On March 30, 2012, my beloved grandmother Dot died. Over 5 years later, I still miss her. I often say that I was blessed to enjoy the presence of both sets of grandparents-maternal and paternal-in my life. Most can’t say the same. Sadly, my sweet grandfather, Grandma Dot’s forever husband, died on September 22, 2017. His heart was so broken over the lost of his bride, as mine is, and all of us. In honor of her birthday, July 17, 1942, this is an ode To Her with Love.
From Dusk to Dawn: Day Seventeen: Happy Birthday
Birthdays are common events for all humanity. Each year a person has a pre-determined day to celebrate the day they were born. Some folks have yearly elaborate celebrations to recognize their birthday, while others give more attention to the Sweet 16, Fabulous Forty or Quintessential 75th year. My grandmother was born on the 17th day of July. I am sure her birth was a momentous occasion because she was monumental in my life and the lives of so many others. Miss Dot would enter a room and illuminate the atmosphere with her energy, smile and aura.
It was with great excitement and anticipation that I journeyed to New York City to celebrate my grandmother’s 69th birthday. The birthday-semi family reunion was held in Brooklyn’s McCarren Park. What a joy it was to see a normally divided bunch gather to honor the matriarch of the family. The park was filled with laughter, camaraderie, and an abundance of tasty foods and choice beverages. The birthday cake was decorated with a screen print image of my grandmother in younger years. But her youthfulness, style, grace and exuberance were still evident that day. Although very little gifts were exchanged, the greatest gift was gathering to honor a woman whose life gave hope to others…
God Needed An Angel
So blessed are you, to finally be alive in God’s kingdom
Oh, how blessed you are!
Although you are missed so very much
Your presence is felt by all you have touched
Yet, God needed an Angel and who better than you to serve
You are not in Heaven idling
Amongst us, you do walk
You helped us be better than ourselves,
You made me better than I was
Yet, God needed an Angel and you were called upon
May your spirit stay with us Mother, forevermore
So we can laugh, smile, sing a song or line dance the floor
Be courageous in our pain and live life as you did
Until we too are called
God needed an Angel and who better than you to serve.
© 2012 Debra Andrews
The Memorial Service: An Open Letter
April 7, 2012
I can’t believe that this day is here. I was naïve enough to believe that you would live forever, in sickness and in health. But today, here I stand, your Miss Toddy, at your memorial service, surrounded by your family and friends who will miss you terribly. I have been pretty much at a loss for words the last few days; I know that is hard to believe. You always said “you know that Miss Toddy can talk” and ask questions, soooo many questions. So I know that you would be surprised to learn that I have only one question, “Why you, why now?”
I know that I can say on behalf of the other 8 grandkids and our own children, that you will be irreplaceable. You were our crown jewel and you instilled so much in us throughout the course of our young lives and still into adulthood. The most beautiful thing is that we were able to share you with our own children, your great grandkids. I look at my son who is about 6’2 now if not taller and I become sad that you will not be able to see him grow into manhood or watch him play basketball as you encouraged him so many times to do so. Yet, I am more saddened that Lebron, Allana and Brea won’t have a chance to know you, to really know you as the great grandma that you are. But I trust their parents will tell them, because we all will constantly be reminded of something you said, something you did. For example, I remember you wanted to become a country singer and you bought an acoustic guitar. We all laughed at the idea, but you had big ideas and did big things. You were “wild” as Dejanee would say in the best way possible. You put fun in fun. We loved to be around you, who wouldn’t?
My sweet grandma, you lived a life worth living, and I can only pray that you knew that my love for you ran deep. You always made me believe that I could do anything, be anything. I am who I am because you loved me. I know that you are exceptionally proud of your grandbabies and the Lord is saying well done, my good and faithful servant because you served us and so many others with an open heart and a willing spirit. I can only pray to my Lord and Savior that I become half the woman you were. Did you think that I was on the right path? Looking at the others, I know they are. One of our last conversations was about Jason and his new apartment, amazing! And Jerome, such a wonderful father, so kind and gentle. And that Miss Precious, a mother! Unbelievable, you walked her through her pregnancy and the early stages of motherhood and she is strong and independent. Richard and James are hard workers and aspiring music artists, maybe they can team up and get your guitar and fulfill your dream of goin’ country! Natisha and Dejanee, diamonds in the rough, and they are being refined, into beautiful young women. Then Jamar, I know he thinks he doesn’t know what he will do without you, but I will remind him not to forget, the instructions you gave, the love you showed or the hope you offered.
None of us, will forget. For each breath we take will remind us of the life you lived and we will continue to live out loud in remembrance of you, our grandmother who lived a life worth living.
With all my love,
A Birthday Wish for Grandma
It’s just a matter of time
until what you have worked hard for pays off and
the seeds that you planted blossom
or the fruit of your womb bears fruit of its own
and grow roots that will endure any storm.
It’s just a matter of time
when the seas crimson with pain part tides
and the soles of your feet light across dry Promised Land
and the weight of your hands no longer burdens the peace of your mind.
It’s just a matter of time
until your clipped wings heal and regain strength and
carry you carefree with ease into the calm skies and over the mild seas.
It’s only a matter of time
Just a matter of time
So until then,
Remember you are loved.
© 2002 Latasha Drax