George Floyd’s appeal to his Momma

Narayan Persaud

“Momma …Momma, I’m through.” These are some of the last words George Floyd is said to have uttered as he took his last few breaths on earth.

Described as a big man, some wonder why a man of his physical stature cried out to his mother while he suffered in pain. Is it because he was a Momma’s Boy some mused, and others voiced aloud? 

As I pondered these last dying words, they reminded me of the numerous explications of utterances of the dying I have heard over the years. Depending on one’s religious convictions, some believe that departed Souls of family members unite in another sphere called Heaven, while others claim that it is with a Divine Godhead, or the Universal Spirit. These varied beliefs beg the question: How does the departed Soul gets to its final destination? Inherent in this question are the last words of the dying George Floyd.

Could it be that the Spirit of George Floyd’s mother manifested itself to guide him to his final destination, and that in his dying moments he saw and acknowledged her presence as evidenced through his agonizing outcry? I have heard many of such stories, most enunciating that the Spirits of deceased relatives appear before the dying to welcome the Soul into its new existence. And, in the case of a deceased mother, her presence provides the dying child peaceful assurance of comfort and security. A mother’s presence at a child first breath is unquestionable, should one then question a mother’s presence at her child’s last breath, whether she is physically present or not?   

One can question that if the Spirit of his mother did appear before him why didn’t she save her son? Could it be that because in her state as Spirit Being she is endowed with Divine insight into the passing of her son, and knew that he would become the catalyst for global demonstrations and resistance against oppression and injustice? 

Within recent years, over 1,000 young African Americans died at the hands of police officers. Yet, reactions to these deaths did not result in sustained demonstrations and outcries for justice as the killing of Floyd. George Floyd was not the first to lose his life due to choking by a police officer. Before him, Eric Garner lost his life in similar fashion. What then in Floyd’s death contributed to the mobilization and support of solidarity against police aggression. Perhaps the collective consciousness and unity of demonstrators came about because of the manner in which the last breath of life was choked out of Floyd. Or could it be because his Momma divinely intervened in the manner as Emmit Till’s Momma devoutly demonstrated in life to end lynching? 

If George Floyd was a momma’s boy, what is so wrong about it? Isn’t a man supposed to love his mother, and a mother her son? No one will ever know why George Floyd uttered these words, and all of us can only speculate.

Narayan Persaud is a Professor Emeritus at FAMU