M is for Mary Magdalene Pierce Hosch, my maternal grandmother.
This was originally posted on April 5, 2010, as part of the 2nd edition of the Carnival of African-American Genealogy.
My last Visit with Little Grandmother
Mary Magdalene Pierce Hosch
Date and location unknown
From the personal collection of the owner of this Blog
Surprisingly, the theme for the second edition of the Carnival of African-American Genealogy has been a tough one for me. It’s not that I never knew my grandmothers but that I really didn’t get an opportunity to know them.
My maternal grandmother died when I was 5 and the only true remembrance I seem to have of my Little Grandmother, which is what I’ve always called her due to her small stature, was visiting her in the hospital right before her death. When she died, I didn’t even have a grasp, yet, on the concept of death. At her funeral I remember asking my mother why is everyone crying. Mom explained that everyone was sad because grandmom was gone, which caused me to ask my next question, “how come I’m not crying?”
Even though my last visit with my Little Grandmother should have been a sad time, I don’t seem to remember it that way. It will always be etched permanently in my brain as a joyous occasion in my young life. As the years have rolled by, it’s a memory that I treasure and one that I decided to talk about.
My grandmother had been sick for some time. She knew long before she was ever diagnosed with cancer that something was wrong. I’m sure there were other times that she must have been in the hospital, although this last visit I had with her is the only one that I remember. I don’t remember the day of the week or the time of the visit just that mom said we were going to visit grandmom in the hospital. Even though some aspects of this memory are vague, I remember being excited about getting to see her. Living only one street over from my maternal grandparents and with a few of my older cousins babysitting me, I got to see grandmom almost daily, so obviously I was missing her.
When we got to the hospital, I remember I had to wait for grandmom to come down from her room, because children weren’t allowed to go up to the rooms. I thought grandmom would never arrive, but then there she was. I remember she looked frail and weak, but she also had the biggest smile for me as I was prancing up and down and I’m sure yelling grandma, grandma. Then she bent down and gave me a kiss in the usual spot that was reserved just for her. I was ecstatic. Our visit wasn’t long as I think the walk had zapped what little strength she had at that moment. I looked on with sadness as she slowly ventured back in the direction that would lead back to her room.
After the visit, mom and I went shopping for flowers. Yes, they were the plastic kind, but mom thought they would cheer grandmom up. At some point during the flower shopping expedition, I told mom I wanted my own set of flowers to give to grandmom. Mom must have said okay, because I picked out a small arrangement of pink flowers in a white vase to go along with mom’s big yellow arrangement. Afterwards, we returned to the hospital to deliver them. I don’t remember if mom took them up or if grandmom came back down but they were delivered.
On March 18, 1966, my sweet Little Grandmother said goodbye to this world. Somehow, mom managed to retrieve the flowers that she and I had given grandmom. For years, both arrangements were stored in our basement, and through the years, every time I came across them, which was often, I thought of my grandmother.
There are many days that I wish my grandmother was still here, that we had had more time together, etc, but I’m thankful for the five years Little Grandmother and I had.