On the IPOD "Amazing Grace" sung by Leann Rimes
This is partially a repeat of a blog I wrote last year about my Grandmother...I ended up changing it slightly and reading this at her funeral just a couple of weeks ago.
Being at my Grandmother's house was surreal... She has lived there over 50 years and although some things have moved around slightly there is something comforting about the sameness. The kitchen is small but efficient. Everything has it's place up to the dry measuring cups that hang on the wall. Central heat/air conditioning and a dishwasher were only added when my mother starting having babies. If I close my eyes tight enough I can taste the warm biscuit with butter and apple jelly that I ate for breakfast every morning there before we got back in the car and drove to Dallas.
Until the very end My Granny was still strikingly beautiful. She had a calmness about her. Some people might have thought that she was quiet but I've always thought that she just limited the pointless conversation and really just said what she means. I know her politics, I know that she paved a way for me by being a woman and a mother and holding down a job that was really intended for a man. She was the main provider for her family and from what I have heard my grandfather left a lot to be desired as a husband. When she got fed up enough with his alcoholic ways she sent him on his way, pulled her boots straps up and moved on. She lived a humbled life at times but always had food on the table.
Being the youngest of the grandchildren I got left out a lot. At the time I hated the fact that I was left back at the house while they cruised the neighborhood but looking back I was the lucky one because I got to sit and hear my father and her tell stories of their life. I treasure those memories now.
I have always known what an incredible woman she is...I could see it in my father's eyes. She has worked hard her entire life and did it with grace. I love her with all of my heart and I have never doubted the fact that she loves me back.
Being here to celebrate her 95th Birthday last year was bittersweet...It was priceless to be able to spend some quality time with her but after we hugged and said our "i love you's" it was hard to hold the tears back while driving away... I couldn't stop thinking about the fact that my Dad should have been here. He should get to see her still driving and planting and trying to not let me wash the dishes.
As the years have gone on our short "Hi, bye, I love you phone calls have turned into sometimes lengthy 1 hour ones. On our last long phone call the day before I gave birth to my son, Granny gave me a few words of advise... She told me to not worry about the baby being cute, take lots of pictures, come and visit me as soon as you can and she told me to not worry so much about getting back to work. She said she spent too much of her life worried about paying bills and working and that I should take some time to enjoy being a mom because it goes too fast...
I'm so very glad that Levi and I got the time we did with her last week... I got a call telling me that she had fallen and broken her hip, but we decided we should wait to come until after the surgery because they were going to have her on very strong medication. So our plans were to go on Thursday but when I spoke to my cousin on Tuesday night she said "She is asking when y'all are coming...I'm afraid she is waiting for you to get here." That's all it took on Wednesday morning I packed Levi and my Mom up and we headed to South East Texas. We got there in time for Levi and Granny to have a special moment together but by the next morning she was in ICU. On Friday morning I had a strong urge to go and talk with her. So at about 5 am I placed Levi on my Mom's chest and told her I would be back soon. When I got there she was tired...I talked with her about my Dad, my future, Levi's future... I told her that we would all be okay and that I loved her but I didn't want her to suffer any longer. I knew that she loved the song "Amazing Grace" and in truth there could not be a more perfect song for her. So we listened to it together as I held her hands while trying to hold back my tears and she seemed to relax. Later that afternoon she passed away still fiercely in dependant just the way she has always been.
I can only hope that I will be able to live up to the example that she has set forth. I hope that I can teach my children about the sacrifices that she made so that their grandfather, my father, could survive and flourish. And I hope that I can exude some of the grace that I have witnessed in her.
I love you Granny and Thank you for teaching me to have passion, to work hard and to always strive for the best