I am blessed…blessed (in the truest form of that word, Rev) to have two incredible grandmothers in my life, and how I wish every single day that they were both still here. What I would give to hear their voices, to hold their gnarled, arthritic, well-lived hands, to listen to their stories over Andes Mints and candied almonds, and to simply sit and share time with them. I have so many questions; I have so many thank-yous.
My Nana passed away in 1994, and she was a part of my daily routine throughout my early years in New Orleans, picking me up from elementary school and taking the “long way home” to her apartment, which consisted of an *interesting* drive in her giant, green Caprice Classic to Zack’s Frozen Yogurt shop, where we’d both order our standard: a medium cup of chocolate and vanilla swirl with M&Ms on top. We’d then linger in her apartment building on St. Charles’ Avenue, waiting for mama to pick me up after work, watching Days of our Lives while sipping Tab through a straw and eating dozens of prunes. Her lipstick residue would always remain on that straw, just like the mark she left on my heart.
My Gran Edie passed away 21 years ago today, and while she lived in Fernandina Beach, FL, what a treat it was to visit her when we could. Although she limped through life as a survivor of polio and tough circumstances, Gran Edie radiated light wherever she was through her dogged faith, colorful sense of humor, and commitment to live fully and persevere. She made me laugh, she taught me to take risks and to love the “unloved,” and she baffled me when she’d pull over on the side of the interstate, in her little white Honda, just to gasp and gawk at the wildflowers and then bring them to folks who needed a little cheer. Later, she would be responsible for planting countless beds of wildflowers along Florida roadsides: the wildflower angel. Even though cancer claimed her earthly life, she is a survivor still, and her legacy and life flourish today.
These two women and their love course through my veins; they are an essential part of me.
To honor her life on this anniversary, here’s a poem I wrote for Gran Edie four years ago…
There must be a beautiful reason why Grandparents have been given that extra adjective: GRAND. Because they just are. Let yours know that today, whomever you are, wherever they are. Even if they’re in heaven, I imagine that they are still quite open to a laugh and simple conversation…maybe even over a can of Tab and a handful of prunes.