Ma.

You were the one who taught me how to read and write.
You’re my mother’s mother’s mother.
You didn’t do everything right by any means. Nobody does everything right.
The way I knew you though was different. And the things I choose to remember, well…they’re the things I want to pass on.
Your house was home whether any of us liked it or not. I grew up there. I learned my first lessons about most things there. And spent my summer’s there.
Your house is where everyone gathered each Saturday after church like clockwork. And each holiday, it was guaranteed to be at your dining table.
I remember standing in the kitchen smelling the food on the stove and listening to the laughter and chatter. Four generations of women in one room laughing and cooking. Sometimes the laughter was so hard it turned into crying.
I remember how we didn’t have cable and my sister and I would watch PBS religiously in the den while the news played round the clock in the kitchen.
I remember homemade pound cake and southern greens and cornbread ALWAYS in the fridge.
I learned how to plant and maintain a garden. I know what good tomatoes and green beans should taste like.
I know that, when baking things, to always beat the batter by hand because electric beaters change the taste.
I also know to keep vanilla extract in my cupboard.
I know what it is to pick out the perfect cards because the ones you bought always fit the bill for whoever they were intended for.
I know to always find room in the house for family members and close friends if they need it.
Mother to daughter daily phone conversations are still kept up traditionally.
I know how important education is since you and Daddy were both teachers.
I know to say “whoever and I” not “me and whoever”.
Slippers have a distinct sound on the carpet and yours had no exception.
Politics are important and being well versed is as well, this I know.
Women ARE strong. You raised 3 and helped raise me.
You fought cancer and multiple strokes and still asked me about my day each day.
You forgot most everything else and still cheered when I closed on my house.
You knew I belonged in medicine since I was four and never let me forget it.
Whenever we found a bell in a new place, we tried to get it for you.
I know Southern tradition.
We inherited your trait for going against the grid, breaking barriers, and challenging stereotypes. You beat out all the boys in your class for that scholarship.
You helped me name my first teddy bear. He’s sitting on my nightstand.
You worked your ass off to make sure we were taken care of during your life and even after.

There were good times and there were bad.
But these are the things that stick out to me. At least at this moment.

I love you. I’m going to miss you terribly. I’ll never forget you and I promised you that days ago.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound
that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost but now am found
Was blind, but now I see

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