It is Women's History Month and I sleep under the same roof as history today. In just four short days, my aunt, Larreace Rollins, will be going home to Maryland to be with her daughter and grandchildren. She spent the last five months with me and my family and made a world of difference in my life while she was fighting for hers. Breast cancer would not tell the story of its triumph, she will.
A number of transitions in my life left me to a brand new home with just me in it and the anniversaries of the deaths of my best friend, grandmother and grandfather in the fall were taking a toll on me. Every step I took to walk the stairs to my bedroom was a reminder of how alone I felt. No kids in the house makes for a very quiet space. I hadn't gotten used to dinner for one. I didn't matter if I stayed late at work or not because no one was expecting me. Couldn't call my bestie and give her the madness of the day, so I could vent. Auntie decided to pursue her treatment back in her home town area and God would lead her to me just when I needed it. That's number one.
When Auntie Reese decided to stay with me, she gave me life. I witnessed a tumor the size of a baseball eating her breast tissue away and then shrink to the size of a nickel with no tell-tell signs of how much of a beast it was. That's number two. She nor I, didn't let go of our faith and claimed all positive energy in the world to come her way. She never stopped finding humor in life and she rarely complained. She lived life the way she chose to do so. So whether that meant raking leaves, stripping wall paper, shoveling snow, counseling me, cooking, cleaning, story telling and more laughing she wasn't going to allow cancer to beat her. admittedly, she cried. I cried. we cried and we puled our self together and started again the next day. Joy did come the morning over and over again every time she go thru chemo and then radiation.
So by virtue of her being the "master storyteller," we indulged in many late night conversations sitting at the kitchen table talking. I got the whole run down on sexism and racism in the fire department. I learned a lot about my grandmother, Nanny, who was my aunt's mom and the life they came to have for a determined woman with nine children making it out of the Robert Taylor projects into a home across the street from Foster Park that would hold so many memories or my family as it was the gathering spot. That's number three. It doesn't matter what life brings you, it's about how you choose to live it and hear God's voice to God guide you on the right path.
When I say I come from good stock, I mean it. How proud can you be when your aunt is one of the first twenty female firefighters hired in the Chicago Fire Department, nine of which were African American? This aunt happens to be the aunt that dreamed big, dared to do and tried and tried again with many of her life adventures. Her life has been a journey and a blessing to many. Family is family and there is nothing you can do about that. But when family shows up and shows out with nothing but love you are blessed. That's number four. Although she came here for a healing, me and my son got more than our share of a show of wisdom, courage, faith, love, support and unsugar coated honesty with the sweetest of deliveries. God knew just when to send an earthly angel to help us get through over and out.
I will miss the bond we shared with one another, but I recognize that even though she won't be physically here to greet me with a hug, help me with my bags out the car, have dinner waiting for me, go grocery shopping with me, watch all the favorite shows in my bedroom while she sat in the leopard chair and eat buffalo fish with lots of hot sauce--- the life long love will always be deposited into my heart and my home. That's number five. In opening my home trying to be a blessing, I got one in return. My seventeen year old son will especially miss her for driving lessons, life lessons, movie nights, good eating and for talking to him hours at a time with the utmost patience, entertaining his adolescent state of mind!
I love you Auntie Reese and pray that your travels in your RV across the country will befit the queen you are donned with crown, fishing pole in hand, with an S on your chest and your bam bam shirt on!
Peace and blessings!