I’m writing this in response to or, maybe, inspired by my daughter’s post Today I Cried. Her post was inspired by her sister’s post, Regret. These are posts about the loss of grandmothers. We all face that loss in our lives if we are lucky enough to have living grandparents as a child/young adult. These are stories of wishing things had been done differently. About our own fears and how succumbing to them result in those deep feeling of, “if I had only (fill in the blank) while he/she was still here”.

The two grandmother’s in question were both women of great love. “Grandma G” in Wyld Chyld’s post was my mother. This woman, at age 53 took me in as a child barely 3 years old. It was 50 years later before I could truly appreciate what she did. She and my daddy (who was 58 at the time) had raised their own family of three children. They didn’t have to take me. The fact they did speaks volumes’ about their capacity for love and caring.

While my mother had worked in a textile mill as a teenager, she was a housewife for her entire married life. She read and kept up with the times, but her main interest was her family. Each grandchild was a blessing to her. Her distaste at Wyld Chyld’s birth was that, to her, it sealed my fate of being with a man she considered worthless. Mama never hesitated to let him know what she thought. They were at war from our courtship until her death. Our divorce occurred years after her passing, but I’m sure she turned to her heavenly companions and smiled on that day.

The grandmother in my other daughter’s post was my mother-in-law. Nellie was a strong woman, educated, with an intense love of God and her family. She never judged, but would offer advice or her opinion when needed in a soft calm way. In all the years I was her daughter-in-law, she only raised her voice to me once. I was about 25 years old at the time, and I deserved every word she said.

As my relationship with her son deteriorated, she advised me to leave on more than one occasion. When I finally did, she refused to turn against me. Amazingly, she welcomed my second husband into the family with open arms. I had married her son at the ripe old age of 14, and over the years I think I became HER daughter-of-the-heart. I know she was truly my “other mother” as I walked through life.

When Mama ceased to know who anyone was, the trips to the nursing home became increasingly difficult for me. I, too, wanted to remember her as “Mama” instead of the tiny figure who talked about how Harvey and the mules should have come in from the fields by now as she wrung her hands in worry. She wasn’t Mama anymore, and I too, stopped going about a year before her death.

When Nellie sank into the depths of dementia it was almost more than I could bear to hear. By then I had moved away far enough to use it as an excuse not to go. Besides, my old car wasn’t up to the trip; my job took up a lot of my time, and countless other things stood in the way. I didn’t go visit, and have my share of regret as well.

My daughters spoke more eloquently than I ever can about these two women and how they are missed.

Both Grandmothers loved all their grandchildren. Both lived long, full lives. I miss them both and am reminded each day of what we’ve lost at their passing. Their wisdom could help you find an answer to any question. Mema knew how to lead you to your own answer, instead of telling you what to do. Grandma and Mema, we all ask that your loving eyes continue to watch over us as we stumble along on our journeys through life.

My grandchildren and I are in contact with Facebook, email, text messages and cell phones. I love them dearly and they love me. It is great to have so many ways to stay in touch. Even so, it is not the same as going to the kitchen and talking about life, love and the world like their parents did with their Mema. Nothing, but nothing can surpass that.

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