Monday, June 13, 2011

Goodbye, Grandma

My grandma passed away on March 09, 2011.  She had turned 90 a few months before.  My grandma was a central figure in all of my life - a close second to only my mom.  Here passing affected me more than I realized; she meant more to me than I was aware and I was aware she meant a lot.  As a kid, I spent as much time with my grandma as I did with my mom.  My grandma was always there for me – no matter how bad I screwed up.  My grandma stood up for me even to my mom – who I believe was my grandma’s best friend, her oldest daughter.  The two of them, at least to me, seemed to have a special connection that appeared to be a bit deeper than that of my uncles and aunts – my grandma’s other children.  My grandma whipped my butt too when she knew I needed it.  My grandma patched me up more times than I can remember as I was a rough and tumble little boy; hardheaded is the first word that comes to mind.  My grandma advised me on anything I asked – even if she did not know a thing about it.  My grandma consoled me whenever she saw that I needed it – I never asked to be consoled.  My grandma stood up to me too in defense of my kids – and I backed down.  She also advised me on how I disciplined them – to make sure I was not too heavy handed.  She grew up in a time when ‘heavy handed’ was the only way to raise children but she knew things others did not know.  As I said, I backed down.  I never said a word in anger to my grandma – never.  It did not matter how angry I might have been.  I loved her so much, respected her just as much, and trusted her judgment beyond reproach.  My grandma had slowed down a bit in her twilight years.  Her memory was not what it used to be.  Her wit was not as sharp.  Her attention was not always with us.  I think all that had gone before her were calling her.  My grandfather, my great uncles, great aunts, and others.  I think they were reaching out to her letting her know that her shift in our family was coming to a close.  That is what I think when she was not with us from time to time.  One of my biggest fears during my 20 years in the Army was that I would not get back home in time to spend some time with my grandma.  I was lucky; since 2006, we have all lived together.  I was with my grandma almost every morning and every evening since then.  I was lucky; my kids, whom I had late in life, got to know their great grandma intimately.  I was lucky; my grandma and I went to see Al Green together, just the two of us, in December of 2006.  He was one of her favorites.  I was lucky; my grandma and I got to ride out to the casinos together, just the two of us, on a couple of occasions.  A few others, my mom was with us too.  We never won much if any but we had a lot of fun.  I was lucky; I got to see my grandma and she me a few days before she passed.  I was lucky; I knew my grandma.  However, my grandma really knew me – in ways I could never know her.  My grandma has gone to join the pantheons of my family and to take her rightful place among them.  Without them, without my grandma – I would not exist.  Worse, nor would my children.  So, I just wanted to say goodbye one more time to my grandma because she was – still is – that important to me.  Goodbye grandma.

I did not take this photo.  I wasn't born.  I'm not sure if my mom was born for that matter.  I think my grandma was in her early twenties - I think.
Another photo I did not take.  I was born but only about 7 years old.  This was in 1969.  Pictured are my grandfather and grandmother.  I miss them both.
And another photo I did not snap.  I believe this was taken in the late eighties or early nineties.  My grandparents again.  They are now together again.
I took this shot.  This is my grandma and one of her many great grandchildren - this one is my youngest child.  We were at the Dallas County Fair in October of 2006.
Ok, it is my camera but I did not press the shutter release.  We were heading to see Al Green at the Nokia Theater in Grand Prarie, TX (I think it's the Verizon Theater now).  This was in December of 2006.  Just me and grandma hittin' the streets!
At our Christmas party in December of 2007.  My big cousins (my mom's first cousin which make them my first cousins, once removed but I just say 'big' cousins) in the background.  We had a lot of fun.
We were in Las Vegas in September of 2008 and that's my grandma and on of my little cousins (you know what I mean) and another cousin in the foreground.
This was taken in September 2009 and my youngest and grandma were discussing matters of national importance.  It was catching the president and his cabinet locked in debate of some very important matter.
Both of my girls with grandma and her new snuggy birthday gift in December 2009.  I love this picture.  This is how I remember my grandma.

Veola McGrew – Dec 23, 1920 – Mar 09, 2011