Thursday, January 19, 2012

Memories


"A life-long blessing for children is to fill them with warm memories of times together. Happy memories become treasures in the heart to pull out on the tough days of adulthood."
--Charlotte Davis Kasl

In the days since Grandmama died, I've felt like I was under water; things were dark and blurry, I was disoriented and felt as if I couldn't breathe.

I think my head is breaking the surface now. At least, I feel like there is light somewhere, even if not shining directly on me.

The emptiness I have in my heart is giant. I think of her constantly. But it's hard to be too sad when I know she is ecstatic. She has come face to face with her Lord, and she was welcomed by her husband, her parents and six brothers and sisters. Oh, what a celebration that must have been!

I am just so grateful for the many years I had with Grandmama, for the relationship we had and for the memories she gave me.

Below are my comments from her funeral yesterday. If you were there, you were probably wondering what I said, since I'm sure I was unintelligible though the tears. Sorry about that. Turns out, speaking at a funeral for the most awesome person in the world is difficult. Who knew?!

***

All of you know Grace Simpson for her gentleness and quiet grace. But not all of you had the benefit of knowing the Grace Simpson who is our Grandma. And that is a person that everyone should have the pleasure of knowing.

So I’d like to share a few things on behalf of her 4 grandchildren about our grandmother.

·         Grandma made the best biscuits, boiled custard, butter mints, fried pies, jim cakes, fruitcakes, teacakes . . . she clearly had a thing for cakes.

·         In her younger days, she could wrap us tight in a thick towel and lift us out of the bathtub with no effort at all.

·         She would sit under the big tree in the backyard for hours and make shucking corn or shelling peas look fun . . . and I assure you, it’s not.

·         She let all of us grandkids do or eat whatever we wanted. We could run through the clean sheets hanging on the clothesline, dig up her yard, climb her trees and eat a gallon of ice cream . . . as long as we were careful and didn’t make ourselves sick.

·         She never, ever said an unkind word about anyone. And I don’t remember her ever raising her voice . . . not even once . . . not even when we totally deserved it.

·         She loved to watch the Gamecocks and the Atlanta Braves on television.

·         She was not opposed to hearing the occasional joke of questionable taste . . . but she’d never dream of telling one.

·         She tirelessly cared for Granddaddy when he was sick, and through her actions, she taught us to love fiercely. We learned the meaning of unconditional love through Grandma and Granddaddy. Wedding vows today say that couples will love each other until they “are separated by death.” But Grandma didn’t do that. She loved Granddaddy until they were reunited by death. What I wouldn’t give to have seen that reunion Monday.

·         Grandma cherished her great-grandchildren. I am so thankful that my children didn’t get to just meet her. They had an opportunity to make biscuits beside her, play pat-a-cake with her and climb up in her lap for a cuddle.

·         She was kind of magical. Grandma could turn batter into cake, yarn into hand towels, tears into smiles . . . and somewhere in the midst of it all, she turned cousins into siblings. We grew up knowing that we were the center of her world. What we didn’t realize is that over time, she became the center of ours. We all kind of rotate around her. The loss now that she is gone is huge, but the legacy she leaves behind and the lessons she taught will bind us together forever.


·         She had an unmatched ability to make each of us . . . and probably each of you . . . feel like we  were her favorite. And we all were.


I’ll never be just like Grandmama. But if I can be to others a fraction of the blessing she has been to me, I will consider my life well lived.


On behalf of her family, I thank you for being part of her life.


We’re all better people for knowing her.
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