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Twists of Faith

McGee has been tested by bitter custody fight, cancer, rift with twin sister, even prison, but says her spirit is unbroken

December 13, 2002|Maryann Hudson Harvey | Special to The Times

Pamela is a single mom to 14-year-old son JaVale, who already wears a size 17 shoe and, at 6-2 (the doctor said he will be 7 feet), looks mom square in the eye. He gets good grades, and plays basketball.

"When you affect a woman as a mother there's no deeper pain," McGee said. "Jesus died, was crucified, they threw spears at him, tried to hurt him, he went to hell and back, but ultimately, he resurrected. Some people stay on the cross, they say, 'Woe is me, this and that,' but I chose to resurrect out of the situation.

"For my son and for my daughter, when it's all said and done, they'll say my mother was a strong woman. If she can do it, I can do it."

McGee says she sees Imani rarely, and talks with her on the phone only once in a while. Alayna keeps in close touch with Imani. This summer, Alayna says, Imani asked her why she didn't take her mom's side during the trials. Then she asked her why she didn't take her dad's side.

Alayna told Imani: " 'Here's what I did, I chose to stay neutral, and I chose to spend time with you. That's how I supported your mom, by taking care of you. Because sometimes when adults fight, Imani, you just have to stay out of it.'

"And Imani looks at me and says, 'Well, you know when I get older I'm going to go read the court papers.' "

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