Updated: June 5, 2013 8:50PM
Alease Davies gave up her home and her car to bury her eldest son.
Still, she was short until a friend handed her a white envelope with the remaining $1,000 she needed.
Davies could not imagine leaving her son in the morgue.
Rashaun Stephany, 22, an aspiring rapper known in his community as Kamakazi Mazi, was shot on June 8, 2012, outside the home his mother rented in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the South Side. He was on his way to the recording studio to cut a song to show his pride for his little sister who was graduating high school.
Since that tragic night, Davies has spent the last year trying to piece together her shattered life.
She returned to work, but every morning on her way to the bus, she passed the tree where Rashaun was shot. Standing there, she’d imagine how his legs were tangled as he lay in the street moments after bullets struck him down.
Those were Davies’ final moments with her before he was taken by ambulance to Stroger Hospital. Paramedics would not let her ride with her dying son.
Spontaneous moments of grief found her at work. She took a leave of absence.
To start over, Davies moved to Calumet City to live with her parents. She helps care for her mother, who’s gravely ill.
“After losing my son, now I got to deal with the fact my mom will be leaving me next,” she says. “It’s taking every being in my body to hold the family together.”
Davies just wants to be near her three remaining children and four grandchildren. So she borrows her mother’s car or her youngest daughter will drive down to collect her. Life is too short. That has already been proven to her.
Last November, the call no parent should hear came again to Alease: Her youngest son, Lavelle, 20, was shot while walking to the corner store. Thankfully, the shooting was not fatal, but it only added to a mother’s fragile state of mind.
Davies can’t bring herself to discuss the loss of Rashaun with people outside her family and she feels alone.
“In my heart, as a mother,” she says, “I don’t want to accept it.”
Saturday will mark the first anniversary of Rashaun’s murder and for the first time since his funeral Davies will return to his grave. She has survived a year of firsts without her oldest son. Her birthday. His birthday. Thanksgiving. Christmas. Mother’s Day.
Eventually she’ll get her life back. But not this weekend.
“It’s like it happened yesterday to me,” she says. “[I am] burying him all over again.”