This past week, my family said goodbye to my Mamaw. She was 89 and had been in failing health for the past few years. Her going was unavoidable but I wouldn’t have been ready even if she had been 189.
I grew up living next door to Mamaw and Papa my entire life so they were always a part of my dailiness. Papa could always found in his garden tending to his show-stopping tomatoes and as a retired carpenter, was always tinkering with a wood-working project. If Mamaw wasn’t in her flowers she was in the kitchen. After I married I spent a day with her so she could teach me how to make her perfect chicken and dumplings. I never have been able to get them right (she made the flat noodle dumplings and mine always turn out too puffy) but the memories of trying are priceless. I have discovered that Mary B’s makes a frozen version that is a pretty good knock off but they are not the same.
Lots of things will never be the same now that both of them are gone. The hardest thing about the funeral was going back to Mamaw and Papa’s house afterward and knowing that a generation had passed the likes of which will not come our way again. They wouldn’t recognize our world today – in fact Mamaw never drove a car once in her life. She had no clue about iPods or iPhones. She just loved her family and enjoyed recounting her life as a child in the Tennessee countryside more than anything. She missed the farm, the spring house, and her horse named Edith Esther Stella (okay, I just forgot the rest of the names. Help me out here, Mom). The horse had about seven names because she couldn’t make up her mind between all that she liked. She laughed extra long and hard when I told her it must have taken a long time to giddy up.
My heart is so full of both of my grandparents and there are many things I could share that would mean nothing to anyone but me. There is one thing that sticks out though that will always be my favorite time with Mamaw. Let’s see if I can get through this.
My Papa died in 1995 somewhat unexpectedly. It was already a very sad season for me because a short time before that I had miscarried my first baby. At the time, Luke and I were in college in Kentucky and so we traveled home for the funeral. Luke stayed with his parents but I stayed with Mamaw because I didn’t want her to be alone. I was terribly sick with bronchitis and that night could not stop coughing when I went to bed. Mamaw got up, brought me cough medicine, and in a shocking move asked me if I wanted to come sleep with her. I knew she was asking as much for herself as for me.
We laid awake in bed for a long time. Mamaw liked to talk but our conversations were typically shallow. My family is not one given to expression of deep sentiment or shows of emotion. So again, it was shocking to me when she asked, “Lis, what do you think happened to make you lose the baby?” I told her I had no idea and that it was just one of those things that will have no explanation until the Lord tells us one day. And then she said, “I know you’ll get to have another one. You’re going to be okay.” I said, “I know, Mamaw. And you know what? You are going to be okay, too.”
And there we lay, two women grieving personal losses and yet sharing them by virtue of our lineage. Something about that exchange caused me – in my own mind anway – to understand that in the course of that night I was no longer regarded a child but as one entrusted with shouldering a hard thing instead of being shielded from it. I never loved her more than I did on that day.
I miss her. I miss the era and simplicity she represented and I miss that I never had to wonder where I stood with her. She was a safe place. I say goodbye to her knowing I’ll never be half the woman she was. We live in a time where intention has replaced action. Where frozen biscuits have replaced those deftly rolled out under a skilled hand. Where we have family reunions on Facebook. Where we wish things could be like they were 50 years ago but in our hearts we know we can’t go back.
The last time we talked while she was in the hospital – more lucid than I had seen her in months I might add – I said to her, “You are my favorite, Mamaw.” She said, “You’re my favorite, too.” She was too polite not to respond in kind but I’ll carry it as truth as long as my sisters and cousins will allow it. I can pretend I was her favorite but I don’t have to fudge to say she was mine.
I love you, Mamaw. I’m glad that you are finally okay. And you know what? Though it’s going to take some time, we are going to be okay, too.
Lisa, I’m so sorry for your loss…I don’t know what I would do if I lost my Nanny or my Nandaddy. They both have been such a huge part of my life I can not imagine my life without them in it. I love that you have such beautiful memories of your Mamaw and that you have shared them with us!
You made me tear up and wish it wasn’t 11:15pm (slow time) because I really want to talk to Nanny and Nandaddy!
Love you dearie!
Very sweet tribute. Praying for you!
.-= Patty´s last blog ..adoption update =-.
I. Love. This.
And I love you, my Paco Mac. Praying for you, as always, but extra hard these days.
.-= Robyn (3girlsmom)´s last blog ..Baby Steps. =-.
I am sorry for your loss. Praying for you. You honoured your Mawmaw well with this post. ((hugs))
.-= Miriam Pauline´s last blog ..A Long-Overdue Stitchin’ Post!! =-.
I loved reading this, and I can relate to it on so many levels….especially with the “emotionless” family. But if you think about it didn’t you feel like you had to “love” for them? And God had enough of it to go around:)
Anyway, I am so sorry for your loss too…I felt so sad that I was so wrapped up in grieving for my friend that all I could do was “look” and say a simple, ‘ I’m sorry”, but just know that my heart is sharing the heaviness, and I know Amanda would probably say the same too, after her loss this last week too.
But one thing I hold on to…God’s will was done. He decided that it was ‘time” and all of our loved ones are safe in His arms. Safe in His arms and waiting for us to be with them when He says its our time. xoxo. -ang
.-= Little Steps Of Faith´s last blog ..A time to write… =-.
Awww…Lisa. I’m so sorry. I have a sweet grandma like yours and it will be so sad to see her go when the Lord calls for her. Because of her age, I’ve tried to imagine life without her and it is just impossible but I do KNOW that it is possible knowing that I will see her in Heaven. I’ll be praying for your family!
.-= Angela Mills´s last blog ..PushPops =-.
I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute, filled with truth. Praying for you this morning.
.-= Joanne (The Simple Wife)´s last blog ..To tattoo or not to tattoo =-.
So sorry to hear about your loss. What a blessing you have so many precious memories! My grandparents left this earth many years ago and I still miss them, but love to remember them and the memories of our times together. My favorite one being my grandfather would put snow in the freezer and save it until we visited in the summer to make snow ice cream for us.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts and reminding me of those wonderful memories of my grandparents.
Lisa – I love this beautiful tribute to your Mamaw. It touched me in so many ways, made me miss my Granny Maloy and my Granny Johnson, and encouraged me to be the best Gran Jan ever to my little grandblessings. Oh God, may it be so.
I miss the era my grandparents represented too – that thought resonated with me.
I’m thankful that we can be a safe place with each other too. What truths you have shared today.
God bless you friend,
.-= Georgia Jan´s last blog ..Meet My Grandson, Master Jackson Evan Morton =-.
Oh, Lisa, what a beautiful tribute. Your Mamaw sounds like a wonderful lady. What special memories you have to cherish.
She was almost the exact same age my dad would be. That was indeed the Greatest Generation!
What a sweet tribute to a very loved Mamaw! Brings back memories of when I lost mine. Though we knew it was coming–man, it hurt! Miss her terribly, but praise God she is in glory–cackling away, no doubt.
Thanks for sharing. God has been good to bless you with 4 babies. Mamaw was right. :))
Love your book, btw! :)
Beautiful post….so sorry for your loss.
.-= rhonda´s last blog .. =-.
I’m sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful tribute.
.-= Julie´s last blog ..Weekend Recap =-.
I talked about “Cute Shoes” on my blog today!! Would love your visit!
Hey are you not on Twitter??
So sorry dear Lisa.
We just lost our beloved Mamaw in February (the day I was to speak at a weekend women’s retreat). She was a wonderful influence on my entire family’s lives.
It brings us such joy to imagine her FINALLY in heaven with our Lord. So much of her time was spent in deep study of his Word. She wrote a weekly Bible commentary to go along with her SS lesson every week and mailed it out to nearly 75 different friends/family.
She made a difference in our world. I want to do that…even a fraction of it would be amazing!
Praying for you as you step through these next few months.
Keep your memories fresh…
.-= wanda´s last blog ..He’s like family =-.
She sounds alot like my Mama! I wish I would have learned to make dumplings like she did, flat just like your Mamaw’s!
What wonderful memories you have and thank you for sharing some of them with us!
Praying for you!
.-= cheryl´s last blog ..Finally…. =-.
Lisa, I’m so sorry for your loss. This was such a sweet post. I teared up.
Sounds like your grandmother was a lot like mine. She could drive but never owned a license b/c she only drove a mile to our house on a dirt road. Before that she walked to come see us as kids. In 1996 my Pop died, in 1997 my mom died (her daughter) and that same year my grandmother’s house burned to the ground with everything in it. This was the house we celebrated all our family holidays. So sad but she escaped with her hair singed and nothing on her except her pj’s & wedding ring. She was 84. She never quit witnessing. And I want to be just as strong as she was. Your tribute to yours made me glad I’m not the only one who wants to pass along the faith! Love you!
I’m sitting here crying.
You can’t know how emotional and close to home this post is for me. I literally feel your pain. I’m so sorry for your loss. Even when you know she wouldn’t want to come back from Heaven, it still hurts so much… the void of her being gone from here.
My Grandmama never drove a day in her life either.
Grandaddy died suddenly in 1992, and we each took turns staying with her at night for 2 years so she wouldn’t be alone. My dad is an only child, and only had me and my sister. So I stayed many a night with Grandmama. Several of them in her bed with her where we’d pray together and talk for an hour before falling asleep.
When I got married we spent hours in her kitchen, me learning how to make the wonderful things she made. I have all of her cookware and dishes in my cabinets now, and there’s not a day I’m in my kitchen that I don’t feel so close to her. I remember the night before Thanksgiving that first year she was gone, I couldn’t get her pecan pie recipe just right. I’d tried it 3 times. So I gave up, and just sat in the floor and cried. I wanted so badly to call her and talk to her.
Taking her grocery shopping every week, I learned to shop how she shopped. If you ever see me randomly misty eyed on aisle 9 of Publix, you’ll know something must have just reminded me of her…
I had a dream one night last year. It was SO REAL. The kind where, when you wake up, you have to think for a minute to decide if it really happened or not. I dreamed Jesus had let Grandmama come back for one day. I had one day with her to ask her all about Heaven, talk about old times, hear more of her memories, tell her how much I was missing her and needed her still…. she told me how wonderful Heaven was, how I couldn’t imagine the beauty of our Lord, how as much as she missed us, she never wanted to leave This Place. She and Grandaddy would be there when I got there, and she loved me so much. Girl, when I woke up, I can’t even tell you the pure JOY that was in my heart. Not one bit of sadness.
Well, I’m going to go get in line to claim my award for Longest Comment Ever.
And I’ll be praying for you as you miss your sweet Mamaw. I wish we lived closer together friend!
I sympathize with your loss of a Mawmaw who is close to your heart. Please know you are in my prayers! As I read your tribute to your Mawmaw my mind went back to the childhood memories I spent with mine. Thanks for sharing! Gotta go get the kleenex…..love and prayers, Carrie
I am so sorry for your loss
What a special tribute to your mamaw
I had a mamaw also and she passed away about 5 yrs ago
We talked almost daily and there are times I think about calling her and
remember she is no longer here
Instead she is having a blast with Jesus and that makes me smile :)
.-= Kim´s last blog ..Shred day 20 =-.
So sorry to hear about your Mamaw. I know you will miss her but at the same time you will be comforted knowing she is no longer alone & she is no longer in pain! Hope to see you soon!
.-= Ginger´s last blog ..How does your garden grow? =-.
That was a beautiful tribute to your Mamaw, Lisa. I’m not sure how long it has been posted but I only found it yesterday. Thank you for writing it and just to let you know, you are my FAVORITE oldest daughter :-)
Mom’s horse’s name was: Edith Edna Ester Stella Dorothy Kate Alice Elizabeth…..good thing the ‘giddy-up’ came first!
I love you
I am SOOOOO sorry for you loss. Your memories of her made me cry. I lost my 96 1/2 year old Granddaddy on April 20th 2010. He was and still is such a precious GIFT from God. He lived alone till this past Christmas, and then had to move in with my parents. Up till then, he drove to church every Sunday and EVERY day he drove to Hardees to eat breakfast with 4 widow ladies. We called them his girlfriends. For Valentines Day, I went to Reed’s Jewelers for him and bought them each a pearl necklace, he knew that this would be his last and a box of candy would not do this time. God was so good to us through his illness. The last few weeks of his life he had become so weak that he really wouldn’t talk with us. I missed those conversations so much and I thought that I’d never have another one, but his last stay in the hospital; I was with him and we talked for 4 hours straight!!! Little did I know then that, that would be one of our last, but how precious it was. He talked about how much Jesus loved him. He told me again of how he was saved, He taught me so much. He was an amazing man. Two weeks after that conversation, I got to see him off to heaven. I will miss him forever, but I’m so thankful to God to be able to say that, I am Melvin Shepard’s Grandaugher.
I still catch myself praying for him, asking God to please take care of him and then I remember……that was exactly what He did.
I’m crying like a little baby now! Beautiful post. I came your way today looking for insight on mothering because I love to read about you and your kids but instead I found this and I am so very glad I did! Your one of my favorites too.
.-= Tinika´s last blog ..Riding In Cars With ‘GRILS’ =-.