Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Guardian Angel

On Wednesday, January 25, 2012 my Memaw, Joyce Helen Roberts Turner, passed away.  As I sit here and write this post, it is still hard for me to believe that she is no longer with us.  I think in my mind, I never imagined my life without her.  I know that is silly to say but I really did not.  However, in the recent weeks I knew this day was much closer than I ever thought, but again never truly imagined. 

Memaw was the youngest of 11 children.  At the age of 16, she and my Granddaddy ran off and eloped in Mississippi.  I must add that it did take two trips to Mississippi before Memaw actually went through with it.  They then went on to welcome 5 children, 10 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and recently celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary.  Quite an accomplishment in itself but my Memaw was so much more than these milestones, she had a heart of gold.  I know most people say that about their love ones but I honestly do not know a better person in the entire world.  Memaw loved her family.  In her eyes, we could do no wrong.  She was always caring and sacrificing for us.  She had a way to make us all feel so special and like we we're her favorite.  Even though we knew she told the others the exact same thing.  Beyond being an amazing Grandmother, and really the only grandmother I have ever known, she was an incredible example of strength and character.  She also had a wonderful sense of humor.  Not to mention, her laugh was infectious.  She never took herself too seriously.  She loved God, her family, Elvis, Memphis State Tigers Basketball, reading, shopping, gardening, and cooking, her southern cooking always had a way of tasting so much better than my own, or maybe it was that grandmother's touch.  As you may remember, we celebrated her 80th birthday in May.  Oh, to go back a couple of months.

I am not sure if it is small town southern values or maybe this is what happens everywhere but there were people stopping by all day and night dropping off food, drinks, cards, flowers, crosses, or people just stopped by as a reminder that they were thinking of you.  It made this difficult time for our family a little easier knowing that so many people cared.     

The visitation was Saturday evening and it was packed with family, friends, and others lives Memaw had touched.  It was an impressive display of affection for Memaw.  It is often said that a true measure of a person's character is the way they behave when no one is watching. It was apparent that my Memaw walked the walk.  I heard story after story of acts of kindness, gestures of love, and genuine care for others.  As a friend of my Memaw's said to me, "I can not wait to see her in heaven one day. I know she has the most beautiful crown with hundreds of jewels on it."  And I think she is right.  I could not have said it better.

The funeral Sunday was a celebration of her life.  There were flowers and pictures everywhere.  It really was beautiful.  Just as she would have wanted.  She would have loved the flowers, especially the casket spray.  My cousin Wesley did such a beautiful arrangment.  And once again, a true testament to what an amazing person she was, it was standing room only.  There were people everywhere.

But even with so many people letting you know they cared, for me, Sunday was really hard.  It was difficult to say goodbye.  I will miss our talks, our gossip sessions, her advice on everything from cooking to caring for the boys, her laugh, but most of all, Holden and Rylan having the chance to know her and make their own memories with her.  I know she is with us, her view is a little different now, but I know she is with us.  As I have told the boys, she is our Guardian Angel, watching over and protecting us as we make our way in this world. 

And it was only fitting that this was a poem that I read at the end of my speech at the funeral.  It puts into words the way we viewed our Memaw.
Memaw’s Wings
Memaw I wonder
Where do you keep your wings?
Are they hung in your closet?
With the rest of your things?
Do you put them away
And just use them at night
Or give them to someone
To polish up bright.
I know you have wings
For this must be true,
‘cause God always gives
Them to angels just like you.

Memaw was one of a kind! Truly an amazing person.  I can only hope that I can live to be half as good of a person, as she was her entire life.  As our family moves ahead these next days, weeks, months, and years without her, we will cherish her memory and memories with her forever.

May the Lord who gives peace give you peace at all times and in every way. May the Lord be with all of you.  2 Thessalonians 2:16


Amy said...

I'm so sorry for your loss, Liz.
What an incredibly difficult time this must be for you and your entire family.
This really is a beautifully written post. Your love and admiration for your Memaw comes through your words perfectly.
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sarah N. said...

Such a beautiful tribute to your Memaw. She sounds like an amazing lady!

The Gibson Family said...

Oh, Elizabeth- I am crying as I read this post. She was such a beautiful lady and sounds like she was just as beautiful on the inside as well. We are thinking of you during this rough time.

Lauren Allen said...

Oh Elizabeth I am SO sorry for your loss!! Grandmas are very special people..we always seem to see them through"child eyes" no matter how old we get. Your Memaw is a beautiful lady!! and its sounds like she has a beautiful heart!!!xx

Kim Peyton said...

Beautiful. I was crying. Probably should not have read it at lunch at work. I love you. I wish I had taken the time to get my blog up because Memaw would have enjoyed it.

Cameron {The Stimson Chronicles} said...

I know my hormones are running wild, but I am BAWLING reading this, remembering my own grandmothers who have passed and for your Memaw! Elizabeth, your Memaw was a beautiful lady and she has certainly left a legacy with you and your family! My thoughts and prayers are with you. Are you coming to the Pi Phi reunion in April???