The Mexican Holiday of "Dia de los Muertos" or "Day of the Dead" is celebrated on November 2nd each year. The holiday is a celebration to remember friends and family members who have passed away.
A few days ago, on Oct. 31st, I lost my maternal grandmother. She passed peacefully after a long battle with Alzheimer's Disease.
So this year on Dia de los Muertos, I would like to pause a moment to reflect on both of my grandmothers.
First, I'd like to introduce you to my paternal grandmother, my Granny.
This lovely red-haired sweetheart was simply known to me as "Granny." She lived on the top of a hill in the piney woods of Texas, was a fabulous artist, a writer, a teacher, a wrangler of grand kids, and an amazing woman of God.
When I look at picture of her, I conjure the scent of fresh coffee since she always had a pot at the ready. Saturdays, Sundays, and summers of my youth she took care of at least 6 of her 8 grand-kids and managed to do it all without bodily harm to any of us. She could tell a fantastical story, entertain us on the piano, and throw together lunch or dinner for a sudden crowd without a second thought.
But one thing that always sticks with me is that she was always teaching. Teaching was actually her chosen profession, but by the time I came along, most of her teaching came from within the walls of her own home. She had the uncanny patience to work with a reluctant writer, was always explaining her way through her day, and was always quick with a tale or Bible verse to illustrate a point.
She left us in September of 2008 and there has been a huge hole in my heart ever since.
Next, I'd like to acquaint you with my maternal grandmother, my Memaw.
As I mentioned above, she has only just recently left us. And she has been on my mind almost non-stop since I received the news.
I miss her already.
It's true that, with the severity of her illness, the Memaw from my memories has been gone for a number of years. But there is just something about hearing the end has come that drives it home all over again.
This little lady was the living spirit of "spit fire." So much life in such a tiny package.
When I look at her pictures, the first thing to come to mind is the scent of Chanel No. 5 perfume, specifically clouds and clouds of Chanel No. 5 powder.
If you knew my Memaw at all, you would know that she was a sports fanatic. And she loved all teams from Houston, her favorites being the Houston Astros (baseball), the Houston Rockets (basketball), and the Houston Oilers (I don't know if she ever warmed up to the Texans).
She also loved to make things. Arts and crafts were a constant part of her life.
It is from Memaw that I developed my love of elaborate holiday preparations. I don't recall ever walking into her home at Christmas without seeing at least 3 trees decked out with sparkles of all kinds.
In her earlier years, when my Papaw was still in the Army, she developed a love of travel. But for me, she will always be a symbol of home. And it didn't matter where she was at - wherever she found herself, that was home. I think that is why I feel a little untethered at the moment.
I have been very blessed. My grandparents (all 4 of them) were a huge part of my upbringing. These 2 ladies were at the center of that experience. And while they no longer walk this world with us, I carry them with me wherever I go.
And for that, I am even more blessed.