My Grannie was 95 years old when she passed away on Saturday evening. I am so thankful for those last few drives I made up to Kentucky to see her. The one on Halloween to show her the kids' Halloween costumes--she was tired and weak, but she got to see all the kids and give them one last hug. The one last Thursday, when we saw my mom for her birthday, and then went to the hospital to peek in on her for a bit. I think it prepared the children for what was to come. The one on Saturday morning after hearing the night before had not gone well. I was able to sit with her and hold her hand much of the day, with aunts and uncles and cousins around. The hands that have been bent with arthritis for as long as I can remember. The ones who that sewed draperies and doll clothes. That cooked dinners and fried apple pies. That rocked babies and wrote everything in pencil.
Grannie was a welcoming lady. She invited everyone to call her Grannie. Everyone was welcome in her home. She loved to sit and chat. And she loved to make your favorite things to eat. How she remembered them all, I'm not sure.
She was an encourager. If you were going to move, she'd tell you that you would do great things. If you were going to home school, she'd tell you about a great family that had done a wonderful job, and she knew you would too. If you loved a book, she'd try to read it. Every child was a delight, every visit welcome, everyone a friend.
Her life had not been easy. Her mother was ill and passed on the care of the home to her at an early age. She and Granddaddy raised their family as share croppers until the oldest children were already grown or nearly. Six children. Six mouths to feed, six people to train up, six. Her husband and two of her children left this world ahead of her.
She worked hard: caring for other people's children and sewing. After Sunday dinners, my father and my uncles would put up her work board over the dining room table on saw horses. There she would measure and cut the fabric to make the draperies she was so known for. She had sewing machines in the closest bedroom and would do her hand stitching in the living room. The number of children who made their way through her house, must be quite the number--young families still in school needing a place close to campus, grandchildren, great grandchildren, even great-great grandchildren.
I will miss my Grannie, but I'm glad she's free. Ninety-five years is a long time, and I am glad for each of those years. I'm grateful for a Bible with little slips of paper tucked between pages, for all those cousins that came from her six babies, and for sweet memories (and sweet tea).