This post is written by my daughter, Lisa. It is a very special, very touching account of her last memories with her grandmother, Memom.
An afternoon with My Memom
My Grandmother, “Memom” and I spent a-lot of time together as I was growing up. For awhile she lived just outside of the town I lived in and would come in to work. From the time I was six up through my college years she and my Grandad would sell snow cones on a truck they owned to kids throughout the city. I was proud to be the granddaughter of people that owned a snow cone truck and got as many snow cones as I wanted. (Consequently, I now have no appetite for them at all, perhaps because I had so many and perhaps because none taste as good as theirs) Memom also worked at a bakery, in fact, I can never remember a time in which she was NOT working. This fact really hit me as I saw her stop working. Memom went from an unstoppable woman to one sitting quietly in a wheelchair in a nursing home. The things that once gave her joy she either did not want to do or was not able to do.
As I went through my childhood, my family moved away from the town my grandparents were near, and I saw them less. I saw her less during my adolescence, but when I chose to return to the town of my elementary years for college, I began seeing her much more. I would meet Grandad at the bakery and go to the back to hug Memom. I even began attending the church that I attended as a toddler, the one they had been members of for decades. I loved that time because I feel like I got to know my grandparents as an adult. I gained a new respect for them, their passions, and their relationship with God.
After college and after having gotten married, I moved to “the big city”, leaving my home town and Memom and Grandad as well. My husband and I would see them for holidays and when making a rare trip back. Annually, my husband would return to teach at a camp our university sponsored every summer. The first time he went back, he got to see my grandparents and visit with them. The second visit coincided with my Granddad’s funeral. So, when I accompanied him back to our University the third year, it was almost exactly the anniversary of my grandad’s passing away. This is where I found myself, one June afternoon, in a chair next to my Memom.
As my husband was teaching over lunch, I went to a local burger joint and grabbed two identical hamburgers, fries, and a couple of drinks. I took them over to the nursing home and sat down to visit with my Memom. We laughed and talked. She ate her entire hamburger (and rather proudly I might add) and half of her fries. We settled in to talk about life. Though I do not remember every bit of our conversation, it probably consisted of giving her news about life with my husband, talking about church and friends and family. She laughed and sighed as her room mate came in, asking the same question over and over again. “She does that every day,” Memom sighed. Then I saw her glancing over at the picture of Grandad. “It’s been a year hasn’t it,” she said quietly. “Yea,” I said. “I miss him.” I saw a couple of tears in her eyes and heard a little sniff, but she smiled and I leaned over to hug her. “I love you, Memom” I said. She said, “I love you too.” The remainder of the visit was a return to chit chat.
A few months later as my husband and I were driving through for Thanksgiving, we stopped to visit Memom. She looked down, was tired, and responded very little. After she passed away a few months later, I thanked God for those couple of hours in June I got to spend with my grandmother as I remember her. I realize that the goodbye that I said, stepping out of her room that day was truly a goodbye.