“A Life of Giving”

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Award-winning American novelist, short story writer, and journalist, Ernest Miller Hemingway, once said: “Life breaks everyone, but some people heal stronger in the breaks.”

My mother was one of those people that healed stronger in the breaks – Despite serious obstacles, she bounced back repeatedly: left alone as a widow with several kids and limited financial resources, overcoming ailment many times, just to mention a few challenges.

She was always there for me – and for my brother and sisters (and for many others) – It was always “Ma, Mom, Oldma.” She took this role very seriously and never wavered, no matter what. But, she played another pivotal role in our lives as well: Father; for the last 28 years, doing it all — alone.

You seem invincible, Mom. But, I know that you never quit. You truly practiced what you preached; “Don’t ever give up Sando,” as you told me so often.

She was generous, loving, sweet, honest, brave, strong, energetic, resilient, thoughtful and hopeful. My mother possessed all of these qualities for sure. Mother Gillian Lorba Tulay Moore was indeed, a woman of virtue.

My mother was a woman who learned a great deal from her husband, our father, the legendary Bai T. Moore, who predeceased her on January 10, 1988. She learned from him good quality, never allowing anything to ever full her eyes – she learned from him the virtues of sincerity and honesty.

As my mother’s remains lie here today, I am in pain and agony because no one ever loses a loved one such as she who they will not miss. We had a brilliant mother, one who never really grew old. Her smile was made of sunshine, her heart was solid gold; her eyes were as bright as shining stars, and in her cheeks fair roses you could see. We had an amazing mother, and that’s the way it will always be with us.

She is no more, but my heart is filled with joy that mommy has finally gone to join her everlasting loved one, the great Bai Tamia. The memories of the past are not vague as the hurts are forever and forgiven. What I have today is what there is forever and those are the memories I have to hold on to. In my mind, I remember a face – one of beauty, one with seldom a frown and almost always a smile. Never a harsh word – just a kind and gentle smile, I can still hear her voice as she says kind words to all who she knew and those from far-off.

Her words were always soft and tender. They were indeed her natural embodiment. I will forever hear her say “Hi Honey” soft and gentle was her voice. I will forever be grateful as I was brought up by her to love and care for others, and that is why I am now who she was. Above hate and malice, she chose friendship, sister and brotherhood as well as family-ship. “There is more happiness in giving than receiving” says the Holy Bible. My mother practiced this golden principle all the time. Throughout her life on Earth, she gladly shared with people who needed help when she had so little. She simply loved being there for others and helping to make their lives better, and above all, she was straightforward. This was where she received her greatest joy.

There were many days I visited mama on the Old Road, where she lived prior to her home-going and I would say “but mom, you don’t have this, you don’t have that, why didn’t you tell me?” And she would reply, “Sando, it’s okay, because I know when you have the money, you will bring it.” Indeed, my mother never allowed herself to become a burden to anyone, not even her own children. She was always full of smiles, indicating that all was well, no matter what. She kept hope alive and remained focused in realizing her dreams and aspirations.

In spite of all that others tried to do to put her down and keep her in a perpetual state of confusion and suppression, she succeeded against the odds, and remained positive – an attribute I would say she learned well from the great teacher – Liberia’s renowned poet, the late Bai Tamia Moore.

As a result of this, today, when you are counting Liberians with fat bank accounts and other unexplained wealth, no member of the Bai T. Moore family can be found on that list. When you speak of honesty, love for country and respect for constituted authorities, you will definitely find us in the number – courtesy of our mother and father.

Ma Lorba was a simple woman, but there is nothing petit about her legacy or the impact she had on others. It is a strong, beautiful and vibrant legacy. In life, she was in a constant state of motion. She was a hurricane, never stopping, or slowing down. That kind of energy keeps moving. Thank you Mom for giving me words of wisdom to have good dreams. You said, “Do what makes you happy, Sando. You’ll never be happy doing something you don’t like.” Thank you for giving me a sense of style and taste and an appreciation for beauty and for a good life. Thank you for pushing me to always do the best for my country and humanity.

My fellow countrymen and women, boys and girls, let’s learn to always give back to our country our very best, so that tomorrow, our children and generations unborn would reap the fruits of our earnest labor, love, care and patriotism.

Today, I stand before you all, not to mourn my fallen Mother Gillian Lorba Tulay Moore, but I am here to celebrate her home-going as a noble woman who lived her life as a shining example worth emulating. Thank you mama for showing me how to be a real friend. Thank you for teaching me how to be compassionate and forgiving. Thank you for teaching me to be nationalistic.

Thank you for telling me that it pays to be selfless than selfish.Thank you for showing me how to share, even when there was almost nothing to share with others who were in dire need. There has never been an occasion that I can remember, where I ever introduced myself as a son of Bai T. Moore or “Teacher Moore,” as mom was popularly called by her many students from the B.W. Harris Episcopal High School or those from the Monrovia Consolidated School System (MCSS), and I was never accorded due courtesy and admiration. I therefore, urge you my fellow countrymen and women, that everyone of us should be mindful of the life we live today because it has a lot to do with our tomorrow. Let us all therefore, strive to always leave an enviable legacy that would speak volumes long after we are dead and gone.

Not only was my mother genuinely in love with my father, she was as well in love with his outstanding poetic works, and as such, history will not judge me kindly, were I to give a tribute to her memories without doing her the honor of at least mentioning her most cherished of his poetic collections. She loved this particular poem so much so that while she was still here with us, she insisted that it was inscribed on his gravestone located in Dimeh, Bomi County, where she too will later be interred alongside her beloved husband. With your indulgence, let me now call upon one of her many grandchildren, Tomah Moore-Toe to kindly read for us a poem written by the celebrated Bai T. Moore entitled: “What Counts?”…

At this juncture, please permit me to also call on another grandchild, Tobi Jassa Moore, to read for us another poem authored by our father, titled: “The Strength Of The Nation,” a poem which, in my judgment, is the greatest poetic work to have ever emanated from the intellect and mighty pen of inarguably one of Liberia’s greatest poets ever – Bai T. Moore, Sr., may peace be unto him and light perpetual shine upon his ashes.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, I could go on and on from one poem to another that came out of the brainpower and fountain pen of our dad, but these two literary works of his, are considered by mom and me as the most classical and graceful contributions to the Liberian nation and the world at large.

Nevertheless, the immense and indelible contributions father Bai T. made to the forward march of our dear country, very little appreciation has been shown by successive Liberian regimes, including the current administration. After patriotically serving the Government of Liberia as Deputy Minister for Culture at the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) for years, he was removed and replaced by someone who, by all accounts, had no professional background or experience for the job. And since then, not a single befitting honoring program in his memory as a devoted public servant has ever been held by the Government of Liberia (GoL) since his demise – and it was the same situation with my mother, up to her death.

However, others who made similar contributions to the state had been officially recognized and honored by the Liberian government. But, let the word go forth today that for all of these, we, the Bai T. Moore family, hold no bitterness in our hearts against anyone or any group of individuals – again, all that we seek is for all Liberians to love Liberia genuinely, and that not anyone of us, for any reason whatsoever, should use Liberia as a transit point to exploit the country of its resources and fly public finances out of the country for self-enrichment, while the vast majority of the masses back home swim in a sea of poverty and misery.

As I close, let me leave with my compatriots these few words of caution: Put Liberia first and then all other things will be added. To this end, I say bye, bye mommy, you will indeed be missed, and please do not forget to greet our legendary dad, Bai Tamia Moore for us in the great beyond.

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