Pat Munson and son, Dwayne
ByÂ Pat Hendricks MunsonSentinel Contributing WriterMy beloved son, Dwayne Nathan Hendricks II, 31, was shot to death early Saturday morning May 1, forcing my undivided attention on deeply-dug well of grief and sorrow. A well I thought was over there somewhere. Not in my backyard.
I've read about, heard about and watched news reports of some mother whose child's life was cut short by senseless street violence. However, never in my wildest imagination could I have believed that I would someday become that mother.
My son was by no means a perfect angel. He had his troubles, but he was a kind, loving, compassionate and caring young man excited about the arrival of he and his wife's Marisol Hendricks first child together after two miscarriages. They were preparing for the birth Dwayne Nathan Hendricks III this coming July. .
I thought I had an emotional understanding of pain endured by mothers whose child's life ended way too soon and under the weight of indiscriminate violence. I had no idea the extent of the torment, disbelief and profound sadness associated with this type of loss. We used to believe that children would outlive their parents. Not so these days. It has become all too common in our society, our community for mothers and fathers to bury their children, way too many times due to violence. Violence, I feel, brought on my several factors including poverty, lack of opportunity and an extreme sense of hopelessness that would allow our young people to abandon all sense of humanity.
Nevertheless, that's a story for another time. Right now I want to talk about son, Nate the Great is what I liked to call him. Nate loved life; he was such a joy to be around for young and old. He loved to smile, clown around and just have fun. He loved encouraging young people at Bethel Temple Pentecostal Church in Richmond, Ca. where he had been a member since birth. He also lived in Los Angeles in his early attending pre-school and church locally. Nate started playing drums at home and in church as a toddler and grew into an excellent drummer sitting in with various well-known Bay Area bands and artists. He was also a very proud and active father in the life of his 2 1/2 daughter Brooklyn Rose, she was the apple of her daddy's eye".
Nate traveled with me and his only sibling Kiesha Hendricks to Wiesbaden, Germany in 1986 when I was assigned for permanent duty there as a soldier with the United States Army. He enjoyed traveling around Europe as we visited the Eiffel Tower, Arch de Triomph and saw the original Mona Lisa at the Louvre in Paris. We skied in Switzerland and as just a little boy Nate was really excited as we mistakenly drove through the Red Light district in Amsterdam.
My point is this, when a life is taking so young and so suddenly and so violently the perpetrator doesn't understand nor think about the devastation he or she is causing. The loss and pain reverberates throughout a family, a community and in Nate's case throughout many cities, states and countries where we have family and friends. This type of violent loss is so unnecessary.
I beg of mothers, fathers, teachers, preachers and all community leaders and politicians to do something. We have got to find a way to get through to our young people to disarm themselves and stop this killing. There has to be an answer for all the violence in our inner cities. I'm not just saying this because it's my son this time. I have talked about and written about this violence. I have marched in the street with other mothers and have felt their pain. And now I know their pain personally.
Nate's father Dwayne Nathan Hendricks and three grandparents, Roy and Daisy Munson, and Dr. Betty R. Hendricks, preceeded him in death. Remaining to witness his home-going and to cherish his many sweet memories are his most loving and devoted wife Marisol Hendricks of Santa Clara, California, his beautiful daughter Brooklyn Rose Hendricks, his wonderful caring mother Patricia Hendricks Munson of Los Angeles, California; his sweet, only sibling Kiesha Hendricks of Santa Monica, California. A loving and supportive grandfather; Deacon Clinton Hendricks of Oakland, California; Bethel Temple Pentecostal Church family Richmond, California, one niece Daisy Leeshay Hendricks of Santa Monica, California; one nephew Simeon Talley of Santa Monica, California and a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives and friends.