I had a feeling Mimmi was going to die last night, and she did.
Yesterday I filled my fireplace mantle with photos of her, Dad, Grandan, Mamaw, Papaw, Aunt Jewel, and other family who've passed, remembering how Dad went around Thanksgiving too...
My mother phoned with the news this morning, and by 9am I'd put a $610 flight and car package on my credit card.
My grandmother made lovely oil and watercolor paintings and was also an incredible seamstress and quilter. I loved to sit at her supper table, eating slow-cooked southern food. Each meal was followed by pie or chocolate fudge brownies. I respected her dignified manor. She was cool.
My sister and I spent hot Atlanta, Texas afternoons up in Mimmi and Grandan's pecan tree with nutcrackers - cracking, munching, and singing the latest radio hits together. It was an old, red clay town - a major stop for the Texas & Pacific Railway until the 1970's (a decade before Walmart's parasitic siege killed a thriving downtown). I was in Atlanta watching the evening news when it was announced that Elvis Presley died (August 16, 1977). We'd all seed Elvis in concert the previous fall at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I looked over at Mimmi, sewing in her rocking chair, shaking her head. "He was young," she said. I sulked and padded down the hall to her living room to listen to the Blue Hawaii 8 track tape.
Seeing her in the nursing home a few weeks ago was gut-wrenching. She was at the end of her life. Up until her 93rd birthday, she was alert and witty, socializing with people in her assisted living community. But she'd had a couple of hospitalizations in the last year, and lost most of her vision in the last few months. Now she was slumped in a wheel chair, not recognizing me from moment to moment... And crying... It was heartbreaking to see her like this. I sat with her and held her hand and told her not to worry, that we would finish the quilts and projects she had not been able to finish before losing her sight. I told her how magical and legendary her chocolate fudge brownies were, and that she had the prettiest eyes I'd ever seen. I told her I loved her so, so, SO much.