Mema (with thanks to JF)

I have a friend in California I’ve never met. He writes pretty regularly. I met him through a customer service job I left in 1999. His grandmother died this week and I wrote him. I want to share that with you now.

I remember when my grandmother died in 2000 (Is that right?). She was a second mother to me. I wasn’t working much, so I drove to Texas to help my mother. I spent 10 days in my grandmother’s home, getting it ready for my mother to take care of her possessions, and eventually, move into Mema’s home.

The house was quiet. Everything was exactly as I remembered it from a visit a few months earlier, the last time I saw Mema alive. I started the task my mother asked of me, just pulling everything out of drawers and closets and arranging it so she could go through it. But just as I was beginning, I remembered that I would never ever see her home this way again. My mother would move in. She would remodel and update it. Change the carpet, change the kitchen cabinets, repair the bathroom sink.

With a now or never kind of feeling, I got a camera and took pictures of every room from many angles. I got copies made and sent a set to every member of the family. Of course, I still have them. And when I look at those pictures, I can almost smell Mema’s home the way it was for the 60 years she lived there. She was 93 when she died, a year older than we thought she was. It turns out she always lied about her age by one year, so that it would sound like she was younger than her husband, rather than older by that one year.

May your memories of your grandmother be rich and nourishing as mine are.




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