Oh my heart. I received the call, 16 years ago, that you were gone. Even though I know it was for the best, it doesn’t change the fact that I’m selfish and wanted you to stay. You were such a big part of me. I’ll always cherish the memories, but sometimes I just want to see your smiling face or listen to one of your stories.
I remember so many sleep overs at your house. I could’ve sworn there was an alligator loose in that house at night. The silly tricks the mind can play on you when you are a kid staring down a long, dark hallway. The days were spent either outside in the lawn furniture visiting with neighbors who came by or in Paula’s room playing with jewelry. I remember you didn’t have pierced ears, but wore clip on earrings. I loved playing your jewelry.
The yellow to red outdoor furniture was always a favorite. It seems as if the summer days weren’t as harsh back then. We could comfortably sit outside and visit or listen to the football game at the high school. If that wasn’t what we were doing, we were melting crayons over a glass, Coke bottle, or playing hopscotch or mother may I. I remember you sitting at the table with your cards dealt out in front of you playing a game of solitaire.
You taught me how to tie, how to sew on a button, and how to play Go Fish. You taught me that it was okay to follow my dreams. And you taught me not to take any crap from anyone. That one has been hard for me. I have moments when your attitude manifests in me and my mouth speaks faster than my brain knows what’s coming out. It usually happens at the best times…the most needed times.
Oh you would have loved your great grand babies and they would love you too. You were able to meet my eldest when she was just a baby, but at that time, you didn’t understand. You didn’t know us any longer. Alzheimer’s had already taken over. I apologize that that was the visit I made to see you. It was too hard to see you in that condition, but I never stopped loving you. Even to this day, I love you and miss you so much it hurts.
There have been times that I know I’ve smelled you close by. I remember the perfume you wore and your smell. I remember the many Sunday dinners we had after church. You made the best fried chicken in the South and always the best desserts. We’d come over on Easter Sundays to have another egg hunt in the yard. I remember the tiger lilies that grew wild around the house and now lilies are my favorite flower. When I see a tiger lily, I think of you.
So many memories to cherish always. None of those memories could ever take your place, but I’m so thankful I have them to keep for the rest of my life. How I wish my girls could’ve met you. Alzheimer’s is a cruel disease. Even though there is still no cure for it, we will support the efforts of those who are working to find that cure.
Rest high, Mammaw! You earned it. I love you and miss you everyday.
Your biggest fan,