This has been a rough year for my family. Our sweet Granny passed away, or as they're fond of saying in the South "went to be with the Lord," shortly after New Year's Day. Granny first belonged to Brenda but I adopted her quickly for my own. Pro-tip: You can never have too many grannies in your life. Especially ones like Doris.
Dying Isn't For The Faint Of Heart
Neither is watching someone do it. Besides wrestling with my own emotions and grief, I was faced with helping Brenda through hers. Thankfully she had her parents and sisters to lean on. The real difficulty was helping my children make sense of it all. I can still hear them sobbing when we told them Granny would be dying very soon. The five of us hugged each other and wailed in an eery sort of unison. Looking back I think their initial display of grief was more in response to seeing Mommy and Daddy cry than a firm understanding of what the future would hold.
The time leading up to Granny's passing is still a blur. I remember packing for the trip at break-neck speed. I remember facetiming with Granny while she was in the hospital. "I'm fine with it, Youngins!" she kept saying in between labored breaths. "I'm fine." Pause. "With it." Brenda and I held each other and I told her through my tears, "You gotta be fine with us not being fine with it, Granny!"
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to take the ones we love for granted? It's practically effortless, really. I can't count the number of times I've done it with people I love, like my own mother, for example.
Speaking of which, it's time to play a little catchup. The rest of this article is an open letter to my mother, Debi Ames, whom I don't want to take for granted.
When I asked you to come and support my family through this difficult time, you dropped everything and booked a flight immediately. We didn't have a plan. We didn't know if it was for 3 days or 3 weeks. All you knew was we needed you and that was enough.
You arrived and immediately jumped into action. Brenda, Sydney, Savannah, and I were able to attend Granny's funeral and I was able to spend time focused on just my girls, without being distracted by a 3 year old boy doing 3 year old things, because you took care of him for us.
You helped the kids and I make the 5 hour road trip back to Atlanta, while Brenda stayed with her family. Enough said.
Once we got back to the city you became a surrogate home-school mother for well over a week. You executed daily curriculums for the girls while helping potty train Elliot. You cooked and cleaned and did laundry and changed diapers and shopped for groceries and emptied the litterbox. You ferried the girls to home school academy for a day of science labs and humanities. You even made it to violin practice on time.
You took very, very good care of me and my family so that my wife could spend invaluable time with hers.
When Brenda returned, you continued to stay and help in a hundred little ways.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I'm sad for the loss of Granny for Brenda's sake, for my kid's sake, and for mine. But I'm thankful for the time we've had with you. When life got hard and we were blitzed with suck you came through like a hero. I never doubted you would, but that doesn't make it any less precious to behold.
Mom, I love you.
And thank you :-).