A Year Ago Today: Ode to Memaw’s Memory

I haven’t had much to say lately. Nothing about books or publishing or whatever else I ramble on about occasionally in this blog. Life has been very busy and this space I’ve claimed for myself in the grand vastness of the internet has merely been an afterthought. However, today I feel like I have a lot to say, but not about my usual topics. You see, today marks exactly one year since my Memaw passed on from this earth. Some days it feels like an eternity since she’s been gone and other days it feels like it’s been mere hours. Even though it’s been a year, I don’t think I’ve completely worked through my grief. Grief really doesn’t have a timeline, anyway. For example, my grandfather Alex (husband to my Memaw) has been gone eight years and I’m still working through that loss, too. In fact, I’ll probably always be working through the grief of losing them in some way until it’s my turn to go. It may get easier to process over time, but you never really stop missing someone, and that’s okay. 

I think our memories are what helps keep people alive in our hearts. Thinking of the good times acts as a sort of balm to cool the ache. Lately I’ve found myself wishing it was the summer of 1997 and I was seven years old again, or wishing for any summer of my youth, really. I can picture all of those hot days spent at my grandparents’ home with my cousins playing hide-and-go-seek and eating freshly cut watermelon on their back porch. I can picture the many sleepovers filled with laughter and the promise of Memaw’s famous Mickey Mouse pancakes and bacon in the morning. I can taste the strawberry milk and the strawberry ice cream she was always certain to have. I can hear her lovingly singing “You Are My Sunshine” to us in the car as we accompanied her on errands. I can feel the love of a simpler time and I’d like to revisit that for just one more day. If only time didn’t feel so far away.

I was lucky to grow up just two streets down from my grandparents. I spent a lot of time in their home growing up. From eating lunch with my Memaw every day throughout junior high to helping complete office work for them in high school to perfect Christmases filled with warmth, they were always a constant in my life. I’d even call them every time a scary thunderstorm popped up because their judgment ruled over all. It’s funny the little things we remember that, at the time, meant so much. I don’t think I could have asked for two better people to love me. It’s a love I’ll always cherish and remember, that you can be sure of.

Speaking of my Memaw specifically, I can tell you she was definitely one-of-a-kind. She had the biggest heart and the most beautiful soul. She was a gorgeous woman and age couldn’t hide that. Yes, my Memaw was a gem and I’m pretty sure everyone knew that. I really hate that Parkinson’s Disease had to come around and ruin everything. I hate that it was the thing that eventually took her from us. I hate that there is no cure, even with all of the medical advances out there. It robbed my family of the glue that kept it together. It robbed me of part of my heart. However, it can’t rob any of us of her memory, so I’m choosing to hold on to that. I won’t let the sad times overpower the bad. I won’t let that taint what I remember of her: caring, strong, beautiful, funny, intelligent, talented, loving. That’s what will remain to ease my heavy heart on the cloudier days.

I don’t know if I really reached a point here, but that really doesn’t matter. I just wanted to talk about my Memaw because my heart is feeling very heavy today. I wanted to remind the world that someone so special existed and that she’s still alive within me. One day I’d like to write something more meaningful about her and my grandfather. They have such a special story and I think it’s something that the world needs. Days are heavy and nights are long, but there’s still love to be cherished and remember. There’s still hope the brighten up all those dull patches that sometimes grow too big. That’s what I’ll be reminding myself forever and today.

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