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In Memory: No other rose could smell quite as sweet

By Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

My grandmother Rose, was the quintessential matriarch. She glowed in the light of the generations that she created. She reveled at our family; took pride in our accomplishments and prayed for enlightenment when we fell. A presence always felt, she was the pinnacle of wisdom.
She had stories of days past, as grandmothers often do, but hers were different. Tales of the people she encountered in her time as a librarian at a women’s prison and harrowing stories of her German mother escaping a land of enslavement to new opportunity; I cherish my grandmothers stories and covet them as one of my life’s most precious gifts. My grandmother left behind a bit of her heart with each life she touched and whether the subject matter was something as intimate as a story about her own mother or a story about a person set met the previous day at the grocery store, she told each with equal compassion and conviction.
Grandma Rose was blessed with 15 grandchildren, which she loved and took pride in, individually. She sculpted her life around us and always had an unexpected plan up her sleeve. Ice cream binges at our favorite creamery in Rhode Island and three weeks spent in Hawaiian paradise living the dream of every sixteen-year-old are memories that will always warm my heart. In Hawaii, Grandma Rose took me from shop to shop spoiling me with designer sundresses and all the accessories. These excursions, though not infrequent, were always special because she had a way of making me feel as though I should settle for nothing less than special. And though being showered with an entire new wardrobe was fabulous, Grandma Rose always put a greater emphasis on the content of ones character.
A highly educated woman, my grandmother expected nothing less than poised and confident young women, especially if they came from her respectable lineage. But rather than judging someone that fell short of those standards, she nurtured the good in all those she loved and cultivated it much like you would the very flower for which she was named.
I lost my grandmother on
July 7, 2013. Just ten days before her 79th birthday and weeks before her 60th wedding anniversary. Her light burned out rapidly and unexpectedly and with it went a piece of my heart, history, and future. But she lived strong and loved fierce; perhaps more than some will live and love in a lifetime. I will forever take with the memory the light in her eyes as she held my newborn daughter, Elora Rose. “I’ve been feeling lately as though I really need to have a baby in my arms again, I am so blessed” she said when I told her the news of my pregnancy. When she saw me in my wedding dress, she gasped. She truly cherished every moment of her life and taught her family to do the same. The stars won’t shine quite as bright now that she has left this Earth but the pride in her eyes will live on in the souls of those she loved.
Make that call to a loved one that you’ve been thinking about or go and sit with the elderly members of your family. Immerse yourself in their stories and lessons, for they are your heritage. Life passes by in the blink of an eye.

In Loving Memory of
Rosalina Palladino
July 17, 1934 – July 7, 2013