My fiercely devoted fan group is dwindling…I’ve lost three grandparents in two years and I am now left without any. Don’t get me wrong, I still have an amazing group of supporters, an abundance of wonderful life cheerleaders, but there’s just something about a grandparents unconditional, blinding love that cannot be replaced. And, I will miss it fiercely.
When I stop to think about it, it’s no surprise that Mamaw was the last to leave us. She was the most strong-willed, had never been hospitalized or even taken many medications, and was just too stubborn to stop carrying on despite her battle with advanced dementia.
The last time I saw her was at Christmas. When I went to the long term care facility to visit her, I’m not certain she knew who I was, but the following day, when talking to to my aunt, she referred to my sister and I as “those girls who are always laughing” which in some sense made me really happy.
She made some of the most delicious foods I have ever eaten- butter beans, chicken and rice, turnip greens, rutabaga, and chicken dressing. For every special gathering, we would crowd into the small kitchen and eat her bounty of southern cooking. Everyone would stare in awe at the amount of chicken dressing and butter beans that I managed to squeeze onto her white plate with the rim of green flowers and leaves. And, she would shake her head, close her eyes, and laugh when I went back for seconds! She often just sat back and watched us all with a slight smile on her face, softly humming to herself. Her family made her proud. And, she liked to please us.
I think I can thank her for my sweet tooth. She made candies at Christmas that we all looked forward to- haystacks were my favorite- I can still taste and smell the crunchy butterscotch bite, she liked the sickly sweet divinity. On Christmas Eve, I would often catch her with a half-eaten piece in her cupped hand.
Some of my favorite things about Mamaw:
How she used to tell my cousins, sister, and I to “Stop wallerin’ on the couch” when we weren’t sitting still
The feel of her squishy hair
Her garden of flowers
Shelling peas and pecans with her on the back porch
Her handwritten letters she sent to me in college- always in cursive, most of the time in pencil in order to correct her mistakes
Her love of sports, especially college football
I love you, Mamaw. And, will miss you to the moon and back.
** The photo above was taken at Christmas in 2010 when Jack was just 1 year old. I love this photo so much, as Mamaw was not a fan of having her picture taken, yet she was a fan of my boy- both of those things can be seen in this shot as they admire the light and colors in the Christmas tree together.