I lost my mother when I was almost 3 years old and my father wasn’t in the picture;

I was officially orphaned at the age of 16 (when I found out my father died) but my grandmother did her best to raise me and one of my uncles also tried but the trauma trapped in my family made it a very toxic place to be. Now, the elders that raised me are now ancestors and there are so many questions I have for them that I know will never be answered but, I believe our connection is still intact. By honoring them and acknowledging their role in who I am today, spiritually I can still learn from them. As I heal myself from generational trauma, I heal them too. Ancestors’ Dream Apothecary is an open love letter to my loving and enlightened ancestors and a space that welcomes them in to guide me as I help others connect and reconnect with their ancestors, themselves and the healing nature of plants.

Great Grandma Bessie

My Grandma Bessie was from South Carolina but made her home in Asbury Park, New Jersey, probably in search of refuge from the racism of the South. She lived to be 92; I loved when my Grandma Mattie (her daughter) would let me speak to her during their telephone check ins. Her voice was always so loving. I was told she was a Root Worker, as many Black Women were in the South during her time. My grandmother used to tell me she was full-blooded Cherokee Indian and I heard from others she was Blackfoot Indian; I wish I had more time with her to ask for myself.

I honor Grandma Bessie by embracing the call to Spiritual Herbalism.

Grandma Mattie

Grandma Mattie didn’t take any mess from anyone. She kept a rifle behind her front door, a knife under her mattress and a walking cane that concealed a sword. She was a spicy woman with a big heart that kept a small garden in her backyard and would do anything for those she loved. I went to live with her when my mother was killed and witnessed firsthand what a hard-working woman looked like. She taught me to stand up for myself, the importance of cleanliness and order even (or especially) in humble spaces, and to forge my own way in life even when the odds are against me.

I honor Grandma Mattie by embracing her and my love of gardening.

Uncle Vickie

Uncle Vick or “Uncle Vickie”as I affectionately called him was loved by everyone and I mean every.one. He had a way of making everyone comfortable to be themselves around him. He called me his red tomato and had a rhyme for everything. His favorite was “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, you can’t mess with Tricky Vick”. He helped me buy my first car when I was 17 and helped me keep it on the road. He was my refuge when adulting got to be a little too much and he would let me come by his house while I was in college and make a home-cooked meal for me or have my favorite Campbell’s Chicken Noodle soup waiting in the cabinet.

I honor Uncle Vickie by letting love and joy pour out of me and by seeing the best in everyone and treating them as such.

Aunt Frances

Aunt Frances or “Aunt Kissably” as I affectionately call her, was my Uncle Vickie’s long time girlfriend and the mother of 4 of his children. They never married but I used to always pray they would. Ultimately, it really didn’t matter because the love they had for each other didn’t need to be formalized; they were ride or die for each other right up until Uncle Vickie passed away and she passed away a few years later due to the heartache, some say. Aunt Kissably had this soft, sweet high pitched voice that went so well with her demeanor. She was in foster care as a child just like me, so she cherished the family she created deeply.

I honor Aunt Kissably by fiercely protecting and loving on the family I have created for myself.

Aunt Buttons

Aunt Buttons’ real name is Bessie Lou; I didn’t even know that until a few years ago because I never called her that nor heard anyone else call her that.  She was Grandma Mattie’s daughter and although she struggled with addiction, she loved me fiercely.  I can remember one time my grandmother punished me and sent me upstairs and my Aunt Buttons snuck up and gave me an orange soda and jelly donut.  That memory has stayed with me all these years because it speaks to our relationship and how she looked out for me. She would take me around the neighborhood to greet her friends, they’d all give me a dollar and then she’d take me to the corner store to get snacks.  I lost her when I was about 7 years old to Cirrhosis of the liver and complications from AIDS. 

I honor Aunt Buttons my living life my way while never forgetting to love on those that are coming up after me.


My mother was murdered when I was almost 3 years old by someone close to her.  That violation sent my life in a spiral and I went to live with my grandmother, then my uncle, then into foster care.  Although I didn’t have much time with her, our bond was/is strong and is one that I can’t really explain in words.  Neither time nor space has affected how much I love her. I have been told she was fun, the life of the party and was the favorite aunt that was at everyone’s events, encouraging and celebrating them.  I am a spitting image of her, except I am a lighter version.  Among the other attributes she passed to me, I’m most proud to wear her smile. 

I honor my mother by healing the parts of me that are tied to her pain and our shared trauma around her death.  In healing myself, I heal her so her spirit can truly be free.

Aunt Deb

When my mother died, her best friend, Virginia Gunthrop became my godmother and promised to look out for me in my mother’s absence.  Over the past 38 years, she has stayed true to that promise. Her home has become a place I can call home too. Her family has become my family. Aunt Deb is my Godmother’s Sister.  We bonded deeply while I was in college. I would come home on breaks and spend quality time with Aunt Deb. We’d watch game shows and talk for hours. She even taught me how to make her famous buttered potatoes. She knew things about me that no one else knew and never repeated them. She was real and would tell me when I was wrong and lifted me up and encouraged me even more. She transitioned right before my son was born in 2010 after a long battle with cancer. 

I honor my Aunt Deb by helping people learn how to care for themselves and prevent avoidable help issues using nature’s herbal remedies.

I am my ancestors answered prayers.