Wednesday, April 6, 2011


 (Nana and Papa with Emilea, Mike, Abbie, Kaylea and Amos. At Stephen and Mary Anne's wedding and the day we found out about June)

Mama became Nana on March 6th, 2001. Her long-awaited first grandchild was Emilea Anne. Mama LOVED being Nana and I think that she was the best Nana there could be. She made everything so much fun for her grandkids. She always tried to be there for their important little milestones. She was there for their births, their first birthdays and every little thing she could make it to. She tried to go to ball games, recitals, birthday parties, preschool and Kindergarten graduations. Her grandchildren loved her so much! The oldest three, Emi, Mike and Abbie, are having a really hard time. They miss her so much! My heart hurts for their little heartbreaks. They miss her every day too. Even though none of them lived near her they talked to her on the phone or skyped her as much as they could. They also knew that if they had something cool going on, that Nana would try her best to be there for them.
 (Emilea, Abbie and Mike with treasure from one of Nana's scavenger hunts)

Mama had three grandbabies under two when she died. Kaylea and Amos were about a year and a half and June would be born two months later. The older ones are sad that Kaylea and Amos won't have the memories that they did with Nana. I'm sad a lot for myself because I miss her so much, but sometimes I am just sad that Emi, Mike, Abbie, Kaylea, Amos and June didn't get more time with her. I wish I could have had more than my 32 years with her, but they had such a short amount of time! It's not fair! I know that life is not fair all the time, but this is really hard. It makes me REALLY sad that Mama won't be there for me when I have babies. My babies won't know their Nana, and that breaks my heart too. There is so much sadness with her death. We pray all the time for comfort. I know that she lived her life so that she could be with God in eternity. It does bring comfort to know that. It helps a lot actually. I don't know how I would be now if I didn't think that she was with Him.

Far Above Rubies

  PROVERBS 31: 10-31

10 Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her; So he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good and not evil All the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, And willingly works with her hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, She brings her food from afar. 15 She also rises while it is yet night, And provides food for her household, And a portion for her maidservants. 16 She considers a field and buys it; From her profits she plants a vineyard. 17 She girds herself with strength, And strengthens her arms. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is good, And her lamp does not go out by night. 19 She stretches out her hands to the distaff, And her hand holds the spindle. 20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 21 She is not afraid of snow for her household, For all her household is clothed with scarlet. 22 She makes tapestry for herself; Her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is known in the gates, When he sits among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, And supplies sashes for the merchants. 25 Strength and honor are her clothing; She shall rejoice in time to come. 26 She opens her mouth with wisdom, And on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27 She watches over the ways of her household, And does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; Her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many daughters have done well, But you excel them all." 30 Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, But a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. 31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, And let her own works praise her in the gates.

Junie B

One of the hardest days for me, was when my niece, June, was born. It was one of the hardest days so far but also the best day this year. Hard because Mama wasn't there when June arrived, but also wonderful because we finally got to meet our June Bug.  It was super hard being there without Mama, but I wouldn't have missed it for anything. 

Mama loved baby June. She called her Junie B. She bought her a little outfit that said "Lil Miss February". Mama was always there when one of her grandchildren was born. She did everything in her power to be there for her daughters. When Amos, her last grandchild was born she and I traveled together to Atlanta, determined to be there until Amos' arrival. My sister, Sam, went into labor within  hours of us getting there and the next day Amos was born. It was great getting to spend that time with my mother and sisters. I wasn't in the room when Amos was actually born, but I was there at the hospital and I had been in and out of the room with Sam.  Mama was there the whole time. Sam had a water birth with Amos and Mama was fully supportive even though she didn't understand it. She just hated seeing Sam in so much pain, BUT she was planning on being there again when June was born. The fact that she wasn't able to be there was heartbreaking to me. I HAD to be there for Sam and Clay. I had been there before to "help" her through labor and had planned on being with her again. I wanted nothing more than to be there with them this time. It just hurt my heart that Mama wasn't there too. I was so excited to finally meet June and witness again the whole birth process, which is just amazing to me. I absolutely think that it is one of the most incredible things to watch a baby come into this world! There was so much joy that day and I tried not to be sad on June's birthday, but I just missed her Nana so much. June was able to distract me for most of the day, though.
Sam went into labor with June at about midnight. I had just gone to bed and she didn't want to wake me, because she knew that I needed sleep. Clay had just gotten home from work and she told him that he needed to get some sleep too, because they just might be in for a  long day. Then SHE went to bed and rested as well as she could for several hours. At about 5 that morning I got a phone call from my sister Suzanne who told me that across the hall from me Sam had been in labor for hours. Sam wanted me to sleep, but Suzanne reasoned that if she were the one across the hall, she's want to know that her sister was in labor. Suzanne said that she and her kiddos were loading up and heading to ATL  to hopefully be there by the time June arrived. So I got up, got dressed and went to Sam's bedroom, where she was reading her Kindle beside a sleeping Clay. She told me that she started labor at about midnight and she was pretty comfortable. She told me that Daphne and her husband Austin were on the way to pick Amos up. Since I was awake, Clay woke up too and we made sure that we had everything ready for the hospital. I got Amos up and dressed and got him his breakfast. Sam and Clay were hungry too so I got them something to eat as well. Daphne and Austin were there by about 8:30 or 9. Without Amos at the house Sam roamed around the house trying to find the most comfortable spot to labor. Clay and I followed her to nearly every room in the house. She was most comfortable in a hot bath, but her water heater couldn't keep up. Her second favorite spot was the rocking chair in Amos' room. At about 11:30 she started calling her doula to come. She needed about an hour to get her kids situated and get there. By 1:00, she was mad that her doula wasn't there yet and insisted to Clay that we just go to the hospital without her.  She finally got there at 1:15 and again Sam insisted that we go to the hospital.  Her doula tried to tell her to wait and reevaluate at 2:00.  Ummm...No.  Sam wanted to be at the hospital right then and started to insist, but threw up instead.  When she stopped, the doula was convinced that Sam was right and that she needed to be at the hospital. (The doula should have listened to Sam and gone when she wanted to anyway).  In Triage, Sam said that she hoped she was close and the nurse said, "you better hope not, b/c there isn't a room available".  When the nurse checked her, she was further along than Sam had hoped - She didn't even care that she didn't get to have a water birth this time.  Thirty minutes later, her midwife came in and checked and realized that the baby was coming. Sam was still in the triage area waiting for a room and the midwife helps her out of bed and walks her down the hallway to this pretty big spare room (not even a delivery room).  Sam  took two steps into the room and started to have a contraction. While she was having  the contraction, her midwife yelled at ME to throw the bedsheets on the floor underneath her and then told Sam to push!  After a couple of minutes of standing and pushing, she decided to get on the bed.  She pushed for two more minutes and our June Bug was born!!  Suzanne got to the hospital in time to give her kids to Daphne and Austin and make it to the maternity ward in time to hear Sam giving birth down the hall. Suzanne took off running and burst into the make-shift delivery room as June was on her way into her new little world. That 4-5 minutes was a little traumatic, and I'll admit that I was more than a little weak at the knees. In fact, if I didn't think that Suzanne was going to pass out, I probably would have done it myself. Neither of us actually did pass out, but we were both a little woozy. But we now had our little Junie B safe and sound!
I think that just the fact that were at the hospital again made it scary that day. Less than two months before we had been there for Mama and we thought everything was great, and we lost her. Even knowing that June was healthy and that Sam was recovering nicely I was still nervous. We thought that Mama was ok too. Thank God that Sam and June ARE doing well. Junie B is a little over six weeks old now and just precious. We are so thankful for her!


I've never realized how deep grief can be. I didn't know that this raw grief could last so long. You hear to keep so and so in your prayers as they are dealing with the loss of a loved one. You might think to pray for them for a couple of weeks and then it's not so important to you anymore. Not that you don't care, but it's just easy to forget that they are still grieving. At least that's how I've always been. I just didn't realize that losing someone so close was so painful!
Mama meant the world to me. Daddy always said that they'd get 40 calls a day with one or the other of us calling to ask Mama a question or just to talk to her. Not that we didn't want to talk to Daddy, we just had Mama things to discuss. Lots of times, even after we were married, when we would visit we would "make" Daddy sleep on the couch so we could sleep with mama. Not that we ever did any sleeping. We would talk all night about everything. Mama was a fount of wisdom. She knew the answer to just about anything. If she didn't know the answer she knew how to get it. I've picked up the phone several times since her death to call her and ask her something. One time I actually let the phone ring before I realized that she would never be there again. I just crumbled to the floor and cried. It's not that I forgot that she died. It's just that a thought popped into my head and I had to ask her about it.
There have been days since she died that I have just wanted so badly to talk to her. To hear her voice again.

My Precious Mama

We lost my mama unexpectedly on New Year's Eve 2010. She was only 52 years old. It has been such a shock to our family. Sometimes I realize that to the rest of the world it is already April, but to me it feels I am right back there at the hospital telling her goodbye after she was already gone. She had a pretty serious surgery on Tuesday, December 28th. The surgery seemed to go better than expected and she seemed to be doing really well. She even commented that if she had known how easy it would be, she would have done it years ago. She was a little groggy after her surgery so most of us decided to go and let her get her rest that night. Angie, my oldest sister decided to stay with her for the night. We all went back to my parents house for a bit. The whole family, except for Angie's husband Michael, had been in town for Christmas. So we went back to the house and made supper and hung out for awhile and played a few games.
We have a huge family. My parents have 10 children, 5 sons-in-law, 1 daughter-in-law and 6 grandchildren. It's not often that we all get to be together, but thankfully this year, on what was to be our last Christmas with Mama, almost all of us made it.
On Wednesday morning at various times, we all made it back to mama's room at the hospital. She was in really good spirits and was feeling great. She joked that between 1-10 her pain was at a 7 and she could easily handle that. She talked with us and played with her grandchildren. Once she was sitting in the chair beside her bed and she told my nieces and nephew to hop up on her bed. When they did she showed them the buttons to make the bed rise and fold. She lifted the bed as high as it would go and folded it as far as it would go, just to hear their giggles. She was a great Nana. She was always wanting her grandbabies to have some sort of adventure, even if she WAS at the hospital recovering from surgery. That day we talked with her and laughed with her about everything under the sun. We all had a really good day.
My husband and I were going to try to get home that night. He is a preacher and had a class to teach at our home congregation. We had done a pretty bad job of keeping up with the time at lunch and were already thinking that we would have to rush to get home in time for Evening services. We had to go by the hospital to tell Mama goodbye, and to pick up my sister, Suzanne, who would be traveling home with us. We went to the hospital and the nurse had just made mama sit in her chair again. She was on morphine and we were worried that she might fall out without someone with her. Daddy and my sister, Daphne, were on their way to the hospital to stay with her, but we didn't want to leave her alone for even a few minutes. My husband, Jonathan, and I decided that we could stay, but the few minutes that it would cost us would make it nearly impossible to get home in time for services. We decided to call someone else to do his class for him and stay. I'm so glad that we did. We got to spend even more time with her that day than we had planned.
Later that evening, Jonathan and I went to church at Lost River. Several of our friends asked about mama and her surgery and we told them that things went really well and though at first they thought she would be in the hospital for a week, we thought she would get to come home in a couple of days. I was making plans to come back to town and stay with her for a week or two during her recovery. After church that night I went back over to the hospital to spend some more time with mama. When I got to her room she was in a lot of pain. Her veins had collapsed and there were two nurses trying to get her iv back in.  Since it was late and visiting hours were nearly over, I decided to tell her goodbye and come back in the morning, so I told her that I loved her and that I'd be back in the morning. Jonathan and I took Suzanne and her her kids to get something to eat and then we dropped her back at the hospital, because she wanted to stay with Mama that night.
At about 3 o'clock the next morning I got a call from Suzanne telling me to get to the hospital as soon as I could. I asked if Mama was ok and she said, "I don't know." There was so much fear and sadness in her voice that I tried to prepare for the worst. Jonathan and I left as soon as we could and called my brother, Stephen, on the way. He and I got there at about the same time. In time to see about 20 doctors and nurses in Mama room doing what they could to get her to breathe. I saw them use the defibrillators on her. A few minutes after I got there, I heard someone say that they had a pulse. This whole time was so scary to me. It was so unreal. I knew that it was MY mama on that bed in there, but it seemed like it was happening to someone else. Once they got a pulse they transferred her somewhere else to see what was wrong, what caused her to stop breathing in the first place. Suzanne, Stephen and his wife Mary Anne, Jonathan and I were asked to clear out her room. She had get well soon cards hanging on the wall from each of  her grandkids and some of her younger kids as well. As we were cleaning out her room at 3:30 that morning, I think each of us realized that she wasn't coming back. A couple of hours later her doctor came in and gave us a little bit of hope. Most of us, including Daddy, hung on to that hope. We were all hoping and praying that she would come out of it, but it wasn't to be. That day was probably the longest of my life. I "knew" most of the day that she wasn't going to make it. I believe that God answers every prayer, I just felt that He said, "No," very early on in the day, it didn't keep me from asking Him to save her for us, I just realized that HE was saying no. 
We aren't really sure what caused her to die, we haven't really gotten a straight answer on that. I don't even know if KNOWING how she died would be of any help. She is still gone. Knowing won't bring her back.