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.”


Antwain Marcy said...

Wonderfull testimony of a wonderfull person.

Serena W. said...

Thank you so much. I want to share and feel its my job as her daughter to shed light on the great and amazing woman she was. I'm sitting here now thinking about her.

God bless.