The Birthday Girl

Today would’ve been my grandmother’s 85th birthday. If you’ve been following this blog, you may remember that she passed away in 2010. Rather than write about how I felt then, I’ll tell you something that made me feel better.

I’d been to back to my grandmother’s house only once since she passed away. Even then, I didn’t go in. Before that, I had no reason to because she lived in a nursing home for two years. My aunt, my granny’s oldest child, now lives in the house. A few weeks ago, I needed to pass some time before I went to church. My granny’s house is 10 minutes away. Mama suggested I stop by. I was hesitant not because I didn’t want to visit my aunt, but because I didn’t know how I’d feel walking into house whose original owner no longer existed.

I put on my Big Girl Undies and headed to South Memphis. My aunt lived there now, not Granny, and I’d been there once before. Then, I pulled up and sat in the car and cried. Almost a year later, how hard could it be?

The closer I got to the house with every corner I turned, every street I slowly drove down, small tears dropped on my shirt. I wasn’t sad, but I remembered picking her up every Sunday morning to take her to church. She would tell me to turn on specific streets, instead of the ones I was used to taking. I wasn’t sure if it was because she knew ways to miss traffic or the people who aimlessly wandered around the hood on early Sunday mornings or if she was just being bossy. I remembered helping her find her house keys, which she often misplaced because she put them in a different compartment in her purse every time. Together, we found one special spot for her keys so she could get into the house safely. I remembered stopping there before choir rehearsal on Thursday nights. I would take a nap or talk to her while she sat in her chair, eating candy and junk food.

I’d spent so much time remembering how we used to laugh and spend time when she was in the nursing home that I’d forgotten her life before that when things were normal. I miss her.

I walked into the house to find it totally different. Auntie had really fixed it up. Hardwood floors that had always been covered by emerald-green carpet shined and sparkled and all of her things were, instead of Granny’s. It was a completely new home.

It was yet another reminder that she, atleast her body, is really gone. That’s okay though.

When I left the house, walked down those few steps from the porch to the driveway, as I have so many, many times, I  told my aunt goodbye, and she said, “Bye, baby.” She sounded JUST like Granny. I had to look back.

And that made my day because that was a sign that she’ll never really be gone as long as we have her in our hearts.

Happy birthday, girl! I celebrate your life through who you were, the family you created, instead of material things that represented you. I love you.

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3 thoughts on “The Birthday Girl

  1. Oh, Lisha, thank you. GOD speaks to our hearts in soooo many ways. My moving into that house was not an easy thing for me to do. However because of the many prayers of Mother’s that still lingers in that old house and within our hearts, the decision to move there was made. GOD knew the pain each of us would feel in our very own way. HE knew that old house that Mother loved and that everybody grew up in could begin the healing process for all of us. Your tears found closure because of that decision, but, I also found closure for any regrets I may have had from my decision thru your written words. You see I know now, why I moved “home”. It wasn’t all the other things my mind would have me believe. It was because the prayers that Mother left in that old house is still working, and even though Mother will always be in the hearts and minds of each of us, the family she loved so much; we, all, will be able to bring closure to the pain we felt from her transition. Another door closes and permission for all of us to begin the laughter that was shared in that old house, when we came together can begin again . Love you Mother and I love you Alisha for your blog today on Mothers 85th birthday. Auntie

  2. Thank you Alisha for your thoughts on Mama’s birthday today. Thank you Louise for bringing life back to our home. It was hard for me to walk in that house without her being there but the day that I did brought back a flood of memories for me. Just driving through the familar streets and reflecting on all the times my car drove down those streets brought back the memories of why I drove that way. It was all about mama. I miss her so much. Some days I laugh and some days I cry but I thank God for giving her to us. I’m grateful Louise that you moved back home. Mama worked so hard to pay for that house and she intended for us to reap its’ benefits. She often told me, “when I’m gone, sell it and split it 4 ways”.How could we do that, how could we sell it. I am so thankful that we didn’t. That’s our home and our memories. Happy Birthday Mama!!!! Keep resting in the arms of Jesus.

  3. Man, this makes me think of my Granny. I miss her so much. But like you said, we have the memories in our hearts and I’m sure your grandma and mine are both in heaven smiling at both of us.

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