It Was A Good Day

Today, my family said final goodbyes to my Grannie, or Mollie as her parents named her. 

A longtime family friend spoke at her funeral. He promised her that he would and he makes good on his promises. Sunday, I sat down and just wrote. I poured out my words onto my computer and decided when I hit save, that I wanted to read this at her service. 

When Mr. Bruce Goddard was talking to us about the service, I told him I wanted to speak. He thought it was a good idea so we set it in stone. My only real anxiety was knowing that he was going to introduce me AND follow up my words with his own. I mean, he’s a former undertaker motivational speaker and super duper author

But I did it. 

Here are the words I chose to honor my Grannie. For those who didn’t know her, I hope this sheds light on what an amazing woman she was.

***************************************

How do you put 83 years into words? Well, since I can’t because I didn’t know her that long, how do you even put 37 years into words? I’m not sure I can do that either.

Some things like this leave you almost speechless.

I only knew my Grannie as Grannie. Others have been blessed to know her in different ways: Daughter, Sister, Friend, Mama, Great-Grannie, Miss Mollie, Aunt Mollie, Mr. Elmer’s wife, and hosts of other variations.

I can only speak as a grandchild, but I can tell you, she was one of the best!

As kids, we spent what seems like a lot of time with Grannie and Grandaddy. We spent nights on pallets, we spent mornings on pallets that had been moved to the living room for cartoons and Scooby Doo Coffee.

We were taken on the most wonderful adventures to places like Christmas Lane and putt putt in Warner Robins. Both are close, now that we’re adults, but then, in the big red Cadillac, they seemed like they were in Colorado.

They couldn’t take us on fancy vacations, and even if they could, I’m not sure they would have been any better. We went far, far away – usually to what is now the Eisenhower exit on 475 – to a hotel with a pool for the weekend. We ate dinner out and swam all day. We played putt putt (see a trend here?) and went bowling. And then piled back in the big red Cadillac and drove ALL THE WAY back to Reynolds.

Every time Grannie worked, it was “Take your grandchild to work day.” We spent countless hours on pallets in the Flint Electric dispatch office. We knew where she kept her change for the vending machines, we spent hours running and rolling chairs up and down the halls, we slept there during her overnight shifts, we learned to end our conversations with her mobile radio call sign.

In fact, that was burned in all of our memories so much, we have joked with her for years about signing off at her funeral by saying that. She always laughed!

There are so many things, really, about Grannie that we will remember her for: scratching our heads, making us hot water bottles when our tummies hurt or just because, Big Red Gum and Certs always being available, a fridge full of Cokes and cold candy bars, fussing at Grandaddy for this, that or the other thing he did that wasn’t her way. The ice cream and hamburger money that was sure to be slipped your way whenever you visited. The birthday cards, the anniversary cards, the Halloween and Valentine and St Patricks Day and every other holiday you can imagine cards that were always in the mail on the exact day they were supposed to be.

And come on. How many of YOUR grandmothers had a Christmas room?

Grannie taught us a lot, though. Whether she meant to or not, she taught us that being born to a family that struggled didn’t mean you were destined to a life of struggle. If you work hard, love big, and live simply, you can do almost anything you want.

She also taught us that if you wink at the judge who asks if you’re “really 17” you can get married at 16. But that’s a story for another day!

Grannie lived her life her way. She was brilliant at keeping score – whether it was at gin rummy, poker, or figuring out which grandchild had been to see her this quarter. She went to bed at midnight and slept until 11 just because she could. In spite of her aches and pains over the last however many years, she still loyally went to dinners with family and friends and kept her flowers and shrubs as tidy as any professional gardener would.

Three weeks ago, Grannie had a stroke that did more damage than her body could handle. But her mind was still sharp enough to get onto me when I said I kinda liked Steve Spurrier now that he was at South Carolina. She also pulled her hand away when asked to confirm that me and Chad were her favorite grandkids. She’s no dummy.

I could go on for hours. I know my other cousins could, too. We cherish memories of her that my mom and aunt don’t know about. We cherish memories of a different Grannie than our children ever knew. We have secrets that are different than the secrets she shared with Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Ruth or Aunt Rosa.

But now I choose to think of her happy and healed, watching us all from the most gorgeous place she could be. Heaven. Sitting atop a cloud, holding hands with Grandaddy and rocking our son, her great grandchild Charlie for me until I get there. If I had to guess, I will have a hard time getting him away from her loving arms even then.

We all love you, Grannie. And until we see you again… KIA341 Clear!

 

And if you want to see the video Mr. Bruce was talking about – Jimmy Valvano’s 1993 ESPY speech – here you go.

Laugh, Think, and Cry – Click here.

 

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Comments

  1. This is a wonderful tribute, Jana. It sounds like your Grannie was an exceptional lady.

  2. I would love for someone to have these words about me.

    What a fine tribute.

  3. What a beautiful telling of her story. The memories are in the details, aren’t they? I’m so sorry for your loss, Jana, but I’m glad you got to share her with us.
    Greta recently posted..Project 365 (Week 38)My Profile

  4. What a beautiful tribute to your Grannie! I am trying to be just like her. I can only hope that my grandsons will remember me as being a “fun” GiGi.

  5. Peggy ( Mama) says:

    What a lovely part of the service which was a total celebration of her life!!

  6. "Miss" Beth says:

    What a tribute. She left quite a legacy. I regret to admit that I didn’t have the pleasure of being around your precious Grannie but I too had a Granny named Mollie. The Miss Mollie gr’mas were somthing extra special for sure. Thanks for sharing your heart, Jana. What a special gal you are (always have been!) Your precious mom & the other family members are a class act group.
    Love you one & all. Mollie Beth Ware (Rooks) Rigdon & yes, I was named for my Granny :}

  7. Beautiful. Your Grannie sounds amazing and I’m so glad you had such a wonder soul to guide you and take care of you. I can tell that parts of her are in you.
    Ewokmama recently posted..Jack’s TARDIS BedroomMy Profile

  8. Dear Jana,

    Thank you for sharing your grandmother with us. Your words convey everything there is to know about this remarkable woman, I am certain. Thinking of you.

    Love,

    Casey
    Casey recently posted..My thoughts on Malady and Mortality 2013My Profile

  9. Your words were beautiful. I’m so sorry for your loss. I can tell she was an amazing woman.
    Tracie recently posted..Seeking A Date Movie For The End Of The WorldMy Profile

  10. Love this Jana. Your grandmother and my parents are the same generation. I hate that that time is passing away. I loved your story about the hotel. I remember my parents taking up on a “vacation” to the new Howard Johnson on Lee Road. My sister was a baby so I was about three. I still remember playing in that pool. How funny. It was a few years before Disney opened but light years away. So glad that you were able to read this beautiful tribute to your grandmother. Don’t know if I could have done it.
    Jamie@SouthMainMuse recently posted..Heart of Glass. Or things blondes say.My Profile

  11. What beautiful words from a beautiful granddaughter. I’m so glad you got to read it to everyone. I am sure many smiles and nods came your way (and Grannie’s way!) as you were reading.

    I’m expecting my first Grandbaby in December and I am calling myself Granny so he will also call me Granny. Love that name.

    I can see and hear all the love you shared with your Grannie in your words. I can feel the love, actually. Big hugs and sharing your sorrow as best I can from afar

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  1. […] week, my grandmother died. She had a stroke a few weeks earlier and progressed from ICU to a hospice facility. Our family sat […]

  2. […] also know that this Christmas, my Grannie and Grandaddy are together, sitting on a Christmas sofa holding Charlie, waiting patiently for all gifts to be open before […]

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