To Sha’Carri Richardson … from a Compassionate Mom

compassion Dear Sha’Carri:

Don’t let the “noise” dull your shine. You have earned and deserve our compassion. You see, I am what some would call the ultimate encourager. It is who I am at my core. I truly believe that encouraging folks is second nature for me. Each and every single one of us deserve compassion and have needed compassion at one time or the other. Over the years, I have come to realize that many people desire compassion but lack the will and desire to extend compassion to others.

Showing any form of mercy or compassion has been deemed a “weakness.” However, if being compassionate is a weakness then just call me weak. When our champions miss the mark of perfection, we immediately deem them as weak. We must unlearn this type of attitude. Children and youth truly represent some of our greatest gifts. Recently, I’ve noticed that we tend to hold “celebrities” to a higher standard (particularly young athletes). The world’s desire to have them make decisions at younger and younger ages that even we were not capable of making at that same age frustrates me to no end. This lack of compassion for a maturing human being can downright anger you. Many of us had someone in our corner(s) that reached out a helping hand of compassion. But the moment we grow beyond that season, we tend to forget that we, too, have needed grace and compassion at one time or another. I have been guilty of being that person; I also had to unlearn this spirit of judgment and “moral persecution.”

You, as a young star athlete, had to overcome obstacles that many of us will never experience by the age of 21. I lost my mother at 23, and I assure you I did not make the best decisions for quite some time after that. Did I know better? No, I did not. I knew better in theory, but I did not know “better” in mourning. However, many people extended to me compassion and grace. Since I was not gracing the covers of newspapers, magazine, and Google headlines, my mistakes were able to be overlooked. BUT (there’s always a but) there were some folks that constantly reminded me that “poor decisions” would make my family look bad, and these people (often not family) never once asked how they could help. I had lost my mother. Something not a single soul could have prepared me for. So here you are, in one of the biggest moments in your life and not only is your mother unable to cheer for you in the stands, she has passed away. You STILL finished your race. Unfortunately, all of this is now being overshadowed because the same stage that praised you now lacks compassion.

Well, Sha’Carri, this mom wants to extend you some compassion. I want to say I haven’t passed every test I have taken. I want to tell you that I am very proud of you and can relate to the heaviness of losing your mom. I understand not having your mom present for your biggest moments. I want to tell you that you are not alone. Moms everywhere are rooting for you. And we still believe in you. We know that every single day is a new day for us, but for you every single day is a new day on the world’s stage. But know that on the other side of all of those lights, moms everywhere are extending you the same compassion and grace we once needed (and will need again). Moms everywhere are showing their daughters that even when we win the race, we still need and deserve compassion. You still need and deserve compassion.


A Compassionate Mom

Dee Odom grew up in Jonesboro, LA. Dee earned a Bachelors from Grambling State University in Grambling, LA and a Masters from the rival school Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA. However, the rivalry only lasts for one Saturday in November, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Dee has a strong passion for public policy, social justice, and cooking. Therefore, it is no surprise that this self-proclaimed foodie met her husband, Chef Brandon while trying a new spot, and ultimately co-founded Odom’s Kitchen ( Together Dee and Brandon have two amazing children. One of the things she loves most about being in Louisiana is providing her children with access to three living great-grandparents. Additionally, Dee and Brandon enjoy entertaining friends and family through food and laughs.


  1. Thank you for this open letter to Sha’Carri and extending her the compassion and grace she desperately need at this time. All of us have made bad decisions that resulted in life altering situations. As Moms we understand the importance of dusting you off, wiping your tears, and encouraging you to get back out there. She’s destined for greatness.

  2. Great article cousin! Compassion is needed in this world today. Being able to see ourselves in other people and know that we didn’t allows make the mark. Extending mercy and compassion is a human act that doesn’t cost us anything to do. Thanks for reminding us of that.


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