Tennyson said, ” ’tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” I think of these words when I think of Mama (pronounced “mum-maw”). She was Southern “through and through” with a heart as big as the deep South in which she was born and raised.
She comes to mind when I’m asked who I most admire too. I ponder how my appreciation for her as grown over the years and how much I miss being in her presence. She was always there for all of us, longing to listen and to express tangible care.
I realize now that I didn’t know then just how much she was shaping me, how much long-term impact the way she lived her life would have on mine. She wasn’t perfect, but she was almost a saint.
“Mum-maw,” my maternal grandmother, passed away in 2012, and we watched her leave this world as well as she had lived in it. Her life and her death will forever be etched in my mind.
She was born on March 2nd and I guess in some ways I still celebrate her birthday. She loved the Scripture “Whatever you do in word or deed, do everything in the name of Jesus” and I remember her saying, “Now I’m not your momma, but I’m a good substitute while she’s away.”
So now I think of her when I’m in my kitchen, her favorite place, flipping through cookbooks she made notes in, organizing the fridge (“it’s like a puzzle,” she always said), and cleaning up after the crowds have left. Tears come as I think of her, the hours spent in prayer for me, how often I took her for granted.
I look at her ring, the one I now wear, remembering my Papa’s (“Paw-paw’s”) pride in telling its’ story, their story, and her words on bequeathing it to me. I know she must have interceded for me when she got to heaven, saying something like, “ok Jesus, send her a man now, she’s got the ring!” You chuckle, but I met Jeremy in 2013, and like her, he is quiet, kind and more influential than he realizes.
I’m so grateful for all the time that I was able to live life with her, and for her story which inspires me to keep my eyes on “the author and perfecter of our faith.” Like Papa, I want to speak with appreciation of the one I love. Like the ring’s legacy, I want to live 60 years or more together here on earth and then forever after that. As her family and all who knew her learned to love because she loved us first, so I want to love our world.