Letter from the Publisher: Remembering My Grandmother

It is the count down to my birthday, March 17th. This is an exciting time for a few reasons: time for green beer, they have a parade just for me and in Chicago, where I am from originally they turn the Chicago river green. Not to mention March Madness, NBA playoff picture is starting to take shape and also in March is the first day of spring. As exciting as all these things are they are less awesome as they once were 4 years ago. March 24th, I lost the most important person to me; My grandmother Queen Thompson.

So many great memories and lessons about life…In my life she wore so many hats. She was my protector, my strength, my banker, teacher, seamstress, baker, and she loved me and I knew it. I loved her whole-heartedly and it was a love affair for just the 2 of us. She had 12 kids of her own and ended up looking after me and my younger sister.

My mother was her youngest daughter, and it’s a familiar story in the black community when the mother loses their way the grandparents step in, that was my reality.

My mother had problems with drugs, was in and out of jail Andy grandparents (Harry and Queen) stepped in and raised us. She was strict and said what she meant and pulled no punches, I agreed with her style.

How do you say “thank you” to someone for saving your life ? Because “thank you” is too small a word.

She told me at a young age “bullying” is never tolerated! But there was to be no fighting in school.

I once went from the penthouse (got a new bike for my birthday) to the doghouse (got in a fight at school) all in the same day. Imagine the joy of going to get your new bike and then because you fought at school after buying said bike went home to get the belt, yes the belt it was allowed then.

My mother went to jail and my grandmother delivered the news to me, I cried.
She hugged me and sang me a song that I have never shared with anyone until now: You are my sunshine. My favorite part of the song “You’ll never know dear, how much I love you”.

Made me caramel cake for my birthday, every year. Buried my grandfather in 1989, and would allow anyone to come in crying and slobbering about it. When she said goodbye with tears I knew it was ok for me to cry. She taped my report cards to the refrigerator for years. No offense to anyone but she and my grandfather were they last of a dying generation: Real grandparents.

She was diagnosed with colon cancer and I got a call from my uncle Larry to come to Rochester General and say goodbye, I was devastated. I went to see her she looked terrible, I was the last person in the room with her and I started to cry. She had her eyes closed and asked me whats wrong ? I said the doctors are saying you are not getting out of here (alive). She never opened her eye and said that I could go home she will be home in 2 weeks, she was wrong. She was home in 3 weeks.

I lost her a week after my birthday, it’s not ironic. She wouldn’t dream of ruining my birthday forever with her death, but she would die a week after my birthday to remind me not to forget her. Grandma, I could never forget you because I love you too much.

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