Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Paying Tribute

I can't even figure out how to do this or where to start.
I'm probably just going to type and not reread this, so forgive repeats, missing parts, or poor grammar. I just want to "write."

I want to pay tribute to my wonderful grandmother who passed away this weekend. But I don't think I can do her story justice. There is so much I want/need to say, and there is no way I can adequately express all of those feelings. No way I can convey how incredible she was or make sure I express her story how it deserves to be told. 

MeeMaw (as she was known to EVERYone!) was born to a depression-era family in Alabama. She and her siblings were raised in home with a woman who worked for them. One of our favorite stories is how the woman caught a turtle on the way to their house one morning and then made turtle stew for dinner (that was apparently a pretty normal occurrence). She watched her father chase her mother around with a butcher knife as she and her siblings huddled in fear, and then left in the middle of the night with nothing just to escape him. MeeMaw was brave.

She married an amazing man and had three children. As much of a spitfire spirit this girl had, her husband was her polar opposite. Calm and collected in her times of excitement. They were apparently quite the match. They settled in Houston and raised their children. Then the fateful day came when MeeMaw became a widow at the age of 40. 40!!!!! She was left with three teenaged children and nothing of her own.

MeeMaw battled back. She took jobs at the post office, as a secretary at the elementary school (where my children will attend one day!!!!!), and eventually went into the horse business- boarding and training horses- with her son, J. This woman is the definition of hard work and perseverance. She went from having it all to nothing- and worked her way up.

MeeMaw was tiny- a 5'0" little woman. But she had the respect of everyone. Those rough ol' cowboys out at the stables knew who was boss. They didn't mess with MeeMaw. She ran a tight ship and was the true matriarch. And she was SO good to those around her. She loved helping the hardworking stable hands (usually new immigrants who were working from zero to support their families).

She gave to everyone- she donated to people, to organizations. She loved to help her family when they needed it- often offering to pay for anything from a 12 pack of Diet Coke to a full meal to helping my cousin start her new business. MeeMaw was generous.

MeeMaw was an amazing grandmother. I have the fondest memories of spending the night at her house many times with my cousins. I remember how she bathed us- it was so special with her as she used an "esh" (washcloth) and let us use her special powder with the puff when we were finished. I remember one time she let us have donuts for dinner! DONUTS! I remember when we'd sleep in her bed with her, she'd let us warm her back- we would sleep back to back. MeeMaw had the most beautiful nightgowns! That was our favorite part- dressing up in her silk nightgowns, draping ourselves in her gorgeous jewelry, and putting her fur coats on! We'd prance around her house singing and dancing and having the best time! She made it to countless performances, sporting events, helped tote us to appointments, and kept us when my parents would go out of town. We loved spending time with MeeMaw.

As MeeMaw retired and aged, she busied herself with her church family, her great group of girlfriends, and her family. She loved to travel. She went all over the world with her girls- cruises to Alaska, Taiwan, Australia, and pretty much anywhere else you can imagine. She loved driving to and from New Braunfels to see my uncle and cousins and flying to Alabama to see her brother.

But our favorite part about MeeMaw were her stories. She told the best stories. Anthony and I would just sit around listening to her- she would gritch about someone or something and we would just egg her on. She had a crazy love for Cam Newton and Colt McCoy- she loved watching college football and knew more than most men. She loved getting a good deal on things and then giving those away.

Every single person who met MeeMaw loved her. I mean, they really loved her. She was hysterical- and never held back. She was spunky and funny and told it like it was. She was definitely the entertainment.

MeeMaw, I love you so much. You are a major part of some of my fondest memories over the majority of my life. Spending time with me growing up, giving me kittens from the stables to "surprise" my parents with, letting me spend the night at your house, supporting me at my theater performances and my sporting events, attending things at A&M with me, telling me not to let Anthony go, giving me a bridal brunch, being there to meet my babies, and loving my children and husband with all of your heart... I am going to miss you more than you know.

I am going to miss seeing her at church every Sunday. I will miss her phone calls throughout the week- "Courty Court! You're the only one who ever answers my phone calls! Can you tell me how to get to mall again?" I will miss the fact that she gives my children a dollar every single week at church. I will miss her random hams at holidays. I will miss her sparkly blue eyes and bright smile. I will miss her raunchy jokes. I will miss her talking about going on her "long journey" one day. I will miss every. single. thing about her.

She was a tremendous woman who built a beautiful life from nothing. If you want a woman of distinction, you look to MeeMaw. She was incredible.

January 14 she went into the hospital with breathing trouble. Diagnosed as bronchitis and her heart in a-fib, the doctors and nurses cared for her and ran lots of tests. A week or so later they found suspicious spots. A week after that they confirmed cancerous spots in her lungs and liver. Three days later they told us she had pancreatic cancer that had spread to her liver, lungs, lymph nodes, and bones. Two days after that she was placed in in-home hospice. And three days later she was gone. Just like that.

She went from a vibrant, strong lady to virtually helpless. And one month to the day of her initial hospital stay she passed away. She was surrounded by her children and her brother as she took her final breaths here on earth.

She went home to be reunited with the love of her life on Valentine's Day. A date 44 years in the making. I would have given a lot of things to have witnessed that reunion! I can only imagine that her sweet husband, J, was asking her what took her so long.

We are so thankful MeeMaw didn't have to suffer long. We are glad she went home peacefully and comfortably and surrounded by love.

But man, we are really going to miss her. She was a beautiful woman.


Casey Charles said...

This is such a sweet post. I laughed and cried. What an amazing woman! I know she will live on through you and your children.

Julie Brymer said...

What a beautiful tribute, Courtney. Thank you for sharing this incredible story of a special lady. I know you will miss her deeply.

the blogivers said...

She sounds like a pretty great lady - I'm sorry for your loss, but thankful you have so many good memories of her!

Kate said...

So sweet. I'm really sorry for your loss Courtney!

The Joiners said...

This breaks my heart :( But what a sweet tribute for someone that was clearly a sweet woman! Sounds like you were lucky to have had her in your life and I know she'd say the same about you!

Brittany Sciba said...

What an amazing tribute! It sounds like you had such a special relationship. Hold those memories close!

~Amanda~ said...

So sorry for your loss!

Jenni said...

Oh Court! So sorry for your loss. Great tribute. My Grandpa passed away in January and I haven't made it through writing about him, but he was diagnosed with lung cancer and was gone a week later. Miss him like crazy, but thankful he didn't suffer. Glad your MeeMaw didn't, either. {hugs}

Jason and Jenny said...

Made me cry, what a beautiful tribute to your grandmother. I can tell how much you love her from your words. Know I am thinking of you and praying for your entire family.

GranDeb said...

That was beautiful, of course I'm sobbing. Mee Maw loved you so much!! You were her Courty Court! And she loved that you always took the time to call her!! You were a special granddaughter...and a chip off the ol' block!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

The Torno's said...

So beautiful, Courtney! She always seemed so fun! So sorry for your loss!