The first time I heard the angelic voice of Aretha Franklin I was still a puppy. Doc would put on her CD’s on Saturday mornings while she cleaned the house and sing along with the Queen at the top of her lungs. When Doc told me that she passed away I felt that not only had we lost a beautiful voice, but that a force of nature had left the earth.
Aretha never allowed the bad things that happened to her define her. In spite of her mother leaving when she was only six and being a survivor of domestic violence she followed her vision with courage and grace. A self-taught pianist, she used her voice to uplift others and inspire those struggling with their own problems. Supporting the civil rights movement was one of her passions and she used her gifts to advocate for racial equality.
In spite of being a high school drop out, she earned 12 honorary degrees. She performed at three presidential inaugurations, held 44 Grammy nominations and eighteen wins, was the first female to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of fame and was the proud mother of three children.
Even though I am sad she is gone, Doc says her symbol of empowerment will live on through future generations. I know her spirit will continue to live on in our home every Saturday morning when Doc cranks up the music and sings along loud and strong “R-E-S-P-E-C-T , Find out what it means to me.”