Friday, June 29, 2007

Naia Honey Ferguson is College Bound!!!

Yesterday, I attended the high school graduation for the daughter of my late best friend, Kathy Jones-Ferguson. Actually as I write this, I feel odd about calling Kathy my best friend...because she was much more than that to me. She was more like a sister to me, we had been friends since 9th grade and after high school we stayed close and kept up with each other's lives frequently. We sang on choirs together, spent many a night sitting up late talking about our plans and our dreams. She was there with me as I tried to extricate myself from several abusive relationships. I remember when she was about to get married to someone that I instinctively KNEW wasn't worthy of her...I suffered through getting fitted for a GOD AWFUL Peach colored bridesmaid dress complete with HATS, PARASOLS, BUSTLES AND FINGERLESS GLOVES!!! GASP!!! (I can laugh at this now but I was truly frightened that I would actually have to wear that dress!!!). But she was in love and I was determined to be a good I put down my deposit and quietly got fitted for that damn can only imagine my relief when she realized she loved someone else and called off the wedding. lol....I never went near that bridal place again and I left that dress right on the hanger!!!! I was there when she got reacquainted with her soon to be new husband (another alumnus from JFK) and when she called me and told me she was pregnant with Naia (for whom this blog is really about).

We laughed and cried together and out of all the people in my life....SHE was THAT CHICK for me, the one who "knew where all the bodies were buried" in relation to my We were so close that when she was having trouble finding decent employment, I hired her as one of my assistants. My reasons for hiring her were purely selfish on my part. I knew that she really needed a job but I also I knew that this would be the perfect opportunity to see and talk to her every single day. It worked out beautifully and the five years or so that we worked together only made us closer. So it hurt me deeply to find out towards the end of year 3 of our working together that she was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She worked until she could no longer take the pain and then went on disability. I saw her less and less after that but I tried to speak to her at least a couple of times a week when she felt up to it. The thing I loved the most about her was that throughout her illness...she never stopped fighting, she never let it get the best of her and she NEVER let it break her spirit. We even went wig shopping when she began to lose her hair to the chemotherapy.

I saw Kathy a few days before she died when I visited her at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital (Where the employees for the CANCER hospital stand outside and smoke cigarettes on their and she flipped the script and wound up comforting me when I broke down at the sight of my beloved sister. I found out from her husband that they were about to try a new experimental treatment for her cancer that would either help cure her cancer or accelerate it's growth....they couldn't be sure of how she would react to it. I stayed with her until visiting hours were over, kissed her goodbye and told her that I loved her. She told me in her always soothing voice that everything would be okay and not to worry....she'd be fine.

I never saw her again.

Which brings me to her beautiful daughter Naia Honey Ferguson, who I tried to keep in touch with as much as I could and although I didn't see her as much as I may have liked (completely my fault) her dad was very good at keeping me updated on her life. I saw Naia again when her dad remarried and I was amazed at how much she had grown. Naia is a F.A.T. Girl like her mom and is absolutely beautiful and extremely talented. I ran into her dad on the street and he told me that she was getting ready to graduate and preparing for her prom. I made sure that my schedule was free because I certainly didn't want to miss her graduation.

Her graduation was held at Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem and Naia was the Salutorian. Naia is an exceptional poet, so I knew she was going to be good, but I was stunned at just how phenomenal she is at spoken word. Believe when I tell you that this young woman's gift for speech and the written word is absolutely BRILLIANT!!! (and I am not just saying this because she is my baby). I swear to you she delivered a welcome address that was better than any of the speeches that the adults delivered. I also found at that Miss Naia will be headed to Washington University on full 4 Year scholarship. I am so proud of my girl I could just burst!!! She got over $175,000 in scholarship monies and grants! You GO Girl!!!! She wants to be a child psychologist when she graduates and I have no doubt that she will get whatever it is that she wants.

I know her mama is doing backflips in heaven!

I know this post was a little wordy ya'll but I just wanted to take a moment to shout out a F.A.T. girl who knows that the world revolves around so much more than modeling.

Much success in all that you do Naia!

I love you chica and I am VERY proud of you!

"A gift has the ability to empower (whatever it might be)."

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