I was scrolling through my pictures looking for something I uploaded but didn't label (do not recommend!) when I came upon this picture of my grandmother Nellie and my little boys.
This was summer time 1986 and she was 81. I felt a tug on my heart as I looked at the photo. Mama, (pronounced mawmaw...it's the south!) was sitting where she always sat, in her rocker right by the kitchen. She always wore simple cotton dresses. I wonder if she ever had a "store bought" dress. By this time her varicose veins were horrific, and the rare blood disease she had kept her weak and tired. I am only beginning to understand this now because my aging body is starting to whine more and I realize she suffered in grace and silence... something I need to practice:)
Nellie never drove a car. She only had an 8th grade education. As the oldest child of five she helped raise her siblings after their dad abandoned the family. She never "went shopping", had a girls night out, a pedi-mani, massage, or escaped life on a cruise. She cooked 3 times a day until my grandfather died just a year before she left us. She wasn't fancy, famous, or wealthy, yet the legacy she left me is priceless.
Nellie was kind, thoughtful, and gave her life to her family. She was creative in cooking, gardening, canning, sewing, crocheting, and had a magic touch with roses and flowers of all kinds.
The most significant contribution to me was her love.
I loved her because she loved me first. Now that I have grandbabies of my own I realize how she felt about me. It is a tender, compassionate love borne from the challenges of life.
I want to leave behind these same feelings to Cy, Seth, Josh, Annabelle, Savannah, & Scarlett. I want everyone who walks through the door of Nellie's Cottage to feel peace, to feel love emanating from the very walls of the home where Nellie spent her life. I want to leave this kind of legacy.
Today I can't seem to tear myself away from this picture. Her wrinkled face and gentle smile are calling out to my heart once again. I feel a particular loneliness and longing to hear her say "I love you very much" just one more time as the "Itunes player in my head keeps repeating..."You'll be in my heart...always"
"You'll be in my Heart" Phil Collins