Monday, February 20, 2012

I'll Always Love You

Typically I try not to get too personal on my blog. Although today I thought I should pay a special tribute to my Grandmother who passed away 10 years ago today. This past Saturday as I watched the Whitney Houston home going service, my thoughts immediately went to my Grandmother when Kevin Costner spoke of his memories growing up in a Baptist church.

When I was young, I spent every free moment that I had with my Grandmother. My parents and I lived with her when I was younger, and I believe that is where our special bond began. Or it could have been that I was the first grandchild. A big part of the time we spent together was going to church on Sunday morning. I remember my Grandmother always being dressed in her finest, from her church hat to her dress suit, purse, and heels. We always sat in the same place every Sunday. And somehow every Sunday I managed to get a butterscotch candy that she carried in her purse.

Probably my most favorite memory is having family dinner after church at her house on Sundays. My family would be there, my aunt, my cousin, and my Grandmother's boyfriend, Bill. My Grandfather was killed in a car accident a year or so before I was born, and I never knew him. Bill was a part of my life as early as I can remember. Although he and my Grandmother never married, he was like a Grandfather to me until the day he died a year and a half after my Grandmother died.

My Grandmother was raised in the South and somehow migrated to the North. (I regret that I never asked her more about her younger days or about my Grandfather). Being that she was born in 1919, she experienced segregation first hand. I can still remember watching the Miss America pageant with her when Vanessa Williams was crowned the first African American Miss America. My Grandmother was so proud and happy. When Barack Obama was elected as the first African American president, all I could think about was how proud my Grandmother would have been, and that I wish she would have lived to seen that moment.

My Grandmother was a kind, loving and caring woman who was respected by so many. To me, she was my Grandma and someone that I loved more than anything. She was taken from me so unexpectedly during a brief hospitalization. A few nights before she died, I received a call from my father that she had been admitted to the hospital, yet he didn't think that I needed to drive the 4 hours home. I tried to call her that night at the hospital but I couldn't reach her. He encouraged me to keep trying, and I finally did speak to her. She sounded like herself and had that laugh that I will always remember. Little did I know it would be the last time I would hear her voice. Two nights later I received a call that I would need to travel home as soon as possible. My Grandma was on life support and never did regain consciousness. Her death occurred two days before what would have been her next birthday and a big surprise that we had planned for her.

There are very few days that I don't think about my Grandma. When every good thing happens in my life, I want to call her. I know that she still watches over me and that she is with me every step of the way. I carry her and her memories with me in my heart. And I will always love her.


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