This is dedicated to my dear sweet grandmother…
I affectionately called her grandma, but if you truly knew her, she was the grandest mother of them all, Mrs. Mozzie Lee Scott. In fact, she was the most amazing person you could have ever met. I write this post as a tribute to her and her life. You see her birthday is coming up this Saturday, January 24th and I know I won’t be able to write about her without crying. I’m actually typing through an ocean of tears now, but I will get through it. Grandma peacefully departed this life on January 4, 2009, at the age of 98. This weekend she would have been 99. Most would say she lived a good long life and that was definitely true, but I only had her for 30 years and to me, that was not enough! She was a beautiful person inside and out, but beyond that, she was a teacher. She never held court in a classroom per se, but if you entered her home you would not leave without a lesson in tow. My grandmother was a quiet woman and when she spoke, you listened. You knew what she had to say would be important and there was a little something buried between the lines for you. She taught me quite a bit about life and how to handle the ups and downs. She was one of a total of twelve children. She wasn’t the oldest and she wasn’t the youngest, but she endured the passing of all her siblings, her parents, a husband, three children, and countless others. Through it all she was a pillar of strength and handled even the worst of situations with impeccable grace and tremendous courage.
Many family members have their own special memories of my grandmother, but I want to remember my own. She was incredibly special to me and she meant the world to me. When I was a kid, I had the pleasure of spending many summers with her. We would eat vanilla ice cream (her favorite) out of glass mugs and watch the Andy Griffith Show and Hee Haw. She taught me how to shell peas, shuck corn, pick greens, and how to piece together a quilt. That’s right, my grandmother made the most beautiful quilts from fabric scraps a seamstress would give her. She created the masterpieces on an old-fashioned Singer sewing machine. It is well over 100 years old and now serves as a family heirloom. Today it seems half the size it used to be when I was a kid. It was this big, black, iron machine then. Today it is something to admire for its craftsmanship and history. If you were one of the lucky few you received at least one of her quilts. I was one of the very few grandkids who was given three, one for every milestone (birth, adolescence, college). When I embarked on college, my grandmother made me a final quilt. I think it may have been one of her last because shortly thereafter she couldn’t do it anymore. I still have all three and believe me, they have been used and loved! I hope to pass them on to my children someday and tell them about the great-grandmother they didn’t get to meet.
I mentioned going to college and that was a HUGE deal to my grandmother. Education was important to her and she was proud of all of her offspring who pursued higher education. There was a time in my life that I lost focus, lost direction, and lost faith. School wasn’t important anymore and I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. It was my grandmother who believed in me despite all. She was instrumental in me recommitting myself to higher learning. I didn’t want to let anyone in my immediate family down, but most of all my grandma. It was funny because I would call her often, a lot of times I was troubled, and she would say something to me to give me peace. I never burdened her with my problems, but it was as if she knew anyway and said EXACTLY what was needed.
I could list countless things that I will miss about my grandmother, but the conversations is one that really hurts. We used to talk at least twice a week on the phone before she got sick. Every time I would hear her voice I would just feel so peaceful. I can still hear her voice in my head saying “Hello.” I would always say “Hey Grandma” and she instantly knew who I was and say “Hey Tameke, how you doin’ baby. ” She affectionately called me Tameke. Sometimes she would say “Is this you Tameke?” God, I would give anything to hear that again. I struggled with that over the last three years. I couldn’t talk to her like I used to and it came to a point when she didn’t even recognize me. That was the worst of it all. We were tight. It was like losing your best-friend times ten. Only I was losing my biggest cheerleader.
As the saying goes, all good things come to an end. My grandmother’s life was no different, but honestly, I never wanted it to end. Of course, I didn’t want her to suffer, but secretly I told her I would never let her go. I just couldn’t. I felt like if I did, I would be giving up on her. I would never ever do that. I did what most God-fearing people do and that was put it in his hands. I told God that if it were his will, I would accept it and understand. Even in her final days, she was still teaching. A family in turmoil needed to get it together. Family meant the most to her and there we all were coming together for her. Putting differences aside to see her, even if it were short-lived. This beautiful and kind spirit fighting for every breath, trying to hold on, took one last breath, and just like that, she was gone. The grandest mother of them all transitioned to something greater.
I have a chair that belonged to her. I sit in it sometimes and close my eyes. I pretend I’m back in her home that she loved so much on 1335 Pierce Street. If I try hard enough, I can smell her house and picture it in my mind’s eye. I’m sitting in between the front door (on my right) and her curio (on my left). The tv is on and next to the big sofa my grandmother is there sitting in her favorite chair (her back is to the kitchen). She’s wearing her cute white cardigan, hands folded in her lap and she’s staring out the front window. She is there just as plain as day. The best grandmother a woman could ask for, matriarch of the family, queen of all hearts. This is dedicated to the one I love, Mrs. Mozzie Lee Scott.