The words “Grandmama”, “Grandmother”, “Granny”, and “Nana” evoke different memories and feelings to different people. To some, their female grandparent is not much more than an occasional call, maybe a gift or card at holidays and birthdays. To others, it is that woman in the nursing home with the “old people smell” who doesn’t even know your name. Some see their Grandmother a little more frequently, maybe even know details of her childhood, her life history, and her current interests. Others might even have been raised in the same home as their Grandmother.
For me, hearing the word “Grandmama” evokes nothing but the most pleasant of memories. I was fortunate to be very close to my Grandmama. When other little children went off to preschool, I went to my Grandmama’s. From the time my mom went back to work, I stayed at my Grandmama’s while she was teaching at a nearby school. Every day was an adventure with wonderful things just waiting to be discovered. These things weren’t just things I did or saw, but things I heard and learned from her. She taught me about life, love, family, hard work, and religion. She shared her memories and her experiences. Listening to her reminisce about her childhood and my mom’s childhood was like stepping into a history book. She made her memories come alive. Once I was old enough to go to school, I still returned each afternoon to Grandmama’s house either with my mom or on bus number eight for snack and play time. Together with my sisters and my cousins, we had a grand time.
March 10th would have been my Grandmama’s birthday. She passed away when I was 23. I regret that I could not have had more time with her and I miss her still, but I know that the time I had with her was quality time that most people do not get to experience with their grandparents. I hope to never forget my times with her.
When my dad called to say that my Grandmama was not doing well, my sister, Julie, and I immediately decided to go to Bath the next day to see her. We had a good two day visit. I told her about babysitting my nephews and she told me that I would have one of my own someday. When we went to leave, she tried to tell Julie something. It took her a while and she was pretty frustrated (at one point, she said, “I can’t say it” pretty clearly) but we finally heard her say, “Don’t pass big trucks.” Great advice. I still get scared when I have to pass big trucks.
When we told her we had to go, she told me she wished we did not have to go but to drive safely. It turned out that we did not leave that night and had another day to spend with her. I got to tell her I loved her over and over. For the first time in about a year, I had no doubt in my mind that she knew who I was. When I said goodbye for the last time, I hugged her tight, gave her a kiss and fought back tears as she told me she loved me. Before I got to the car, I had to go back in for one last hug and kiss – just like I did when I was little. I left with a peace I had not felt since she got sick. Without a doubt, I knew that God had given her back to us so that we could say goodbye. I will forever remember this wonderful gift that He gave to us, and especially me.