This past Mother's Day will be forever etched in my mind; it was the very last day I spent with my dear granny on this earth! It was a hard day, like every Sunday since she had been placed on hospice care. We went to help my mom care for her. I wanted to help in what little way I could, and if it brought Granny a little peace for me to sing to her for an hour or stroke her hair or give my mom some help by allowing her to take break, then I was more than happy to help! I only wish I could have done more!
It was so hard to see my dear granny in pain, and it hurts so much to have lost her, but I know some day I'll see her again! That she's with Pawpaw now and no longer in pain! On some of my visits, there were times where it were as if Pawpaw was in the room with Granny. He's been waiting a long time to see her again.
My granny and mom are the two most influential women in my life! I don't know where I'd be without them! They are my strong tower, the reason I am who I am today. When I was only five years old and my brother Randy was two, my parents divorced. It was rough and traumatic. Many would think that children that young could not remember events, but Randy and I have shared our memories, and there is no doubt that we remember. My mom, brother and I went to live with my granny and pawpaw. They took us in and helped us in so many ways.
Pawpaw would tinker around the house cleaning guns, or he would be playing old records while working in his garage or working outside. Whatever he was doing, he was always busy. He loved his tang and an occasional treat of Krystal hamburgers. He welded us monkey bars, seesaws, and swing sets to play on. I thought it was great fun to pretend that the short wooden fence he built, that surrounded the property line, was a ballerina balance beam. Randy loved to climb a Popcorn tree that was in the front yard, that pawpaw had saved after it had fallen in a hurricane.
Granny worked tirelessly to make sure we were all happy and fed. She worked puzzles with us and was always cooking for us. She'd fry us bologna or spam with barbecue sauce in her cast iron pans. Back then, I thought that was a real treat, maybe she was the only one that could cook it right!
Early on, I showed interest in reading and was reading small books from school, but it was Granny who put the first novel in my hands. I'm not sure how old I was, probably around eight to ten, but I do remember we still lived there, and my mom remarried when I was ten, so it was sometime before. Granny gave me a wonderful gift, a gift that has followed me my entire life, the love of reading. She placed in my hands an old copy of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and I never looked back. She gave me a series of Alcott's stories, and I read those so much that she gave me the books. She knew how much I loved them. And love them I do! Those books lit a fire in my heart for literature that has never been put out. A year or so later I was invited to go to Disney with a friend, and I spent what little spending money I had to buy another book, a paperback copy of Gone with the Wind. Those books led to an eventual English literature degree and then my Masters in Library and Information Science degree and a Masters certificate in Archives and Special Collections. When I applied for my Masters degree, it was required that I write a letter stating why I wanting to enter the program, much of this was in that letter. My Granny gifting me Little Women as a little girl inspiring me to become a librarian, to love books so much that I want to spend my life taking care of them.
Most everyone knows I suffer with migraines, what many people don't realize is that it has been a life long battle. I was probably about ten or eleven when I first started getting bad headaches. Granny would come and get me from school and let me lay down. She'd make me a bowl of grits and toast that for some reason, only she could make right, and I'd feel better.
When I think of the house I grew up in, the house that comes to mind is Granny and Pawpaw's, even though I lived many different places, that house was the place I lived the longest throughout my childhood. The place I have the most warm memories, the place I called home.
When I was twelve, my pawpaw got really sick. He had asbestos cancer. Granny tirelessly cared for him. He was sick for a while. She truly was the most selfless person I know. She would have done anything in her power to make him better. When she began to get sick almost two decades later, especially towards the end, I saw how beautiful it was that Granny and Pawpaw were blessed with seven daughters. Those girls stepped up and took on the role I saw Granny perform so many times, the role of selfless caregiver, and they did it so well. I am so proud of them, I know it was hard to take care of her the way they did but Granny deserved it.
I've heard the question many times throughout my life, how do you manage that? How did you manage graduate school with three kids and a full time job? etc... When you grow up with amazing strong female role models, as I did with my mom and Granny- models that believe you need to just get it done and focus on what matters- than that is what you do! My mom and Granny truly are wonder-women, and I'm honored to have them in my life to look up to!
Thank you always and forever to my dear Mom and Granny ~ (Jackie and Katherine) ~ I love yall!
- Stay classy and Sassy