Marlee thought about you today. She thought about all the years of memories she shared with you. She thought about all the stories that continue to bring a smile to her face and a giggle from her lips every time she tells them. She thought about you, Mema.
It’s been almost 5 years since she saw you. 5 years since that hard goodbye. But it’s also been 5 years of remembering the times and love she shared with you.
She remembers you used to spoil her, her brother, and sister. Every time they came to visit, you would give them 10-20 dollars and would send them down to the local candy store. You told them to get as much candy as their stomachs could handle. They would spend 20 minutes making sure they got everything that would keep them satisfied that whole day, while watching cartoons. They also made sure to get you a pack of candy cigarettes, because they were unable to purchase the real ones you asked them to get on their journey. You always laughed when they brought that sweet pack to you.
You also made sure to get pizza from Fox’s for dinner when they were there. It wasn’t just for the greasy cheese or dripping sauce, but for the small white tables they used to hold the pieces together. You knew that Marlee and Brandi needed and wanted those for their Barbie Dolls. Every time you called the pizza shop, you would say, ‘I want a large pepperoni pizza for my grandkids, and make sure you put a few of those table things in there for my two favorite girls to play with with their Barbie Dolls.” They were so excited when they finally had some dinner tables to use in their endless Barbie house game. But the funniest thing they remember about getting pizza was, that you would use scissors to cut the pieces. You didn’t have a pizza slicer – to you, scissors worked just fine. It makes them smile telling people that memory.
They also remember the countless hours they spent playing at your house. They did live there for a whole year after the tornado destroyed their childhood home, but after moving into their new house, they still only wanted to play at your house.
You had an attic full of old, exciting treasures from their dad’s childhood, as well as their mom’s. Old Nancy Drew books that they would read before pretending to be detectives themselves. Old wooden toys that they really didn’t know what to do with. And then you had the most exciting treasure of all – their mom’s old cosmetology kit. They would spend hours a day playing with the kit. They started using their mom’s old, antique doll (which she later was mad about, when Marlee and Brandi used the shredder scissors on the red locks) to practice their cosmotology skills on. Soon, you allowed them to use your gray, curly hair. Well you didn’t allow them to break out the shreader scissors, but you did allow them to spend hours a day putting your hair up and down in old school, pink curlers.
They loved you for all of that. There are so many more memories that they could share, but it would take me ten blog posts to do so.
Just know, they loved you.
It did get hard for Marlee and her brother and sister as years went on. You aged quickly and your mind left you. You didn’t remember their names. You didn’t remember a whole lot.
It was hard for them to visit. They couldn’t handle seeing you like that, and not being able to curl your hair or share their candy with you. It was hard for them to leave the nursing home and for you to not understand why you weren’t going home with them. It was probably one of the hardest things they had been through. You had always done so much for them, and now you barely remembered them.
Then came the final day. Dad knew it was time – I think you kind of let him know.
Marlee and the rest of the family was there by your side to say goodbye. And you did something that you hadn’t done in years – you remembered each and every one of them before you took your last breath. At that moment, Marlee was at peace. She knew you rememered all the wonderful and fun times you shared with her and her brother and sister in the house so many years ago. She knew you died loving her and the rest of the family.
Marlee knows you’re up in Heaven now smiling down on her, with pink curlers in your hair, a candy cigarette in your mouth, and a pocket full of peppermint candies.
That’s the grandma she always remembered. That’s her Mema.