(The following is a reposted blog from five years ago when my Grandmother died. It seemed appropriate to re-visit the sentiments now, five years later. Also, some of my family is up visiting from Kentucky for a couple of days this week - double reason to not be on the computer + be mushy.)
I (Layne) am on my way to Kentucky again. We buried my maternal grandfather in March and now my paternal grandmother has gone to her final Peace Place.
Another funeral, another goodbye. Another salute to a life that mattered.
To be honest, it's been a crazy ride with Grandmother. One days last spring she was given "24 hour to live." Her sons came in to say their goodbyes...and 12 months later, she was still breathing strong. My grandmother, to put it mildly, was a strong woman. (My dad seems to think this gene made it's way into my blood. Jonathan, what do you think?)
Her name was Manie Beckner Greene. I got more than her strength, I got the name too. When I was younger, I must admit, I had no taste for this "Beckner" business; but in my adulthood, I cling to this moniker with a ferocity that sometimes amuses even me. I own it, I proclaim it-because there are some things that matter, some inheritances we should flaunt for the world to see.
Two of my cousins are picking me up from the airport today. I don't know how it happened, but I haven't seen them in years. Something insane like 15 years. Jonathan asked me with concern and doubt in voice how I will recognize them.
I just will.
I'm sure there is some mirrored nose or expression in their faces I will have seen in my own.
We LOVE our family.
We grew up close to them (on both sides) and are thankful for these people of humble greatness we've gotten to know and learn from all these years. We owe them so much, they have given us so much.
(So to our aunts, uncles, parents and grandparents-because we can never say it enough-Thank You.)
Sometimes my dad and I fight-we don't understand each other, we miscommunicate. I am very GIRL in how I approach situations; he is all Man. But I love my dad; he's supposed to come live with Jono and I when he gets old, and I'm excited to live in the same space with him again.
My dad went to visit and take care of his mom multiple times a week for the past couple of decades. It is a level of dedication I have rarely known. Even when she didn't know him, didn't remember his visit seconds after he left her side, he went. Weeks in and weeks out. He was often her only visitor.
My dad Loved his mom.
I respect my dad for how he's honored his mom all these years. It has helped me understand him and his heart like little else has.
I'm not excited to cry beside him for the next couple of days...but I'm glad we get to mourn my Grandmother, to rejoice in her life together. That, after all, is what it means to be a family.