WHEN I DIE

By Belinda Gulley Bates

Mya Choyce Mann-Down
If you are reading this and find it hard to believe it’s true. God has called me to my heavenly home. A house call that I knew would happen someday, but I didn’t expect it to happen so soon. I realize that no one lives forever, but memories are everlasting. I’m not attention seeking so I’m going to keep it simple.


I, Mya Choyce Mann-Down, 60, of Waycross, Georgia, passed away in my sleep at my residence Monday evening, March 2, 2025.
Born January 6, 1960, in Waycross, Georgia I was the only child of the late Edwin and Luella Mann. I graduated from Waycross High School in 1978 and Armstrong College of Savannah, Georgia, in 1982.
My husband survives me, Craig Down, sons Craig Jr. (wife, Joyce) Down, of Atlanta, Georgia and Jason (wife, Lydia) Down of Tampa, Florida, daughters Kayla (husband, Patrick) Thomas of Wichita, Kansas, Lissette (husband, Lionel) Crawford of Houston, Texas and Janet (husband, Dwayne) Coleman of Louisville, Kentucky, and seven grandchildren, Jayden Down, Mia and Kia Down, Tamecia Thomas, Mykal Crawford, Yasmin and Yoseph Coleman.
I accept that I am affectionately known as “Choycey,” and I know I’ll be greatly missed for my caring ways and non-filtered yet unique sense of humor.
My Going Home Celebration was held at Red Hill Cemetery in Waycross, Georgia. Minister Justice Kept and the Reverend Heru Knows, of Burning Bush Baptist Church, offered words of comfort and encouragement to the family.


After overhearing a conversation about how a relative acted a damn fool at someone’s funeral I’ve decided that I only wanted those near and dear to me to attend mine. When I die, bury me minus the drama. There shall be no false theatrics. I want a “Going Home Celebration” that expresses my love for my family and my family’s love for me. I want laughter and tears of joy. No use for false words of sympathy where there is none nor fake tears from so-called friends, or missing/unwanted family members. I have no use for artificial compassion, dead or alive. The death of me is not an ending but a beginning. Therefore, when I die, I want my obituary to read just as I wrote it with only the dates and reason for death changing as necessary. I want my obituary published after my funeral because some people will show up to be nosy and or act the fool knowing damn well that we were not close or on good terms. Some people are “best-loved” at a distance, so, if you have not told me, you “love” me and heard those words from me, have been in contact with me daily or weekly; then there’s no need for you to darken my “Going Home Celebration” when I’m dead.

Published by Belinda Gulley Bates

Hi, my name is Belinda. I am an Introvert/Silent Observer with untold stories waiting for a read. I enjoy people watching, reading, road trips, and writing. I smile, laugh, cry, and can be quite bashful when the opportunity presents itself. My mind runs a marathon that has yet to end, and I write to relax and release.

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