If what happened last Sunday, had happened many years ago, say 25 years ago, before my daughter was born, or before I was born, I'd probably think of it as a personal tragedy. But it didn't happy many years ago, it happened on Sunday, January 25th, a most fitting day for a woman whose 94 years on this earth was lived piously and devoted to family, church and community. My maternal grandmother, who lived more than two decades after my grandfather died, departed this earth quietly, peacefully and with the full knowledge that she was loved deeply. She always loved Sundays for it was the day that she didn't mind spending in church--all day in church! Grandma spent her life executing her beliefs.
I am among the privileged who lived with my grandparents during some formative years of my life. She is the last of the four grandparents I was fortunate to know fully. My many conversations with her and my unconditional devotion, respect and love for this woman, make this a poignant occasion; but it is not paralyzingly sad like I used to think it would be whenever I thought of her dying when I was young.
Today is the celebration of her humble, long life. I will remember her stories about growing up at a time when opportunities were denied people and women like her. She was a fabulous arm-chair historian who would tell me, "I didn't read this in a book, I lived it." I remember when I was young and she made me come in the house, right in the middle of a serious game of double dutch, to watch and listen to some preacher-man give an "important" and "historic" speech. I was mad because this fouled up my jump rope game. Today, it is only because of her that I now can say I saw Martin Luther King deliver his "I Have a Dream" speech on television. In hindsight, I recall how I settled down and enjoyed getting swept up in the collective euphoria and energy of my relatives who cheered and commented on the speech in all the right places.
I will always remember that she smiled and her eyes brightened when I told her, four years ago, that I had a motorcycle. She never distrusted my judgment. Her passing was inevitable and as she used to say, "it happens to the best of us and to the worst of us." It is indeed a celebration.
I am blessed and fortunate to have had her in my life. The way I see it, I will ride this, and all the seasons to come with another angel to accompany me and hep light the way.