Grandma Rosa


Tomorrow marks the three-year anniversary of my paternal grandmother’s passing. I want to honor her memory by telling you a little about my grandmother.

She was 92 years old when she took her last breath. She had a dog named Mutt (actually there was a series of dogs named Mutt). Her house always smelled of fried chicken, collard greens and rice. She served rice with every meal and it was not uncommon to find a skinned opossum boiling on her stove. She liked hot tea and orange slices (the chewy candies).  She collected dolls. She spoke with a Charleston accent rooted in a broken Geechee dialect. I barely understood her stories. She called me Sharon. She had a lot of household remedies for everyday ailments. She mothered fourteen children. She never drove a car. I can still see her hands, her nose, her wrinkles. I can still see her sitting on the porch with a switch in her hand for no particular reason. I can still hear her voice.

She was the only grandmother I ever knew. Actually, she was the only grandparent I really knew. I am proud to be a leaf in her lineage.

Recently, I have learned of several grandmothers and grandfathers passing away, leaving their legacy to those who were born of their name. I’ve mourned with their loved ones. I’ve felt their loss in my own loss and in the losses to come. It is a painful concept, the circle of life. Understanding and accepting the ebb and flow of birth and death can take a life time. But in your cycle, take the time to live and love with the blessing of those gone on and the hope of those to come.

We miss you Grandma Rosa and all your miscalling.

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8 thoughts on “Grandma Rosa

  1. How special was this post Shannon. I couldn’t read it without getting teary-eyed. Good writing skills by the way. I will definitely keep up with the writings.

  2. My granny went home 4 yrs ago and I don’t think anything hurt me so bad. My granny was a beautiful dark skinned southern bell with just a hint of Lumbee Indian. When I was a little girl I was spend every summer with her and have the best time. We would sit on the porch swing eating watermelon, cucumbers and vinegar, shucking peas, and swatting flies. Sooo many fond memories. My daughter never got a chance to meet her, however she has taken on some of her great grandmas silly and sometime serious ways.

  3. God bless Grandma Rosa and my Nana (who got her wings in July) all their heavenly
    cohorts. They are still so near and yet so far.

  4. I to miss this remarkable,sweet,dearest,giving, loving pal and most of all my talking friend,my mother.Tears are with me as i continue to comment on my mother as i would call her mama.I love you,love you, i will always keep her in my heart.

  5. Zora Kathleen Roberson Bell . . . or, as everyone knew her: Kitty Bell . . . my grandmother was much, much more than her cutesy Southern name . . . she was a Deputy Sheriff in Eastern North Carolina during the depression . . . she was a large, strong, beautiful woman . . . she was the consumate Southern hostess and made her own recipe of pound cake for, literally, thousands of people during her lifetime . . . confined to a wheel chair the last year of her life, she was not happy . . . one day she called me on the phone and said “call our family together, I have to speak to everyone on Friday” . . . from far and wide they came . . . she said that she was tired and that she was ready to go . . . she told us she loved us, that she wished us well, and that she wanted to be left alone with my grandfather for the weekend . . . on Monday she refused to take any more of her medications, on Thursday she died . . . she called her own shot . . . she is my most special hero.

    Here’s to Grandma Rosa and Kitty Bell . . . and to those wonderful grandmothers of a much different generation that taught us how to survive.

  6. Beautiful tribute! She was a beautiful mother in law to me and I truly miss her.
    Seeing the picture brings back many fond memories. In memories, we can keep others alive and pass it on to future generations.

    Live and Love,
    Katie

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