It has been a week since the passing of my dearest Aunt Rose. She was the rock for my cousin. A second parent to her children. The glue that kept that side of the family together. She was one of ten children, right in the middle. She was a caring, funny, smart and a wonderfully sweet woman, whom I have many fond memories of that I can cherish always.
I will not dwell on her passing but would like to share some of my memories of her with you. My mother and her sister Rose, were always very close. I know from an early age we were always paling around together as a family.
I remember attending church together at a very young age. Or visiting my mom’s Aunt Betsy in her apartment. I can still remember the way that apartment smelled. Or how she had all of those glass figurines lined up on her big television stand.
I remember her teaching me the cutest way to ask for a coke. I would take my index finger and twist it into the side of my cheek and say “coke”.
When I was seven, my father went into the hospital in Richmond, about two hours away from our home. His liver was failing and he needed a transplant. My Aunt Rose stepped in to help take care of my sister and I. We spent half of that summer at her house as my mom stayed with my dad to look after his care in Richmond. I can still picture every inch of that home in my head. We would sit on the front porch and eat popcorn and watch the neighbors. We would play in the back common area between the townhouses or ride our bikes with the big banana seats down to the town center for ice cream. At night when we slept, my sister and I shared a bed. I remember being surrounded by her collection of dolls but was oddly comforted with the feeling of being looked after. Even if we would go to our neighbors house for a week, or to our grandmothers for a week…we would always ask to go back to Rosie’s house. We felt the most comfortable there.
Even as we continued to grow, we would spend holidays together and have cookouts in the back yard of my aunt and cousin’s home. Every summer the family would have its annual cookout. There would be tons of food and we would sit outback and watch the kids play, every so often adding another cousin into the mix as our family grew. My aunt would love to play games and hand out silly prizes. Candy and small trinkets for answering questions or playing along. There were so many laughs and stories being told.
Summer turned into winter and we always spent Christmas eve at my Aunt’s house. My Aunt Rose would always make sure to get my dad something new for a collection he had that was started by her! From Eeyore to A Christmas Story…she always would get a funny token for him.
Soon, my cousin had triplets and Christmas and cookouts also turned into birthday parties.
But, my aunt was more than just the time we spent with her. She was a backbone to this side of our family. My mom and cousin both agree if it hadn’t of been for her, the family may have drifted apart. She did her best to keep everyone together as best she could. Her sense of humor always made spending time with her enjoyable. The love that she showed was never questioned. She genuinely cared about her family, especially her grandchildren. She was a second parent to them. She helped to raise those kids among many others.
At her service this past Friday, a few people stood to share their memories of her. All had said how she had helped to raise them, or look after them, or had treated them as one of her own. How she was a helpful member of the community and a busy woman in her church. All shared that if you had asked for it, Rose was there with a helping hand.
I was glad that I got to be there in her final moments to say goodbye. I was glad to be there in support of my cousin and my mother as they said goodbye to their best friend. My sister and I said goodbye that day too to someone who we respected and admired.
So, we will not remember the death of my Aunt Rose, but rather celebrate her life. And we can do that by sharing our memories of her with our children so they will never forget a truly memorable lady.
Thanks for reading.