It’s tough for me to believe my grandmother has been gone four years. Grandparents are such special people. My grandmother, or Mama Gal as she was to me, was truly one of the most remarkable people I’ve ever known.
I grew up knowing she adored her family, had a heart for serving others and exuded more grace than I thought was humanly possible. I never heard her utter an ugly word about anyone, and it was my grandmother who instilled in me the importance of showing grace and giving others the benefit of the doubt or forgiveness when we were wounded by broken trust–no matter what the situation. She was such a beautiful person.
What I miss most is her bright smile and her laugh. I loved how happy she always was to see me, and I was just as happy to see her. Her face would light up, and she would say, “Hi, honey!”
My favorite memories of Mama Gal are from family Christmas celebrations at her house and many a weekend spent at Mama Gal and Papa Jack’s lake house. When we were at the lake, those two would rise in the morning waaaay before anyone else–with Papa Jack raising the flag on the dock to let early fishermen and boaters know they were welcome to stop for coffee and breakfast. Southern hospitality at its finest…
(view of the lake from the dock)
I learned how to fish at Mama Gal and Papa Jack’s lake house, and I can remember playing “Dukes of Hazard” with my brothers and cousins. Wow…keeping the 80’s cool, friends. Homemade ice cream, cookouts and swinging on the back deck with Mama Gal…many, many wonderful memories were made in the little house on Lake Claiborne. Family was important to her, and she never left room for doubt about that.
(Five generations of Crain ladies–yes, that little sugar bear is me!)
Then, there were the quiet moments with Mama Gal on her back porch in Shreveport. I can remember sitting with her countless times on that patio. We sat and rocked as she patiently explained all the types of flowers in her garden. We didn’t just talk about flowers, though. I was always full of questions like, “What were you like when you were my age, Mama Gal?” And she always answered with a smile as she rocked in her chair.
My favorite stories often involved my grandmother and Aunt Ann (Mama Gal’s aunt who was near her own age). I think ALL the kids loved going with Mama Gal to visit Aunt Ann! The stories they shared were hysterical, and it was fun to see Mama Gal still had that mischievous gleam in her eye! I utterly adored her.
As a kiddo, I knew my grandmother was an amazing cook, a gentile Southern lady and one of my most favorite people in the world. As I grew older, though, she showed me another side of her – equally amazing and wonderful. She was a phenomenal writer and prayer warrior, too. I’m so thankful that I was able to appreciate a deeper side to her as I became an adult. I love that our conversations transitioned over time. She always listened intently as I talked. Then, she’d smile, rock in her chair and respond with something like, “Honey, let me tell you what…”
It did not dawn on me until after my sweet grandmother was gone from earth just how profound of an impact she had on the person I strive to be. She was not about lip service, but rather my grandmother was about lifting others up through encouragement and service…something my own mom modeled beautifully as well.
My mom has been gone for almost three months, and I MISS HER SO MUCH. Gosh, I miss both of these ladies more than I could ever adequately convey with words. Their absence has left such a hole in my heart, but the lessons they taught about life, love and faith are still profoundly felt.
Neither of their lives were all rainbows and daisies, but my mom nor my Mama Gal ever ceased in opening their hearts to others. To showing vulnerability, compassion and kindness. They knew they weren’t perfect, but that didn’t stop either lady from celebrating the gifts God gave them and using those abilities to help others.
“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make” (Daring Greatly, Brene’ Brown).
My grandmother nor my mom ever hesitated to wrap me in their arms and just hug on me. I never wondered how much they loved me. We said all we needed to say every time we were together, and I LOVE that they taught me that valuable life lesson. My heart still aches from the loss of them on earth, and I miss both of these Southern gals so much. But I know they are both happy, whole and free. And I know my mom and Mama Gal will be two of the first to welcome me to heaven one day with a, “Hi, honey!”
“There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” (Proverbs 31:29)