April 25, 2015 changed my life forever. I was sleeping peacefully at my home in Los Angeles when I got the call from my brother, Deante Goss, around 11 pm telling me that you were gone. His voice was cracking and he could hardly speak. The pain was palpable as he repeated the statement: Vin, mama is gone. She died today.
I could not believe it. I did not have words so the tears flowed. I immediately booked a flight home to be with the family. As more details emerged, I learned that you had committed suicide. It was not your first attempt. I was so confused and have been in therapy for the last 4 years to manage my mental health and cope with my grief and my guilt.
I am ashamed that I let my pride and ego get in the way of our relationship. It had been several years since we'd had a real conversation. I was immature, prideful and I was so angry with you for reasons that seem inconsequential now. I would give anything to be able to speak to you and apologize for my behavior.
The purpose of this letter is to show the world how amazing you were and to share the ways in which I intend to honor your memory and your legacy.
I've established the Barbara Goss-Gonzalez Memorial Scholarship Fund to empower ambitious moms in Greater Racine to pursue their educational and career goals. Thanks to your vision, coaching, guidance and tough love, I have done well and created the life I dreamed about as a child growing up in poverty in Racine, Wisconsin. I am investing my own money to launch this fund which will award two $5,000 scholarships annually to women from Racine who have at least one child and are pursuing higher education.
We will announce the inaugural scholarship winners at a fancy gala to be held in Racine in August 2019.
All a daughter ever wants is to make her mama proud. I hope I have accomplished that. Your legacy lives on through your children and the many people you touched during your time on this Earth.
With agape love,
Barbara's children and grandchildren
Divinity is a mother, technology entrepreneur and business woman based in Los Angeles. She is a 1st generation Magna Cum Laude graduate with a Bachelor's degree from University of Southern California and a Master's in Business Administration from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. She is an advocate for career moms and the empowerment of women globally. Passionate about social impact and community, she has lived and worked in East Africa and founded MBA Mama in 2015 to help women navigate family and career planning. Learn more about Divinity here.
Kamara is a mother, photographer and creative designer based in Los Angeles. She realized how important it was to capture moments when she realized the earliest baby picture she'd seen of herself was at age 2; middle child, I guess. Although she felt the importance of stopping time through imagery, In 2016, Kamara made a career shift and decided to study photography at The Art Institute of CA-Hollywood. There she would learn lighting, composure, and composition while continuously challenging herself artistically. Learn more about her work here.
DeAnte is an artist and aspiring recording artist based in Los Angeles. After graduating high school in 2008, DeAnte pursued a degree in Fashion Design and Merchandising at the Art Institutes of Atlanta/Chicago. Although he didn’t finish his fashion program, the experience opened up a new world of artistry and he was then exposed to more of his talents surrounding music and writing. He is currently still in pursuit of a successful career in the entertainment industry and hopes to bring awareness to mental health issues for underprivileged and misunderstood youth in the future. Learn more about DeAnte here.
Nyah and Kaleigh
Kaleigh is a creative, thoughtful 2nd grader who loved spending time with her granny. She enjoys cheerleading and swimming.
Nyah is an outgoing, precocious 1st grader who inherited her granny's sassiness. She loves to dance, read, surf, climb trees, travel and have fun.