Lately, I’ve cried all the tears. So much so, that I don’t know where they keep coming from. But even now as I write this, they keep spilling over. I’m not sad anymore, I just miss you with an ache that seems unfair. 10 years this Sunday, on Mother’s Day in fact, that you walked from life to death and into the arms of Jesus as we held your hand. Each of us taking turns not wanting you for one second to feel as if you were walking this journey alone. My heart aches because I miss you so. Some people say that we have a tendency to romanticize the past, to make it out to seem better than it really was. But that wasn’t and never will be the case when it comes to all my memories of you. I talk about you a lot. Chances are, if people know me, then they have heard of you and how can they not? So much of who I am today is attached to the woman you were and the ways you loved me into the woman I am now.
I will never forget, it was the last day of second grade. For whatever reason, you were keeping me and you told me that all girls need a beautiful new dress for the last day of school. So, you took me downtown Abbeville to Trinity Wonderland and together we picked out the most beautiful dress. It was white with big purple flowers. I wish I still had that dress or at least a picture of it, but it’s sealed in my memory forever. It didn’t matter that I was the only little girl wearing a dress that day, I felt so special as I waltzed into my classroom on the last day of school. So much of how I see my self and how I carry myself is because of your example and how you always made sure I knew just how loved and beautiful I was.
As I grew older, some of my favorite times were when you would drive up to Anderson and come pick me up from college. You’d take me out for lunch and then take me shopping. And then whenever I would come home from college on the weekends, I would stop by your house and you would fix me a glass of ice tea. We would sit out on the porch swing and you’d always ask “How’s your love life?” We would talk for a while about all my “boy troubles” and you would tell me how I didn’t need a boy. My favorite meal that you cooked was chicken and dumplings and bread budding. I still can’t bring myself to learn how to master either of those dishes. I know they would fall terribly short, because they weren’t made by your hands.
I believe the part that aches the most is thinking about all the life that has been lived since you’ve been gone. All the graduations, the birthdays, the family get togethers, the weddings, the babies. None of those go by without feeling the ache of you not being there. I remember Spring of 2007, you weren’t doing well at all. I think we all knew you were in your final days. Your one request was that we have family dinners every Sunday and so we did. All 14 grandkids, 3 son-in-laws, 1 daughter-in-law and your 4 kids. You were our rock and still are.
Nana, I wish you could see the beautiful legacy that you have left behind. Recently at Katelyn’s wedding, we took a picture of the “original 14.” Some were missing but for the most part we were all there. I couldn’t help but think about how proud you would be of all of us. Some of us are preachers, some mamas, some willing to risk their lives to save others, some students, some creatives, and the list goes on and on. We are who we are because of you. Your prayers and faithfulness have shaped us in ways that you could have never imagined while walking this earth. I’ll never forget what happened when they were preparing your obituary, it’s something that has stuck with me for all these years. The sisters said to include in it that you had 14 grandkids, no need to list all the names. And the funeral director, said, “No, she clearly stated that she wanted each name listed.” All 14 names listed out…all 14 of us. You had this ability to make us all feel so special and loved even after you were gone.
And Nana, I want you to know that I did find “the boy” and I have no doubt he’s the one you prayed for me to find all those years ago. He’s so good to me and loves me so well. I know at first glance, you wouldn’t have liked all his tattoos and he probably would have been on your “bad list” for quiet some time for having moved me away to Ohio, but I have no doubt he would have won you over. He tells me all the time he sees the impact you had on me and wishes so badly that he could have met you and been loved by you. He reminds me on the regular how beautiful I am and he tells me that I am a force to be reckoned with, which I am sure doesn’t surprise you.
This Mother’s Day will be hard but beautiful. It will be hard because of the reality that you have been gone 10 years, but it will be beautiful because of the three amazing kids who call me Mama.
You will forever and always be my hero and I’ll be your sweetheart.