Friday, February 17, 2012

Just When I Needed It Most

Since my mom passed away, my grandmother and I are closer than we've ever been. So much so that I tell her just about everything and she pretty much does the same with me. I have a thirty minute drive to and from work on the week days, so I normally give her a call on the way into work and we usually talk most of the way there. We talk about everything...big things that are going on in my life, little things that Jude has done, her health, her lack of I said, a little bit of just about anything and everything. She's confided in me secrets she's never told a soul. When I feel the urge to "call mom" to tell her something, I call my Memaw.

Memawlives alone. My Pepaw (her husband, my grandfather) passed away five years ago last October (around the time my mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor). I don't know why I am telling you this. I guess I just want to give you a little background. 
When we were children, Memaw was not at all the same type of grandmother she is today.  She was actually pretty mean.  Let me give you a couple of examples. She used to be known for throwing her shoe (usually a house shoe but a shoe nonetheless) at us grandchildren when she was frustrated with us.  I also have one very vivid memory of her doing that to me, but that's a story for another time. Then there was the time that she nailed the toy box at her house shut because she claimed we didn't pick up toys.  There are quite a few more stories but we'll move on.

Back when most of us were still children, her youngest son, my Uncle Ricky got chicken pox which later turned into to double pneumonia, which he eventually succombed to and passed away.  Memaw was devastated when he died.  Then something happened. She... changed after his death.  She told us years later, when we were discussing how different she is now, that she just began realize the importance of family and making every moment with them count. She learned that family was more important than anything else.  Once Memaw had that realization, she never again was the "mean" Memaw we all remembered.

I love that now one of her favorite things to do is sit and enjoy her family when we all get together.  She also absolutely adores her great-grandchildren.  And she doesn't even seem to mind when they leave their toys out...particularly the little ones like my son.

Memaw and I were talking on my way to school today.  She was telling me she wasn't having such a great day, emotionally speaking. Today is the anniversary of the death of my Uncle Ricky.  February is a terrible month for Memaw.  She lost two children in the month of February, of course several years apart.  Every year she has to relive the memories of losing them both.  Can you imagine?  To lose one child...much less two. You know, I think that I don't know if I would want to live in the world without my son.  I don't know if I would recover if I ever lost him

Memaw is a beautifully strong woman. She's taught me about having strength even when you think you are at your weakest.  To have lost two of her four children and her husband (of nearly 60 years), she has a strength in her that she's not even aware of.  And a heart full of love for her family. 

I am so glad that we have the relationship that we do now.  Every time I tell her that, she says to me, "Good because all we have is each other." And that always makes me smile.

Memaw and Me

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