Last February, Brandon Jackson would be sentenced to 12 years in prison by a nearly all-White jury, after being jumped by a group of White males in Jackson, N.J. Here, Brandon’s mother, Gloria Fisher, describes the void she has been experiencing each Mother’s Day without her son.
This is the second Mother’s Day I will spend without Brandon. This year, although I am carrying great sadness and heartbreak, I feel more encouraged.
Last year, Mother’s Day came a few weeks after Brandon was found guilty of a crime the prosecutor and judge know he did not commit.
I cried constantly — not sure if the heavy pain in my chest would ever go away.
I didn’t know who to turn to or what to do next. I kept asking, How could such obvious injustice happen? Why Brandon? Why me? How much more could I bear?
Last Mother’s Day, I went to church with my mother, as was expected. I sat numb, not hearing all of the praise and encouragement given to “good” Mothers. I felt that I had failed somehow. Somewhere along the way, I had not done whatever “it” is that makes a Mother “good.” After church, I returned home to spend the rest of that and the next few days in tears.
I cried so much that I became frustrated with my weakness.
I had considered myself a strong and fair Mother. I had been tough, but supportive. Brandon was raised to respect others. He was kind and considerate to his friends. He never had any problems with the police. Did I make him weak, easy prey? My emotions ranged between despair and rage.
Months passed before I could even open the door to his room.
So I have spent the last year trying to tell Brandon’s story. A story that too many Mothers of color share. I have a solid, strong family who have supported me emotionally, and as much as possible, financially. I have been somewhat fortunate because I have had access to the media.
How many Mother’s tears are shed alone, in silence? Mothers who are forced to accept that they can’t make a difference.
This Mother’s Day, I am encouraged.
I have spent the last year working on myself. I still cry sometimes, but I stand solid and confident in my faith. I have been broken and am renewed. I understand how blessed I am to be a member of a strong family. I thank them often.
I am confident that Brandon will be free soon. I look forward to long talks about life, past, present, and future. I still ask why did he have to lose all these years to such foolishness.
But he will return home, stronger and wiser.
I can’t wait.
Bring added joy to Ms. Fisher by wishing her a happy Mother’s Day here.