Saturday, April 22, 2017

Goodbye Memaw


I honestly don't know how to begin. How do you put into words a person, a person in the past, yet has always been there... and now isn't?  Something you've said goodbye too... yet never did? How do you explain nothing... then sink under it?

How do I explain this week...

Wednesday, I was informed that my last surviving biological Great-grandparent died; Memaw. She's been drifting for forever, and it was as if... well look back a year, and no, there's no difference, look back ten and yes there is... that type of thing.

I never knew her in her prime. She's my great grandmother after all... that didn't mean I didn't get to know her. I'm probably the youngest who actually had memories of spending time with her. And my memories are numerous since we went over there a lot.

The last ten years though, it's been a long, slow, steady decline as alshimers, and strokes slowly took her away more and more. Until the past year; she's been a mere shell.

The shell... It was just a body at that point. Sometimes she'd talk about a flower or something, but in choppy one word, two word sentences. Nothing more. It was just a shell... Memaw was gone.

So when I was informed of her death, I... to be honest, it was more a. "Oh great, this week is booked! Not this too!" reaction... dull annoyance if I felt anything at all. Honest, I don't think I did feel anything. It was simply yet another piece of data I needed to file away.

But I didn't sleep, and I've not slept since I got given the news. I can't sleep, and I don't know why. I've just... not slept. So I guess it's impacted me deeper than I thought it did.

My mind goes back to when I was young to what I can remember. Back to where my memories really kind of start. Not that it was the beginning of my life, but the beginning of what I can remember. Memaw was probably the only one of my great-grandparents I got to really get to know. The rest died years ago, either right before, or when I was young enough that it had no impact.

Memaw, she was different. She was still very much up and kicking. Wild ol' fisty thing. Full of stories, and ready to sell her cooking, or talk sense into you. The clearer memories were of her yelling down her husband after he did, or said something that she considered dumb.

I remember going to her house that always stank, and climbing up into her lap and doing puzzles with her. I remember the strawberries, and the peach pie.

I remember that swing in the back that was my favorite place. And when she finally got it fixed up for me taking me back there and giving me a good push to get me started on it.

I remember the living room with the TV up too high. And my shoebox of coloring books and crayons.

I remember the garden that I wasn't ever allowed to go in... and the fence that was rumored to be but a few trees away from church. I couldn't see it, but I was told that if I took off running, I'd end up in the church's backyard.

I remember the time Memaw traded me 5 dolls for one, ridiculous doll that cried nonstop! I HATED that doll, but she adored it.

I remember... I remember the best the memorial day that she loaded us up in her large van  and took us around to all the family graves as we put out flowers. And she'd tell us story after story after story as we walked through about each family member.

(I remember the bug on my car seat that she dealt with after we were finished probably better)

I remember itching to go to Ryans because I knew we'd run into them... and how devastated I felt when the restaurant closed down.

I remembered the noise... and the people that seemed to always be there. All of them family.... or somehow related... you were never completely sure. Sometimes it was a step-cousin, of a brother of a spouse... or just as likely the kid next door. But walking into a hoard wasn't uncommon. And all of these people would be talking at once. the noise volume... if you couldn't handle the noise, don't come visit. Also... juggling every single conversation in the room. Somehow you just did it. Somehow... you just learned to talk to nine different people on a hundred different subjects all at the same time.

I remember my boat out back where we used to go on long 'adventures' and see the world... and pray nobody actually caught us playing in it.

My last memory... fond memory was two years ago, when while singing, and coloring with her, her eyes suddenly cleared, she looked up at me and said. "You are Vannah!" And then was gone again... but to be honest, that's when I feel like I said goodbye to her.... and she to me. That last, instant of a glimpse of the old nanny who just owned everyone.

A lot of my mindset when it comes to people I got from her. Even though I know I could never be her. I'm too timid. But no belly goes hungry, and every ear deserves a story. And she'll talk you straight if you think you can walk all over her.

Memaw = childhood.

Memaw to me was yes, a person, but... she was lost to us by the time my life started going a bit sour. So to me, she was always part of 'that' time in my life. I have song I like to listen to, a line in it goes. "I mean you had it all when you were just a kid. Do you even remember who you were back then?" For the most part, no, I don't remember who I was back then. But in her eyes, in her presence... I always did. I always could go back to those wild, free, insane times when I was just a kid, and thought I understood the world... Back when I was free, and wild... life wasn't perfect, but I was innocent.

Memaw = family.

If you liked them, or hated them. You were family, they were family, so deal with it.

Memaw = Love

Memaw= Struggle

Memaw= Strength.

Memaw = Refusing to give up...

Memaw was Memaw... was... Memaw.

I could think of a hundred ways to describe her. Bring up characters in books... We did things, because that would make her happy.

Easter happened for her.

Thanksgiving happened for her.

And she never missed a birthday.

We got together because she would be upset, and of course, never hear the end of it... if we didn't.

And... she's gone.

How- how do you even describe that.

I didn't think I'd cry, but I nearly melted. I didn't want to go... And I still can't settle. I'm drop dead exhausted at this point... but numb... completely numb. It's not real. And yet... it's a reality that's been for so long I can't even remember it's beginning.

Loosing Memaw is a new form of pain. As I sat there in the funeral, it was like a wave of sorrow crashed down over me, and I sunk. The turmoil of emotions was like an ocean current tossing me around... and I couldn't get free.

I still don't know how to feel about this. And I doubt I ever will know. So much has happened this year... it's pure insanity. Pure, complete, total insanity.

And that funeral... it was Memaw's house all over again. The noise, the laughter... the nobody wants to leave because we are talking at a scream.

The past 10 years have been long, and with her passing, a door has been closed that can never be re-opened. We still have Papaw... but Papaw without Memaw is like Jelly without Peanutbutter. You CAN have it, but it's just not right.

So we pass on, and I miss her, horribly miss Memaw.. but I'm also relieved. Relieved she never has to suffer anymore. And her life at this point was beyond pitiful. She was beyond ill...

I miss her, I miss her deeply... but we will continue on.

Cowgirl Out.
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