My grandmother went to be with Jesus this past October 27.
Her death in many ways was expected as she had battled cancer for close to a year. But just because it was expected doesn't mean it was easy.
I hardly remember life without Mammaw. She and Pappaw moved from Arkansas to Greenville when I was small and she was just always a huge part of our lives. We've had Thanksgiving without her and tomorrow will celebrate Christmas without her, and it just doesn't quite feel right.
Mammaw was a feisty lady who always got her way. But her heart was as big as the world and she would do anything, and I mean anything, for the people she loved. She was fiercely loyal and that's one of the greatest things she taught me.
Some of my greatest memories of my time with her involve weekend sleepovers, going to Ryan's for dinner (with her best friend, Aunt Vivie), staying up late and watching the Mary Tyler Moore show, cookies for breakfast (which Mom and Dad would never allow) and Lucky Charms which, according to her, had to have a little bit of added sugar.
The only time I ever was sent to the Principal's office at school was a weekend she was watching us while Mom and Dad were away. I remember being terrified to tell her (and I had to tell her because I had to bring in a signed note on Monday morning). When I finally worked up the courage her response was something along the lines of "I got in trouble at school all the time when I was young" and quickly followed that with "Let's just not tell your Mom and Dad."
Another sweet memory was Christmas mornings as a kid. She grumbled and complained every single year, and yet every single year I would roll out of bed and find her sitting in our living room waiting for us to get up - before 6 a.m.!
Mammaw also taught me generosity. She made sure we were never in need, always asking if we needed money and usually giving some even if we said no. She purchased my wedding dress for me - as well as my sister's and, back in the day, my mom's. It was her thing to do.
She loved my husband (sometimes i think more than she loved me!). He earned the name "Keeper" because, as she said, he was one. The night we got engaged I think was the happiest I had ever seen her.
In her last few months on earth, I got to see her almost every day. She was in good spirits to the end, never complaining of pain (though sometimes just being feisty Mammaw). My Dad would often ask her what she did all day (she insisted on staying in her home even though she could not get out of bed). She told him she would lay in bed and think about Christ and eternity.
For a long time, even before she became ill, when you asked her how she was she always responded with, "Well, I was better but I got over it."
Mammaw - I know you've never been better - in Heaven keeping tabs on Pappaw and Katie. I miss you here, but I'm so thankful for the time we had together.