In Memory of Emmer, August 28, 1915 – January 15, 2013

She was my Grandmother, my confidant, my best friend.
She was our matriarch, the queen of our castle, the caller of the shots.
She was my link to our past, my purpose in our present and my hope for our future.
She was a quiet strength and calm in any storm.
She loved a long dinner with her special friends.
She loved to play bridge, and she really loved winning the pot.
She loved fine classical music.
She loved to read good books.
She loved to learn.
She read the newspaper cover to cover everyday.
She never took for granted her right to vote and she never missed voting in an election, local or national.
She loved a good manicure with clear nail polish, because one should never call too much attention to themselves.
She loved a glass of wine in the afternoon.
She loved cheese biscuits.
She loved Hershey’s chocolate nuggets.
She loved coffee ice cream with caramel sauce on top.
She loved homegrown tomato sandwiches with mayo on thin white bread.
She loved salmon colored geraniums on her porch in the summer.
She loved to laugh until she cried.
She told you what she thought, yes indeed, she always told you what she thought.
Sometimes she didn’t tell you, she just groaned her opinion, and that was all it took.
She believed a lady should always be prepared to host guests.
She believed in the value of the past and the power of the future.
She believed tomorrow would always be better than today.
She taught by example.
She taught me the importance of a proper handshake.
She taught my boys how to properly make up a bed with hospital corners.
She taught my boys to pull out a chair and assist women as they are seated.
She taught them the manners of waiting to sit until all the women were seated.
She taught them never to eat until she had raised her fork at the dinner table.
She taught me to look past the outside and peer into the more valuable inside.
She taught me to speak less and listen more.
Her selflessness was limitless.
Her determination was unstoppable.
Her strength was constant.
Her grace and kindness had power that she never understood.
She said she was just herself, yet everyone else saw so much more.
Her eyes and her emotions told stories words could not tell.
She loved her family with every ounce of herself and then some.
My life, and the lives of all who knew her are forever better having known her.
She was exceptional, though she didn’t think so.
She was just herself, nothing more and nothing less.
Plain and simple and absolutely exceptional.
Our love extends beyond the grave.
We miss her every single day.
Our eyes still fill with tears when we talk about her, but the tears flow more from laughter rather than pain.
She is with her groom, her mama (whom she brought into her own home and cared for almost until her passing) a brother who died too early for her to know and her Lord.
She would not come back if she could.
She’s home.

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, January 2014

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She Was Exceptional

I know loss gets easier with time. I also know that I have to go through the painful emotions, both happy and sad, to get to the easier side. She has left an emptiness that will take time to fill. Her petite stature held together a much larger figure that embraced and experienced life in ways we will never fully comprehend.

She was my grandmother, my confidant, my best friend.
She was our matriarch, the queen of our show, the caller of the shots.
She was my link to our past, my purpose in our present and my hope for our future.
She was a quiet strength and calm in any storm.
She loved a long dinner with her special friends.
She loved to play bridge, and she really loved winning the pot.
She loved fine classical music.
She loved to read good books.
She loved to learn.
She loved Hershey’s chocolate nuggets.
She loved a good manicure with clear nail polish.
She loved a glass of wine in the afternoon.
She loved cheese biscuits.
She loved salmon colored geraniums on her porch in the summer.
She loved homegrown tomato sandwiches with mayo on thin white bread.
She loved to laugh until she cried.
She told you what she thought, yes indeed, she always told you what she thought.
She believed a lady should always be prepared to host guests.
She believed in the value of the past and the power of the future.
She taught me the importance of a proper handshake.
She taught my boys how to properly make up a bed with hospital corners.
She taught my boys to pull out a chair and assist women as they are seated.
She taught them the manners of waiting to sit until all the women were seated.
She taught them never to eat until she had raised her fork at the dinner table.
She taught me to look past the outside and peer into the more valuable inside.
She taught me to speak less and listen more.
She taught by example.
Her selflessness was limitless.
Her determination was unstoppable.
Her strength was constant.
Her eyes and her emotions told stories words could not tell.
She loved her family with every ounce of herself and then some.
My life, and the lives of all who knew her are forever better having received her love.
She was exceptional, though she didn’t think so.
She was just herself, nothing more and nothing less.
Plain and simple and absolutely exceptional.

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, March 2013

A Routine Without a Route

I do so like to have a routine. Even if our schedule is busy, there is some order and some routine amid the chaos. But now, there is no routine. There is no route to follow.

For so long my days were defined by halves. The afternoon and evenings were reserved for my children and my husband. My mornings became an easy blend of my own workout schedule, chores, grocery shopping, etc and whatever my grandmother needed that day. My shopping included her shopping. My laundry included her laundry. My drive to the gym included her daily wake up call. Then there were the days that I spent with her. Days I didn’t need to plan my lunch because I would she would want me to stay and split her lunch with me. Days when I knew she was over due for a haircut and I would bust out the curling iron and try desperately to make her hair curl just right over her ears. Days she was full of herself and amused by herself. Days when I filed and painted her fingernails, always in clear though, never wanting to draw attention to herself. Days when I knew I was going to end up sitting on the floor and clipping her toenails. Oh how she loved to ask me to clip her toenails and then would giggle when I put on my glasses to protect my eyes from the clippings. Days when I somehow knew her chocolate stash would be running low and I better stop and grab a bag just in case. Days when I knew her wine stash was nearing empty and I darn sure better make sure there was always an extra bottle on hand, just in case she had a guest you know. Days that her plants were watered. Days when we laughed until we cried and days when we cried because we didn’t know what else to do. That was my routine as a granddaughter. My daily route always led to her.

Now, my routine as a granddaughter has ended. Where does one travel from here? She found her destination that she wanted for so long. She knew the route she would follow from here to there and forever more. We discussed so much, but we neglected to discuss the route I would travel when our paths would split. A routine without a route is chaos. I just need to figure out how to make sense of the chaos and map my own new route, and maybe, just maybe, it will become routine.

Copyright © Gatewood Campbell, February 2013

Emmer's 95th Birthday Bash

Emmer’s 95th Birthday Bash