Monday, October 20, 2008

Hellos and Goodbyes....

Ruby hamming it up with Mamma
Mamma with her sisters Eppy on left, Casita on right, brother Marsall and Virilo
My cute Uncle Marsall

I arrived back from Florida late last night with Ruby. The last five days I spent with my family at my Aunt Yvonne's house surrounding my grandmother with broken hearts and nostalgic yearnings of old days past. I have a HUGE family on my mothers side the Perez family. My grandmother has 11 brothers and sisters and five are alive and well. My grandmothers two sisters have been with her these past few months before she took a turn for the worse. When she was rushed to the hospital a couple of weeks ago she sent for her brothers both came to see her along with grandchildren and nieces and nephews and so many friends. At one time I counted 23 of us all in the house at the same time. We surrounded her with care, love, prayers and songs. We grew up Pentecostal, went to pentecostal churches and our old roots runs through us. So when there are songs to be sang about Jesus its hard to keep our bodies still so can you imagine what it looked like when we were given tambourines and shakers to sing with my grandmother in her bed?! Some time my grandmother would not talk and other times she would repeat herself over and over and we would pretend it was the first time we heard what she had to say. My grandmother would tell everyone that came to visit her, and there were tons of people coming in and out, that I am like a daughter to her. Its true I spent my youth in my grandmothers house, I called her to pick me up every day and she did! My parents did live five minutes away :)! So we are VERY close.
One afternoon she kept repeating the names of the couple that gave me airlines miles to go see her she kept saying Alex and Shelley's name over and over and when I asked her what she was doing she said she was praying for them. We had a revival on Saturday night my Uncle Marsall is an evangelist and fasted all day for a message for the evening. We all gathered to hear the words he prepared and to sing as we celebrated my grandmothers life. It was peaceful and aching all at the same time.

We had moments where I thought I would laugh until I cried, knowing the laughter was good medicine. And moments like on Saturday night when I had to say Good bye for good. I will try to explain in words what its like to say good bye to someone who is awake and can understand what you are saying. You both know that you know. Its like a cloud of uncertainty all around. We know heaven is near, but when right when I leave, as I am talking to her? I looked in her eyes and said "Mamma its time for me to go...." She looked at me with the saddest eyes and like a small child responded with "Why?" "I have to go back home to my family..." She then kept asking random things like a child would ask when you are tucking them to sleep to keep you in the room. She would ask things like the clothes size of my kids, she wanted me to go through a ginormous stack of old recipes, old photos, it took two hours of procrastination and I could see she was getting tired. So I kissed her on her sweet forehead caressed her thinning grey hair sobbed on her chest, dried her tears as she wiped mine ,covered her frail body with a soft blanket and exited the room. I remember this feeling only it stings a little deeper, its as if its opened old wounds of grief. I wish at times I could love with a distant heart so that not to hurt this badly, but I was not formed that way. I like her Love with Everything in me!


Lisa said...

that was beautiful.

thank you for sharing your journey with us.

love you xoxo

The Gresham Clan said...

This is absolutely beautiful Natalie. Thank you for sharing your special grandma with all of us.

Michelle Riggs said...

Beautiful lady. I am so glad you were able to see your family. I am sorry that you are hurting.

Praying for you all.

Yvonne said...

My Darling, Darling Sweet Natalie,

First of all I want to start this by giving thanks to God for people such as Shelley and Alex. It was in their giving that we ALL received the most precious gift of all... your presence here in grandma's time of need. God moves in mysterious ways and what they did for you, touched SO MANY OF US! Grandma not only felt your presence EVEN before your arrival here, but upon your arrival it was quite obvious that you filled her heart and soul with joy. As your cousins put must be loved as the "smallest" of her daughters, cause as you know, Monica then becomes the most beloved of the "grand Daughters" LOL. I know as a family we may be loud (that is putting it mildly) we are opinionated, expressive and much more, but as a FAMILIA, we have been taught by our elders to be close, loving, caring, giving, forgiving, merciful but most importantly we were taught to believe in God and his wonderful mercies. This is a tradition and custom that was passed on to us and we in turn passed on to our children. Now... it is time that your generation, all of the cousins, continue to teach your children the love that my mother instilled in all of us. It is in this sharing of that love and tradition that we will continue to honor our mother. Yesterday several church members from a Spanish church came to pray for her and they ASKED HER TO PRAY FOR THEM. She was not incoherent nor slurry in her speech and when she prayed for them, they cried. God is continuing to use my mother in marvelous ways. It was so wonderful to meet our niece Ruby. She is so special and soooooo loving. The way she would climb into bed and caress and kiss grandma, it was quite obvious to me that you definitely are teaching your TRIBE the love that grandma has taught us. GREAT JOB MY DARLING! I want you to remind your sons how grandma smiled and even laughed when she heard the messages sent by video to her. Thank God for modern technology! I love you and your tribe dearly. I love Frank for being the wonderful husband that he is and the great father that he is. May the Lord continue to keep your family safe and shower you with blessings. Thank you Shelly and Alex once again and may the Lord continue to bless you for it is people such as yourselves that reminds us all that God has earthly angels who guard over good souls, like Natalie.

Love all of you dearly
Tia Yvonne
Jupiter, FL

Heckert's Highway said...

My sweet, sweet friend...I am so very sorry that you had to say goodbye for good to your Grandmother. It just made my heart break for you that much more, while I read your post. What an amazing legacy she has left for you and your family. I fear the day that I will have to say goodbye to my own Grama. I see God's hand in your life through your friends, enabling you to go and see her, and I am so grateful that He moved on their hearts to help you. I love you my friend...Jenn

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Pray for sweet Abby Riggs!!