Words at a Funeral

I never knew my grandparents. My mother’s father died before I was born and her mother died when I was very young. My step-father’s parents died before he and my mom got together. My biological father’s parents are still alive, but I’m not close with him and I’ve never met them…maybe one day…maybe.

Anyway, due to the absence of grandparents, I adopted my own. There was an older couple who lived down the street from us that I adopted as my grandparents. I’m not sure how I went about it, I was very young, but they agreed and allowed me to call them Grandma and Grandpa Fields. My mother was very close with a cousin of ours, who was a few years older than her. Our families spent a lot of time together. She had grandchildren who were a little younger than me. Of course, the kids always referred to her as “Grandma”. So, one day I asked if I could call her “Grandma”, too. She agreed and she became my “Grandma Mudda”. As I got older, I learned her actual name wasn’t “Mudda”, but Lillie Bell! However, she remained Grandma Mudda to me.

This past Sunday, one of her daughters, she has four, called and told me Grandma Mudda died suddenly from stroke or heartattack. I was devastated.

After my mother died I would go visit and talk to grandma, often. When I went home on breaks from college I always went to see her. She was always happy to see me, her “Grandbaby”. When my dad died in ’05, I stopped going home as often. So, I didn’t get to see Grandma as much. I would call occasionally or keep up with how she was doing through her daughter. When I was pregnant, I had a baby shower back home. I was looking forward to seeing her there, but unfortunately, her sister died that same weekend and she wasn’t able to make it. I wanted her see her Grandbaby all big and pregnant. Last October, one of her daughters, Niecy, got sick and I drove to Atlanta to visit her. Grandma was there and I finally got to see her. She was disappointed that didn’t have RJ with me, but he had a cold and I didn’t want to make Niecy sicker. *I really wish she had seen him, just once…*

So, now to the the title of this post. Yesterday, her daughters asked if I wanted to speak at the funeral. Honestly, the thought crossed my mind before they called to ask. I’ve never spoken at a funeral, not to read a scripture, or a card and definitely not to talk about the deceased person. *Sometimes I wish I had said something at my mother’s funeral.* I believe there can be something cathartic about it. So, I agreed to do it. I think I’ll be able to get through it and I think she would like to have her “Grandbaby” talk about her.

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