By Joel Hall
For years, 27 year-old Anden "Adriene" Holloman searched for the keys to her past.
Her mother, Mary Ann Lattimore, 45, was only 18 years old and still a student at Jonesboro High School when she had her daughter, Anden.
Two years later, Lattimore had a son, James Antwon Ellison. When Holloman was 4-years-old, and Ellison was 2, Lattimore no longer could afford to take care of her children and lost them to the custody of the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS).
Holloman was sent to stay with her grandparents and Ellison was placed into foster care.
Meanwhile, Lattimore fell into a life of addictions, bouts of homelessness, vagrancy, and run-ins with Clayton County Police. In 1993, she was given a five-year probation for one count of cocaine possession and two concealed weapons charges.
When Holloman was a teenager, she set out to re-establish her broken family ties. By chance, she reunited with her brother, Ellison, in August 1997 while both were students at Forest Park High School. She was as a junior. Ellison was an incoming freshman.
In the time afterwards, Holloman desperately sought to reunite herself and Ellison with their mother. But she was not able to find her mother until after her brother, 25, was shot on the night of New Year's Day, becoming Clayton's first murder victim of the year.
At about 11 p.m. that night, police said Ellison answered the door of his 4312 Oak Lane home outside of Forest Park and was shot in the head with a high-point .45 pistol. Police described the incident as a drug-related home invasion.
Until Ellison's death, Holloman's efforts for a family reunion had been unsuccessful.
"We found each other through my brother's death," said Holloman. This past summer, Holloman stepped up the search for her mother because of a "premonition" her family's time was limited.
"I had been looking for her for 15 years and [the police] found her in 15 minutes," said Holloman. "[Ellison] died on the first [of January] and I got her on the third ... they missed each other by three days."
The Ellison murder, however, sparked the tragic family reunion.
Through the process of notifying next of kin, Clayton County Police discovered Lattimore had left Jonesboro in 2000 and was living in Knoxville, Tenn. in a Salvation Army homeless shelter with a boyfriend.
During the day, Lattimore worked on the janitorial staff of Peninsula Hospital in Knoxville. During the evenings, Lattimore battled her crack-cocaine addiction.
Holloman had many mixed emotions about reuniting with her mother, particularly in the wake of her brother's death.
Holloman said she was inspired by the life of Keisha Cole, and her song, "Heaven Sent."
Holloman said Cole's mother served prison time and the two worked together to mend their relationship. "Heaven Sent" addresses forgiveness, and not walking away from a chance to love.
"I was hurt and in denial for a long time," said Holloman. "We hate that things had to be like this," however, "I'm not worried about that ... I want us to have a new beginning."
Still grieving from the loss of a family member, Holloman and Lattimore have come back together as a family. Since Ellison's funeral Jan. 8, Lattimore moved in with her daughter, who is helping her "get clean" from her addictions.
In the process of reuniting, Lattimore discovered she is now the grandmother of two. She said she draws inspiration from them.
"I want to start fresh," said Lattimore. "I never thought I would be a grandmother. I love my grandbabies ... I want to be there for them."