‘And you see me lookin’ up, ’cause you know she’s looking down right now.’ #RIP #GmaMaxine
We are returning to you a very special person today. My Gma, Maxine, decided she was ready to pay you a visit. Now we both know that she does things her own way, so I wanted to reach out to talk to you and also ask you a few questions, to make sure you had everything prepared for our feisty little friend.
First, please make sure you’ve got plenty of playing cards, as her Pokeno and Gin Rummy game are very strong. She’ll probably want to play with the other angels, but give them strength and patience, Lord, as I don’t imagine her ability to talk ish will diminish upon entering the pearly gates and I don’t want her to upset them, Father. It’s also been put on my heart, God, to ask you if the waters of the river of life that you spoke of in Revelations have gambling boats. Gma loved “the boat,” so she may be asking about that, too, when she gets there. Make sure the dealers always cut the deck.
I’m going to miss her so much God, and I thank you for the time, both given and borrowed, that you allowed her to be a blessing to us here on Earth. Just for the sake of safety, though, I wanted to know if the roads paved with gold have speed limits. I know it seems like such a silly thing to ask, but Maxine has a lead foot Lord, and if you’ve got even one Dollar Store or Famous-Barr up there in that heavenly space, she will find it and get there going 80 or 90. And please remove all the CB radios from her path Father, to remove the temptation of raising hell on the heavenly airwaves, Lord.
Another silly question God, and I’m sorry to waste your time with such secular issues, but is there some kind of divine air freshener in your holy presence God? The only thing my grandmother loved more than a good fart joke is an actual fart, and I don’t want the lilies of your heavenly fields to wilt just so she can have a good laugh.
Now, Gma spent a lot of time here giving back to her community, doing community service, working for the church, and helping people less fortunate than herself, so I know you’re going to keep her busy. I was wondering though, if you could let her stop by every now and then. So she can keep an eye over us and watch her grandchildren and great grandchildren grow. We’re still down here dealing with her being gone so her presence would be quite a welcome comfort right now.
I won’t be selfish though, because I know she’s yours now, and I’m a bit jealous because she is going to make you laugh! She had a knack for making an entire room bust out into a deep healthy laugh. The kind of laugh that healed all your hurts. She’s a bit of a prankster too. So much so that in her last moments, I still don’t know if her quietly whispering “the light…the light..” was you, God, or if she was just messing with me and Syl in one last joke.
And God, I’d like to ask for something for me now, if that’s alright. Bring me peace. She was my bestie, Lord. She understood me in a way that not many people did, and I think it was because she saw a lot of herself in me, from her feisty nature to her self-proclaimed disdain for “getting up early in the morning or working late at night” even after being offered many jobs (sound familiar?!).
Finally, thank you so very much for allowing me to be there to see her take her last breath, Lord– it was painful but beautiful and I will cherish that moment I shared with her forever.
I wanted to take a second to thank y’all for your support, prayers and love over the years. I had 2 great days with Gma when I got to STL and then her condition quickly changed and things went downhill. She had a seizure on Friday late morning and became unresponsive. My parents, sister and I rushed to the hospital to meet the ambulance. It was all very surreal. She remained unresponsive for hours. My parents went to eat lunch and my sister, Syl, and I stayed behind. Almost immediately, Gma opened her eyes, smiled at us and said my name. She went on to respond ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to our joyful inquiries and she let us know that she was not in pain and smiled from ear to ear when I shared again about Syl’s pending nuptials. It was an AMAZING 10 minutes. Then she looked past us and began saying, ‘the light’. Syl and I both kinda assumed what she was talking about but instead began asking questions like, ‘are the lights in the room too bright? Want us to turn them off?’ But she kept saying, ‘no… no… the light… the light-light’. She said it like 20 times and then had another seizure while I held her face in my hands. Her eyes were wide open and while she appeared to be looking straight into mine, I could tell that she was looking through me. She closed her eyes and wouldn’t open them again.
We chose to keep her comfortable (due to the plethora of diagnoses that ranged from pneumonia to kidney failure) and the entire family, all 15 of us gathered at the hospital in the tiny little room to keep her company. At about 11 pm, everyone dispersed and Dr. Daddy took me to my parents home in Ferguson. I bantu knotted my straightened hair, put on my sweats and hopped in the bed when my fingers almost involuntarily dialed my dad (who was still at the hospital with my cousin, Nick). I asked how she was doing and he told me there was no change and she was resting comfortably. He also said that due to our large family, they moved her to a huge room and put in a second bed if anyone wanted to spend the night. HYFR! I packed up my computer, phone and charger, heating pad (for my feets) and toiletries and called an uber (there are only 2 in STL…). After a short trip to the hospital, I relieved my dad and Nick and settled in to the bed right next to my snoring Grandma. It was now midnight on Saturday morning. It felt like old times. I was in and out of sleep all night and at about 4:30 a.m., I heard her breathing pattern change— very labored. I listened closely as I prayed and meditated– and as I heard her breathing slow, I got out of my bed and got into hers. I kissed her and rubbed her head and told her thank you and how much I love her and she took her last breath at 5:51 a.m. I called the nurses in to confirm her transition and then called my dad who called the rest of the family. They came up to the hospital an hour later and we prayed and cried and laughed and sent her off right.
I’m crying as I write this… she’s gone y’all… but I’m alright. I know she’s here, I can feel her. She waited for me to come home and I will be forever grateful.
Thanks again for listening,