Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sorry for My Absence / Remembering My Granny

They were the best grandparents EVER. I love them so much.
Hey y'all. As I've said, I'm so sorry that I have been lax on posting for the last week and a half. I was really busy with some photo shoots for work, and then my grandmother passed away last Friday.

She was my last surviving grandparent. My grandfather passed away in January of 2007 and his death was very hard on her. They loved each other so much. He told her on the day he passed that he liked her just as much as he did 58 years ago when they got married. How precious is that?!

Her health started deteriorating soon after, and it drastically worsened over the last year and a half. She was in the hospital 7 times alone in 2010, with each visit lasting several weeks. And she was in the hospital at least 3-4 times this year as well. When she wasn't in the hospital, she had 2-3 doctors' appointments each week. I know she was tired of having to deal with appointments and medical procedures.

I'm handling it well. I do have my moments, but I think that's to be expected. I love my Granny and PawPaw like you wouldn't believe. We were inseparable when I was growing up. Before I was old enough to start school they felt cheated if they didn't get to keep me at least 3 days a week, haha!

I'd just like to post a few pictures of them and share the eulogy I gave in honor of her at her funeral yesterday. I did one for PawPaw, too. It was such an honor to speak for them on behalf of my family.

Granny as a young girl. Look at those ringlets!
This is my FAVORITE picture of her. She looks like a movie star!
We think this is her senior portrait for high school.
Granny & PawPaw came to visit the day my parents brought me home from the hospital.
I was in preschool when this was taken. My Mommy made my dress!
They loved to sit out in the swing in the back yard! This is how I'll always remember them. ♥
And now for my speech:

Daughter. Wife. Mother. Grandmother. Great-Grandmother. Friend…  these are just a few of the labels my Granny wore during her life, and she wore each one with pride.  Whenever I am asked to name someone I admire, she is always the first person that pops into my mind. Despite her small stature, she is without a doubt one of the strongest people I’ve ever known. However, under that strength was a strong sense of faith, grace, compassion, empathy, and positivity that I respect so dearly and try to emulate in my own life.

I spent all of my summers growing up with Granny and PawPaw. I feel like I would visit for 6 days, go home for a day to get clean clothes and see my parents and then go back for another 6 days. I have so many fond memories of spending time with them! Granny would always let me help carry PawPaw his breakfast, and she taught me how to make a bed. After she was done cleaning the house every morning, she would get herself ready for the day. Even if they were staying at home, Granny always had to have her hair and makeup done. And her nails painted. I think that’s where I got my love of nail polish. I’d watch her fix her hair and then she’d brush mine and pretend to spray it with hair spray so that I could be just like her.

She loved to play board games with me and let me play outside in the backyard. We’d go out in the evenings after watching Braves games on TV with PawPaw and she would pitch a beach ball to me, and I’d smack at it with my foam-covered bat. She was the John Smoltz to my Fred McGriff, and we made a great team. After playing ball, we would either take a walk or sit on their swing and talk until the lightning bugs came out. I loved listening to stories from her childhood and stories about PawPaw from when they were dating. Even though I didn’t realize it then, those conversations also gave me some of the best “life advice” I’ve ever gotten.

One summer afternoon, I was just about to go out to play and it started pouring rain. I was frustrated that I would have to stay inside, but Granny encouraged me to go out and play anyways because she said life is short and everyone needed to go outside and dance in the rain at least once. I thought she was kidding, but she herded me out the front door and I saw her watching me with a big smile from the kitchen window. 

I never will forget one of the last summers I went to stay with them. I was in high school and Granny and I were sitting outside, talking. I lamented over how some boy I liked didn’t return my phone call like he had promised, and Granny told me that boys would be silly, and that was just a fact of life. I still wasn’t convinced, so she told me about a boy she liked when she was in high school before she started dating PawPaw. He had asked her out on a date and she accepted. However, he stood her up. Later, he apologized and asked her for another date. She accepted again and waited at home to make sure he showed up. When he did, she waltzed right out the back door to go hang out with her girl friends instead. I was shocked. I could NOT believe my sweet little Granny had ever stood anyone up! But she did, and all those years later.. she laughed about it and said she did it to teach him a lesson about respect.

One of the most important things I’ll always remember about Granny and PawPaw was their genuine love and respect for each other. They would have done anything for the other, and they shared a wonderful life together that most people can only hope to experience.

There are so many things about Granny I’m going to miss. I can’t imagine not being able to call her and hear her hearing aid whistle when she picked up the phone, or hear her laugh and say “Oh, my stars!” when she gets tickled, or watching her nap in her chair after she fell asleep reading. I’m also going to miss having her support. No matter whether it was for work, dance or school.. she was always there to cheer me on and offer me unconditional love and support.

However, I know she is in a better place without suffering. And I know she is ecstatic to be with PawPaw again. They loved each other SO much, and his passing was very hard on her. She told us to remember her in every bird and butterfly we see, and to know that she is dancing down the aisle today with PawPaw and that’s what I comfort myself with when I have moments of grief and sadness.

I’d like to leave you with the request to take solace in the knowledge that she will always be with us in spirit, holding our hands and dancing right alongside us. Thank you.

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♥ M

3 comments:

  1. Oh Mandy, sorry for your loss. That speech was amazing, and she was just gorgeous <3 The memories you have with her are priceless xxx

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  2. Thank you so much! She really was the most even tempered, precious woman I've ever met. And yes, I wouldn't trade those for the world.

    PawPaw always told me he'd walk me down the aisle with my Daddy when I got married. He passed away before then and Granny gave me one of his $2 bills that he treasured and one of his handkerchiefs on that day so that I could have him with me in spirit. She always knew just what to do to make me feel better. :D

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  3. Aww that is really sweet :) I am glad she was so good to you! You are very lucky to have such amazing memories of you grandparents :) xx

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