I buried my best friend, my teacher, my buddy, my dear grandma Lillie on this day 18 years ago. 18 years- how in the hell is that possible? It doesn’t seem that so many years should have passed by when her death is still so raw, so fresh, so painful to think about.
I still remember the call. I had been feeling sick at work the entire evening and just a week earlier, I had dreamed that she died. So, when my phone rung at around 11:30 that night, I knew what it was before I heard the dreaded words.
I never thought I would lose her in the tragic manner that I did. But, throughout my life, my grandmother had made it clear that she knew that she wouldn’t live to be a very old woman. She would say ” I ain’t gonna live as long as Mama”. “Mama” was her mother and she lived to be 87. Her death was bitter, life shattering, and mind altering. It rocked our family to the core and the damage from her passing created clear rifts that are beyond repair.
Typically, I am fine on Valentine’s Day and even reminisce about my eulogizing her. I still cannot tell you how I stood up in that church and spoke so eloquently about her. All I know was that I had to do it. I didn’t feel that anyone else could do her justice.But, I am literally sitting here now with tears in my eyes, missing her.
I always sing her praises and I always will. I miss her terribly, especially when I am not having the best of days. My grandma had a way of making me feel that all was well, even when it clearly wasn’t. “My Girl” was her song to me and hearing the Temptations song sometimes stings because of the meaning that song has to me.
The days that followed her death were filled with questions, tears, anger, regret, and disbelief. I just could not deal with the fact that I would never hear her laughter again, or hear her stories, or sit in her lap. Gone were the hugs and kisses, the encouraging words, the undying support. My Grandma Lillie meant so much to me and helped nurture me for my entire life.
And although I know she is always with me, guiding me, speaking to me, watching over me, even chastising me when I fall short, the pain of the absence of her presence still hurts me to my core. May my life make her proud, bring honor to her memory, and joy to her spirit.