My Grandma Rose (for whom the name of this blog is partly in tribute) was a very important part of my childhood. She had a small, but lovely apartment in Brooklyn Heights, and I spent about a weekend a month for most of my childhood with her. One day when the family was visiting and I was no more than seven or eight, I took a carton of her cigarettes and destroyed them. She was very angry, and I got in a lot of trouble with my parents for the deed. I had just learned in school about all the horrors of smoking (that was the very early years of starting to admit and warn of the hazards of smoking), and I wanted to protect her.
When my grandmother died at age 76 from her heart unexpectedly stopping, I was in 10th grade. They found she had advanced stages of emphysema. Occasionally I wonder how my life would have been different and think about how much she would have enjoyed seeing me grow up if the smoking had not shortened her life.
Although I was too young to know that we cannot change our loved ones by force or even by the force of our love, I hope she knew that my childish act of destruction was borne from love.