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A Mother’s Mother Love (or, MBO forever)

September 8, 2010

My Grammy, MBO, was born September 30, 1920 and I got a call from my mother this morning, who is with Grammy in NJ, that she will probably not make it to her 90th birthday at the end of this month.  Of course, Grammy is an amazingly resilient person and may rally, but it is unlikely and we may end up having her memorial service on her birthday instead.  My mother has been with my Grammy almost continuously since grammy suffered a stroke in mid-March, though, so I trust my mother’s perception of Grammy’s condition.  She already rallied once, after everyone in the family rushed to visit her when she seemed to be on the brink back in May.  I packed LM onto a plane at 4 weeks old and took her to see the great-grandmother she will never remember meeting.  Grammy was so happy though, to see LM, and she just wanted to hold her (as best she could) and touch LM’s head.

Thinking about the visit brings tears to my eyes even now; My mother was supposed to be with me when LM was born, but grammy needed her more.  I would sit in my rocking chair during the last few days of my pregnancy thinking about how, once upon a time, my Grammy was a young mother with little babies in her arms, who then grew up to have their own babies.  Those babies then grew up to have their own babies (LM and my sisters three kids) and Grammy has seen it happen.  Now, my mother sits with Grammy to make her last days as comfortable as possibly, while she has to cope simultaneously with watching her mother die.  I look at LM in my arms, nursing happily or smiling her big gummy smile at me, and I imagine that someday (unless I am lucky enough to die quick and painless somehow) LM will have to sit and hold my hand at the moment my life ends.  And then I cry (like I am right now) but LM just smiles and waves her little toy around, because she doesn’t know sadness or loss or fear yet–right now all she knows is love and I will give her all she wants and more.

My Grammy is an interesting lady; she was born in Crockett, Texas only because he father was a traveling salesman; she lived in something like twelve states by the time she was 15.  Grammy has two brothers, an older and a younger, who are barely a year apart from her in age.  Their family traveled by motorcycle, with the three kids in a sidecar.  Can you IMAGINE a 2, 3 and 4 year old stuffed in a sidecar for long-distance travel on the pre-Interstate system roads of the 1920’s??  At age 15, her parents did a rare thing for the time, and got divorced.  Grammy settled in NJ and has been there ever since; she has been a member of her church for 74 years!  She married my Pop-pop before he went to serve in Europe in WWII, and started having her 3 babies when he got back.  Once my mom and her brothers were grown, Grammy went back to school and became a teacher, mostly for kids with behavior problems.  She also taught swimming and CPR for the Red Cross until she was 79 (I have to fact check that, but I recall when we all got together for her 80th birthday that she had very recently stopped).

Four generations of hands

I don’t know what else to say about my Grammy…she has a faith that gives her tremendous comfort and I admire that, even if I don’t feel it myself.  She will be mourned and missed and I just hope that I can continue to pass her mother’s love to my baby (babies?) who will pass it to their babies, and so on.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 8, 2010 3:33 pm

    Simply beautiful. Simply touching.

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