Some families deal with death in great numbers that come crashing down one immediately after the next, but I haven’t had to deal with it too many times in my life. Actually I would say I’ve only had two deaths in my lifetime that have literally knocked the wind out of me and left me feeling like I didn’t know if I was coming or going. When death does come knocking around me, it seems to come for the people I love most and with whom I share the closest bond. The first being the loss of Delvin in 2002 when I was only 13, which many of you know about considering I have talked about him so much since then. Just as unexpected as that one was, the passing of my grandma was just as shocking and even more impactful. She was truly my best friend and confidante. I could tell her any and everything and she never once judged me in my life; she was always beyond proud of me even during my mess ups. From my childhood to adulthood, we were as thick as thieves and she had a bond with Trey that was just as strong as ours.
It’s so ironic because my grandma Banna has called me her “Stink” for as long as I can remember and Delvin would call me that too just to try to get under my skin. Fifteen years later I can still hear how would say it and elongate the pronunciation in his annoying voice lol. And I can still hear my grandma say it in the endearing way that only she could. I’ve always struggled with the idea that any one of my grandparents would eventually leave this earth, more than likely before me; and I’ve always dreaded the idea that the day would come at some point. I also never believed that THIS grandma would be the one to leave me first; and that’s definitely not to say I was expecting any other to pass first, but she was the youngest grandparent I had. I do find solace in knowing that she passed in her sleep and suffered no pain.
When I was growing up, my grandma lived beside her brother Dink (Delvin’s dad) for quite some time, and I would always go stay with her on weekends. I have so many great memories of watching the grownups play Spades, us dancing and singing old school jams to the top of our lungs, and most memorably our holidays together. Delvin’s dad would always get the big fireworks from South Carolina for each 4th of July and compete with his neighbor across the street on who could put on the best show. This was way before the police would come and stop the fun like they do now. My grandma always made Christmas the best because we’d sing our favorite Christmas carols until the wee hours of the night (the soulful ones of course); she always got in spirit and had the most energetic spirit you could ever imagine. Our favorite movies were Beauty and the Beast and The Never Ending Story. We literally watched Beauty and the Beast every chance we got from the time it first came out until I was in high school lol. She had just come home for Mother’s Day in May and we promised to watch the new live version of the movie when she was scheduled to come back home the weekend of June 18th.
Unfortunately she passed on June 5th and we never got to watch the movie together. I know she would have loved it and we would have sung every song together just like old times. It’s so crazy because The Never Ending Story has been coming on one of the movie channels quite frequently over the past month. Even more ironically, the last time I spoke to her was on Thursday June 1st as I was on the way to Raleigh to take my friends to the airport. When I got the call about her death, I was on my way back to Raleigh that following Monday to pick them back up. It’s crazy how God works in mysterious ways, but I feel like everything happens for a reason and he always gives us signs of things he wants us to see. Just like the day Delvin died, he had pretended he was going to run me over with his car as I was getting off the bus and we hadn’t been speaking for two weeks prior to that. I feel like God has given me good memories as my last before each of them left this world and I can sleep peacefully at night thinking of those lasting memories.
Everyone grieves differently and the grieving process never actually ends. You find out who is really there for you when your loved ones die more than any other time. I ignored phone calls and texts for quite some time when my grandma first passed because I felt like those who truly cared about me would be there physically. I actually had someone on Facebook say they hoped it wasn’t my other grandma who passed just because they knew her, as if it made it any easier for me that it wasn’t that one. I don’t think people understand the power of words and presence when someone is grieving. People tend to make things about them and those are just the types of people I want nothing to do with, especially when I’m going through something emotionally. These last two months have revealed so much about myself and about the people around me. I just try to take things for what they are and not dwell too much on what I wish they could be. Lord knows I will miss my grandma forever and a day and will never stop thinking about her just like I’ve never stopped thinking about Delvin. Some people in life just can’t ever be forgotten and they were both people who made lasting memories for everyone around them.