My grandmother died on Sunday.
She grew up picking cotton in the fields of west Texas during the Dust Bowl and Depression. I imagine that there are not many who had a tougher childhood, at least in America. She had an amazing sense of humor, generosity, and ability to care for us. She taught me to scrub my kitchen floors by hand and to make the beds with hospital corners.
Most of all though, she taught me to garden. My grandfather grew the vegetables but she loved the flowers. We bonded over azure colored asters and orchids. Don Juan roses growing up her chain link fence. Confetti colored impatiens spilling over her sunshine yellow wheelbarrow. A sea of purple larkspurs in her back bed from which she gathered the seeds for me, dried in a little ziploc baggie. "How is your yard?", she would ask when she saw me. "Dry and hot, Mema", I would say through the summer months and she knew.
I've thought about her nonstop for days, and for days prior to her death. I saw her suffer greatly towards the end and didn't know why. I'm sad from time to time obviously, but I'm also so darn busy being grateful that I was blessed enough to be influenced by this person. Only after her earthly life broke away did I see what remained in all of us left behind. It's far more than I ever realized.
I'll be visiting with family for the next few days. Farewell, friends.