All I can remember at the wake, is Miss Lorene, staring into the coffin and sobbing. All my dad could do was comfort her and tell her that we would be there for her.
She overcame the tears and sorrow while trying not to look hurt because she had responsibility. She had to be the one grandparent for two kids to turn to. This was a big job for one woman to do, while all the time still caring for these grandkids that aren't blood-related.
In the fall of 1997, my last grandparent died. It wasn't a surprise, but it was devastating for me, because I realized that I didn't have any blood-related grandparents. The only grandparent figure I had in my life was a lady I call "Miss Lorene."
Miss Lorene has been in my life since I was seven. Her marriage to my grandfather in 1987, seemed weird to me. I didn't know what to call her, and I didn't know how to act around her. For all I knew, she could have been some awful child-abusing witch. Before I met her, my mom told me to call her "Miss Lorene." I thought that was a pretty good idea. She came to our house with two stuffed animal bears, one was pink for me, and one blue for my brother, Tyler. They each had a wind-up music box inside. Ever since then, I have gotten to know her better and have come to love her like a grandmother of my own.
When my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Miss Lorene realized she had a big responsibility to deal with. At the time when she decided to put him in a nursing home, she turned to my family. My father and I went down to Mississippi to help her. It was an emotional time for Miss Lorene, but she was strong and carried on. Every day she would visit my grandfather and stay with him for hours. He never remembered who she was or why she was there to see him. And every night she went home all by herself. I wondered why she would love someone who couldn't do the same in return. It was because she cared.
Almost a year after my grandfather was put in the nursing home, he died. Leaving Miss Lorene's house is always sad, but after the funeral it was different. She hugged each one of us and told us that she loved us. After my mom hugged her, Miss Lorene started to cry and told us not to forget about her. I knew then that she really did care about my family and would do anything she could to keep us happy. She then invited us to come visit her anytime, and that she would be there for my brother and me since she was the only grandparent we had. It takes a lot to make me cry, but seeing Miss Lorene standing there with tears streaming down her face made me want to cry and never leave her.
We have visited Miss Lorene, called her, and sent her birthday gifts since then. When a woman gets married later in life, people usually think that she is a "golddigger." Not my grandmother. She lived by her wedding vows, "For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, as long as we both shall live."
Copied word for word from an essay I wrote in Senior English over 10 years ago. I was reminded of this for two reasons; I talked to Miss Lorene tonight, and I did a bit of purging of my belongings today and uncovered this amongst other things.
My Senior English teacher encouraged me to give this to her. At first I didn't want to, but I decided I would when she came to my graduation. After she read it, she started to cry. I hated that I gave it to her once I saw her crying! I caught her several times during her stay reading it in her bedroom. When she returned home, she told my mom that she made a copy, sent it to her 4 kids, and put a copy of it in her lock box at the bank. I guess I made an impression...
After this was written, I became even closer to her because I went to college 1.5 hours from her house. I visited her often those 6 years. That's one of the things I miss about being in Alabama. I don't believe I have seen her since.
We talk pretty regularly, but it would be nice to see her. When I would travel to her house, it was always nice to do laundry, get away from the party scene, go out to eat (since she doesn't like to cook), and catch up with her. She would always take me to Waffle House, Barnhill's, or Oby's to eat.
Once Miss Lorene told my mom that out of all of her grandchildren (which is has a LOT), that she truly believed that me and one other girl were the only ones that loved her. This really touched me.