October 3rd would have been my grandmother’s 96th birthday. I miss her today as much as I did the moment she left this world. There are times I’d give just about anything to talk with her, cry to her, and simply share space with her. She’s the closest thing to a mother I’ve ever known. And I owe her everything for my survival.
Miracles, Indian Givers, and Triple Sex is a tribute to her and the enduring love we shared.
I hope it inspires you to gather up memories of loved ones lost and share a few tears and giggles with me along the way.
to live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.
Miracles, indian givers, and triple sex
During her final days with us, my grandmother maintained her unwavering selflessness as she gradually and gracefully began her ascent. We said our goodbyes, I told her she’ll always be a part of me, I’ll miss her like crazy, and she could go when she was ready.
And so she stayed a while longer.
Our last days together were full of heart-hugging mini miracles.
My sixteen-month-old baby was used to receiving a big “Hello, Darlin!” from his NaNa. When he arrived and her welcome was absent, he leaned in at different angles so she could see him better.
When still her reaction was void, he took his little hand and rhythmically stroked her arm, as if he knew she needed his touch.
After a mostly unresponsive day, I was combing her hair and telling her she looked beautiful when suddenly she arose and asked for her lipstick. She always made me laugh at inappropriate times.
Then, there was that rainy night when I slipped into my car, bone-weary with emotion, bellowing a desperate, barbaric shrill. I begged for a sign her suffering would soon end and her transition to peace would come.
When I composed myself enough to drive home, I cranked the ignition and froze. I had been listening to talk radio when I arrived that day. But it was Elton John’s Circle of Life piping from the speakers as I left.
It was a sign.
The next day, her kidneys shut down and her breathing became frighteningly laborious. But that generous heart kept beating. Her breathing would calm when I spoke, so I never shut up.
It reminded me of the numerous times she flew in for a visit and we stayed up all night gossiping like good Christian girls.
We shared everything. We even bought two identical gifts for birthdays and holidays. We’d see each other wearing the gift we’d given and want it back. Hence our motto: Indian givers buy two.
I was beside her bed that Friday night and still talking. Sharing stories with her gave me the connection I needed. More importantly, repeating the stories was assurance I wouldn’t forget.
I recalled all the times she made green coconut icing cupcakes adorned with jelly beans for my Easter-ish birthday.
How she bathed me in a minnow-ridden horse trough when, as a toddler, I fell face first into a cow patty.
My favorite was the two of us awakening on Christmas to a smoke-filled house. We’d forgotten about the turkey and then giggled at our incompetence all the way to Honey Baked Ham.
And how she begged me to drive from Los Angeles to Oklahoma to spend the millennium with her and her closest friends, sipping margaritas concocted with their favorite ingredient, ‘triple sex’.
I cried and giggled for both of us. I thanked her for keeping me alive during my darkest times. And I reluctantly asked her to commit yet one more selfless act. I asked her to accept comfort and peace and to let go… for me.
Thirty seconds later, as I held her hand and kissed her forehead, she removed her ever-so-stylish foot from the door and crossed to the other side. Besides having my children, it was the most precious experience of my life.
my heart looks for you. my mind talks to you. my soul feels you.
There are few people who infinitely impress and alter your life for the better. How fortunate I was to have someone love me more and more each day no matter my faults. Someone who formed my moral compass, shaping the woman I am today.
I never knew life without her infectious laughter, comforting wisdom, and gentle touch. Thankfully, my boys will always know her joy, insight, and embrace because she instilled them in me.
I love and miss you every day, NaNa. I rest easy knowing you’ll have everything and everyone accessorized by the time we get there.
And don’t forget, Darlin’, buy two.
Give your loved ones a huge hug today. Share stories. Make memories. Love. ‘Cause when it’s all said and done, it’s truly all we’ve got. –xo