My Mamaw

Friday, December 23, 2011

 Last week I lost a woman who was very precious to me, my Mamaw.  I wrote a little about her a few weeks ago after we had gone to visit her in the nursing home where she lived.  She suffered a stroke a couple weeks ago that they thought was minor at first but turned out to be not so minor.  There was bleeding in her brain and she couldn't live with the effects of the stroke.  She went to spend Christmas and eternity with my Papaw and Jesus last Friday, December 17th.

Me, Papaw, Ben (my brother) and Mamaw
I want you to do me a favor, play this song while you read this.  You'll see why in a minute:

My mamaw married my papaw a long time ago.  They didn't have any money.  They told me about their house and how you could see the chickens running underneath it.  She was embarrassed about a photo I used at my wedding because of the clothes they had on.  I thought it was beautiful because they were young and in love.  They lived in Alabama but moved to Chattanooga when my mom was 18 months old.  They still had a farm in Alabama and used to take my cousins and I there.  They had this big white bull named Rocky.  They had a bunch of cows too but those ladies never stuck around long enough for me to know their names.  We stayed in a little trailer at the farm and had to watch our step for cow patties.

At any give time in the warm months you could show up at my mamaw's house and find her shucking or picking some vegetables under a huge tree they had in their back yard.  They grew all kinds of fruits and veggies.  This included watermelon which my brother, cousins and I ate on their back porch.  The watermelon was the juicy kind that you have to wear a bib or take your shirt off to eat or at least we did as kids.  It might not be so appropriate now.  On this same porch was a swing. She would push us in the swing and sing Mr. Sandman and Swing Low Sweet Chariot.  I imagine that she new that chariot was coming to bring her home as her days became few.  She even told my mom that she was "going home".  She always talked about leaving the nursing home and going back to her house but this time she said home.

She had the softest hands I have ever felt.  I held her had last week and she squeezed mine, her skin was still as soft as ever.  My mamaw didn't have a middle name but she would have chose Virginia if she did.  Spending the night with mamaw and papaw was a treat; we always got a bath and then I would sit on the floor next to the couch where she was sitting.  She would brush my hair so gently while we watched Golden Girls.  Mom said she could do this because Mamaw was as tender headed as I am.  She also had her shows that she watched in the afternoon, law these were booooring.  I hated when her shows came on but she didn't miss them.

My mamaw and papaw took me to church when I was little.  I wouldn't go to children's church because I was too shy (I know right?) and so I went into church with them and I was so incredibly bored.  One day when I did go to children's church they were talking about Jesus. (Well they probably talked about him lots of days but this day I remember.)  It was that day at their church that I started my long journey with Jesus, you know the one where you give your heart to Him.

Mamaw told you like it was whether you wanted to hear it or not. This included when you gained weight, lost weight, gave her fear you couldn't take care of your child, dated someone who was catholic that might make you drink and many other instances.  If you ask me about it I will tell you the story of her infamous comment one Christmas.  It is not pc enough to post here.  She once said to me, "I know Steve is catholic, he doesn't try to make you drink does he?".  My reply was just "No Mamaw, he does't try." It wasn't a lie.  She had this look that she would do where she gave you an intent stare and bit her lower lip.  If you were getting this look you knew she was thinking something not so nice about you.  Generally when you met her gaze she would turn away.  She most likely told the not so nice thought.  My brother can mimic this look perfectly.

She used to tell us that there was a man in the attic to make us go to bed at night.  This scared the piss out of me, not sure it helped me fall asleep.  She would always take a nap with you in the middle of the day.  Looking back I know these naps must have sucked for her.  She told me once that I was all over the place in bed and would toss and turn trying to go to sleep.  Sounds like a certain three year old I know.

Mamaw made the most awesome cake.  I called it chocolate cake but it was really white cake with a fudge-like chocolate icing.  This stuff was to die for people.  I really want to learn how to make this cake.  I hope it is not gone forever.

Me looking longingly at my "chocolate cake".  Ben seems to be eyeing it pretty intently as well
Mamaw loved her grandchildren.  The minute you walked into her house you knew you were loved.  I am so thankful for her and her life and that I got to be her granddaughter.  I will miss her terribly.  I will also have to start working on my comments, someone has to carry on the tradition.


Leeann said...

What beautiful memories of your Mamaw. Thank you for sharing. Lots of love and prayers to you all.

Bonnie Nelson said...

This is the sweetest blog post. Made me cry and think about all the great times with mine. Both of my mom's parents died this year - Nanny in Feb, and Pa in Nov. They're the ones that were always the favorite. Know you're not supposed to say you have favorites, but as kids, you like the nice ones more and it lasts a lifetime.
See you tonight!!!

Amanda said...

That's sweet Becca. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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