KETURAH Sullivan, 103, lived by the 5th Commandment: "Honour thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee."
She has embraced this Bible verse from Exodus 20 so closely since her childhood, that Sullivan feels it is the reason that she has lived over 100 years.
"I honour my mother and my father, that's why I live so long," the centenarian said loudly as she struggled to hear her own voice, admitting her inability to hear clearly.
"And I honour my grandmother and my grandfather. Yes. And try to give love to everybody. And try to keep God's way, that is why I live so long," she said.
Sullivan, who lives with her daughter and son-in-law Esmada and Herman Allen in Runaway Bay, St Ann, was born in Cedar Mount, St Catherine and grew up with her parents and five siblings.
She attended the Marlie Hill Elementary school but dropped out after her dad died, leaving her mother with six children to care for.
As a result, Sullivan started working along with mother to help take care of the family.
As she is hard of hearing, questions posed had to be shouted in her ear by her daughter, resulting in the centenarian not saying much during the interview.
However, she had no problems remembering and talking about the only love of her life, Felix Sullivan, with whom she spent over 70 years. The mention of the name brought a smile to her face.
"I love him because he was so kind to me," she said. "I couldn't talk hard to him because him cry," she said, laughing as her eyes lit up. "Him did pretty and him nose straight!", she added.
Sullivan recalled meeting her husband in Linstead and loving him so much that over the years she told God that if one of them had to die, He should let it be her.
"We had a wonderful life," she recalled. "Because mi beg God to take me and lef him. Because he was so comforting to me. Because I know I would never get another husband like that. He was very loving and kind to me," Sullivan said.
However, that was not to be, as Felix died five years ago after suffering from Alzheimers, a few months short of his 94th birthday. Their union produced four boys and one girl.
The only female in the lot, Allen, explained that despite their attachment and love for each other, the couple was not living together when he passed away.
"At the time of his death she was living down here with me after she fell ill," Allen said. "She was admitted to the hospital. And when I went up there she was so sick and I am the only girl she has so she didn't really have anybody to take care of her. So after she was discharged from the hospital I brought her down here," she said. "So she was down here with me, and my father was back in Linstead with one of his sons. I couldn't take both of them, so my brother kept my father and I kept her. But he used to visit her down here. So when he died they weren't living together. She went up to the funeral. She didn't go to the church because we didn't think she could handle it. She stayed at the house with one of my relatives who is a nurse," Allen said.
"Even when him dead him spirit never leave me," the centenarian chimed in.
Her daughter explained that this is because Sullivan often dreams of seeing her deceased husband.
"And since she was down here with me for a while and he was up there, she kind of got used to being a part from him. So sometimes to her it's like he is still alive but living in Linstead," Allen's husband said.
After dropping out of school to work alongside her mom on the farm to care for her siblings, Sullivan never looked back from farming.
"All her life she was a farmer, rearing pigs and goats and she planted foodstuff like yam, peas, banana and so on," Sullivan's daughter recalled. "There was a lot of common fowls, and they used to sell some of the animals alive and her husband would slaughter some. But they would not sell the meat. Instead, they gave it out in the community. They just shared it among the neighbours," she said.
Allen recalled the outside wood fire in which her parents would place a piece of mesh and then hang the meat and animal intestines over. They would hang there for days, sometimes weeks, while the smoke would cure it, sometimes until it was so crispy that her brothers would break and eat it without cooking.
"She used to love church," Allen said of her mom. "She always went to church as a child. Her mother was a member of the City Mission Church and so she grew up attending that church."
As a result, Sullivan got saved as a child.
"She always love farming and she love her church. Those were the two things," Allen said.
It wasn't until Sullivan was in her 90s that she gave up farming.
After getting married in the 1930s, Sullivan moved from her home in Cedar Mount to Buxton Town in Linstead to live with her husband. Here she spent many of her years farming. In the 1960s she moved to Commodore, Linstead, before heading on to Runaway Bay.
The centenarian not only cared for her children, but all those in the community in which she lived.
"She was very loving and caring, not just for her children alone but the children in the community," Allen recalled.
And if anybody in the area feels sick, she would go to their aid and do whatsoever she could for them. She loves people -- especially children," she added. "Then she would take other person's children into her arms and she has one favourite nephew, he comes over regularly and she is always excited to see him."
That nephew, Joseph Baker, who now resides in Old Harbour, is the child of one of Sullivan's deceased brothers. Of the two boys and four girls that her parents had, Sullivan is the only one still alive.
Baker is also one of the many children whom Sullivan raised and he still makes it his duty to visit his grandmother regularly, bringing part of her favourite meal -- Doctor fish.
"She loves boil banana with Doctor fish and boiled yellow yam," the centenarian's son-in-law said. "And she loves her porridge, soup, and she loves KFC," he said.
Today, Sullivan is sometimes affected by high blood pressure and bears a large goitre that she has been nursing for over 40 years. Though she had the option of a surgery to remove the large tumor, fear prevented the centenarian from doing so.
"She did not agree to the surgery because she was scared of it," Allen said. "Even the doctors said they have never seen anybody with one for so long."
"She don't hear well and sometimes she don't see that well either," Allen stated. "And sometimes her brain chips in and chips out."
But inspite of these impediments, Sullivan, a member of The New Testament Church of God in Linstead, and an ardent visitor at the Moving Church of God in Runaway Bay, is still grateful to God.
"I am happy for my blessings from God," Sullivan said. "Him bless mi. I can rejoice in Him because He makes me feel happy. He has blessed me with long life."