Upon his return from a Kwanzaa festival in December of 1994, Malchijah Charles suddenly fell ill. He began suffering from seizures, slipped into a coma, and never recovered.
After losing her son to meningitis in 1995, Sharon “Ife” Charles was devastated and felt lost. “I felt as though my world had come to an end because the one thing I was sure I had done right in my life was having my son. Because of the kind of spirit that he had. When Malchijah died, the human part of me left. I focused everything on what it was to be a mom and dismissed what it was to be a woman, an individual, and so I lost me.”
In the aftermath of Malchijah’s death, Sharon Charles turned to the Yoruba faith and adopted the Orisa name “Ife”, which means love. This became a source of strength for her. “Ife became a name that stuck with me because each time I said it I was forced to say love.”