I've been trying to think of something to write all day about August 27th. Family members have put their thoughts up on Facebook about a year ago today. Usually, I'd probably do the same - The only problem is, I have more to say than what a status update would allow me to.
What happened a year ago today?
My Mema passed away. She was my last grandparent to go to heaven, and one of three to pass away within two years of each other. Now as I get this blog started, I'm still at a loss on what to put. Not because there's not much to say about her, but because I just can't put it into words. My fingers are sitting on the home row keys, but I can't form the sentences. I guess I can start with saying that people say that it gets easier with time. I don't know if it's really easier, or if we just learn to cope better. I guess it's all from your own perspective.
Mema was a West Texas country girl. She grew up living out here in the area where I do now. Her daddy was a farmer - a hard working man back before farmers had the insurance they have now to fall back on if their crops didn't grow. She was tough and extremely intelligent. She loved to work outside and grow gardens. She was excellent at crafts. She -loved- to play board games, cards, or anything that brought us together as a family. Many things I cook today, I learned from her. In the summers she would play outside with us kids. My cousins and I stayed out at her's and Pepa's place when school was out. Many of my best childhood memories are from summers spent out at their house.
Without her, or Pepa, I would not have many of the things I do today. They are still providing even in death. In the last few years of Mema's life I got very close to her. I've always been close with her, but we developed a special bond. I lived next door to her and would come over and have supper with her. Sometimes I would cook, sometimes we'd get takeout, or sometimes my aunt would cook. I would also go over and help mow and take care of things. She stopped really going outside. I looked forward to having those meals with her. We'd sit and chat about whatever was on her mind. She'd talk about what she read in the newspaper. I stated in my last blog post that she was an avid newspaper reader. She loved pouring a tall glass of iced tea and sit at the kitchen table to read the Lubbock Avalanche Journal. Sometimes we'd even bicker about stuff - it was all harmless, of course!
The day she died I was at work. I had missed all of the week before due to her being in the hospital and then being ill at home. I decided to go back to work because not much had changed. I got the call around 8AM that she had passed away. The moment the phone rang and I saw that it was my dad, I knew...
It was the second day of school - I had just started attending Texas Tech University. I left work, went to her house and waited. Everyone said I could've stayed at work, but how was I going to take care of 10 toddlers with all of that on my mind? That afternoon I did decide to go ahead and go to class. I only had one that day and I needed to at least go and get my syllabus and inform my professor about what was going on. There wasn't much more I could do back at the house. My aunts, uncles, and father were getting together to go to the funeral home. The house was empty and I didn't want to be there.
I loved how the family all got back together - I just hated the reasoning as to why. I think having my nieces and nephew around really helped. They really took our minds off of things, though it all still hovered above us.
The hardest part that I will never forget is after the funeral. It was on a Monday and I had class early Tuesday morning. I had missed classes, of course, because of the funeral so I knew I needed to get back the next day, regardless of how sad I was. I knew the best thing to do was just push through and get back out there. My brother and his family were still in town, and not leaving until the next morning as well. They drove back to Brownfield to spend the night with my parents. I didn't go back with them, since I had to be up early for class, it would've been harder on me. I came back to my house, the house I lived next door to Mema, and for the first time, I was alone.
Reality hit me like a ton of bricks. Mema was gone. There would be no more daily evening suppers at her table. There would be no more sitting and talking to her about what she read in the newspaper. No more of her warm hugs and her cute laugh when she found something amusing. I broke down in my living room and cried the hardest I've ever cried. As I write this I find myself getting teary eyed just thinking about it. And when I really think about it, it seems so selfish. But then again, they say the death of a loved one is usually hardest on the living. Yes, I was happy that Mema and Pepa were finally back together again. It just hit me hard that for the first time since she passed away, I was alone. It was probably one of the toughest nights of my life.
One thing that gave me comfort, and still is to this day, is that she is now with Pepa in heaven. He passed away in April of 2009, and Mema really missed him so much. She was his caregiver. After he was gone, she felt she didn't have a purpose anymore. So now we say that they are together in Australia. They always wanted to travel there for a vacation and never got to after my Pepa had his accident.
The 2010-11 school year was hard on us all. My cousins were all starting back to school as well. We were all depressed. We all showed it in different ways, as mourning does go, and things had definitely changed. Sometimes even to this day I have a hard time looking out my window and seeing Mema's house. It stayed in the family thank goodness, but it is still hard. There's lots of good memories at that house. Thank God for those.
Mema was an amazing woman. She was a woman that I strive to be like. So strong, so loving, so full of life. I'm glad that I knew her for the 25 years God gave me with her. Her and Pepa didn't ask for the hand they got dealt, but they pushed on. What great role models this family has.
"If you endure suffering, even if you have done right, God will bless you for it." 1 Peter 2:20 - Mema had this in a frame in her house. This alone lets me know that they are in heaven, side by side. :)
In loving memory of Betty Louise Angerer Tate
January 10, 1935 - August 27, 2010
...I can't believe its been a year....