It took me weeks to even begin to think about writing this piece. Maybe because it hasn’t sunk in, that on January 4th, 2017, an entire layer of my childhood has been peeled away. I expected it to. I knew it would come someday. I cried until my nose bled, but those were just empty tears. It was a mere reaction of what my body believed should take place after the news broke.
For some reason, I can’t help but to rejoice. You prepared me for this day to come. I remember how feisty you were down to the last time I saw you. Something told me to call, but I said I didn’t want to be a bother. Maybe that was my spirit telling me that we have made our peace and we didn’t need to say another goodbye.
Since I have left, coming home just never feels the same. Not being able to come back to my old room I grew up in. Or screaming “Good afternoon Granny, Good afternoon Papa!” at the top of the stairs. Or being welcomed by my favorite dogs, Fluffy and Snappy.
I left the island the first chance I got because I didn’t appreciate what I was blessed with. Being away, having to figure it out on my own, I’ve learned that this is what granny was trying to teach me all along.
You left me with a treasure chest of memories, that helped mold my inner voice. Your harsh words gave me tough skin to be able to handle the heartbreaks and disappointments in life. Your flavorsome cooking helped me develop a palette so advanced that I can cook just about anything when my cupboards were seemingly empty. Your loving spirit made me realize when someone else’s love wasn’t enough. Your words of wisdom always resonate in my mind when I needed to make tough decisions.
We spent many nights watching Golden Girls, All My Children, and countless Lifetime movies together. These precious moments helped me discover my instincts, which are now sharper than a tungsten needle.I can’t cry because, you never left me. I can remember clear as day when I was 9 years old, and I ran away from home, I thought no one cared. I didn’t go far, I hid in the shed in the backyard and fell asleep until it was dark.
I woke up to hearing your inconsolable crying. It was the loudest, heart wrenching sound I have ever heard. I thought to myself, “All of these tears… for me.” How could I have been so selfish? I just knew I would get the beating of my life, but instead I was welcomed with the warmth of my family.
You have saved my life many times even when I was disrespectful and I didn’t deserve it. You mended my relationship with Papa and my mom. You were the perfect balance of soft and tough. I never knew what side of the coin I would get though, but you always knew how to mitigate an escalating situation.
I want to be like you some day. When people heard the news of your passing, all they could have said was, “Merle never had a bad thing to say about a soul.” Well I can tell you more. My granny had the most powerful falsetto voice I have ever heard, and thee most infectious laugh you could imagine. I loved the way she would make every meal an event and we would sit around the table for hours telling stories.
I have never tasted a plate of food even close to an imitation of hers. Even my son Jeremy , who was 3 years old at the time, remembers that one time she made “pancakes.” Hugs were the best. She always smelled expensive and she always made us the best dresses from scratch for important events.
The other day I was organizing my closet and an envelope fell out of nowhere. It said “Master Jeremy” on the front. To myself I said, “impossible”, only one person uses that type of language. I carefully opened the letter and read it to myself. It was a birthday card for Jeremy over two years old that I never opened. I opened the next flap and there was a FIFTY DOLLAR BILL falling out of the crease. It was a rough week, I needed to pay my light bill and I was exactly $50 short. How can a person be gone and still bless you from the other side.
With a woman like you to be in my life for 29 years, I am grateful. You have been there for every happy moment and every disappointment. You would always answer my call. We would talk until you lost your strength. Your existence and now lack thereof has softened the hearts of stubborn loved ones. This is what I call love from the afterlife.
I love you Granny. Thank you for your blessings and lessons.
To Merle, With Love!