Under Normal Circumstances


I would give you the blow by blow of what happened this weekend for my grandmother’s wake and funeral. But I decided not to go that route necessarily. I may interject things that happened but I want to remember the funny things my grandmother said or did.

My sister & my uncle were with her when she passed laying there in the bed at the nursing home. Brenda said she was holding her hand & praying for her peace and end to her suffering. She kept telling her that she loved her, so her last moments were with people who truly loved and appreciated her. I believe since Mom was unable to be there with her, it was fitting that my sister was there in her place.

While it’s always amazing to spend time with my brothers & their families, my most precious moment of that weekend, one I’ll always remember, was when my sister & I went up to the hospital so that my mother wasn’t alone during the wake in Marksville. On our way we hadn’t eaten so we picked up some Rally’s which always reminds me of those Saturdays with Mom. I told Brenda that Mom loves their banana milkshakes, so we got her one, she loved it. We sat there & talked. Brenda told Mom about the morning Maw Maw passed, she hadn’t given her the details until then. We reported back to Mom who had shown up at the wake before we had left, filled her in on all the catching up we did with our brothers & their families. We talked about our reality shows we watched and just in general had 2 hours of special mother/daughters bonding time.

Maw Maw ‘Phine Moments:

I remember as a little girl I didn’t like ham. So the days Mom made me ham sandwiches I didn’t eat it. Maw Maw & Paw Paw knew Dad would get mad if he found out I hadn’t eaten my lunch. Paw Paw would eat my sandwich, Maw Maw would make me PB&J crackers. Then when dinnertime came I wasn’t all that hungry, so I got in trouble anyways for not wanting to eat dinner.

When Maw Maw’s sisters or brothers would come visit, or shoot anybody would come visit she would always put on a pot of coffee. Once the adults got a coffee she would take a little, I wanna say demitasse cup/small coffee mug, a souvenir from the ’84 New Orleans’ World’s Fair, and make me my very own cup of coffee. I’d sit at the coffee table and listen while they talked about their kids and try to interpret when they started talkin’ Cajun French. Ya, I never could pick up on that.

Friday nights when Paw Paw would play with his band, The Cajun Two, at the Downtown Hilton, Maw Maw & I would watch The Dukes of Hazzard, Dallas & Falcon Crest on CBS. Then sometimes we would wind down with a little Mother Angelica on EWTN. Lots of times we would say the rosary too.

The summers after Paw Paw passed I spent those summers watchin’ lots of cable tv: consisting of mainly Nickelodeon and TBS. My summer diet was made up of tuna, fish sticks & for dessert ice milk floats.

As I got older Mom got more involved with Sacred Heart Church’s Parish Council & Choir. We had to attend a lot of church functions & I had to be the perfectly behaved child. The one activity I despised was church bingo. Not that I hated spending time with my grandmother, but my job was sitting with her & playing bingo. I kind of wish I was bit more enthused by it, but hey I was well behaved child who’s only rebellion was to “hate” going to church bingo.

As Maw Maw got older more & more I resented how she treated Mom. She’d say the meanest things to her, about her sometimes. It was my uncle & the youngest boys who seemed to pull favor with my grandmother. I wonder if that had anything to do with her losing an infant son between the births of my uncle & mother. However she never gave more to one child/grandchild than the others. In the end I know my grandmother loved and appreciated Mom a lot more than she let on or said.

She didn’t recognize us when we’d go see her in the nursing home. I was mistaken for Mom many times or another relative here & there. Even with me standing there, Maw Maw would ask Mom who was taking care of the babies, me & Johnny. The last time I saw her alive was Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010. She was holding Brenda & Emily’s hands. She reached out to Emily & was touching her cheek, trying to recognize her. She was unable to talk clearly. After Emily left I sat down next to Maw Maw & held her hand. When Mike & I got up to leave we told her we’d be back & that we loved her. She said, slightly distinguishable, “I love you too.”


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