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A Mother’s Love / Pain

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On May 6, 1992, Bridgitte Osby gave birth to Marque Alexander Johnson, a beautiful 8-pound-9-ounce, 21-inch-long son.

Marque wasn’t a baby in a hurry to come into this world. He was not born prematurely. In fact, he was two weeks overdue. Marque didn’t appear to want to leave the safety and comfort of his mother’s womb. But the time had come for him to enter the world he would embrace with passion.

Bridgitte wanted to give birth naturally for many reasons, including to avoid difficulty and pain generally caused by C-section surgery. But due to complications, she was given an emergency C-section.

Marque was taken from his mother’s womb at birth by a physician so he could have life. That life was prematurely and painfully taken 17 years later by neighborhood youth.

Shortly after Marque was born, Bridgitte heard the doctor say, "The baby went into duress." Bridgitte recalled her pain, as she thought she might loose her son before he was given a chance at life.

She asked the doctor what going into duress meant and what was wrong. Bridgitte learned the umbilical cord was around her son’s neck and his heart rate was dropping. She prayed for him to live.

The doctor yelled, "Put her out," and Bridgitte was given anesthetic. She awoke to hear the nurses talking. One nurse said, "What happens in this case?" Another responded, "He didn’t make it."

Several mothers were in labor giving birth at the North Sacramento Kaiser hospital that day. One baby didn’t make it. Bridgitte was concerned the nurses were speaking of her baby, but learned another mother’s child did not make it. By the grace of God, Bridgitte’s son was alive, and he would live life extending love and loving so many.

Bridgitte held her son, and as she looked at him, she felt all was well. She held him and said, "You are beautiful. You are perfect."

His birth was complicated, but his death was even more complicated. It’s not possible to simply say, "Put her out," and take the pain away and bring life to Marque.

Many are asking, "What happened in this case?" But for family and friends mourning the Marque’s passing, it’s not just another case, not just another death, it is the absence of life and the absence of the love and joy given to them from Marque that makes his tragic death so difficult.

"Marque came in with a bang, and he went out with a bang," Bridgitte said.

On March 17, 2010, three shots were fired. Marque was hit in the leg and in the chest – the latter proving fatal.

Marque is described by all who knew him as a peacemaker. Marque’s family does not want Marque’s life and tragic death to be in vain. Marque’s body is buried, but his loving spirit lives on. We are left with an aftermath of pain, questions, answers and solutions which we can not bury.

Part 2: Interview with: Bridgitte Osby, mother of slain homicide victim Marque Alexander Johnson. Bridgitte will not be able to plan for her son’s high school graduation ceremony. She was instead faced with planning his funeral.

Question: Why do you think the youth are killing each other?
Bridgitte Osby: I feel it’s not enough discipline. Not enough Jesus. I also think if the youth realized where they came from, they’d choose a different path. The story in our case is that a group of young men were mourning the loss of their friend from three years ago. They were high from ecstasy pills and drunk and decided to get revenge on the first brother they came across, and they came across Marque.He would be alive today if those disturbed individuals would have received some type of help when they had to deal with their tragedy.

Question: From this tragedy, what would you like to see occur?
Bridgitte Osby: I think my request is outrageous. I’d like to see the violence stop. Parents should support each other, come together, get it together.

Question: Do you feel there is more that Mayor Kevin Johnson or our elected officials can do to curb the violence?
Bridgitte Osby: This community really needs some assistance. There are many young people that are mourning the loss of Marque, and they need help. If our elected officials don’t do something, the cycle is going to repeat itself.

Question: Do you think a Boys & Girls club or other program, opportunity or resource is needed in Valley High School, and if so, what type of program do you think could possibly prevent area violence?
Bridgitte Osby: I do believe that this area needs a Boys & Girls club, a police athletic league and a community center with counselors and educators.

Question: Is there any advice you could give another mother to help save the life of her child?
Bridgitte Osby: I really don’t know what to say to another mother except don’t let your child catch the bus, but that is impossible in most cases. I thought he would be safe at 7 a.m., but I was wrong. I feared when he was out at night. I really don’t know what to say. If he broke the rules their were consequences and he stayed on restriction. But I had to let him go to school. 

Question: Was Marque on any type of probation for criminal charges? 

Bridgitte Osby: Marque was not on probation or in trouble with the law at all.

Question: Are you employed? Do you pay taxes?

Bridgitte Osby: Yes I am employed. Yes, I pay taxes and worked since I was 16yrs old starting at Orange Julius in Florin Mall. I have paid taxes since 1986.

Question: How has Marque’s death affected you?

Bridgitte Osby:  I am numb.


** Each week, I will interview a family member and/or friend of Marque’s to learn how his death has affected their lives and to learn what they would like to see come from his tragic death.  I give special thanks to the family of Marque Alexander for their love and support in sharing their love, pain and story.  

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