My maternal grandmother passed away on November 6th, 2016. Since her passing, things haven’t been the same in the family and I don’t believe they ever will be. She taught me so much throughout her life; however, I wanted to highlight just a few specific items that stand out to me as I think back over our time together on this earth.
Grandma was the backbone of the family. I know plenty of you can relate. The black grandma was the one who held the family together (even when the family members were dysfunctional). No matter who was arguing with who, who went to jail, who lost their job, who divorced who, who had several baby mamas/daddies, who strayed away from the family, who always needed to borrow money- it was grandma who could bring everyone together on a Sunday for a feast. As children growing up in grandma’s house, Sunday was also the day of the Lord and she made sure we went to church no matter what. Grandma would always make sure her kids and grandkids were spiritually nourished. You could have stayed up all night doing God knows what, she would still make sure you were up, well-dressed, and ready to give praise in the Lord’s house. Also, holidays were some of the most unforgettable times. All the family would come in from out of town, all because they wanted to come spend time with grandma. Any other time, most of us couldn’t get two family members together; however if grandma put the call in, they came. Can ya’ll agree?
My grandmother was born in 1924, so the wisdom that she would bless me with every day was infinite. As a child, one would usually spend plenty of time with their grandmother, and that is when the jewels would start flowing. My grandmother would tell me about how the police didn’t like black people (sound familiar?) and how she and my grandfather had to hide their money in a secret spot in the wall because they didn’t trust the “white man’s banks”. She talked about how they didn’t have color televisions, how the television use to go off at a certain time at night, how amazing MLK Jr. was and where she was when he made the speech and was murdered, how rough the family had it growing up, how she had to learn how to cook at such an early age, hand wash clothes and so much more. She had literally been through it all, and the Lord saw it fit that I get to sit with her and absorb a taste of that life knowledge.
The black grandmother was always the supporter of all of the grandkids with whatever they did; no matter if they were good or horrible at it, she supported. Somehow someway, she would always show up at all the games. She came to all of my karate matches, basketball and soccer games, she was at all of my graduations from elementary school to my master’s degree. She never missed a thing. She was proud. She was always the one with the big handmade sign with her grandbaby’s name on it. She was the ultimate cheerleader for her family. If I ever came in the house crying or holding my nose from a fight, she made me go back out and finish the fight before I could even think about returning. She taught me courage and gave me strength when dad wasn’t around. Her support was unmatched.
Along with my grandfather, my grandma co-owned a seafood restaurant called Billy’s Seafood in Southside Richmond, Virginia. I was there every day, observing and watching them do business and interact with the locals as if they were family. I had no clue at the time, but my grandmother and grandfather gave me my first glimpse into community love and entrepreneurship. I didn’t remember them, but she would later tell me stories of plenty times where she caught me selling crab legs to my friends for 25cents a leg and had to discipline me. Grandma also ran the house. This was another part of her business mindset that I observed early on, I just didn’t know it was business. She would cook the meals by a certain time each day, make sure the house was clean, give the orders on what tasks needed to be completed, and make all the final decisions. She was the ultimate entrepreneur; fully about her business.
If you had a grandmother like mine, you would tremble at the thought of her giving you a whipping. She was from the “old school” and didn’t tolerate any form of disrespect. It was like she had the strength of ten men when she gave spankings. She would also make me go and get my own switches, and if I dared to get an insufficient one then she would spank harder due to my efforts to get over on her. Her stern looks, body language and words alone was usually all it took to scare the life out of me. My friends in the neighborhood were even scared of her, and whenever they got out of hand, she wouldn’t hesitate to discipline them just as one of her own. It still takes a village.
The black grandmother is a crown jewel to the family, and is irreplaceable. When I grew up, she was easily recognizable as the elder, providing those five essentials, however nowadays the new age grandmothers are 40-year-olds and in my opinion don’t come with the same values, traits and morals that the black grandmothers use to come with. They don’t represent the same thing. I lost my heart on 11/6/16, so if you have a grandmother like the one that I was fortunate to have grown up with, please cherish her and put into action everything that she teaches you.
Disclaimer: The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments, opinions on this website are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions or positions of M-Lifestyle and their affiliates. M-Lifestyle does not claim ownership of any images used, unless otherwise specified.