing about the good times that were had
Gates now opened and God said, "Rest for there is some work to do...time to move road blocks, barriers, and clear storms."
Rearrange their lives so they can live comfortably
Bless the doctors and nurses that cared for you
All those you touched for its their turn to be blessed in return
I smiled and when I went to walk away the huge arm extended to me again
"I ask you though to do one last favor for me? Go down the road into the house on the hilltop and be happy with what you see."
Guardian angels led me to the house and there I saw old relatives, and friends
Drums started beating, awakening my spirit as I danced like I was back with International
Celebrating my rebirth of eternal life
All day I praised Him and then in the corner I saw babies cooing and playing
I knelt down to play with two and saw me in them
Confused I asked Ayana, "Who's children are they?"
She smiled and said, "Meet your grands, you must spend time with them and prepare them for that magical journey"
I picked up my babies and was led into a majestic room in the back accented with silver and gold.
A huge bed and a view of the valley
Papa tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Marguerite, kick your feet up, rest up and welcome home."
It felt good to lay down after 20+ years, no worries for I will take care of my family from afar, playing with my cooing grands
Feet kicked up, being fed by ancestors past
I'm at peace, no more suffering, yelling ouch when you roll me, no more memory lapse due to chemotherapy
Don't mourn for I live on a hilltop, my special place picked out by God

Written By: Serena Wills

Mommy, its time for you to rest, I love you and will miss you very much. Ase Iya Sauti, Ase to the ancestors that greeted you in the heavens, Ase, Ase, Ase