Today, I share the third part of the eulogy that I read for my mother’s funeral.
As a courageous trailblazer, she first moved to Berkeley and then settled in San Jose, CA. for a period of time. Later, she moved to Southern California, where she resided in Buena Park, CA. from 1976-1990. During this time, she continued her passion for teaching and worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District as a special education teacher, school nurse, counselor and health educator throughout the course of her career.
She achieved another Masters degree in Special Education from California State University, Fullerton, while continuing to work as a nurse for many leading hospitals in the Southern California area.
In 1991, she moved back to St. Thomas, VI to be closer to friends and family and worked as a nurse at the St. Thomas Hospital and as a special education resource teacher and school nurse for the VI Department of Education. In the late 1990’s she moved to Atlanta, GA. to be closer to her daughter and two sons and worked for the Fulton County School system for a short time. However, in early 2002, she permanently moved back to St. Thomas.
After leaving government service, she opened Bellony Consultants and Bellony Home Care Services, which provided skilled in-home nursing services as well as consulting services to private and government agencies.
Daisy was a devoted and active member of the Shiloh Seventh Day Adventist Church on St. Thomas and worked with its health outreach ministry. She also worked with the Wesley Methodist Health Outreach Ministry and numerous other community groups. She was a committed public servant who valued lifelong learning, family and a deep abiding relationship with God. Before her passing, she was actively engaged in starting a compassion support group to bring together people with similar issues, whether it be illness, relationship problems or life changes.
Today, I share the second part of the eulogy that I read for my mother’s funeral, along with my side note regarding a certain choice she made that changed the course of our family’s history (for better or worse) and planted in my psyche, the seed of independence.
In 1962, Daisy graduated from UWI and moved to St. Thomas where she worked as a nurse at the Knud Hansen Hospital. While on St. Thomas, she met Moleto Smith A. Smith, Sr., the father of her eldest child. Daisy continued to seek advanced education by applying for graduate studies in New York. While several months pregnant with her first child, Moleto A. Smith, Jr., Daisy moved to Brooklyn and worked at the Brookdale Hospital.
In the late 1960’s, she moved to Elizabeth, NJ where she continued to pursue her education, by attending graduate school at Jersey City State University. She also taught for the Newark Public School system during the daytime and worked nights and weekends as a nurse for various hospitals.
On November 9th, 1965, she married Solomon Bellony, a native from the island of Dominica and the union produced three other children- Gerald, Richard and Deborah (that’s me!). Throughout her time in the metro-New York area, she worked at the Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and several other prestigious hospitals. In 1976, she re-located her family to California after having separated from her husband Solomon.
I was around 5 years old and I still remember how my mother packed me, my brothers and her sister and brother-in-law all in a car with all of our belongings and drove from New Jersey to California all by herself. Whenever anyone asked why she left my father, she used to say, “There was no way he was going to have all the privileges of a married man and live like a single man.”
Today I thought I’d share the first part of the eulogy that I read for my mother’s funeral along with my side note regarding a certain event where I believe a lot of my mother’s “attitude” and ambition originated.
Daisy Elizabeth Teresa King Bellony was born on Sept. 26th, 1937 to David King and Catherine George King in the village of Seaview Farm, Antigua. She was the youngest of 13 children. In school, she excelled in many areas, but her passion was public service, primarily in the fields of health and education. She attended the prestigious Antigua Girls High School and graduated in 1954.
While studying at the Antigua Nursing College, she worked as an assistant in the medical office of her eldest brother, Dr. Peter King. Yet, she aspired to expand her educational opportunities by applying and being accepted to the University of the West Indies (UWI) School of Nursing in Jamaica.
In Antigua, Dr. King was loved by many as one of the first local pharmacist and physicians and my mother looked up to and aspired to be successful like her brother. But through my mother’s eyes, he had one dark side when it came to her educational goals.
In 1957, she experienced a deep personal lost when both her mother and father passed away. Yet, without Daisy’s knowledge or consent, her brother wrote to UWI and told them that this wouldn’t be a good time for her to attend college because of the loss of her parents. My mother happened to find the correspondences between the University and her brother and viewed his actions as an attempt to hold back her educational goals so she could continue to work in his office. She not only wrote back to the school to be admitted, she also demanded that her brother pay for her tuition as well!
I still remember my mother telling me how she called her brother after she graduated on one of those rotary phones where you spoke into the speaker and held the receiver to your ear. She told him, “I am just calling to let you know that I made it!”
Today’s tribute brings me to the time when my mom shared with me this “gossip prevention” technique she used when she was in college. From time to time, she had friends that wanted to share their personal gossip and have her keep their secrets. But before they would even begin she would ask, “Have you told anyone what you are about to tell me?”
If they replied, “no girl, you are the only one,” she quickly responded, “then don’t tell me because if word gets out, you won’t be able to say that I’m the one who told it. If it’s so juicy that you can’t keep it to yourself, why would you want me to?”
I’m kicking off the first Tuesday Tribute with Patti Labelle’s song Anything, featuring Kanye West and Consequence for a special reason. First and foremost, I love Patti Labelle and the message of this song. But the special reason has a little history to it.
For some time, my brother Richard has had the beginning of this song as his ring tone, yet I had never heard the song until recently when he gave me his ipod with all of his music. When I heard it, I immediately associated it with his ring tone and somehow thought Patti was saying “you’re a child of a king” instead of “you’re a child of the King.”
I guess that’s what I wanted to hear, because my mother’s maiden name is Daisy King and I am, literally, a child of a King. So since then, it’s like this song is my special message and encouragement from my mother that I can do ANYTHING as the child of A King and The King as well. Enjoy!