This weekend was a rather bittersweet one. We got to spend two whole days with my extended family in South GA (read: the land of gnats, sweet tea, and peanuts). It was 85 degrees there, while up on our mountain it was probably more like 68. But, we adjusted to that. My hair, however, did not. But, I digress. Back to the somewhat bitter part of this sweet weekend of aunts and uncles and cousins and sweet tea. I think this may warrant a new paragraph.
My eighty-five year old grandma Margie was placed in ICU on Thursday night and around 2:30am we almost lost her. The next day, the doctor on duty proclaimed her a "miracle" and commented that there must have been some serious praying going on (yep). As my parents were driving through the night to get there in time to say what they thought would be goodbye, I was having to bide my time up here on this mountain and found myself remembering all kinds of things about my grandma that I hadn't thought about in a while. The heavy weight of believing that I would probably never hear her gloriously southern voice again made my throat tight and my nose stuffy. I don't cry much, but Thursday night was a tearful one.
So, in honor of Marge, as my uncle affectionately calls her, I thought I'd mention a few things about my grandma that I find endearing and wonderful. Here goes:
My grandma is a whopping 4'11 and shrinking. But, what she doesn't have in height, she makes up for in being feisty. She's a serious (and I mean serious) Braves fan. She knows what Chipper Jones is having for breakfast on his off days. Grandma has lived in the same part of GA for 85 years, but she's been to every state in the Union (including the ones that aren't contiguous). She's also been to Europe. I find it incredible that a woman who didn't have indoor plumbing at different times in her life has seen more of the country/world than most of us who've moved 23 times.
My grandma has the best southern accent you've ever heard. She also has endearing ways of saying certain words, for instance, nauseating becomes noiseating. Grandma makes the sweetest tea you've ever tasted and on its second day in the fridge, you can use it for syrup on your pancakes. Yum. She can also cook up a "mess" of salmon (she'll pronounce the "l") patties, mashed potatoes, collard greens, hoecake, creamed corn, turkey dressing and giblet gravy. You'll have to loosen your belt after that one.
Grandma loves bacon and Hardee's and her "girls" who she goes to water aerobics with. If you've spent any time with her, you know that she's usually got a diet Dr. Pepper and a bag of Cheetos in her purse. She's extra-extraverted and loves being the center of attention, which works out well because she's got a quick sense of humor.
She sends a card at every birthday, the kind of card that has about four pages of very poetic, very Helen Steiner Rice, sentiments. But, they always feel personal and you know that she stood in the card section of Rite-Aid for about 20 minutes picking out the perfect card for you.
My grandma loves Jesus. She's at church every time the doors are open. She sings alto in the choir and loves her Pastor Dan. On Thursday night, when they thought she was almost gone, my aunts and uncles and my parents (who made it there in the middle of the night) all stood around her bed and sang "Amazing Grace." She sang too with the little bit of voice she had left and a tear running down her cheek. I'm sure she was starting to wonder what it was going to be like to see Jesus and maybe give my sweet grandaddy a long-awaited hug.
My grandma is my last grandparent. I'm thankful that at 33 I still have one of those. I could hardly hold it together last Saturday morning when I went to visit her at the hospital and realized an answer to prayer was happening when she gave me a hug and told me she loved me. I hadn't thought I'd hear that voice again on this earth. It was so incredibly good to hear it again.
She's still in the hospital, but she's getting more and more of her spirit (i.e. feisty) back. They're hoping she'll get to go home tomorrow. I'm wishing I was going to be there to see her walk back into that familiar house and maybe turn on the Braves game and settle into her chair with a new crossword puzzle.
I won't ever forget this past weekend and what it felt like to see and hear her again when I thought I'd lost her. I'm more than grateful for a little more time with my Braves-loving Margie.