Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The last dress

Saturday, October 22 started out just like any other Saturday for me. Ole Miss was playing Arkansas in Oxford at 11:21 AM. It was another SEC game in the middle of a terrible season for Ole Miss. I got up early and made my way to the stadium. A few hours later I made my way back home after seeing my team lose again. As terrible as we have played here lately that wasn't really shocking. I thought the rest of the day would be spent just watching football. As soon as we got home my dad told me the family was called in and my grandmother wasn't going to make it very much longer. I knew that she had not been doing very well but was very shocked about hearing this. I guess I should have known that it was coming, but you are never prepared for it when it happens. She had dementia for the longest time which to me is just another word for Alzheimer's. It was my mom's mother and she had made her way to the nursing home. At this point I just got completely quiet and didn't really know what to say. I wanted to go to the nursing home to be there for my mom but at the same time I didn't want to see my grandmother pass away. I believe a big part of that has to do with my accident. I was in the hospital for several months and it's been very hard for me to visit anybody in the same position. I have been to the hospital to visit with family of a friend of mine but I never went into the room. I had so many emotions going on that I felt that I need to write about this to get it out. At the top of my blog entry it says that I will give you a look inside my mind. This is something that will definitely give you a chance to do that.

One of the first immediate emotions that I had was regret. I had several opportunities to go visit my grandmother with my mom and decided not to because she was at the nursing home. She had not been doing too well and I just hate nursing homes. Which is absolutely no excuse. I do vividly remember one of the last times my grandmother came to see me at my house. For the longest time we had to yell everything that we said to her because her hearing had gotten very bad. She also had gotten to the point to where she couldn't see very well at all either. One of the things I remember her telling me was well I can't see you very well or hear you but I still love you. I told her that I loved her too and I could tell that it bothered her that I was paralyzed. Some people don't even have to tell me I can just sense it. At this time she was still living in her trailer in Pontotoc. I wasn't able to get into her house at that time. My regret was not the only emotion I was feeling at the time. I was upset that my grandmother had passed away. I also immediately started to think about my mom. It is very hard to imagine losing your mother, and how you will deal with it. Also at the same time her death also came with a sense of peace and relief for my grandmother. Her Alzheimer's had gotten so bad that she wasn't eating anymore, and her quality of life was very low. At that point, you just don't want to see somebody you love suffer anymore.

Another thing going through my mind was the fact that I no longer had any grandparents. My grandfather on my dad's side died before I was even born. My grandfather on my moms side had also passed away before I was born. My grandmother on my dad's side had moved to Statesboro Georgia which is very close to the East Coast. I was able to see her a few times when I had gotten older before she passed away several years ago. So my grandmother Mildred Duke was my last living grandparent. For most of my life she had lived in the Delta. She always came to visit us , because I really don't remember going to the Delta to visit. I've been trying to remember the name of the small-town that she was living in but can think of it. I remember when she was getting older and she didn't have anybody (family) living close to her in the Delta so she decided to move closer to Pontotoc. I'm not sure if she decided that or if my mom helped to talk her into moving closer to everyone. I remember making the trip to the Delta with my mom in a U-Haul truck to help her move. It is funny to think back on it now because it was almost like an episode of American pickers. We were trying to load as much of the bigger stuff that we could and trying to leave out some stuff that we did not think that she really needed. But some of the things we sometimes look at as junk are other people's treasures. My mom would try to tell me not to worry about something in particular,but my grandmother would come along behind her saying not to forget this ha ha. At the time I didn't respect that as much as I do now. You realize that some people collect stuff over the years and it's hard to get rid of it. But in no way am I saying she was anything compared to a hoarder. Now it is funny because my dad is the same way. I think I also inherited from him and my grandmother. I find myself not wanting to get rid of things because of sentimental value. But we finally got it loaded and the U-Haul was packed tight.

There's really not much to the Delta, but my grandmother loved it out there. Once you get to a certain point it is nothing but flat land and fields as for as you can see. Mosquitoes are big enough to carry you away out there as well ha ha. Now that I think about it she also loved to quilt. I'm guessing that is a great way to pass time in the Delta. We still have some of those that she made for us when we were younger. I wish that I would've been a lot older and been able to spend time with her in the Delta. I would have been more mature and a lot more patient. When you are a kid you always have your mind on so many other things. Which I believe I've always been mature for my age even when I was younger but you don't think about some serious stuff. Just looking back I didn't really get a chance to be as close to my grandmother as I would've liked. Time is really something we should all think about. What are we doing with all of our time? Sometimes in life we get so busy that we fail to spend some quality time with the people that we love the most. I know that someone is probably reading this thinking about how this is a lot of rambling. I just had so many different thoughts going through my head that I wanted to get them all out. I'm sure you've experienced a point whenever you want to write about something but your thoughts get mixed up. Then you have a hard time putting it all in order. I feel like that is the way that life goes sometimes. Every day you wake up with plans to make something happen and you get distracted. It reminds me of the saying life is what happens while you are making plans.

I believe that is the way my grandmother was a lot of her life. She never knew how certain things were going to work out but she just kept moving along. She made a place her home and was always on the move. My mother was born in Arkansas. But when they were younger they moved to Mobile Alabama. She lived there for a portion of her life until they moved to the Pontotoc area. Then my grandmother got remarried again and moved to the Delta. No matter where she lived she was always on the road. I remember her going on a few vacations with us to Florida. We would always stop in Mobile Alabama to visit my uncle William. I guess the main point I'm trying to get across she loved to travel. I just thought of something funny, while I was writing. I remember getting on to the Natchez trace to go somewhere one day and we passed my grandmother with her husband. I can't remember if she even had a cell phone back then or we somehow flagged her down. They had been coming from somewhere in the Delta. My mom asked well were you just going to pass through and not stop by to see anybody. They were headed somewhere to sell something they had been collecting and that's all they had on their mind ha ha. That was something I failed to mention earlier. My grandmother's husband passed away and she was living by herself in the Delta. That was another reason she needed to move closer to family. Once she moved here her health started to deteriorate over time. She had gotten to the point where she couldn't drive anymore. Her car was actually broken down and just sat in the driveway basically so anybody coming along thought there were somebody home. I truly believe when we get to a point to where we are no longer mobile it begins to take a toll. There is something really precious about independence. Especially with someone who was always getting out. In a way you could almost compare home to becoming a prison somewhat metaphorically. Except you're just not always confined their whenever you have someone to get you out. And you also get to a point where home is so familiar it is a safe place to be. My grandmother's vision had gotten bad but she was still able to make her way around her house because she was familiar with it. I truly believe there should be some type of study done to show quality of life after you're not able to drive anymore. You could focus on the different psychological effects. If you really think about it some time sitting around with nothing to do in your house can seem like an eternity. This really gives you something to think about when you're on the go and you may know someone that's not able to get out on their own anymore. I'm not at all trying to say that nobody took her anywhere or anything like that. It is just something really different about being at the mercy of other people to take you anywhere. Which I'm speaking of my situation as well so I understand what it's like. I even think a lot about having the ability to drive again, and how much more I could get out. That's something else I haven't thought about until now. Maybe my job as a police officer always being on the road was appealing to me because I inherited that from my grandmother.

It's amazing how much you can learn about yourself while writing. I've started to realize some things that I've never really thought about before that I've gained from my family. I know by this point someone is questioning the title of this entry. Well let me get to that point. The day after my grandmother passed away my mom was very busy helping with the arrangements. Well one time before she left the house she said she had to go shopping for a dress. She was actually going to get the dress for my grandmother. I just really started to think about the emotions and the thoughts going through your mind while having to do this. Maybe with everything else going on the thought never crossed her mind. Really, the more I think about it the less significant it really becomes. But it is also very important to women on how you think they look. I remember shopping with my ex while she tried on dresses. She always came out and wanted to know what I thought about it. I never understood because I wasn't a fashion expert or anything. But it really did matter to her what my opinion was, regardless. I think the significance of the dress came through even more at the visitation. My grandmother was wearing a light-colored purple buttoned longsleeved dress coat. I realized that my mom also had on a purple dress shirt but not the same style. At that moment, I just began to think about how much my mom means to me. She has been by my side since the day of my accident. It also gave me an eerie feeling for a moment that I don't even want to talk further about. I could also write an entire blog about how special my mom is to me. I plan on doing that one day as well. I have always truly believed that the small things are sometimes the most important in your life. I guess that's why some of the smallest details stood out to me so much.

Once the funeral started they started to play a few songs. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I think everyone knows that song even if they've never stepped foot in a church. I was sitting at the very front right beside my parents. I just stared at the casket with a million thoughts going through my mind. The casket was white with pink roses drawn in on certain parts of it. There was a beautiful set of pink roses on top of the casket. It almost felt like I was struggling for breath. They started to play an old Indian song without any words. I had almost forgotten that my grandmother was part Indian. If you ever met her it was very easy to tell because of her natural tan color that she had. It really stuck out in my mind because I had just seen my grandmother for the last time and she was very pale. It really makes you realize how much more there is to your body. When I was looking it was really not my grandmother but her body that she had left behind. Her soul and her spirit had already left a couple of days ago. She was experiencing something that our human mind has trouble comprehending. I'd like to imagine that she was driving again on her way home to a place that is so amazing and perfect knowing she never had to leave. On the way she could see and hear better than she ever had her entire life. And on the ride there were sites to see that were more beautiful than any sunset in any part of this world. Better than any change of the year whether spring or fall. Even greater than the tallest mountain or the most beautiful ocean view. I also hope that she knows that she has inspired me. I know that she always believed in me. I want to write more. I want to learn a lot more. I also want to prove to not just myself but everyone else there is a great reason that I'm still here today. I want to do everything possible that I can do so that when I see her again one day she can greet me with pride.

I know there was some rambling along the way and a lot of the writing is not in perfect order. But I hope that while you're reading this you're thinking about the people that you cherish in your life today. If you are having some problems within your family over something that is very petty get it fixed today. I am a living testament to the fact that life can be taken away in minutes because not everybody is as lucky as I was. I'm not saying I want you to start thinking about the end of your life or worry about dieng. I want you to think about what your life is like right now. Who is that person that you need to call and tell them you love them. And if your parents or grandparents have passed away then think about the good times that you had with them. You might also realize just how much similarities that you now have with them as well. Even though you always say you won't end up like your parents ha ha. And lastly, I appreciate you taking your time to read my blog entry about my grandmother. I also want to thank you in advance for any comments you may leave on the blog.


  1. Kevin, your attitude, the inspirational way you put words together to make beautiful stories never ceases to amaze me. You are an inspiration to us all and a reminder that everyone is here for a purpose that God has for us; we just have to be patient and let His plan happen. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are such a talented writer!