After a really tough battle with Alzheimer's, my sweet grandmother opened her eyes this morning, and then went home to be with the Lord.
Marjorie Elaine Chitty Ferrell Shumate, "Mar", was a lady of class. She was tiny in stature, but she made up for it with spunk! Until she got sick, she was one of those ladies who NEVER acted her age. And she was sassy. She drove around in a little Mercedes, wore cute clothes, and exercised daily. More importantly, she was a godly woman. I am so proud to be part of her heritage, and hope to honor her legacy.
Mar was never really the "typical" grandmother. Now don't get me wrong, she was awesome...just not "typical". She didn't have gray hair. She didn't wear grandma clothes. She didn't send bad gifts on birthdays or holidays. I just never remember her acting like a typical grandmother.
You must know that Mar was a true Southern lady. She had an accent as thick as any Southerner you've ever met. I can hear it in my head even as I type this. I LOVED to answer the phone and hear, "Hello Darlin' ". That was always her greeting. I can only guess that she greeted many heavenly friends this morning with that exact phrase!
In the Summer of 1997, Rus ended up playing pro ball for a team in Meridian, MS...which happened to be the hometown of one Mrs. Marjorie Shumate. What are the chances? Anyway, it was so fun to hear about my Mar from Rus. She took him to church with her and showed him off to all of her friends. She told me later that they all thought he was cute! She also made him brownies!!!! Now, remember, I told you that Mar was not the "typical" grandmother. This includes the fact that I never in my life remember her making me any sort of baked goods...but she made Rus brownies! During that Summer I traveled to Meridian with Rus's parents to watch him play. I stayed at Mar's house for a whole week. This is one of my most special and cherished memories of her. It is the only time in my life that I spent time completely alone with her (without my mom or my siblings). We had so many special talks during that week. I am so thankful for that time that only God could have planned for us.
When my mom called to give me the news this morning, I broke down. Mar has been getting progressively worse for the past 5 or 6 years. She has basically been in a coma-like state for many months. Because of the progression of the disease, babies being born, finances being tight, etc., I haven't been to see her in a long time. I regret this. I regret that my children never got to meet such an amazing woman, and that I never got to introduce her to 2 of my biggest blessings. I regret that I didn't get to say goodbye.
What I do not regret is that she is no longer suffering. I do not regret the fact that she is alert, awake, and no longer confused as to where she is and who people are. I do not regret the fact that she got to see my grandaddy for the 1st time in 28 years. I do not regret the fact that she is in Heaven with Jesus. I WILL SEE HER AGAIN! Oh, how I can't wait!
Tonight, my heart is heavy. I'm hurting especially for my mom. She has been preparing for this for years, but no one is ever ready to lose their mother. She and my dad are already on their way to Mississippi. My siblings and I will go in a few days. The funeral is planned for Monday. It all seems so final...yet so chaotic at the same time.
Lord, give us comfort in this time of grief. Help us to rejoice over her new body and remember that we will be reunited someday soon.
Mar, you will be missed. I love you so much. Thank you for the blessing of your life. You were truly one of a kind.