I Come to the Garden Alone

3 May 2015

Mother’s day is coming. Thoughts of my beloved mother are heavy on my mind.

My mother was born in May 1929. My sister was born on Mother’s Day in 1962. My first grandchild was born on Mother’s Day in 2008. There is a lot to celebrate!

The best I can do to honor my mommy — and the progeny who came after — is to share the obituary I wrote when she surrendered her soul:

Delores Marie Nicholson was born in Chicago, IL on May 28, 1929 — the second of four children brought into this world by Louis Bell Nicholson and Jeanette Marie Waymoth.

Baby Delores - 1931

Louis, Jr., Delores Marie, Irving Ray and Janet Elsie were raised in the throes of depression and war. The hardships they experienced, tempered by the profound love their parents provided, kept them close all of their lives and helped them mature into resourceful and resilient adults (with a wry sense of humor).

NICHOLSON, Delores - sweet 16

Because of her beauty, Delores was nicknamed “Blossom” by her friends. To her siblings, she was known as “Sister.”

Mother - Hat

Delores married Arthur Leslie of Montgomery, AL in 1946. One daughter, Sharon Antonia, was born to that union in 1951.

Delores Nicholson Leslie & Sharon Leslie 1951 @ Chicago IL

On her birthday in 1957, Delores married Navel Leonard of McComb, MS. In 1962, a second daughter, Lisa Janine, graced her life.


Delores was imbued with an irrepressible spirit and enjoyed life to its fullest. She was totally committed to her family, especially her four grandchildren: Vincent Scott; her namesake Delores Marie; Nicholas DeAngelo and Christian Antonio.

Delores - Smokin in 1950

After many years of debilitating health challenges, Delores finally succumbed to congestive heart failure and related maladies on November 28, 2005.

Delores - Silver Fox

Her transformation was extraordinary in its peacefulness, grace and dignity. She passed softly, with no pain — surrounded by family, who gathered around her at the hospice for an entire day and evening of praying…singing…laughing…crying…reminiscing. Everyone spent a few personal moments speaking those last few words one doesn’t usually get  to say — directly from their hearts to her ears.

Sometime after midnight, she surrendered her soul.

Today, I think of the song my grandmother (my mother’s mother) used to sing to us children.

PRAISES DUE to our ancestors… without them, we would not BE…

6 Responses to “I Come to the Garden Alone”

  1. Edna Bush said

    What a beautiful tribute! I Come To The Garden was also my mother’s favorite song. Thank you!

  2. Your mom was beautiful!

  3. sylviawonglewis said

    Your post brought tears to my eyes. What a lovely Mother’s Day tribute you have written. Thank you.

  4. Miss Donna said

    Sharon, I wrote my first comment as I was listening to, “In the Garden.” Now, having read your full post, I just want to say you’ve written a beautiful Mother’s Day tribute. Miss “Blossom” was a beautiful lady indeed. My father’s day tribute was done on facebook; but, now that I’m blogging, I’ll write a Mother’s Day tribute as well. Happy Mother’s Day.

  5. Miss Donna said

    Oh what a blessing to find your post this morning. I remember many of Mahalia’s performances from my childhood. But this is my first time hearing her sing, “In the Garden.” It’s a double blessing because I distinctly remember it as the first song my mother taught me. Thank you for this lovely post.

  6. Very moving – an awesome tribute, Sharon!

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