and i want to belatedly say happy birthday to my Momma Lucy, my GRANDmother, whose birthday was on April 7...she would have been 103 years young...she departed this life for her disembodied one in Jan. 2005...she stills mean the world to me, and on that day, the day she was born, i sat down to write these words to honor her:
|My beautiful GRANDmother|
Happy birthday Momma Lucy!
I miss you. Miss the calls I used to make to you and receive from you. Miss your peach cobbler, sweet potato pies, carmel cakes...the tasty greens you used to cook. Your wisdom, the way you loved and took care of your family...no one has taken as much care since.
I miss the way you protected your sister Ruth from the physical abuse of her husband. I recall your saying that you didn't need a man to be the woman you were--strong, confident, unafraid to go it alone, and not taking shit from no one, not even a man. a GRAND womanist.
I miss your laughter, your "who dat?" (which drove Momma so crazy--I used to wonder why she just couldn't let you be you, and how futile it was to try and change you).
I miss the way you'd respond with "unh-huh" whenever I'd end our calls with "I love you." I remember so many GRAND things about you.
|Momma Lucy and Momma in the kitchen|
I remember the time you threw a jar of apricot (or was it peach?) jelly at Uncle Shep when he'd been particularly evil to your baby sister, Ruth. How, for many years after, the stain from the jam remained on the wall of the hallway between the second and first floors. I always looked at that stain with such pride, knowing that it was a mark of your dedication and commitment to your family. It was a mark of a small but mighty woman standing up to a tall and skinny coward.
I loved the way you used to say that Pop (my grandfather) was in the "gorage" (garage), the way you called him "Johnson"and how you nagged him so...I'd feel so sorry for Pop when you did that, but it brings such a big smile to my face, and I'd realized that when I've done it, your spirit was near. i'm happy to have such precious memories of you.
I cherish the photo of you and I at the meat market. You are holding my hand and looking quite serious while I smile, happy to be in such good hands.
I love the way you and Pop took great care of Zeke. I always knew he was deeply loved by you. It was because I was still a teenager, inexperienced in the ways of parenting that you suggested my leaving Zeke in your care when I decided to leave home for the West Coast. I know that my choice to leave with my baby boy broke you and Pop's heart, and looking back on it, it hurts that I brought such sadness to you both. I know that you could have provided for him much more than I could at the time, but I couldn't bear to part without my one and only manchild. I knew that I would never have gotten this far without him. I hope you understand that now, Momma Lucy. I hope that you have forgiven me. And I was so happy to be able to send him home each summer. I know you and Pop anticipated his arrival each June as much as Zeke looked forward to being home with his family.
I wish that my grandson Isaiah could have met you. He arrived months after your divine departure. You would have been as crazy about him as you were of his father. I can see the broad grin on your face right now. I miss that grin so much!
I remember, fondly, how you used to peek out the front living room window, or the small, diamond-shaped window of your front door whenever someone would come by, especially if it were a guy coming to see me. I recall so vividly your using your key to enter the back door to our apartment in the building you and Pop bought for our family--the community that was created from that, good or bad--you'd want a first-hand look at who the hell was that "boy" come to see me. You let it be known in your own fearless way that YOU were the matriarch of our family. I miss that fearlessness, your fierceness, your work hard, love harder way of being. Your no nonsense-ness. You were the bomb, Momma Lucy!
Those hats you wore to church every Sunday that brought such admiration. No one had a better crown of glory than you, girl.
If i didn't demonstrate or say this enough (and shame on me), I love and appreciate you so much my dear, sweet, phenomenal GRANDmother.
I invoke your spirit right now as I write this love letter to you. I ask for your continued presence and guidance in my life. I know that you're looking out for me, still. I ask for your strength and courage as I face what may be one of the toughest times of my life. Please wrap me in your love, speak on my behalf that the Universe protects me and our family. We need it.
I want to thank you over and over for being the ancestral spirit you are. For being my amazingly beautiful GRANDmother!
Happy Birthday, Momma Lucy! May you continue to rest in your glorious power. May I continue to hold such fond and pleasant memories of you and of the legacy you left us.
Your loving and grateful GRANDdaughter.