From Your Namesake by Ross Oscar Knight | An Open Letter

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Bishop Ross Oscar Knight, Sr.
January 22, 1921 - August 7, 2010

Approximately 58 years and four months after my grandfather - Bishop Ross Oscar Knight Sr. - was born in Coy, Alabama, I made my entrance into this world at a hospital in Richmond, VA. I was named after he and my father (Apostle Ross Oscar Knight Jr.). My grandfather used to refer to me as "Third."

To tell you the truth, I didn't like my name growing up. The last name (KNIGHT) was cool but I thought my full name sounded like a name for a preacher or someone that was way more important than me. And then there was Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street. I wasn't a grouch. As for my surname (III), I used to think to myself, "Am I part of a dynasty or something?" I was teased that using my full name sounded like an old man.

Being a preacher's kid (PK) during the 80's and 90's in Pensacola, it seemed as if everyone had a GPS on my whereabouts at all times. Thanks to my father and grandfather, traveling was no exception because I was most definitely accompanied by someone from the church. There were fleeting moments when I wished that I was part of another family.

With all of that background info, I will be the first to admit that when I was young I didn't know a lot about my grandfather outside of church. We did not spend a great deal of one-on-one time together. I have fading memories of him preaching at his church and having dinner in the fellowship hall after service. Once, I did a history project in middle school on my family and I needed to get some facts about his life. Most of the facts came from my grandmother. I do remember he was an excellent gardener and kept his yard in pristine condition. My dad would remind me that his father was a hard worker and had a kind heart because he helped to raise his younger brothers and sisters when his parents passed.

Luckily, seven years ago I had a "come to Jesus" moment about my life and knowing more about my relatives. I was collecting information and pictures because I wanted to make sure that my children would one day know their lineage and be able to pass on our history. One evening I spent time with my grandparents and it was the first time that I got my questions answered directly by my grandfather. He told me stories of war, growing up in Alabama, dating, meeting my grandmother, buying houses, and how he became a minister. I was in awe! The photos that I received copies of were priceless. I left with a wealth of information that blew my mind. I began to admire my grandfather more than ever and on subsequent trips home I returned to his antique sofa thirsty for more stories. I didn't want to hear about Ross Sr. the Bishop, I wanted to hear about Ross Sr. the man. Learning more about his journey and spirituality helped me to find myself and define my future goals.

While I was in Haiti this past week, I called home nightly to check on my grandfather's declining medical condition. Every day I would hear, "Today is the last day." This past Saturday my grandfather went home to his Creator. Although I was not shocked at the news, I did take time to myself to pray and to thank God for his life.


Since I travel to different countries it has been impossible to ignore the foreign traditions that I witness and hear about. I have incorporated a few in my life. There is an Indian tradition of male sons shaving their heads as a sign of respect when a male father figure or close relative dies. It has been over 25 years since I have completely had a bald head. Tuesday I was informed by my family that it would be my grandfather's last night. On Wednesday, I went to a barber shop (powered by a car battery shown in lower right corner of pic) in Haiti with security and a translator to have my hair cut. Shaving my head felt like a religious experience and freeing of the mind. I fought back tears by telling jokes and teaching my translator how to operate my camera. I didn't share the true reason that I shaved my head with my comrades at the Mission (sorry to those reading this). But now they will know.

To my grandfather - I respect you and I love you. I know you are in a better place. I rejoice knowing that your pain and suffering is over and you have reunited with grandma. Thank you for allowing me to bear your name. I am humbled and doing all I can to live up to God's plan for my life. I want to make you proud. It has been my honor to be your grandson and I will cherish our memories and your stories forever.

From Your Namesake,

Third

- KNIGHT

Ross Oscar Knight Photography Destination and Fusion Wedding Photographers

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27 comments:

Darcita said...

Ohh.. Ross...thank you for sharing another part of your life, your soul, your heart. My deepest sympathies to your family, although I know one day you will see him again.

Terrica said...

Ross, this was absolutely beautiful. And what a beautiful homage to your grandfather with the cutting of your hair. Your family is in my prayers and I will pray for your continued strength, happiness and safety.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful tribute to your grandfather. You honor him and your family by continually being the best at what you do. Be blessed and my deepest sympathy to you and your family.

Peace and Blessings
Marcia

DiAmOnD hawk said...

Wonderfully written, third! May God be with you all as you cope w/the loss.

Naijadiva said...

Blessings and prayers to you all.. What a testimony!!!

Anonymous said...

Ross I was reading your sister's comment on facebook when I came to your comment on her page. I push the button on my mouse to continue reading and I came to this page. I must say I was in total awe!!not because of how well the page was put together (We know that runs in our blood) but your Honesty. Your honesty of this letter was so awesome people rarely know the thoughts of PK kids and with our grandparents being preachers made it harder. This letter was real and humble and I appreciated it. Our Granfather was truly a warrior in the gospel. We should be proud to be a part of his legacy . I thank you for writing such a true and beautiful letter concerning our granfather and I really enjoyed reading it.

Rosalyn

Cloud9_Raquel said...

Ross, I know your grandfather is so very proud of you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family, and we look forward to hearing all about your trip to Haiti.

Hope said...

Keeping my mentor in prayer. Peace, safety, condolences and blessings to you and your family.

Big hug to you and Brandi,
~A.Hope

KLOE YORK said...

Hey Ross, those were well written, honest emotions. I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather; I'm sure your comforted in knowing surely of where he is. I'll be for your family but especially your father.- Ket

Deewonda said...

My deepest condolences, Ross. I know your grandfather is so very proud of his grandson and the man he has grown to be. Holding you and your family in the Light of God's Love during this time.

Mary Lawler Photography said...

Hi Ross,
My Prayers goes out to your family and my blessings goes out to you for taking time to visit Haiti.

Thanks for sharing your families history. There is a soft spot in my heart for our elders (no matter if they are blood related or not)especially since I recently lost my mom (82 years)

It is amazing that I see that your father Mirrors your grandfather. :)

Again, I am praying that his soul transistion peacefully to where he came (from God) and just find comfort Ross that if we are faithfully, we can see our loved ones on the other side.

Stay forever strong!

rags said...

Sorry about your loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Fine Art by Stacey Brown said...

I am sorry to hear of your loss. Our prayers are with you! I know he was so proud of you!

Michele and Stacey

Troy said...

Dude, my best to you and your fam. Loss is never easy, but when you are a believer, understanding that all He does is good and perfect makes it a little more palatable! It's no secret that your journey as Third has been affected by the incredibly strong men in your life. I too am thankful for positive male relatives to help chart my course. For we have seen all too often what the black man's plight may be for the contrary!

Be blessed, 'Third' and rest in peace, Bishop Ross Oscar Knight, Sr.

Deborah Mello said...

Ross, my sincerest condolances to you and your family on your loss. Please know that we lift you and your family up in prayer during this difficult time.

1i_Studios said...

What a great legacy your grandfather left you. Those moments together were so precious. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us, Ross. May the peace that passes all understanding guard your heart & mind in Christ Jesus.

Neri said...

Ross,
Thanks for sharing your story. While reading this it brought tears to my eyes. You're truly GOD sent and now I see where you get your respect and sweetness from. Thank you for allowing my family to adopt you into ours. We love you and we're always here for you and Brandi...

Neri

Andria of Andria Lewis Events said...

What an incredible story. And what an incredible gesture to your grandfather. I pray strength for you and your family.

Xiomara said...

My condolences to you and your family!! I know your grandfather is proud of you!

Natalie Witherspoon said...

Ross, I did think the "once a year" story was a little odd. Thank you so much for sharing. This was beautifully insightful and touching! May you and your family know the God of All Comfort in your grandfather's absence.

Natalie said...

Ross, I thought the "once a year" story was a little odd. Thank you for sharing. This was beautifully insightful and touching! In your grandfather's absence, may you know the God of All Comfort.

Veronica said...

Wow Ross,

I felt every word written in this letter. Thank you so much for sharing. I will keep you and your family and my prayers.

~Veronica H.

Sara said...

Thanks for sharing Ross! You hid your grief very well. Although I felt like there was more to the barbershop story than met the eye. I understand why you would keep it under wraps... I was grieving while I was in Haiti too... not a fresh loss like yours, but I really felt the absence of my late husband while we were there.
Your tributes to both your grandparents are very touching and you are right... your grandmother is gorgeous!!!

I hope to make it to your gallery opening in September.

Take care of those elbows,
Sara

Simi said...

Oh wow Ross, that is the most amazing tribute to your grandfather! Thanks for sharing about your life struggles and how your grandfather being genuine has affected your life. It is truly a blessing to know you and to be able to hear about your life!

NIKKI said...

Ross this open letter to your late grandfather is beautiful.

Never read that he was the Bishop and your dad the Apostle, wowwww.
My parents are both Apostles.

I say to you, know that I am praying for you and your family. Seems your grandfather has lived a great life and I know he's proud of you. Keep doing the Lord's will for your life and all will and shall follow.

Be blessed.

Armena Slacks said...

You are a very BLESSED MAN and GOD has given you the passion and the gift, to be a blessing to others. The way you capture the lives of others through your eye is phenomenal...The more you give out the more you shall receive. I look forward to being your client.

Skydivingsista said...

Ross Oscar Knight III,

You are blessed.

Please accept my condolences.

Thank you for sharing.



-Charity