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Monday, March 26, 2012

Remembering Grandmama (Part 2)

 Adelle Zeigler (September 17, 1924 - March 9, 2012)

Grandmama (Adelle Zeigler (September 17, 1924 - March 9, 2012)) was laid to rest on Friday, March 16, 2012 at Union AME Church in Elloree, SC.

I was asked to pay tribute to her on behalf of my family, which gave me the chance to both feel and heal.

I told the audience about our last conversation, which took place about three weeks before she died.

She called me on her cellphone early on a Saturday morning, because she knew that was the only time I am still.

I was humbled by her call, because I knew I did not call her as much as I should have. Perhaps the greatest tribute I could pay to her, though, was that if she did not hear from me, she had no problem reaching out to me – and her outreach was never accompanied by a guilt trip. That was some amazing grace.

She sounded upbeat, but told me that her TV (that my father and I fixed for her during the Christmas holidays) had stopped working.

I did not quite grasp why she was so happy to bring me that bad news, but she thanked me for helping to fix it, and told me she was sure that it would work again.

She asked how my wife Keisha and I were doing, and spoke into me just like she always did. She told me that she had been feeling pretty good lately, which made me smile.

We ended our call, and I got my day started with a smile and a chuckle. Then she called back a few hours later to tell me that the TV started working again. I told her how relieved I was, and we chatted each other up again.

In hindsight, I see that her second call was a comforting alert to me that she was at peace and ready to be with the Lord.

She always called me her “boy”, and you could not tell me anything when she did – that always made me smile. Even when I discovered in later years that she had several other “boys”, I was always secure about my place in her heart – and her place in mine.

If we are fortunate enough to live long, prosperous lives, we can only hope to build a few key relationships that progress through the natural stages of acceptance, then affirmation, then accountability, then authority...
  1. You are drawn to the people who accept you.
  2. You are naturally affirmed by those who speak into you.
  3. You are easily accountable to those who are honest with you.
  4. You respect the authority of those who unconditionally love you.
I am blessed to have had many of these relationships in my relatively brief life. I knew both sets of my grandparents, and spent lots of my younger days with both maternal grandparents (and my maternal great-grandfather).

I have always been called a young “old man”, and embrace it as confirmation of how I was raised (even if it is not always meant that way). I know that I have sat at the feet of wisdom, and have absorbed, retained, and shared it for the better part of my life. I walk the way my ancestors walk, talk the way they talk, and think the way that they think. I love to hear stories, and like to tell them even more.

My stories have an even deeper inspiration now. For years, they made me think about my grandfather and smile. Now they will make me think about Grandmama, too.


Jen said...

...And now the legacy continues. Happy Anniversary to you and Keisha as you create your own history.

ACG said...

With out a doubt, a beautiful life , lived with grace and fullness.

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