Soulja Slim, “Life Goes On” (Originally Published January/February 2005)

The funeral was a traditional New Orleans jazz funeral. What I did was, I waited to do the funeral. It could’ve been earlier. A lot of people were saying that I didn’t have insurance. They must didn’t know who I was. I’m Slim’s mama. If I want it, I’ma pay for it. What I did was, I let that weekend pass and let the other weekend come in, and the reason for that is ’cause we had people flying in.

I’m in Lady Buck Jumpers [a local marching group]. Rebirth Brass Band played behind us and we second-lined. We dance in the street for hours and the band plays. It’s like a parade and we go everywhere in the city. I’ve been doing it for 20 years. The weekend that Slim got killed, the weekend coming was my parade. We always parade the Sunday after Thanksgiving. I was just telling him, “You know you got to get your outfit. Don’t miss my parade.” He’d never miss my parade unless he was in jail. He always had this one spot in the Magnolia and he’d stand by there to make me see him, and he’d go, “Ma, over here!” I knew where to look for him. And even though he got killed and it was hard, I knew he would want me out there. I did it. It was hard. I cried the whole time. We got in that area and we cut up, but it was hard.

[We buried him in] this leather army suit that he liked to wear. He got that with P and them, so we put that on him. He used to get a new pair of Reeboks every time he turned around, so you can’t put no old ones on him. So we went and got him some new soldiers. I got the watch back, so we put it on him. We took it off him when it was over, but we wanted to make him look like he looked. Open casket. They fixed him up. Slim was tall and the man there didn’t know if we could do an open casket. But I knew he wanted it open, ’cause I know he liked his soldiers. To me, he wouldn’t have relaxed without his soldiers on. They had to open it up all the way so they could see the feet. I’d never forget it. He wore the [No Limit chain] and I took it off, to keep it in a safe deposit box. Every now and then, I put it on.

I don’t know what happened with the shooting. I feel in my heart that he wouldn’t mess with nobody. I don’t think it was retaliation unless it came from the past or jealousy. But in my life, it’s like [to the killers]: What’s the big deal? Slim dying’s not gonna bring your life up. You must don’t have a life anyway. If one man’s life matter to you more than your own life… From what we heard, somebody was paid off. I really think the guy who shot him—he’s not in [jail now], ’cause they dropped the charges—I think he shot him, but I’m not faulting him. He on drugs and he killed him for money. Somebody took advantage of him for money. If he would’ve knew Slim he wouldn’t be able to did what he did. The per- son who hired him, that’s the person that’s got the problem.

A lot of people say I should move. I’d never move unless I have no other choice. I think my son’s spirit is here and this is where I should be… I can’t go upstairs. People want to go see the studio—’cause he was doing it and wasn’t finished—but nobody can go up there. I keep the alarm on. The day I go up there, I guess that’s me saying I’m dealing with it better.

I just miss him. I don’t run to the door as much. Some days it gets so bad—I don’t like to break down because of my daughter—but some days it gets so bad I got to take me a ride. I’m better because I got a grieving counselor— it helps. When I realized I was about to lose my mind, I knew it was time. I didn’t want to lose my mind. I know him and he couldn’t stand me to be like that. I was sitting on my porch crying every day, looking at the yard. I was here by myself a lot. It got to the point that people were scared to come around me ’cause they didn’t know how to handle me. It was hard thinking like that. But one day sitting out there, God told me that I don’t need nobody but God. That’s the only one that’s gonna help me get through this here. So I got off that porch and I went to the church. I joined. That was my comfort zone.

I’m real stronger than I’ve been. It’s hard. There’s nothing in this world… My whole inside was gone. I wanted to run through brick walls and I went to the grave so much the people wanted to put me outta there. I just wanted my son, that’s all. All day, I just want my son. Take all this away from me but just give me my son. That’s the way you feel. I used to tell God, “Take it all, just leave my children here.” I don’t care about none of this. You can put me back in the ghetto. I was content there, just taking care of my children. I worked at a hotel for 25 years to take care of my son. I went through all kinds of stuff. Anything, just give me my son back and you can take everything. When I realized that that ain’t ever gonna happen, I got strong enough to move on. And people be saying this person did this and that person did this. I don’t care if they did do it or did not do it. In their eyes, I want to be strong. They will never see me weep. They know that when they took my son, they crushed my life too. You just didn’t do it to him, you did it to me too.