At 4:12 AM April 4th, 2020, God called my Ada Mae Rivers home. She passed away at the age of 79 because of the deadly COVID-19 virus. She was one of the 1000 people that succumbed on this particular day. She was far more than a statistic and some number on a CDC chart.
Ada was a light. She was a mother. She was a sister. She was an aunt. She was a cousin. She loved her family so much and it showed in her actions. She was the main information hub for the family.She would call her cousins and siblings on their birthdays. She would sing it it to you too! She would rarely miss a family reunion. She loved to solve puzzles and she loved playing games with me her family during the holidays. She raised two children in the heart of NYC. No matter how long she stayed in the big city, she always called a small town, Bowman, her home. Her daughter, Raunda was her rock and her son, Andre her gentle giant. Her sister, Queen Ester was her daily talk buddy. My dad Carlisle was her only brother and she loved him dearly. My mom, Shirlene was the sister she never had. Her late cousin Evelyn known as “Babe”, was her road partner during camp-meeting trips home in the fall. I was her one and only nephew. People in NYC knew me like I was her second son and they always made me felt like I was home when I visited her when I was in college. She grew close to so many in the big city because most of her family was back home. Those bonds turned into sisterhoods and brotherhoods. She became an auntie, ma, nana, and sister to many, which proves that family isn’t always blood.
Ada love life. She enjoyed her trips and vacations. She was a fan of the New York Knicks. She loved her sister’s cakes and she loved fresh fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Her love of music, especially Gospel. She kept up with Newmans and Abbots on Y&R. Most likely she would beat you in Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. She had a laugh that would make you laugh. Her wit and humor was second to none.
Ada was a woman of faith. Walker Memorial Baptist Church was her second home. She served that family faithfully until her health failed. When she could no longer physically work she used her voice and her telephone to keep the church connected. She would let her pastor now of deaths and illness in the congregation. She would not rest until she got her members the help they needed. Her love for the Bush family and Walker Memorial was special. When she could no longer visit she would call in to hear the services and never missed a beat. She seemed to have a God-given gift to know when she was needed. She loved her devotion time and was always a phone call away to pray for her only nephew. She would say “What’s wrong with you Step? Let’s pray.”
Ada was an overcomer. She battled heart disease, beat cancer twice, and endured many complicated surgeries. Every time life knocked her down, she stood back up tall and ready to fight another round. She always pushed herself to get back well because she wanted to see her family. She was on the mend when this virus struck. She was fighting until the end. God knew she was tired and she needed her rest. She is now resting in the arms of God with her Mother Earlene, father Eddie, and brother-in-law Charles. We will miss her but she earned her crown in Glory. The best way we can honor her legacy is to have faith and God and to live out lives to the best of our abilities. We can honor her memory by cherishing Our family and the ones we love.
Auntie, I will continue to make you proud and be the light in the dark places like you were for so many of us. Well done Auntie and may God give you your rest.
Love Always Step