It's been 14 years, this month, since my maternal grandmother died. I didn't realize, until I drove through her small town, how much I've been missing her & Grampa lately. I've even been dreaming about their house. It was a place that I always felt safe, as a child.
Memaw had a sister, Lovely, who died about a decade ago. When I hear people talk about mothers, I often think of her; which is interesting, since she never had children. She was so nurturing to everyone around her, though.
Looking back, I think she's as responsible for who I've become, as any other influence in my life. She taught me to be true to who I am & to be flexible & willing to change direction as life changes the circumstances.
Being a Christian minister, who had been raised with a heavily fundamentalist background, many people would likely be shocked at some of the ideas about scripture, that she & I discussed. But she was an incredible apologist & she wasn't afraid to seperate the text from various levels of superstition that surround it. She taught me to always "study to prove yourself wrong". If you go looking for a point, you'll find it, even if it means unintentionally creating it. However, if you search the original text & intention (well, as close as we have to such) & can't find anything that says your idea is wrong, only then can start to say that you may be right. It's actually quite an amazing strategy, because it frees you from the twisting & taking scripture out of context that happen so often.
Lovely taught me to live without concern for what others think. To live without shame & without allowing others to define me or my relaxation ships. To value myself & those around me, without giving credence to judgement or criticism. To live in a way that makes me happy, so long as it harms no one else.
She also set an incredible example of generosity. I don't know that I'll ever be able to give as fully & freely to others, without expecting return, as she did, but I certainly try. Perhaps it's seeing how often people took advantage & mistreated her that makes me hesitant. But, then, I remember how much she impacted the lives of so many. What she did was so worth it.
Lovely only got to meet two of my children. I know she would be amazed & delighted if she could see what my family has become. I really wish my girls could've met such a strong woman, but they will know her through my stories.
My oldest son took his first steps in her home. As I recall, she was as happy & amazed as I was. I remember, even when she was dying, she would ask to see them. In the end, her pain was difficult to manage but, when she'd hold my tiny baby (my second son) she's look truly happy &, for a few moments, seem pain free.
I will always truly treasure the moments with these people, and others, who have loved & nurtured me throughout my life. On this Mother's Day, remember all the people who have played that role in your life or the lives of your children. And don't forget to be grateful & treasure every moment you have with those who are still with you. They leave this world too quickly. Today, I will be thankful for every moment with them.