Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Goodbye to You

It's hard to believe she's really gone. It hurt so bad to hear about it, especially in light of recent past where I've been not-the-best about calling her more. I'm so thankful that I got to speak with her that one last time, to tell her I love her and I was thinking about her. I agree with others that it was a good way to go; not withering away in a hospital bed for weeks or months, not in pain. She had the people that loved her around her and she was asleep. I wish more people acted like family to her in those last years that were in her real family. How does a woman with 6 married children, almost 20 grandchildren and quite a few great-grandkids have so few visitors at the end? It's sad it had to transpire like it did. But, I did not write this to focus on the negative. I wish to remember and honor this woman who had such an impact on my life. I want you who will never know this woman to hear what she meant to me and how she shaped me.

My grandmother, Nanny (I always wrote it Nenny) was an inspiration to me. She labored so hard to raise a good family, working hard at her jobs and at home. She did her best to make each of her 6 children feel special and to have a close relationship with each and every one. She was so devoted to her family, her husband, her home. She was devoted to my grandfather and stayed with him well over 50 years, and went with him into the nursing home when he needed to be there. She made sure her home was open and welcoming to everyone. Special occasions such as holidays or birthdays always included family and extended family. When you were in her home, you were her family. It was the gathering place for so many from various, scattered places. It was what tied us all together; and she, the beautiful knot-maker. Even when we started to unravel and the knots frayed, she stood strong and neutral.

She always strove to provide so much, so well, for so many. She was so generous with her gifts and her time. Christmastime, all babies and toddlers got toys, all kids under 16 got $50, all over 16 got $100. You can see how with a family our size, that adds up. She also remembered all birthdays and graduations. She tended her home well and never had a cross word to say to or about anyone. I loved her quiet smile which was witnessed much more often than her laugh. I loved her laugh that made her eyes dance. Everyone who knew her, whether it be the neighbors who shared a street with her for over 40 years or
the numerous friends I would bring around to meet this amazing woman or the bingo buddies she would see 2, 3, sometimes 4 nights a week. Oh, how she loved her bingo. She loved the atmosphere and the sport of the game and the people and the environment.

She was an amazing cook and you can ask anyone. She planned her weekly meals well, and always wanted people to have their fill. I loved her cornbread, mac and cheese from scratch, salmon patties, spaghetti, tea with real lemon, stewed beef, cheesecake. I loved that she could never eat spaghetti without getting it on her shirt. I loved that Fridays was always Libby Hill day and Sunday lunch was always K&W. I love that when I had to stay at her house and drive to high school, she would never let me eat just a Nutri-grain bar for breakfast. It had to be heated. A warm meal, always. I would spend many days in the summer at her house and would love to watch "Price is Right" with her on her tiny kitchen TV while she made lunch. Nighttime was always "Wheel of Fortune" and then "Jeopardy." She would laugh at my Paw-Paw when he would yell at the contestants which letter to call. She always knew the puzzle early (she loved word puzzles) but wouldn't shout it out. She patiently waited for me to get it and would say "you're right," like she just got it, too (but I always knew she knew it first).

She loved doing the crossword puzzle, Jumble and Cryto-quote in the paper. She would let me "help" her. She's the reason I love word games. I loved her hand-writing. All caps, rounded and a little shaky from an unsteady hand. She had a birthmark over her right eye which she tried, unsuccessfully, to hide with make-up. I loved her boldness to dye her stark white hair jet black until she was over 60. She wore bathing suits well into her 50s as well, even though her body never returned to normal after her 6th child. Her belly was still round, hollow, like a drum. She never minded when I would drum on it with my fingers.

Nenny, you may not have ever gone to church or prayed around me, but you definitely showed me Jesus. I loved you so much. My childhood is saturated with memories of you, which I will take with me wherever I go. You made me the woman I am today and I only aspire to be the mom, wife and Nenny you were. I will never be the same for having you in my life. I will miss you. I love you!

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