My grandma died this morning. She was the best square dancing, salmon croquette making, 7UP cake baking, silver Afroed beauty I ever knew. She lived a life that taught me to create adventure rather than waiting to happen upon it.
Lennye was the flyest older woman I ever met, face beat to the gods on a Tuesday afternoon just ’cause. But she always made my naked face feel beautiful. She had these slender golden hands, soft but strong, that smelled faintly of flowers. She was a Mary Kay lady down to the petal pink polish on her manicured toes.
If I ever thought she would take any mess, she could shut you down with a honey-coated voice undergirded with steel. That was the Ala-d@#%*-bama in her, red clay forged under the heat of determination. She taught in Detroit schools for 30 years and raised my father alone as a World War II widow. Brassy Southern lady in a town driven by cold and metal frames; they didn’t stand a chance.
God made some flowers to wilt when the sun dims, and others to spread their petals skyward, daring the darkness to swallow them. Nothing faded my grandmother. Not the specter of war, not the solitude of single motherhood, and not the insidious shaking of Parkinson’s Disease. Through the veil of my tears, I see her as she ever was: a woman who loved as fiercely as she lived.
Go gently, Grandma Lennye, slumber in the arms of God. I love you.