From The Novel, Daughter of Grace by Dr. Naima Johnston Bush
Scooting back against the custom king canopy bed with the frail and wispy lilac lace blowing from the ceiling fan, I felt stuffed and sick. There was that thought in my mind again, the one that kept running round and round. My mother Grace Parker, the recipient of twenty-two number one singles, sixteen gold, platinum, double and triple platinum albums, over one hundred million records sold, Emmy, Tony, Oscar, Grammy, American Music Award and NAACP Image Award winner, was simply gone. Silenced forever. They would say it was an accident, but she killed herself. She did it slowly and without malice or intent, but she took herself out of this world with those drugs and that liquor. It was a plain fact, as plain as the short, stubby, freckled nose on my face.
The tears begin to burn as my throat closed blocking off my air, panic rising like the tide about to drown me. Blindly I searched the floor seeking something, anything that would give me comfort. It almost felt like the Slim Jim, my mother’s guilty favorite, sprang into my hand, I peeled back the wrapper and began to eat in earnest. As I stuffed the spicy mystery meat down almost choking myself in the process, the shameful truth of my own situation hit me. It became apparent right there in the midst of all the crumbs, chaos, empty bottles and bags.
There wasn’t any difference between mother and daughter. I was killing myself as well. Slowly and daily with every binge that wrapped me up in a food induced coma. It might not have been popped pills or alcohol, but food was my drug of choice. The evidence was in the strained zippers of my designer clothes, the thighs that rubbed together every step taken, the look of disgust on my father’s face the last time I saw him, the surprise of a fan unfamiliar with my appearance finding out that, “The Velvet Throat” the slim, beautiful honey colored diva with waist length hair, sparkling brown eyes and the most talented woman to ever walk the planet, was my mother. The diva was an addict and so was her only child.
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