Tuesday, April 22, 2014

for Jacqueline II

This is very similar to the first car your mother drove, which actually belonged to your grandmother, Judy.  She could tell you the exact make and model, but I believe it was somewhere between a '76 and a '78.  Do you call her Grandma or Grandmother?  Your mother called her beloved grandmother "Grandmother."  

I met Grandmother three times to my recollection.  Joyce loved her dearly, spoke of her often.  Several things stand out in my memories, the first being that Grandmother advised Joyce to search the book of Psalms for comfort and advice whenever she had a problem.  If I can be so bold to add my two cents worth, I recommend the book of Proverbs as well.  

I hadn't known someone before who addressed their grandmother as "Grandmother."  Around here, grandmothers were Grandma, Grannie, Nana and Mimi.  Grandmother was a regal sounding name but she wore it well, without the stuffiness of a queen, with a beautiful, strong dignity.  

Your grandmother Judy, Joyce and I went to Charleston, S.C. in the blue Grand Prix, to visit Grandmother and a cousin of your grandmother Judy's.  I don't remember much about the house, but I was in awe of the guest bedroom.  I'd never slept in a king-sized bed before and I wasn't even aware someone else was sleeping in the bed with me.  

There was a television in there and Joyce and I found a Cheech and Chong movie.  We were dying laughing at it and then our host, the cousin, came in and told us we shouldn't be watching that and she turned it off.  Your mother and I were all "Yes ma'am" to her face, but when she walked out, we made faces at each other then laughed ourselves silly again.

That is something, too, that stands out about your mother, how much she, we, laughed.  

The next day, after the television caper gone wrong, your grandmother Judy allowed us to take the Grand Prix to the beach.  I.  Was.  Stunned.  Freedom!  We put on our bathing suits cut up to there, and we looked good in them.  Would I ever like to have a picture of that!  And somewhere in this crazy world exists several.  

There was a young man on the beach with a nice camera outfit, tripod, all that, and he asked if he could take our picture.  We looked at each other and telepathically agreed.  No, we weren't psychic, it was just a level of communication among close friends we shared.  Your mother ran cross country and I used to run almost daily, so maybe we felt safe.  Maybe we were stupid, but we didn't feel that way that day.  

He took a number of pictures of us standing together, then your mom decided it was time for us to walk on down the beach.  I don't recommend you pose for a stranger with a camera on the beach.  :-)  I'm certain you're too smart to do that, but we did, and thankfully we lived to tell about it.

I marvel that we were only a few years older than you at this time I am recollecting.  Our only objectives were to have fun and go to school.  We didn't have a lot of classes together because I was one grade ahead, but we shared a couple of elective classes, Band and French.  

In French class, we were in a giggly mood, and your mother and I conspired to ask Mrs. Sharron Gandy about the lyrics of a 1975 song called "Lady Marmalade."  Trying to suddenly effect a straight and serious face, your mother raised her hand and inquired what "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?" meant.  Our composure broke, the teacher looked at us--yes us, she knew I was a culprit, too--as if to say, "Really?"  Of course we knew what it meant, but it was shock value we were seeking and it was we who were shocked.  Barely missing a beat, she interpreted, "Do you want to go to bed with me?"  

God bless a teacher who let us learn interactively on our silly level.  On a sweet note, to illustrate your mother's thoughtful side, she asked Mrs. Gandy how to say happy birthday in French.  "Joyeux Anniversaire!"  Your mother had that put on a birthday cake for your grandmother Judy.

When it was discovered the cancer returned to your mother's body, her thoughtful side showed itself again.  Grandmother arranged for her to go to a premier cancer treatment center in Texas, M.D. Anderson.  The experts there said the doctors here had treated the cancer as they would have.  She would very rarely acknowledge aloud that she might die, but she once said to me if she did, she wanted her children to know she did everything she could to live. 

She certainly did.  If cancer could have been beaten by will and determination and prayer, your mother would be alive.  At her funeral, a pastor I love dearly, Lee Barnes, humbly said to the bereaved he had no idea why she died.  The obvious answer was cancer, but there are many times people survive it.  Why Joyce?  Why so young?  And with these little children?!

Still no answers.  

How dare life go on after such a tragic event!  But it does.  

I was tickled to see the picture of the Easter eggs you posted on Facebook.  Your mother would have loved Facebook--somewhere to gather all her friends in one place!  She would have colored eggs with you and carried on many other fun traditions and crafts because she celebrated life, all its occasions.  I believe the immense energy that was her life lived on beyond life as we know it, and specifically I believe she is in Paradise with Jesus.  

Is she aware of the little things you do like coloring Easter eggs?  I don't know for sure, but if she is, I know she is delighted!  I imagine people who knew her look for her in you, and there is a very observable resemblance, but I believe she would not want you to try to be her, but to just be yourself.  

It is a miracle of life going on, though, to see a bit of her in you.