Tuesday, March 10, 2009


In memory of my grandmother, Vyrtes, November 30, 1920 to March 8, 2009.

One of my earliest memories is of running around Grandmother's house wiggling my fingers with long shoots of aloe taped to the tips. I was curious as to what was on top of the stove, and I put my hand on a hot eye. I don't remember what I was after or even what it felt like. All I remember is that Grandmother took care of me.

I remember sitting at her green Formica kitchen table in the house on South Capitol Parkway, eating fresh cherry tomatoes so sweet I couldn't get enough. She warned me that biting into them the way I was might lead to disastrous results. I didn't listen and wound up with juice and seeds dribbling down my chin and all over my shirt and the table. She just laughed, as she did so well, and cleaned me up while so I could snack on more of those wonderful tomatoes.

Grandmother had high standards. She expected you to be honest, do your best, and act right. She was such a lovely woman, with silky blond curls, beautiful blue eyes, porcelain skin and an infectious smile. She was full of love and trust and devotion.

She was Sister to eleven, Mother to six, Grandmother to twelve, Great-Grandmother to eleven, even Great-Great Grandmother to one, plus more by marriage or circumstance, Grandmother loved her family. You could see her face light up and a big smile appear the moment we bounded up the steps or opened her door. I believe some of her favorite times were at the family reunions in Highland Home where she could be surrounded by the family she loved so well. She always thanked us for visiting and shared hugs and kisses and sweet treats or little tokens to show her appreciation for coming to help her or just to sit and talk with her. Even after her words left her, during those last few months, she would glow at the sight of Daddy. I was able to visit her several weeks ago, and hold her delicate hand while she stared at him lovingly. She was still wearing one of the silvery rings that we had used to decorate poems at my wedding.

I remember her laughter. Not the jokes or stories, but laughter and her smile. I remember kisses and hugs and "I love you"s. If I listen closely, I can almost hear her voice telling me of the old ways, how to treat any ailment, how the world was different when she was a little girl, how they made almost everything from scratch. I remember her telling me with pride what a lady her mother was. I remember her devotion to Granddaddy. I remember her trusting nature and loving spirit. Mostly, I remember her. One day, I hope to proudly tell my children and grandchildren what a lady my grandmother was.

Memories in the Heart

Feel no guilt in laughter, she knows how much you care
Feel no sorrow in a smile that she’s not here to share
You cannot grieve forever, she would not want you to
She’d hope that you can carry on, the way you always do
So talk about the good times and the ways you showed you cared
The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared
Let memories surround you.

A word someone may say
Will suddenly recapture a time, an hour, a day
That brings her back as clearly as though she were still here
And fills you with the feelings that she is always near
For if you keep these moments, you will never be apart
And she will live forever locked safe within your heart