Wed | Sep 20, 2017

Grandmother Smith – An angel in the lives of her grandchildren

Published:Saturday | January 16, 2016 | 1:00 AMShanna Kaye Monteith
Cecelita Smith surrounded by family.
Shellesa Smith and her grandmother.
Beloved grandmother Cecelita Smith smiles for the camera.
Beloved grandmother Cecelita Smith is lauded for her strong faith in God.
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Grandmothers have always been celebrated as angels in the lives of their grandchildren. Their love is pure, their hugs redeeming, and their food cupboards forever full.

But too often we wait until they are gone before expressing our gratitude towards them.

Shellesa Smith of Albion, St Thomas, who has lived with her grandmother since she was eight months old, has decided to scatter her roses now that her beloved 'Mama' is alive to enjoy them.

"My mother lived with my dad and his parents, but then migrated when I was two or so years old. My father later migrated about three years after, so I was left with my grandparents," she said, adding that both parents travelled back and forth to visit annually.

Smith was among four siblings who were raised by Cecelita Smith, her grandmother, while their parents had gone abroad to work.

"Mama was a higgler. She and her husband had their own farm in Aeolus Valley. She went to bush with all of us from sunrise every day, with me being the youngest. Then on Saturdays, she went to Coronation Market in Kingston to hustle. She would wake up as early as 3 a.m. and head out with the market truck and wouldn't return until about 9 p.m.," Smith said, revealing that during that time, their now late grandfather would watch over them.

SELFLESSWOMAN

The now 24-year-old woman lauds her grandmother for her selflessness in raising herself and her cousins.

"I love my grandmother beyond measure because of the sacrifices she has made for her family to guarantee that our future was better than her past. And also her morals and values - the way she treats others. She's the type of person to give a complete stranger the clothes off her back and say, 'God will provide'," Smith said.

She told Family and Religion that she truly admires her grandmother's faith in God and the unseen.

"And the way she pushes and motivates all her grand kids, even when she doesn't understand their different situations and struggles. She inspires me to be better daily with her words of kindness, and when I look back on how far she has come, her journey inspires me to chase success for the ones I love," she said.

Smith reflected back on January 10 of this year when her Dear Mama turned 80 years old.

"Her grandchildren had a family get-together for her with her close friends, pastor and family members. It felt so good to see her enjoy herself.

"I would want Mama to know that her family, especially her grandchildren, is eternally grateful for the sacrifices she has made to ensure that our lives turned out as well as they did. Also, we want her to know that we are proud of the woman she is and the type of life she has lived; a life to model," she said.

Smith describes her grandmother as one of the greatest women to have walked the land, a woman of virtue, a God-fearing woman, a mother to many and a perfect role model of what a strong black woman is.

When asked about the relationship they share, she said: "As many would say, 'I'm the apple of her eye'. If I have a bad dream, I run to her. If my head hurts me, if I have any problem, need likkle prayer, achieve anything major, need likkle advice, I run to her. We have a very good relationship. We can talk to each other about anything. We cuss, we vex, but we never go to bed mad at each other.

Mama is my closest and oldest friend."

familyandreligion@gleanerjm.com