The Day My Grams Died…

It was August 25, 2011 at 9:50 a.m. I was the first one to receive the news.Martha Ellen Walton

I had received the call from my Aunt Eunice, my grandmother’s older and remaining sister, around 9:30 that morning. She had been notified by the hospital that Grams had a heart attack. I rushed from where I was, grateful that my cousin Nona was around. She drove me to the hospital and I got to the ICU as quickly as I could.

When the doctors told me the news, my eyes widened, and I almost thought that I would collapse right there on the spot, but God enabled me to hold it together. The doctor explained everything they had tried to do to keep my Grams alive, but the combination of medications, along with the shocks, just couldn’t do the job.

You see, my grandmother had COPD, and she had reached the final stages of the disease two months ago, when she was admitted to the emergency room because her blood pressure had dropped dangerously low. Her pastor’s wife sang “How Great Is Our God” in her ear, and her pressure began to rise, inexplicably. So God gave her a little more time, that day, to be with us.

We had brought her back to the hospital at least 5 times between that episode and August 23, and when she was brought to the hospital that day, she had developed pneumonia.

It was her time to leave me, to leave us.

I am grateful for the 37 years that she was in my life. In spite of the issues that we had regarding my father, I still loved her very much, and did everything that I could to make her life sweet in those final months. From running errands, to spending the night, I am glad that I had the time to spend with her.

We buried her Wednesday, August 31. The funeral was a beautiful service, with plenty of beautiful purple flowers, and purple accents throughout the church (purple was her
favorite color).

As the days have gone by, I allow the memories to wash over me. The sound of her voice, her sometimes colorful phrases, her giving spirit, her sweet disposition. I remember with fondness her penchant for cake. Even as a little boy, I remember her always going to
this one bakery on East Main Street after church every Sunday and picking up cake. When she got sick and couldn’t go out any more, any occasion at which cake was served, we would always bring her some cake. Wednesday was my daughter’s birthday, and Grams would have been calling us, “Did you save me a piece of cake?”

I also remember all of the things she introduced me to. Gummy bears. Portuguese rolls. Truffles. Church.Cooking collard greens, spinach, mustard greens and cabbage with peppered jowls.

I treasure the fact that she taught me how to cook better than what I had already learned before I went to college. I am thankful that she taught me the secret to a great sweet-potato pie. Now, I’ll be getting the calls…

Goodbye, Grams. I love you, I miss you, and I will never forget you….

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