One way we have decided to remember and honor our loved ones who are gone is with a little memorial area in our home. My husband actually created it. He cleared out and then dedicated one area in our dining room for pictures of our deceased loved ones, and added candles, incense, and a few decorative pieces. We can always look over and see the people we miss, and light candles at night. It looks really nice, and it’s good to have that area. It makes me happy and sad at the same time.
Rosie, as everyone called her, was the first person I knew who died. She was our neighbor when I was very young, and I used to visit her. I think I was only 4 or 5 when we moved from there, but I still remember a few things about her all of these years later. I remember that she taught me how to make homemade barbeque sauce, and I still use the same recipe! At least once, she gave me some vanilla ice cream, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I remember she laughed when I exclaimed, “oh, it’s so creamy!” – but not in a mean way. I know that she thought it was cute when I said it. I remember thinking it was the best ice cream I had ever had in my maybe four years of existence.
I don’t think I saw her for several years after we moved, but I didn’t forget about her. I don’t remember now if we visited her, or how often. One day, I got home from school, and heard that she had died. I remember not being affected by it at first. I was only 12. I got ready, and we went to the viewing. When we got there, and I saw her, then it hit me. I started to cry. I remember that she didn’t look like I had remembered her, because of course they put makeup on her and styled her hair. Also, she wasn’t smiling. That might have been the only time I saw her not smiling.
I wish I knew how to contact her family. She had two sons, Fred and David. It’s been many years, but I’d love to tell them how much Rosie meant to me. Despite a 40 year age difference, she was my first friend. She was only 52 when she died.
A little over a year after Rosie died, my maternal grandfather died. We had to travel down to Alabama. My (at the time) youngest sister was only a few weeks old. I didn’t think of it at the time, but now that I’m older, I couldn’t imagine having to travel that far, with six kids, including a newborn, for a funeral, in the middle of winter. Especially the funeral part. Those are things that don’t occur to you when you’re only 13.
I remember visiting with my Pap Pap B., as we called him. He seemed like he was at least eight feet tall. He actually was fairly tall, though – an inch or two over six feet. He traveled frequently, so whenever we would see him, he always had packs of peanuts for us that he saved from his flights. I also remember my brother and I would sit on his feet and he would walk around with us like we were big fluffy shoes or something!
One time, as a really young child, I heard him talk about not having money or something. I gave him a $5 bill that I had. I think he took it only so he wouldn’t upset me. I found out later that he bought me a savings bond because of that.
Of course, I wish I could have had more time with him. Because of the distance from our house, and the fact that he traveled, we didn’t see him more than a few times a year. Plus, we were all so young when he died. He was really young, too.