Happy Grandparents Day

Grandparents Day isn’t something we celebrate regularly here. But this year I decided to make a post in memory of my grandmother, Nanny, the only person I knew as a mother figure. The picture below is the only picture I have of me and her together.

My parents divorced when I was about 3years old, and since my dad was in the Air Force and he got custody of me he didn’t want me to have to change schools a lot if he got transfered to a different base or shipped overseas. While he was with my mom, he was overseas a lot and my mom and I stayed with Nanny, so when the divorce rolled around, the only other person other than my mom that I was attached to was Nanny. So that was the person he give legal guardianship to while he was in the Air Force. I lived with Nanny, I slept with her, I was rarely ever away from her except when Dad would take me somewhere like camping or Disney World for vacations. I was spoiled, I was loved, and I was happy.

The worst Summer of my life was in 1995 (I had just turned 10 that April), my cousin come and took Nanny to the doctor for a regular checkup. The doctor ended up sending her to the hospital because she had a ton of fluid build-up in her feet. She ended up getting so bad they sent her to UVA (a high end hospital about an hour away) I stayed with my cousin who was like a sister to me, she had just had her 1st baby and I was enjoying spending time with them…little did I know my life would forever change soon. My biological grandmother come down (Nanny’s sister, I called her Mamaw…at this point I had no clue she was really my actual grandmother) so I stayed with her at Nanny’s house.

When Dad got the news Nanny was really sick, he took emergency leave and come up. He took me to the hospital to see her…she was hooked up to wires and such. She didn’t remember me at first, I cried as I struggled through the wires to give her a hug. The last thing I remember of my Nanny, her barely remembering me. But I did get a final hug and kiss, neither me or Dad had any clue that would be the last time we’d see her.

One day while Mamaw and I were watching tv, the phone rang…Mamaw went and answered it…after a little while I got up to go find her…she was walking through the kitchen as I got to the other door, she had a dish towel in her hand. I was then told that Nanny had passed away. I was numb…I didn’t know how to react to it…I had never dealt with a death. That night we pulled my mattress into the living room where Mamaw was sleeping on the couch and I slept next to her, I looked through the kitchen and to this day I swear I saw Nanny at the other end of the kitchen, her spirit was there, I saw it!

The burial is what broke me, I stood in the back with the rest of the grandkids, I saw my mother for the first time in months and I could care less. I was next to my cousin who had just had the baby, the pastor as he was saying the final prayer looked at me and I remember as if it was just yesterday he said “and please, keep this little girl in your thoughts. She has lost someone very important to her” it was then I finally broke down and just cried. I was never the same after that.

I turned into an evil child, I felt like I had nothing left. The most important female figure in my life was gone. I didn’t stay evil lol. I went on with my life, lived with my dad’s sister for awhile, lived with my mom for awhile (that was a huge mistake!) lived with one of her sisters for awhile, until I finally was sent to live with my Dad (in 1998), the only stable thing in my entire life since Nanny had passed away. My life turned around for the good then.

But Nanny’s influence on my life wouldn’t come to me until 2004, when I found out I was pregnant. I had lived with my biological mother, and reaized she was the worst mother in the world. I promised my unborn child that I would NEVER become my mother, and I would raise him/her like Nanny raised me for those 10 years (my mother was at her house most of the time when I was younger and my dad was overseas, my mom ran around and Nanny had me…so I consider her to have raised me from the begining) That unborn baby was Jeffery…and I stick to that promise everyday.

Shortly after Jeffery was born, I took him up to the hill where Nanny is burried. I told him that that wold be the greatest woman he would never get to meet in this lifetime. I took him up there a few times, once he was starting to crawl and pull up, he went straight for her headstone and put his hand there…it was like he knew. I’ve also taken Jaylin up there…lordy Nanny would love Jaylin to death…hell she would love all of my kids.
I sometimes go up there because its quiet, its ontop of a hill that you can see most of the valley from, I go there to think, to ask her advice for things I’m dealing with. I know she’s there when I can feel a gentle breeze through my hair, and a sudden sense of calmness. I know she has never left me, I feel her presence everywhere I go. I’ve felt her rub my arm as I’m laying in bed. Yes you can call me crazy, but I honestly believe in spirits walking among us.

So today, I say Thank You to Nanny, she raised me to be a great mother. I loved her then, and I still love her now, there’s not a day goes by that I don’t think about her. It’s been 14 years since she passed away, and the pain hasn’t really eased much at all. The tattoo I got yesterday has her birthday, her name Grace L. Eaton and her date of death under the monkey, the monkey is sitting on a lily which was her favorite flower…she’ll always be with me.
Nanny, I love you, I miss you, I wish you were still here! The picture above was taken March of 1990.
About Jackie

Jackie is a stay at home mom to five wonderful children, 4 boys and a girl ages from infant to 10 years old. Her life is anything but calm, most days it's pure mayhem. You can follow her on twitter @monkey_mayhem
Jackie Staples