My grandma passed away two weeks ago. I didn’t have a lot of time to reflect about it until now. I walked into her house a few days after flying back to Maryland and it was strange. I almost expected to still see her sitting at the kitchen table with the news on TV and half-asleep.
Last Sunday, I went to a music appreciate service in honor of her at her church in downtown DC. I almost cried a couple times because it was beautifully done, but also, it reminded me of her. She always loved gospel choir music and I could imagine her swaying and saying, “mmm!” at different parts. Her favorite color was purple and the men in the choir wore purple ties, and the program cover was printed in purple, black and white.
I wasn’t able to make her funeral unfortunately, despite trying to work something out with the cheap flights agent every day since I found out. But I was able to send my thoughts via video to be played at the service and people told me later how beautiful a tribute it was. She was 94 years old, lived in Washington, D.C. her whole life. She served her church until she didn’t have the strength to do it anymore and encouraged musical arts in young African American people in the area leading the Hammond Institute of Music started by her mother years ago. She touched a lot of lives and held our family up in many ways I kind of knew, but didn’t really grasp until she wasn’t there.
Someone at church told me she would always talk about me with the biggest smile on her face. The last words she said to me were “You’re a good girl.” I had hoped I would see her alive one more time, but she wouldn’t have wanted me to see her suffering at the end. She was ready to go, and like always, she didn’t waste time.
I’ll miss her a lot, but the values she taught me and the memories I have of her “no-nonsense” approach to life will stick with me. Love you, grandma.