A Memory of My Grandmother

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.



  1. Comrade Kevin

    I did much the same thing with my Grandmother, whose half-a-pack a day of unfiltered Camels habit was continued until five years before her death. Her overall health began to fail at that point and we were all amazed at how willingly she cast cigarettes aside for good.

    I’m not sure I’d call this act childish or destructive, because both imply a rather fatalistic outcome realized too late to do much good for anyone. I think people have the ability to change.

    Would, for example, Ebeneezer Scrooge have changed had he not been visited by three spirits? And indeed, had he not been reminded that it’s never too late to change for the better and that redemption through salvation is entirely possible regardless of prior conduct, should he have died a cold-hearted miser?

    Love seems to me to have an active component to it beyond taking solace in someone’s ultimate demise, wholly unredeemed and unsaved.

  2. Elizabeth (Post author)

    Comrade K–Of course people can change, but they need to do it on there own. We can but invite them.

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