Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A Piece for My Grandmother

Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t updated my site recently. Well, unfortunately, I’ve been dealing with the loss of my Grandmother who passed away on December 27, 2004.

My Grandmother had been very ill for the past few years; however, it wasn’t until the last few months or so that things really took a turn for the worst. She ultimately passed away in her sleep from complications due to colon cancer; and, although I miss her deeply, I am grateful to God that I was able to literally be by her side for the last few weeks of her life. It is a time that I will actually treasure for the rest of my life.

It’s a funny thing how our Creator works. My Grandmother was in home hospice care the last week she was alive. She hung on to life much longer then what her doctors had expected. In fact, the night she passed away, do you know that almost all of her family was at her side?

Now you may be wondering why that’s an important fact. Well, you have to understand, my Grandmother had 12 children! That’s right, 12 kids! She had 26 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren! With the exception of just one of her own children, all of her kids and a considerable number of her grandkids and great-grandkids were all with her the night she passed. So, now you may also be wondering how that happened? How was it that some 40-plus people were with her the moment she left?

Well, it just so happened that the very day my Grandmother passed away, was the very day that the Hospice Medical Staff had arranged to meet with the family to discuss the care my Grandmother was receiving. Everyone, and I mean everyone, made sure to be at my Grandmother’s home in order to ask questions and receive answers from the Hospice staff. So, with all of her family in her home (her sisters, husband, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren) God and my Grandmother decided that that was as good a time as any for her to take her leave.

We each got to say our “goodbyes” and then my Grandmother, comfortably and peacefully, went to sleep.

It’s the weirdest thing really about my Grandmother. The night she left was incredibly sad and heart wrenching. But, ever since then, I have been able to cope very well with her passing. She had said just last month that when she passed away, she didn’t want a bunch of weeping and crying. She said she didn’t want us to be sad, but to be joyful for her and to celebrate her life and legacy. So, that’s what we all did.

At her memorial service we celebrated my Grandmother’s 83 years of life. She was a strong woman. Obviously, I mean she had 12 kids! All single births (no twins). And all of those kids had big heads too! It amazes me that she was able to push them out.

She was a dedicated sister. At the age of 14, despite my Grandmother being an excellent student, she dropped out of school to raise her sisters due to the sudden death of her mother. When her last sister was old enough to attend school, my Grandmother went back to high school and received stellar grades and her high school diploma.

She was a loving wife. She and my Grandfather were married for 63 years! How she was able to stick with my Grandfather and all his World War II stories for that long, I do not know. But, she was able to do it.

She was a faithful servant to her God. She instilled in her children a faith and love for the God who blessed us with life. It is her faith and righteousness that provided me with an example of how I should live my life.

And, finally, my Grandmother was also the most sarcastic and witty person I ever met. Now, she wasn’t like me. She wouldn’t throw sarcasm in your face. She’d just make little strange remarks that you wouldn't be expecting. Like the time, just a couple of days before she passed, when she made sure to chastise her children for taking a break of 10 minutes and leaving her in the room by herself (they had been with her around the clock for weeks by then).

Child (in the kitchen resting): “Boy, I am so drained right now.”

Other Kids: “Yea, me too.”

Grandmother (in her room): “Aaaagh! Someone come!”

Children (running to her room): “Ma what is it? What is it ma?”

Grandmother: “Come…”

Children: “Ma, we’re here. What is it?”

Grandmother: “Well…YOU CAN’T LEAVE ME HERE BY MYSELF LIKE THIS!! DON’T YOU EVER DO THAT AGAIN!!”

Grandkids: “Ooooh, Grandma busted ya’ll.”

Although my Grandmother may have been quite serious about not wanting to be alone, I actually think she was just messin’ with her kids. She was real good at laying the guilt on. Plus, I saw that smile on her face after she made her kids cry.

Anyways, my Grandmother was a strong, caring, and selfless person. She was sarcastic and funny and I will miss her deeply. But, in honor of my Grandmother’s sense of humor, I’d like to end this piece by telling a funny story that happened at my Grandmother’s funeral. She’d want us all to laugh at this, so here it is…

Okay, ya’ll know that meal you have after a funeral? The fancy name for that meal is called a repast, and of course, we had one after my Grandmother’s services.

Now, the repast was the responsibility of my Grandmother’s sons. You see, the daughters outnumbered the sons (7 girls and 5 boys); and, because they had the numbers the daughters always made the decisions and plans in the family. This includes taking over all of the details of my Grandmother’s memorial services. Well, the guys got kinda upset during the planning phase of all this and demanded that they be given some responsibility too. Now, the daughters didn’t think this was a good idea,

Daughters: “This isn’t a good idea.”

but they didn’t want the boys to feel like they had no say in their own mother’s funeral. So, they let the boys handle the repast. Keep in mind, by that time, the daughters had really done all of the work. They had hired the caterer, paid for the banquet hall, and bought the decorations. All the guys had to do was two things: pick someone to bless the food and make sure that the family was SERVED before the other guests.

Sigh.

Well, this is what happened…

So, we get to the banquet hall. The decorations are up, the family’s tables are reserved, and everything looks okay. But, oh how quickly things fall apart.

For some reason, my uncles thought it would be good to get some guy named Doobie, who by the way had just got out of prison, to say the prayer.

Doobie [yelling in the nice banquet hall]: “Uh, excuse me! EXCUSE ME!! Alright, ya’ll the family would like to thank everyone for coming out on this most joyous occasion…

Reese and Other Family Members: “Joyous?” “What the hell…”

Doobie [still yelling]: “Now if everyone could bow their heads and let’s pray.”

So Doobie does the prayer and it’s alright, but here comes the crazy part.

Doobie [of course, he’s yelling]: “Amen. Alright, now we got all this great food here. So everyone, LET’S EAT!!”

[Tires Coming to a Screeching Halt]
Now, right now you’re probably thinking to yourself that this isn’t right. Well, you would be correct sir. This isn’t right. The family was supposed to be served first!! But, this didn’t happen. Instead, Doobie commanded 300 people to rush to the buffet line. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been around 300 Black people when there was a command to eat; but, I have. And once you say “Let’s Eat” you can’t take it back.

Reese [watching in horror as 300 people make a mad rush to get food]: “What the heck!? We’re supposed to eat first!”

CC [Reese’s Sister]: “Shoot! C’mon let’s go before it’s all gone.”

Immediately, all of the grandkids start rushing to get food too. Seriously, it was like a straight up fight. We were throwing elbows and cutting in front of people. We were the family for crying out loud!

Meanwhile, the uncles were yelling to everyone, “Wait! Family first! Family first!” And the daughters were still in their seats wondering if they were going to be served.

My Mom: “Aren’t we supposed to be served? Where’s our food?”

My Aunt B: “We are supposed to be served. I’m not getting up until I’m served!”

Reese [fighting for a chicken wing from a 4 year old]: “Mom, Aunt B… ughh, give me my wing you little brat! You better c’mon before there’s nothing left! Every man for himself!!”

CC [to our dad]: “Get outta my way! Move!!”

My Aunt B: “But, we’re supposed to be served!”

My Mom [getting up and running]: “Girl you better come on! We ain’t getting served!”

Suddenly, all the daughters realize they have to be their own advocates and they too begin the dash for food.

Aunt B [elbowing other guests]: “Move! We’re the family for Christ’s sake!!”

I tell you I’ve never seen anything like it before in my life. Hundreds of people, with no manners, fighting over stuffed ham. People working in teams to maximize their food intake.

Random Person: “Yo, Bob. You get the cake; I’ll get the potato salad!”

It was shameful.

But, it was also very funny.

In case you’re wondering, the family did get to eat before most people on account of the fact that we cut in front of everyone. And, the food was really, really, good.

So, we were able to end my Grandmother’s memorial service on a hilarious note. And, I’m pretty sure, it’s just the way she would have wanted it.


Grandmother Amanda
1921-2004






© Copyright 2005. All Rights Reserved

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss but just as you seem to do with all your posts, you've conveyed a level of warmth, humor, and love that should be trademarked. Your grandmother was no doubt a fabulous woman and I feel touched that you'd share her with us.

All the best,

Trina

10:53 AM  
Blogger Reese The Law Girl said...

Trina:

Thanx so much for your kind words and thoughts. They are greatly appreciated. :)

12:01 AM  

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