I wrote this tonight for my grandmother’s memorial service which will take place on Tuesday while I am in the hospital. I intended to write tonight about why my husband and I made the VERY difficult decision to be induced tomorrow morning. A decision that we did not take lightly, as I am vastly opposed to induction for anything other than serious medical reasons. But instead, I wrote for the woman who insisted that I had a talent. A talent with words. A talent that I didn’t believe existed until recently. And a talent that I am now more determined to not let go to waste.
Please enjoy this. It was written with a lot of love, over many tears, and with a very runny nose. I’ll get back to my own life after my baby is born.
I am devastated I cannot be with you all to remember the life and mourn the death of Martha Northcutt today. Instead, I am sitting in a hospital, 4 hours away holding her just-born 6th Great-Grandchild, a child whose due date was originally her birthday: March 18th.
Martha was different things to each of us; friend, wife, mother. But to me, she was Mamom, and that’s how I will address her today.
“In one of the stars, I shall be living.
In one of them, I shall be laughing.
And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing when you look at the sky at night.”
– An excerpt from “The Little Prince”, a book that Mamom shared with me many, many years ago. Many fond memories that I have of my time with her revolve around either reading or writing. I was always a bookworm and she seemed to understand my love of literature, fostering it from a very young age. I have a collection of vintage books that she gave me a few years ago; they are some of my most treasured possessions and they mean even more to me today than they did a week ago. I would not be the woman I am today if it weren’t for her influences in my life. We did not have the good fortune to spend lots of time together as I was growing up but I did cherish every moment that we spent together and I have many fond memories of those times. I’d like to share a few of those with you today.
When I was young, Mamom taught me which utensil to use while eating, the proper way to use a spoon, where (and where not) to place my hands while dining, and to chew with my mouth closed. I may not use those skills on a daily basis but I’ve certainly wowed a couple of dates at fancy restaurants and some prospective in-laws. Because of her taking the time to teach me these things, I feel comfortable in good company, swanky restaurants, and with the upper echelon. She taught me the true meaning of poise and because of her; I learned to walk with good posture, something that aided in my years as a dancer and something that I am complimented on often. I never fail to think of Mamom’s constant reminders to stand up straight and hold my head up high when I was a young girl when people notice my stance. It makes me proud that she took the time to help me learn to carry myself like a young woman should. Thank you, Mamom for teaching me poise.
Every Christmas I think about how when I was old enough, she took me to the theater see “The Nutcracker”. We always dressed in fancy dresses with pretty jewelry. I felt like a high-society belle each time we went and my love of theater blossomed. She shared “The Phantom of the Opera” with me and I was drawn in. I don’t believe I would have ever danced had it not been for my early days enjoying the theater with her. When we moved to Alaska when I was young, our trips to the theater were one of the things that I missed every single year, and still do. Thank you, Mamom for introducing me to art.
We shared a love of all things avian. It might have been boring to some, but sitting at the window waiting patiently for birds to descend upon her feeders excited us. It was something that we shared every time we were together. The last time I saw a Cardinal was at her kitchen feeder, until this past weekend when I saw one in my neighborhood. I don’t think it was a coincidence. Thank you, Mamom for teaching me to love nature, and to be patient for its presence.
We spent lots of time at a marble-topped table with yellow chairs playing “Parcheesi” where I was taught good sportsmanship, how to win graciously, and how to lose gracefully, rarely without a good case of the boo-hoo-hee-hee’s. Thank you, Mamom for teaching me grace and perseverance in life.
Over the course of my adult life, we have forged a friendship. I looked forward to our phone calls a couple of times a month, and we emailed on a regular basis. She has always applauded what she thought was my talent; writing. Until recently, I doubted the existence of any talents but she was always there offering to help me become published, or telling me to finish my degree in writing, reminding me what I am good at. I recently began writing again, mostly due to her encouragement. I also doubted that I was ready to welcome a third child into my very hectic life. Being a Stay-at-home-mom is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. I asked her recently how she did it with 3 children so close in age. Her advice to me was not taken lightly. And she shared that like me, she had lots of help from a very patient husband who “shuffled a path through the toys” when he got home. It has changed my life for the better and has emboldened me, just in the past couple of months. She told me that I was ready and that my feelings were normal. I can doubt myself no longer. Thank you, Mamom for believing in me and helping me see that I can be good at the things I love.
I’m certain each of Mamom’s grandchildren can share the following sentiment: She made THE. BEST. Scrambled eggs and Oatmeal. I’ve tried my entire adult life to duplicate each, even after her instructions were emailed to me, and I’ve failed miserably. It saddens me that those are now mere memories. It pains me that I couldn’t be closer in distance, but over the years and through the miles we have been close at heart and I have tried to keep both Mamom and Papa abreast of my life, and the lives of my children.
I could go on for pages but instead I’ll keep the rest and leave you with this:
“Perhaps they are not stars in the sky, but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.” Thank you, Mamom for your love.