On Tuesday night, my dad called to say that my Grandma Madeline had died in her sleep. To say that this past week was difficult and sad would be an understatement. I thought for sure that I would have at least another five years with her. Although the last few times that I said “good bye” to her I would cry thinking that it could be the last time that I saw her. My grandma Madeline Manning was a wonderful and loving Grandma. She was amazing. She loved a good laugh and she loved me and my family. Everytime I called her she would hang up by saying, “I love you, Hon! Now take care.” Whenever I was in the room with her I always felt loved and important. I loved to go and visit her. The last time I went to visit I took Faith with me for the day. After lunch I was very tired. Grandma told me to go take a nap while she played with Faith. She and Faith played for almost an hour and a half while I slept on her bed. She always kept a trunk full of toys for the great-grandkids to play with when they visited. When I told Faith and Wilson that she had passed away they immediately said, “But she was so fun. She gave us ice cream and she had all of those toys.” I am glad that that is how they will remember her. She wanted to be fun and she naturally was.
My parents are southern and so was Grandma. I am spelling her name “Grandma”, but it is really pronounced “Grandmal”. When I was little I really thought that there was an “L” on the end of her name. I guess it is actually supposed to be a “w”, as in “Grandmaw”, but Doug and I always thought that is was “Grandmal”. That is how a good southerner pronounces a Grandmother’s name….Grandmal.
Grandmal is also where I got my original nose from. It was hers. I thought that she wore hers a bit better though. I after I got mine done, I kind of felt like I was insulting her by changing it. I don’t know if she ever noticed that I changed it, but if she did, I hope she wasn’t insulted. I think it would be hard to insult her. She was always so encouraging and rarely had an unkind word to say about anyone. That just was her nature.
Grandmal was originally named Madeline Hayworth. She didn’t have a middle name. As the youngest of seven siblings she always said that her parents just ran out of names and didn’t bother giving her a middle name. Might be true. The Hayworth family is a silly lot of people, my dad, his siblings, Doug and I included. We laugh at sad life situations and have a knack for turning everything into a joke. It is how we deal with grief and many other life situations. For years we have been laughing about putting our names on her things so that when Grandma died we would inherit anything that had our name on it. Well……when I was at Grandma’s 85th birthday party I went into the bathroom and had the realization that she had been using the same hamper in her bathroom for over 30 years, maybe longer. I told Alan that I wanted that hamper when she died and he said, “Go put your name on it!”. He did convince me to put on the bottom of the hamper, in permanent marker, “Property of Becca Dressler.” hahaha. Crazy right?!?!? That hamper reminds me more of visiting my Grandma’s house over the span of my lifetime than anything else that she owns. A hamper! Well, needless to say, the hamper is mine.
Here is my Grandmal and her kids at her 85th birthday party this past March….
At the funeral yesterday we all laughed and told Grandma stories. Her children decided that it would be fun to write on the casket with permanent markers. It was like signing a yearbook. Everyone wrote messages to her, drew pictures, or wrote silly saying. It was very unconventional, but that is how we Wilson’s role. Always pushing the envelope of proper etiquette. Here is what that signing looked like…..
I told my friends that Grandma’s funeral would probably be one of the most fun funerals that anyone could attend. It was fun. I have a very fun, loving, and large family. Many people throughout the day commented on how blessed we were to have such a loving and supportive family. The Hayworth family as always been tight knit group and that has been passed down through the generations. Grandma was one of those that encouraged this behavior and it showed.
Now that the funeral is over I am still sad that she is gone. The day was such a distraction. I could barely keep it together when I first arrived at the church. I am a great suppressor and can distract myself from what is really going on around me. Arriving at the church and seeing the coffin was almost too much for me to handle. As the day wore on, I settled into the reality of her death, but distraction took over. It was very overwhelming. Today as I reflect on yesterday’s event, I am still very sad. It seems unreal that I went to Greensboro to my Grandma’s funeral. I realized that this is the first person to die in my life that really meant something to me, Who’s death affects my life directly. I am very lucky to say that this didn’t happen until I was 41 years old. I will miss her always. Family events won’t seem the same from now on. I guess a new “normal” will come to exist. I loved Grandma very much and I will always miss having her in my life and having her unconditional love for me and my family. She was ready to go to heaven. She quietly went in her sleep to be with her brother, sisters, husband and Jesus. On the coffin my dad wrote, “The Package has gone home.” Grandma was “the package” for many years as she was driven and delivered to parties and family gatherings by Sandra. Well, now she has finally been delivered to her eternal place of joy and comfort. She has been delivered to eternity with God in heaven. For that, I can rejoice.