On Saturday February 17, 2007 I left my house early to make the four hour drive to see my Aunt Rosa. Earlier, the doctors had prepared us that she probably would not live to see her 93rd birthday on March 8th. As I listened to the radio and drove I could not help but hear the news that Britney had shaved her head and updates on the on-going fight over Anna Nicole’s body, baby and fortune. I could not help but reflect over the life of my aunt and her influence on the world and the influence of individuals such as Britney and Anna Nicole. An hour shy of reaching my aunt, she passed away before I could see her again and wish her a goodbye.
My Aunt Rosa was born in 1916, the eldest of six children to my grandparents. She grew up in rural Georgia, attended college, married, bore a son and taught home economics. She later went on to earn her master’s degree and become a school counselor. Numerous people that attended her funeral yesterday, remembered her as a positive role model from her years in education.
Rosa also was a life-time member of a Methodist church in her home town. As long as I can remember, she attended Sunday services and taught a Sunday school class. The minister, during her memorial service, said that no one knew how long she taught Sunday school, because no one could remember a time that she didn’t teach Sunday school. She was a positive role model to many in her church.
In the early 1960’s Aunt Rosa first lost her husband and then her mother, my grandmother. At the request of my grandmother, Aunt Rosa took on the role of family matriarch for her siblings their spouses and many, many nieces and nephews. I was five when Rosa became more than an aunt to me, and stepped in to be a grandmother too. She never forgot a birthday, graduation or any event of importance in my life. Her joyful greeting when I visited will echo in my memory for the rest of my life. How many hours have I spent on her back porch listening to life lessons and sharing a laugh? At her funeral yesterday, I realized that I was not the only one that sat on that porch. Rosa taught us many life lessons without ever preaching or showing disapproval. She was always our advocate and biggest fan. She was a positive role model to her family.
And, as we mourn her passing for the hole it leaves in our lives, I cannot help but believe this; Aunt Rosa’s impact on our lives, lead us to be better people. We all strive to make her proud of us by making a difference in our world. I believe that if Britney and Anna Nicole had had an Aunt Rosa in their lives, their lives might be less exciting but more meaningful.
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