Orealla mothers talk about living without their children

Rosalyn Remollo and her 87-year-old husband Ronald having lunch
Rosalyn Remollo and her 87-year-old husband Ronald having lunch

By Andrew Carmichael

Mother’s Day is a time when mothers are honoured by their children and others, but what happens if those children were no more – migrated or even passed away?

This is the reality of some mothers who have been blessed with long life.

One such person is 75-year-old Rosalyn Remollo of Orealla, Corentyne River. She lives with her 87-year-old husband Ronald and they survive on their pension. The couple had four children who have all passed away.

“Things are hard. We get old now and can’t go out,” she says.

With no children to support her in her old age, the mother still farms to this day planting cassava and watermelons.

“Long me a plant me son dem dead out. Four of dem dead out, every year dem ah dead, last year one dead too,” she tells me.

Rosalyn Remollo cutting wood to prepare a meal

She lives on the top of a hill and mobility is an issue. She is unable to climb down the hell to get to the Health Centre and with the passing of her children, it is even more difficult to access basic services without help.

However, she is pushing through and living by her motto “once a mother, always a mother.”

Her daily routine includes getting wood and chopping it with an axe so that she can fuel her fireside to prepare meals for her elderly husband.

Given her circumstances, many may ask whether it is a blessing to be able to outlive your children.

Meanwhile, Juliet Joseph 71, also of that same community is facing similar challenges, though her situation is a bit different. Joseph is a widow having lost both her first and second husbands.

She lives with her teenage granddaughter as all of her children are living overseas

Juliet Joseph

“Sometimes things hard with me; my finances, I am a pensioner but everything you have to buy- fish, meat, chicken… But I am a farmer that helps me too. Me do my cassava bread and farine,” Joseph said.

Joseph is originally from Region Nine (Upper Takutu – Essequibo) but settled in Orealla many years ago.

The widow explained that she has no sons with her to assist with the cutting of logs for her to cook.

“Me does try and hustle for myself. Sometimes me under bush [clearing farm land] myself. Me clean the farm and plant. My children all are away,” she relates.

Speaking about her husbands, Joseph said one died in the gold bush accidentally and his body could not come out for a proper burial and the second one passed away at the Georgetown Hospital.

In spite of what life threw at these two women, they are forging ahead with their lives.

They appreciate the past but they are more focused on the present. Like Remollo and Joseph there are countless “children-less mothers” who continue to think of times when they had their children around. (Extracted and modified from Guyana Times)