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Paternal Grandma's Keeper

My Grandmother was an old fashioned Southern Farm girl. She was taught at the age of 8 years old that you had the housecleaning responsibilities, ironing, doing laundry, dusting, sweeping and cooking.

To her dismay; she judged my Mother on her lack of domestic sensibilities. She had not approved of the marriage of my father/ her son with my Mother. In fact, she didn't know anything about the Philippines and thought it was part of Africa.

My Grandma and I had a history together. She was in need of companionship after Grandpa died. She needed someone to clean her house and she would take me to my dermatologist appointments from childhood eczema. I would at times; clean her oven and refrigerator and sweep her porch.

Grandma was an excellent seamstress who sewed dresses for me on picture days in an hour, crocheted sweaters for me and made afghan blankets. She also had experience in stitchery and making homemade candies and cobblers. She was also an antique doll restorer and created new clothing for the dolls.

She was an old-fashioned woman who had me disciplined if I climbed trees as that was for boys and would buy me hair products to curl my hair or braid for picture day. She would take me to see a couple that were old time friends that were caretakers of a mansion far away where there were citrus orchards.

Every week, I called to check on her at the same time. She was in her 70s and at times called very lonely to my Dad. He would go over and visit and then made Sundays the day she would have fried chicken or meatloaf or pot roast and made the cobblers. We would help with the sides and watch "The Carol Burnett Show" and "The Lawrence Welk Show."

One day I called her and she didn't answer. I waited another hour and called her and she didn't answer. I told my Mother and she dismissed it. I then called the next day and she didn't answer and called again and told my Mother...again she thought I was over-reacting. The 3rd day I called again and this time my Dad was home and told him that I have been calling Grandma for 3 days and she doesn't answer and something is wrong. He looked at me and raced off in his car.

He found her laying on the living room floor suffered from a stroke. The doctor said he was very lucky that if he waited one more day; she would be dead. She took speech therapy and needed a caregiver which both parents worked and so the oldest retired brother came to visit. He didn't think much of us and took his mother.

Grandma cried at the airport apologizing about the hard times she gave my Mom and Mom accepted and told her it was okay and cried too. I told my Grandma see you soon.

A year passed; I was in high school choir and we were taking a break from rehearsal as it was the first time the drama and choir teamed up to do the play "South Pacific" and I was given 1940s dance outfits from my other Grandmother from my Mom's side of family. I heard at break time her voice. She told me: "I have died now and I am okay and don't worry." I knew it couldn't be acceptable to not cry for my parents from the last time I was happy when my sister died in reaching Heaven's home when I was 3/4 as she was a baby misdiagnosed with a lung deficiency on the plane and lost her breath. I didn't know that when you grow up death is not a welcome sign of going home but a painful loss of the physical body. Both my Dad and myself thought that after you left your body; you were at eternal peace and home.

I walked in the door and then my Dad wasn't able to say the words to me. He knew how much time I spent with his mom/ Grandma. He asked my mother to tell me. I knew and said, "Grandma died." I ran to my room to cry and then calmed down. After all, it was the real home we all return to in peace, love, healing and light. I was her Keeper.


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