Prepare yourself, I’m getting personal in this blog post. Originally I was just going to write about family heirlooms. I had planned to sort of “gloss over” the reason behind the post because I know most people are more private than I. If you’ve not figured it out already, I’m pretty much an open book… probably too open sometimes. Haha. But I asked my mom for permission to share a little more. So here goes. Grandma Lulu, this one is for you.
As I write this, I’m listening to a steady rain just like I was a year ago today. Tonight, we’re in a hotel room; on the road for a beautiful wedding. One year ago today, we were in a hospital room with my mom, cousins, aunts and uncles. It was my 30th birthday, but that was the last thing on my mind. My grandmother Louise, or “Lulu” as we called her, had suffered a stroke months earlier and we knew it wouldn’t be long before she saw Heaven. I took a lot of pictures during our time there, and this one always seems to touch me the most. I still can’t look at it without crying. That’s my mama, kissing her mama.
Lulu died in the middle of the night. We’d been at the hospital for days (some family members, months). My mom, aunts and uncles took “shifts” making sure someone was always there with her. That night was no different. But those who were there eventually gave in for a short time and dozed off in their chairs. That’s when she left us. The next day, someone said “You know, she did this on purpose. She would have wanted it this way.” So strong, so independent, Lulu was never one to want people to fuss over her.
It’s amazing how fun the next day was. Of course it was emotional. Of course we were sad. But looking at family heirlooms, going through old photographs, and sharing memories in the house where my mom, her sister and two brothers grew up truly was a happy time.
That night, I got an unexpected treat; a little impromptu birthday celebration at the dinner table with one of the best gifts ever. My aunt, I believe, had the idea to pick out one small thing from Lulu’s house that they knew I would love. I’ve always told my mom how much I like her antique pink transferware collection, and my grandma just so happened to have a couple of pieces too. So they picked this out as my gift, and said, “happy birthday from Lulu.” I cried like a baby.
As you can imagine, the larger family heirlooms went to Lulu’s immediate children, but they did allow the grandkids to make “requests.” Somehow I actually ended up with the one thing I’d always wanted from my grandma’s house… a pew from the church where many members of my family grew up, and where my mother and grandmother got married. They moved to a new building years ago, but the old church still stands. This is the best picture I could find of it online.
The antique stained glass window hanging over it, not sure where that came from. Haha Although I am very interested in trying to track down its history. It was a Christmas present from my parents. Someday it will be passed on to my kids, who will pass it on to theirs. Heirlooms have to start somewhere, right? 🙂