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Monday, April 7, 2014

52 Ancestors #14: She Wanted A Birthday Party!

Mercedes Avatna Artis (April 12, 1948 – August 9, 2013)

Last year around this time, my sister and I was talking and she said that she had wanted to give herself a birthday party because we (the family) didn’t give her a party on her 60th birthday.  Mercy was determined to have that party; she had it all planned but during this time our ex-sister-in-law was in the hospital on life support.  Mercy didn’t feel that it was right for us to be celebrating while our nephew was contemplating life and death decisions about his mother.  She said, “I just can’t do that to him.”
Well the party didn't happen and as fate would have it, we lost Mercy also. So, for her love ones here, we can’t give my sister a party but I feel in my heart that she gets to have a party everyday with her love ones that she’s reunited with in heaven.
Happy Birthday Mercy!
My sister was the second born of my mother and her first husband, Sylvester Artis’ children. Sylvester's parents were Laurina and Absolum Artis.  
She got her name from her god-mother, Mercedes Boggs, who was my mom’s best friend in college.  They both pronounced their name “Mer-cee-deez” not “Mur-say-deez”. I always got a kick out of folks saying “Oh like the car.” and Mercy would sometimes hesitate to correct them but then say “Yeah, like the car.” I always look at her and give her the eye to correct them. But she never did.
After our eldest sister LaVonchia died, Mercy became the oldest child in the family. I came along a few years after LaVonchia’s death. When would we go out together, everyone we meet thought she was my mother and Mercy would ask “Do I look that old?” “No, that’s my little sister.” That was always funny to me but she would roll her eyes.

And just like most siblings, we had our disagreements. Mercy and I were “yin and yang” and we would argue about a lot of "things."  For instance, we both loved men's college basketball, especially the ACC but I only like Duke and N.C. State, while Mercy loved all the teams in the ACC including female college basketball. We also argue about “the Bectons” and “the Artises.”  I miss those arguments because I always won! 

Mercy grew up in a small segregated town in Eastern North Carolina.
That's her in the third row with her hand on her face in high school around 1965.

After graduating from high school, Mercy moved to Washington, DC and later she had her son.

Mercy and our family through the years.

She had a number of health problems but she always bounced back until last year when she passed away from complications from by-pass surgery.  I miss her, the family misses her and our beloved mother misses her very much, especially her phone calls. Mercy would call Mom everyday at 5pm when she got home to say hi and check on Mom but also to let Mom know that she was safely home. Mom would tell Mercy that she didn’t have to call her everyday because Mom knew she was tired when she got home. But Mercy wanted to say hi and let Mom know that she was home. 
Well, Mercy can't call Mom anymore to say hi and let Mom know that she’s home or talk about the day she had at work but now, Mom knows that Mercy’s finally home.

This post was written for Amy Johnson Crow's blogger challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

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