Grandmothers, grandmas, Nanas, or whatever you may call your parents’ mothers, they hold a special place in their grandchildren’s hearts, at least most of them do. I lost my grandma very suddenly to a stomach aneurysm. I had seen her the week before and had informed her that I was pregnant for the third time. My mom and I had brought her some burritos from Taco Bell because she was sick of hospital food. She was able to place her hand on my stomach as if vainly trying to touch the little life inside. She would not know that it was a girl, my first girl, as I already had two little boys. When my mother and father showed up at my door, two days after her birthday, the Sunday papers in hand, I knew something terrible had happened. My Mamaw was a very special woman to me, someone who loved me unconditionally, and someone who kissed my finger when I was three and pricked my finger on the thorn of a rose. I can never forget watching her stand at the stove, cooking fried potatoes, corn bread, beans, and fried chicken in her cast iron pots and how wonderful it made me feel inside. We would sit at the kitchen table and watch TV after she picked me up from school. There was always a snack and something to drink and both were filled with love. She would put up with my cartoons as she sat there rubbing her hands with lotion. I can still smell that lotion sometimes when I’m sitting alone, almost as if she’s sitting with me. Sometimes strange things happen that make me think she’s really there watching over me and my family, watching her great grandchildren grow.
She wasn’t at my wedding, because instead of calling my parents’ house, she had called my mother’s work number and my mother was on vacation for the wedding. I told her to call me if she wanted to come, but she never did so I assumed she didn’t want to come, a mistake I regret to this day. I know she would have loved to be there and I should’ve called. The artist Pink has a song out called Glitter, and there’s a part of the lyrics that can reduce me to a blubbering mess. It is the part where she talks about someone being in a garden and holding a cup of coffee, calling her sugar. My grandmother called me sugar and sat in the garden with a cup of coffee, and it consumes me with grief that my children will not get to hear her call them sugar.
I’ve had friends lose their grandparents suddenly and I know their pain. So if you’re still lucky enough to have your grandparents in your life, thank your lucky stars because you never know how suddenly they may be gone. And if you never have known your grandparents either because they were gone before you were born or because for some reason they don’t want to be in your life, my heart cries for you, never having known how special a grandparent’s love is. I love you Mamaw. I miss you with all my heart. XOXOXO