She Left Us


Grandma Grant

Grandma Grant

I was twelve.   The news came that my mama’s Grandmother had died.  This Grandmother lived far and away…the other side of the country, which felt to a twelve year old like the other side of the big wide world.  My mama’s mama died when my mama was four.  So this Grandmother was one of the family members that helped raise her.  My mama had to go.  Far and away.  To help with whatever needed helping.  She had left only once before.  When I was 8 months old as she tells it.  Her dad died, and she and my daddy went to another State for the funeral.  She said she wasn’t gone that long, but when she got back I had grown so much that she never wanted to leave again and miss a thing.

And she didn’t. Until now.

I was assigned to stay home from school to take care of things the best I could.  The youngest child was two.  There were six of us kids, and my daddy worked all day teaching at the middle school.  I was to take care of the little ones and the others would go to school.  I was accustomed to taking care of things.  Helping mama.  But this was not the same.  Mama was always there before.  This time I would be all alone. I was nervous.  About playing mama.  Mostly I was terrified to be without her.

I remember the morning she left.  

Everyone had left for school.  The house was quiet.  I didn’t want mama to leave.  But she had to go.  Even at a young age I understood that.  I remember she hugged me goodbye.  More than once.  She tried not to cry.  She tried to be strong, but she was having a hard time too.  I think I just cried and cried and didn’t even try to be strong.  This was my mama.  And she was leaving.  And I wasn’t ready to be mama for two weeks.  I remember standing on the back porch.  Watching her load up her suitcase into the trunk of the car that would drive her away from me.  It was a pretty day.  The sun was shining and the birds were singing.  But it felt all wrong.  I watched her get into the car, glancing back to look at me several times.  I remember watching her drive away.  We looked at each other until we were both out of sight.  And then there I was.  Standing on the porch.  Crying my twelve year old eyes out.  Realizing that I was mama now.  For two weeks.

Grandma Grant with me (floor) and my older brother (on bed), on a visit when we were little

Grandma Grant with me (floor) and my older brother (on bed), on a visit when we were little

I went back inside and picked up my baby brother who needed his cloth diaper changed.  And I remember standing there trying to figure out how I could stop myself from crying because well, this just wouldn’t do.  So I turned on the TV.  The old kind, black and white and big as a pickup truck.  I figured it would get my mind off things.  Normally I was was at school during the day and so I didn’t know that daytime TV was all soap operas.  We weren’t allowed to watch them.  But that’s all I could find.  And it served it’s purpose.  After about fifteen minutes of watching those ridiculous people with their made up ridiculous stories, I decided that I was in pretty good shape compared to them and had stopped my crying and feeling sorry for myself (because after all, they had it really bad).

Then.  I walked into the kitchen.

Holy Cow.  Oh my stars.  I couldn’t see the table.  I couldn’t see the stove.  I could hardly see the floor.  And the sink…  I started crying again.  And did the only thing I could think of.  I walked into the living room, knelt down by the couch, and begged Heavenly Father to send an angel to help me clean up this mess!  All of the sudden there was a knock on the back porch door (we don’t use front doors in the South).  And there they were.  My angels!  Two women from Church with smiling faces said they wanted to stop by and see how I was doing.  They came in and took one look around and sent me out to change my little brother’s diaper.  Those women had that house spick and span in what seemed like a few minutes but it must have taken half the day.  And then they left.  Just as happy as they came.

I had learned an important lesson.

God was aware of my twelve year old problems.  Not only that.  He listened.  And He answered.  I was surprised at how fast those ladies showed up.  As I recall they knocked on that door faster than I could say “good grits!”  And then they were gone.  Just like that.  The house was quiet again.  Only the sounds of little toddlers messing up a clean house.  Even at age twelve, I remembered to kneel down again and thank Him for answering that meek little prayer of an overwhelmed twelve year old girl, who was just missing her mama.  I don’t remember the rest of the two weeks at all.  I only remember my prayer being answered in an instant.  It was a pivotal moment in a young girl’s life.  I never forgot that day.


Max, Me, Grandma Grant, Mama holding Tammy, on a visit when we were little

Max, Me, Grandma Grant, Mama holding Tammy, on a visit when we were little


And then mama came home.

I remember hearing the car drive into the driveway.  I remember running out the back porch as fast as I could fly.  My mama was finally home.  I don’t think she waited until the car stopped before she jumped out and ran to me and held me in her arms tighter than I ever remembered before.  She said “Oh Julie!  I missed you so much!”  My mama missed me.  I didn’t even think about that.  All I knew was that I missed her.  But she missed me?  There were too many of us kids for her to miss me.  But she said so herself and mama didn’t lie, so it must be true.  This mama that came home.  She was a different mama.  She wasn’t exhausted.  She wasn’t stressed.  She was happy.  She smiled all the time.  She enjoyed us.   She laughed.  Oh that laugh.  Her eyes twinkled.  I didn’t remember ever seeing mama’s eyes twinkle.  But they did.  She smiled from the inside out.  Her eyes smiled.  That’s when I figured out if you could tell someone was really happy.  When it came from the inside, and rolled out through the eyes.  That’s what happy looked like I decided that day.  That glorious day when mama came back, all happy and smiling from the inside out.  As much as I hated her gone, as much as I missed her…

I remember wishing that she would leave more often… 

Just so she could come happy.

again and again

And so.  For you kiddos and grandkids out there reading this.  Remember…

Life WILL bog you down.
Your kids WILL notice.
You NEED to take breaks away from regular life so that you are refreshed.
Your kids WILL notice that too.

And always remember.  God hears every uttered prayer.  Especially those offered by children and mamas.  So trust Him.  He knows you better than you know yourself.

And He WILL answer your prayer too.


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  1. Great story. The Lord is always there isn’t He? Thanks Oma!!!!

  2. Wow! Thank you for sharing that memory. It’s beautiful and inspiring… We often forget to thank God for the simple wishes he grants us, for the daily joys he gives us.. Hoping to remedy that in my life from NOW. Thanks again for sharing.

    • Thank you nirupamaprv! You are so right, we take so much for granted. It is always the little things we miss the most when they are gone, and remember the least when they are not gone. Thank you for visiting, God bless.

  3. Beautiful story and so splendidly told. You have such a nice way with words. Prayer works. I will repeat this many times. prayer works! Thank you for sharing your past and His wisdom.

    • Thank you Petra. Prayer certainly does work. My prayers always seemed to be immediately answered in obvious ways when I was young. Evidence that a loving Heavenly Father is so keenly aware of children. Thank you for your kind comment my friend.

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