My great aunt, born Marion Moss, died yesterday at the age of 94. To be born Black and female in 1926. My grandfather‘s sisters all outlived him, and rightfully so.
And in my father’s voice was the muffled pain of losing a generation. A strong woman. A generous woman. The last of the Moss’s.
The last of a group of cousins who changed their family name due to racist aggression by white teachers. Years later, some changed it back. We hold unnecessarily hyphenated family reunions.
*A note on moss: Only mosses have a multicellular rhizoid, a root-like subterranean tissue that absorbs water and nutrients from the soil…Mosses have radial symmetry, in that a cut down the long axis of an individual gives two similar halves.
We’ve always been a whole. Even if a mess…a whole hell of a mess of moss.