Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Joyful Goodbye

A couple posts ago I mentioned that my Grandma was very sick and that we knew she was "dying". May 1st she left behind her pain, suffering and hurts for an eternity of happiness that I can only imagine. It was and still is a sad and difficult time for those of us "left behind" but it's also a joyous time. As I said on my facebook page, I know that she's jitterbugging with my granddaddy once again. She's with her two greatest loves - her Lord and her Chuck (Granddaddy).
Her remains will be interred at Arlington National Cemetary alongside my grandfather's at a later date, but last weekend we had her memorial service in Atlanta. It's how I hope my service will be one day. Before it started I asked my cousin, "Is it just me or does this not seem, I don't know, sad or real or something?" Her response..."I know, it feels more like a reunion." And I know that's what my grandmother would have wanted. During the service the great-grandchildren were dancing barefoot to the music in the chapel and there were more tears of laughter than sorrow.

After the service most of the folks went back to my parents' house where we all ate and laughed and reminisced some more. We all remembered our favorite "Betty-isms" and couldn't help but smile. Like the way she referred to everyone as "Shug" and when she would say "I don't mean no harm." and "Well...that's a deep subject" (get it, a well...deep...ok). And how she always dressed up as the witch for the awesome Halloween parties they hosted at their house - she would use Spanish Moss for her hair, it was fantastic. And the time she spilled hot coffee on her lap while she and mama were driving down the interstate...that's one story that you've got to hear!

Several (ten or more) years back mama was driving her to a dentist appointment in Savannah. They decided to stop and get lunch at McDonalds (those who knew Grandma know about her love affair with MckyD's). She got her usual salad and hot coffee and they were on their way. When they got on the interstate mama apparently made a sudden lane change and the coffee went all over Grandma's lap. She immediately began yelling "Oh help me, Oh help me! My cooter's on fire, my cooter's on fire!" (yes, she referred to "those parts" as her cooter) Not knowing how else to sooth the pain she began stripping out of her pants and underpants - now don't forget that they're driving down the interstate here and by this time the truckers were all honking at them - and when she couldn't find anything else to cool the fire, she grabbed that McDonald's salad and slapped the lettuce right there on herself!

She was always a resourceful lady, and we always liked to tease her about that coffee and salad!

I have to admit that my Grandma and I didn't always have the best relationship. While I was growing up she and I had what you might call a love/hate relationship. We butted heads more often than not and there were even times that it got just down right ugly. Don't get me wrong, we never doubted our love for each other, but for a long time we didn't really like each other. I'm so glad that in the last few years God allowed us to come to a place where we truly liked each other as well. And I'm glad that my memories of her can focus on those good, funny and loving times now.

We're all going to miss her like crazy, but it really was a joyous goodbye.

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