Written by Maliika Walker
“Why do you like ‘Jammin’ by Bob Marley so much?” My neighbor asked me this question one day and I just said it’s my favorite song. He was like “thank goodness, I love Bob Marley also but you are obsessed with that song”. I never revealed the true reason I love ‘Jammin’ so much until now. I never wrote the reason down nor confided it to anyone. Well, now I believe I am ready to share this special memory. Everyone has that one certain thing that picks up their spirit. For Meredith and Christina on Grey’s Anatomy that thing is playing some music and dancing in place. One of my friends drinks a glass of Chardonnay. Another one of my friends eats an apple pie and ice cream. For me that thing is playing the song ‘Jammin’ by Bob Marley.
I can even remember the first time I heard ‘Jammin’. I must have been about six years old when I heard the song in the fall. It had to be fall because I remember leaves on the fire escape and my mother had a light jacket for me to wear on the sofa. The year had to be 1978 because my brother was not walking yet. The radio was tuned to a disco station and all of a sudden ‘Jammin’ came on. My mom started dancing and I started dancing with her. I remember her face like it was yesterday. She was grinning from ear to ear as she looked at me dancing. I only recall my mother playing two Bob Marley songs (Jammin and Could You Be Loved). My mother loved music, especially music that she could dance to. The music she usually played was nothing like ‘Jammin’. I believe my mother and I were meant to hear ‘Jammin’ that day. Somehow it was known I would need this memory later in life.
Fast forward sixteen years. It is April 1995 and my mother just left earth in physical form. I was mentally in a very dark place. I do not recall ever wanting to take my life but I remember not caring about life. No one could reach me even if they tried. My mother was everything to me. We were very close. Some 22 year olds were having the time of their lives but I was mourning the loss of my mother. I was never a crier but inside I was wailing. My grandmother knew how close my mother and I were so she was worried. I do not recall feeling any type of joy, just constant sadness. All of my friends were shut out of my life because I only wanted to be with my mother physically but I could not. I just stayed to myself.
One day while browsing in a record store, I came across the for sale rack. Bob Marley’s Legend CD was included in the display. My mind immediately recalled the memory of my mother and me dancing to ‘Jammin’. I purchased the CD and went back to my dorm. I put ‘Jammin’ on as soon as I walked in my room. A feeling came over me that I will never forget. The only way I can describe the feeling is my soul began to smile. I played the song for two hours straight and smiled the entire time. My roommates just stared at me in disbelief. They must have been wondering what in the heck was wrong this girl. All I did was mope around depressed every second of the day and now I was dancing and smiling. One of them asked if I was ok and I replied that I was great for the first time in a while. Usually when they asked that question I lied and said I was fine but this time I really meant it. My soul needed to hear ‘Jammin’. It was then I realized that my mother was always with me. We will forever be dancing to ‘Jammin’. That is a moment in time no one can take from us. In today’s world everything is caught on video camera but that moment will forever live in my memory. I played ‘Jammin’ every day at least five times for years after that. I would just get up and dance with Mom once more.
Bob Marley’s music helped heal my spirit during one of the worst times of my life. His music helps me get through each day. I feel like ‘Jammin’ was meant for me to hear. My mom was not a fan of reggae music, she just loved to dance. Somehow that faithful day in 1978 she got up to dance to ‘Jammin’. That memory gives me a reason to smile even when on the surface there may not be one. It doesn’t matter how bad of day I am having, I hear ‘Jammin’ and I feel like my soul just woke up. All of Bob Marley’s music heals my spirit but ‘Jammin’ is the song that no matter what I am going through, no matter what I am doing, I just smile from the inside out.
Thank you, Bob Marley, for awakening my spirit and telling all of us that our lives are worth more than gold. Thanks to your music I will always have the perfect memory
of my mother, her dimpled smile watching her six year old daughter dance. I will always remember the look of joy on both our faces. We will forever be ‘Jammin’ in the name of the Lord!