by Brian Lindsey
Ma Bish did not give up not one blade
Of her grass nor a single grain of her salt
In her extraordinary challenges during the last 40 years…..
Mrs. Alimenta Bishop, “Ma Bish”, as she was affectionately called by many including my mother, Gemma Lindsay was a lady of tremendous courage, dignity, and valor, who gracefully held her head high in her extraordinay challenges in the last 40 years.
It’s very true to say that she did not give up a blade of grass nor a grain of her salt in her many difficulties during the last 40 years. Ma Bish was defiant to the end, a lady with a rear substance which was very substantial but who was very spirited.
She was someone who found the time to make people laugh especially during her challenging moments during the last 40 years of her life.
As it was the case on the morning of the 24th of December 2010, when I visited her before I left for work. The occasion was her birthday, her 96th birthday. As I strolled through the front door of her house, saying good morning, I proceeed to her room saying good morning to Ann, her daughter who was in her room in close proximity.
Mrs. Bishop was lying on her bed surrounded by Carrol, one of the Nurses, and Elizabeth, one of the caretakers. I said to her, “Happy Birthday Ma Bish, I wish you health, strength and long life”.
She said, Thank you Brian, and while loooking in my direction, she added, ” More long life again”. The room immmedately engulfed with seroius laughter including Ann who was close by.
With such great humour I left for work. I was told that during the day Ma Bish repeated several times, “More long life” each time with laughter.
Ms. Alimenta Bishop was born on the 24 – 12 – 1914 and died on the 24 – 08 – 2013. She was laid to rest on the 30 – 08 – 2013, she was 98 years.
Mrs. Bishop was married to Rupert Bishop and together they had 3 children – Maureen, Ann and Maurice Bishop who was our country’s second Prime Minister. The children’s father, Rupert was killed on the 24th of January 1974, a day in our histroy known as Bloody Monday.
Ma Bish lived for 39 years after she buried her husband, which makes the same amount of years Maurice lived for here on earth. And 29 years since the cruel end of the life of Maurice Bishop, our former Prime Minister, and his Cabinet colleagues at Fort Rupert.
Ma Bish lived for 2 1/2 times the life span of her son, Maurice. She has gone to a better place where she will meet some of the persons she really loved dearly, Jesus Christ who we know lives, Rupert, her husband, Maurice, her son and Valdimir, her grandson.
I feel very privileged to be part of your family’s journey for as long as I could remember. A few of the high points were the triumph of the March 13th Revolution of 1979 and the renaming of the Point Saline International Airport ( PSIA) to the The Maurice Bishop International Airport (MBIA) on the 29th of May 2009, by the National Democratic Congress Government of Mr. Tillman Thomas.
The low points were the execution of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and his Cabinet collegues and friends on the 19th October 1983. Also not being able to bury his remains to this day – 30 years after that dark day. The struggle continues in that regard.
I will miss you too Ma Bish and I can safely say all the nurses and caretakers and all your friends in the community. But your memory will be around for generations to come.
May your soul and the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace. (R.I.P). Long Live the memory of Ma Bish.