Sarah Martha Harrelson Dickens Rosser - In Memoriam

She was my Gigi. When I was little I couldn't say Grandma or Grandmother, but I could say Gigi and it stuck. Her later two grandchildren called her Gigi. Her best friend's daughter called her Gigi instead of Mrs. Rosser. My daughter called her Gigi.

Gigi was 89 years old when she died on February 15, 2011 in Sanford, North Carolina, the town that had been her home for over fifty years. She'd beaten the odds in October when she had to have surgery to fight an extremely bad bout of pneumonia and it looked like she'd be able to move back from the home to her own home in March. But a few weeks ago she got an infection and then broke her tailbone and everything just started adding up and rolling down hill. By the time she passed away it was a blessing.

I'm going to miss her.

Sarah Martha was a beautiful bride who waited while her husband served in World War II then had two little blond children who grew up to be brunettes. She put up with her husband bringing in that television contraption and inviting the whole neighborhood over to watch it. (He owned the furniture store and it was good marketing.)

She lost her first husband to a heart attack on the dance floor when my mother was a teenager. Her second husband, a few years younger, was a widower who insistently courted her and married her a year after she saw my parents married. He became my Papa and passed away some years ago.

When I knew her, she kept a house that looked like it could have been photographed for Southern Living magazine. She loved her antiques and brass candlesticks, but didn't buy things for value (although she always tried for a good bargain) but because she liked them. She would spend hours out in the garden until her health kept her from it and it was branches from her favorite magnolia trees that graced her coffin.

I would stay with Gigi and Papa for a week in the summer while Mom and Dad went to the Mary Kay conventions. We'd go out shopping or sit together and read. Everyone knew her. She'd make her special rolls and deliver them half-cooked for friends and neighbors to freeze. I also had a special fondness for her chicken salad and most especially her congo bars (think chocolate chip cookies baked deep dish like brownies.)

She would worry and dither and had a way of pursing up her face when she disagree with something. She'd say she didn't want to bother anyone but every so often would speak up with a bit of sharp wit.

I always knew she loved me and was proud of me, even if she didn't always understand what I was up to. She adored my daughter and so many of the visitors to the memorial told me how she'd talk about the stories and show off the photos.

I'm going to miss her.