Not every Mothers Day is a celebration

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

A mother’s love is forever. A mother’s love is free. It doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad, She’s there for whatever you need.

— Diana Ross

Mary Wheeler will get no flowers today for Mothers Day. It’s unlikely she’ll get a phone call.

She’ll probably spend the day like she does most Sundays. After church, Wheeler (not her true name) will do some work around the house and fix herself a small dinner. Like most other meals, she’ll eat it alone.

Wheeler’s son, Tony, will spend this Mothers Day like he has the last several, sitting in a north Georgia prison cell. While his mother insists Tony’s story is another of the woeful wrong place, wrong time sort, the fact remains that he was convicted of taking part in a violent robbery, one in which he carried a gun. He’s not expected to get out of prison for several more Mothers Days.

Mary Wheeler initially balked at talking about her son, telling a visitor “it’s nobody else’s business.” Finally, though, she relented after being assured neither her nor Tony’s true identity would be revealed. Conversation was awkward at first, hesitant, as Wheeler kept her guard up. Eventually, though, this mother’s heartbreak got the better of her.

“It was them boys my Baby Boy was hanging out with,” Wheeler replied when asked about her son’s crime. “I told him over and over that they were no good, but he didn’t listen to me. Tony was always a good boy; I raised him right. But he wanted to prove himself like young boys do.

“I still don’t think he got done right by the police and the judge. He hadn’t never been in trouble before, but that didn’t matter. They sent him on up there to that nasty prison.”

Tears come to Wheeler’s eyes. She takes a moment to collect herself.

“I don’t think that lawyer the state gave Baby Boy did very much to try and help him,” she continues, and there’s a hard edge to her voice. “I know people who did a lot worse than he did who are walking the streets right now. I just didn’t have the money to pay some big-shot lawyer.”

Again this mother’s emotions get the better of her, and she has to wipe away tears. I take the time to ask her if days like Mothers Day, Christmas and birthdays are particularly hard for her, and she takes a while to answer.

Finally, she let’s out a long breath and the words come in a burst.

“Every day is hard,” she says with a bitterness that is palpable, but her tone softens gradually as she continues. “I pray and pray and pray, asking God to give my Baby Boy one more chance, and every day that goes by it gets a little bit harder. Sometimes it hurts my heart so bad I can’t hardly stand it.

“I know what he did was wrong, but I also know there’s a lot of good in that boy. I just pray that all that good doesn’t get taken away up there in that jail. I pray every day that he’ll come home and start over, that he’ll get a second chance.”

Sons and daughters throughout Southwest Georgia will spend today with their mothers, showering them with gifts and thanking them for years of love, patience and wisdom. Many will take their tokens of lasting love to cemeteries, offering up silent prayers of thanks.

Mary Wheeler — and many other mothers like her — will spend the day alone in her tiny home, thinking about her Baby Boy and what went wrong in his tragic life. Instead of love and affection, she’ll deal with feelings of guilt and loneliness. It’s a sure bet she’ll shed plenty of tears ... and she’ll pray.

Always, she’ll pray.

Email Metro Editor Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.


Justice4Moma 3 years, 6 months ago

What is really hard is when you lose your Mother,just after Mothers Day.And you have someone who works for Albany who does not know you at all,and tells everyone that your Mother did not love you,allow you in her home,or yard.You know it is all a lie,but sometimes you cant take back what you say,and you never know how bad it hurts,and the fact it does not go away.Then you have people come up to you like at a Doctors office,and ask if you are the one whos Mother did nt care for you,i saw the story about you on TV.What gives this person the right to do this.Do they think they are GOD?I hope all have a Happy mother Day,because what you wrote at the top,A mother’s love is forever. A mother’s love is free. It doesn’t matter if you’re good or bad, She’s there for whatever you need.Is so true.And i miss my Mother,and she does LOVE ME.Yet some how it does not take away what has been said.


LoneCycler 3 years, 6 months ago

Excuse me for raining on your pity parade, but where is Baby Boy’s father in this story? This sounds like your typical dysfunctional one parent family and the misery that many of them encounter. Are we supposed to feel sorry for Baby Boy doing hard time for using a firearm to commit a felony, or for his mother who apparently was incapable of preventing her child from running wild in the streets? Mothers like this never blame their child, they blame “them boys my Baby Boy was hanging out with,” as if those boy’s mothers don’t feel the very same way about her child. And they blame the Judge or the State appointed lawyer for failing to keep their child out of prison, as if we’re supposed to coddle criminals that use guns in crimes. This story can be boiled down to “A street thug is doing hard time in the pen and his mother is upset about it.” Cry me a river.


JBruceF 3 years, 6 months ago

Lone Cycler I totally agree! Until adults take some responsibility for the consequences of their actions i. e. men and women having children they cannot care for and properly raise, becoming self sufficient and not depending on the government for their total existance, and quit blaming the "bad kids" that their kids hang out with for the trouble their kids are in the cycle will still continue. Unfortunately the government's never ending handouts make it easy for these brood sow mothers and irresponsible daddys to continue to populate our neighborhoods with these thug kids every 9 months and 15 minutes apart.


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