Sunday, June 16, 2013

"Life is short ... even in it's longest days"...--John Cougar Mellencamp


After Granny's service I had Aunt Juanita, all of my siblings and their children in my house on June 14th. I didn’t take one picture. I had all of my children and their children in my house on the 15th. I took a few pictures of Meg and her newest niece. I don’t think I have ever felt like not taking photos. It was good to see my children and my grandchildren though. It gives me hope and a future.

I took George with me to pick up Granny’s belongings from Bluegrass Care and Rehab last night. The room was empty, her belongings packed and stored in the closet. I do not ever want to go back there again. I pray I never get dispatched there. I feel for the very few employed there that have a heart. I feel for the elderly that depend on this staff.

Walking to the creek and back feels like I’m trudging through mud.

I took Aunt Juanita some corn salad this afternoon. I had made it for my family the day before. I was so worried she might not like it…that she might be napping when I got there…that she might just be wanting her space. But when George and I got there she was standing at the kitchen sink and turned toward the door as she saw me walking up and said, “Why, there you are!” And again, I smile and this time when I do I don’t feel guilty like I have been when I smile. I give her the potato salad, ham and my corn salad. I take her trash out. She chats with George while she warms up a cup of coffee in the microwave…at 160 secs…”cause she likes it hot.” She wants to try the salad and does. And becomes so enthralled with it, she eats and eats and forgets about the milk and crackers she was getting ready to have when we drove up. She looked at me as she was enjoying every bite and said, “You make this again, you bring me some more.” She talked with us about when Granny lived with her before going to the nursing home. How she cooked good for Granny. How Granny liked to snack. And she was happy as she told us all about Granny’s appetite all the while devouring the corn salad.

I go through the day thinking I have to hurry up what I’m doing so I can go check on Granny.

It’s difficult to look at the photos I took of Granny in her last days.

I long to have captured moments like the one after the service when Aunt Juanita asked Emily to come to her and then lovingly explained that Granny went to heaven to be with Jesus and is no longer in pain.

I don’t have Granny’s laundry to keep up anymore.

I placed her two quilts on both couches and her butterfly throw on the chair…and my living room looks like a cozy Granny room.

I’ve gotten caught up in thinking about Granny’s age. 90 years old…that’s another lifetime for me. I just turned 48…

I have memories to make with my grandchildren…and hopefully, I can inspire them as I have come to be inspired by Granny.

Grieving doesn’t get easier. You perhaps just get used to it being a part of your day.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Celebrating our Granny....Georgia Virgina Haggard

On June the 11th, the good Lord looked down upon His child, Georgia Virginia Haggard, heard her cries of pain and gave her rest. She needed this rest you see because of years and years of giving and doing…of ministering to those in need…of ignoring her needs so she could provide for others. I believe He carried her home, welcoming her and proclaiming, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

I want to share with you the kind of strength and love my Granny displayed by sharing some of the many endeavors she embarked upon. It was after her death that each piece came together revealing a quilt that truly covers the realness of Georgia Virginia Haggard.

The quilt began when she married at fourteen and had her first child at fifteen. She went on to have two more children. One who would be very ill in her childhood because of rheumatic fever, another that was deployed to Vietnam. The giving wouldn’t stop with the child raising years for she was called upon to  provide again for her adult son who suffered such in a vehicle accident that it rendered him dependent. She provided and cared for him from 1975 to 1994. Even when she could not care for him full time, she picked him up from the Stewart Home in Frankfort  for holidays and weekend visits. She would later care for period of time for her adult daughter who was diagnosed with kidney cancer. And perhaps the most loving giving sacrifice that truly shows her heart was how she took her own mother into her home for 17 years so her mother would not have to go to a nursing home. Her family was her joy. Her obligation to her family did not waver. All of her grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren have been touched by her giving soul, her precious smile, her relationship with God. There is no doubt she blanketed them in times of trouble disregarding her needs and giving beyond measure.

Her tenacious spirit was not just with her family. She and her sister, Juanita Carter would visit the shut- ins and those in nursing homes where church members were residents every Tuesday. They would take them pumpkin pie, bananas and goodies. They would send cards and notes. They visited nursing homes in town and in Lancaster, Harrodsburg, Nicholasville and Georgetown. Aides at the homes would give them names of residents that did not have visitors and ask them to take them under their wing. It was on January 21st of 1990 Wallace York of Ashland Avenue Baptist Church honored them as the Barnabees—daughters of encouragement for their ministry to the shut-ins and the nursing homes.

Granny developed friendships with people everywhere she went… in McDonalds, with Marietta, her hairdresser of 25 years, with Pat, a housecleaner/yard keeper/genuine friend for 13 years. Her neighbors knew and loved her. Even the teen children across the street would seek counsel from Granny.

She had presence… and the people around her respected her. She worked successfully at FW Woolworths and at a drug store that is no longer on Maxwell and Limestone. She was a supervisor at Irving Air Chute selling Avon as a second income. Juanita talks of how the district manager at the Irving Air Chute factory on inspections would ask Granny if she would jump using one of her parachutes. And she would reply emphatically, “Yes!” She was that confident in the work of those she supervised. Not only was she successful in her supervisory position in the factory but also quite successful in the sales of Avon. She received many awards and accommodations for her sales. Her sincere love for people no doubt aided with her success in this role.

Now Granny didn’t get her driver’s license until she was 50. Once she did, there was no stopping her. She drove I believe until she was 88. And oh, the places they did go. Their first trip was to Virginia to see family. They made five or six trips to Daytona Beach, to visit family, to Gatlinburg TN driving in the mountains to country rides as frequently as they could. It was like a trinity, my Granny, her Sis and the car. They would pack coolers of food and just couldn’t wait till the time to stop and get into them. When it came time for Granny to stop driving, I believe a piece of her soul was taken.

I wonder if somewhere on the way to Daytona Beach, in a little bar and grill if there is still an irregular parachute that the owner on one of their trips asked Granny to bring…and she did next trip…and on other trips she would stop in and connect and find her parachute was still being used as a canopy…

Granny had talents …at making quilts, at painting ceramics, growing flowers, and bowling…for some of her talents she recieved trophies for others they became heirlooms.

She rocked all of her children and passed her rocker on down to my mother who passed it onto Scarlet.

The heritage she passed on is priceless…her heart was gold…her love for God was strong…

And I learned from her…so much about her and myself these past months…And I miss her so…

The night Granny passed I went to her sister and made sure she was okay…and I felt a piece of Granny was still here. The day after Granny’s last breathe I went again to see her Sis…and again the heart wrenching pain I felt eased a bit while sitting and listening to Aunt Juanita talk about her little sister. They were truly bonded…nothing could separate them. Granny helped Aunt Juanita through so many surgeries. They were the Golden Girls to me…because they were golden to each other. Granny and Aunt Juanita were a team. Their travels were together. Their stories include each other. The hearts melded together. In the final days, Granny’s pain was Aunt Juanita’s pain. And I watched as Aunt Juanita wanted to take it from Granny. I watched as she petted on her little sis encouraging her. And I am inspired to make certain my sisters and I have just a piece of what they had together, for just a piece of what Granny and Aunt Juanita had would create a wave of care that could cover us till the end of our lives.

Aunt Juanita loved her sister very much…the closeness they shared closed each day. And every night as her sister lays her head down to rest, I’m certain, Granny’s nightly conversation with her will replay in her mind:

“I’m going to bed now, Sis.”


“I love you.”

“God Bless you!”