Where’s Your Baby Gone (for Donald Woods)?

On June 25, 1992, B.Michael lost one of his dearest friends, Donald Woods, to HIV. One week later, on the occasion of Donald’s “A Celebration of Life,” he and Colin Robinson shared the emcee role.

A converted cassette recording of the ceremony, a powerful and moving send-off, can be heard in its entirety below. At the 4:23 mark of Part 1, B.Michael offers a song that he wrote for Donald and enlists Christopher-Dana Rose to perform it with him. His lyrics appear below.

Donald’s obituary appears in the ceremony’s written program, which features a cover portrait by photographer Robert Giard. A few days prior, Donald’s family of origin held “A Going Home Celebration.” This program is also included.

A Celebration of Life – Donald Walter Woods – 25 June 1992 – Part 1
A Celebration of Life – Donald Walter Woods – 25 June 1992 – Part 2

Where’s Your Baby Gone?

Yes, Mother dear
Yes, Mother dear
I know that your baby’s gone

Yes, Mother dear
Yes, Mother dear
I know another baby’s gone
Your baby’s gone

Tested so
Why must they be
Tested so
Why must they be
Tested so
I ask the One above
Why must they be
Why must they be
Tested so
Mothers shouldn’t have to be
Tested so
No, they shouldn’t have to be
Tested so
Burying their baby
Their baby

But the waters keep flowing
The rivers keep flowing
They keep going
Feels like
A heavy load

The waters keep flowin’
And you must take
The good with the bad
You must take
The happy with the sad
But keep the waters flowing
Flowing

And you want to stay
Safe
And you need to stay
Safe
But you can’t stay
Safe
No you can’t
Safe

Everybody, everyone
Everybody, everyone
Everybody, everyone
Give thanks
Give thanks
Be grateful
Be grateful
That you get to meet
Good folks on the way
Lucky folks on the way

I … know
Aché …
Aché …

Yes, Mother dear
Where’s your baby gone?
Gone, gone
Gone, gone …

In remembering and celebrating Donald’s life, I wanted to use this because Mother is literal: We are fortunate enough to have his mother here with us today. But Mother is also a metaphor for many things. Sometimes we say Mother Earth, sometimes we use Mother as a symbol or metaphor for life. This is a ceremony of life — it’s Donald Walter Woods’ life. And I like to think of our friendship as something that was given life, that was mothered and nurtured by the two of us. And I’d like all of you to remember the part of Donald that was for you and he and continue to nurture that while you live here, so we don’t have to ask, Where’s your baby gone?

Gone … gone
Gone … gone
Gone … gone
Gone … gone … gone


© B.Michael Hunter 1992

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