Memory is such a treasure. You see a face and immediately you can put a name to it. You read a book and you can tell your friends the title and author.
On your way to the grocery you realize you forgot your list, but you remember what was on that list and proceed to shop with confidence.
Your car keys are not where they usually are, but you know exactly where you left them. The library books (whose titles and authors you remember) are always returned on time because you remember their due date.
The birthdays of loved ones are never forgotten.
A special song, a picture or an odor can take us back to a certain time or place.
Last summer I was making pickles, and the mingled smells of cucumbers, vinegar and spices triggered a vivid memory of my mother-in-law.
Ms Elizabeth’s kitchen was very plain, but there was nothing plain about the food cooked there. Every summer we were treated to homemade jams and jellies served on hot yeast rolls or biscuitsThe vegetables she cooked were grown right behind the house and seasoned to perfection.
To this day, the smell of sausage frying early in the morning takes me back to when the kids were little and we’d come for a visit.
Ms Elizabeth got up about five o’clock to make breakfast, and eventually the smell of coffee brewing and biscuits baking while sausage sizzled in the cast iron skillet atop her olive green stove woke us with a heavenly aroma.I treasure those memories.
For years family gatherings for Easter, Christmas or Thanksgiving meant she produced a feast for twenty or thirty in a space that, by today’s standards, was cramped. Yet she accomplished a scrumptious result that left her guests feeling blessed.
She had four boys who became good men with kids and grandkids of their own and yesterday we all gathered to celebrate the life of this wonderful woman.
Along with the memories we share are the life lessons she taught
L Love fiercely
2. Laugh frequently
3. Find places to express your creativity (hers was her kitchen)
4. Embrace change and the people change brings into your life.
5. Opinions are like navels – everybody has one and judging others is usually a waste of time.
Almost two decades ago Alzheimer’s began taking her memories. She forgot where she put things; left the oven on; neglected to return calls.
Her husband was of course the first to notice and before he passed away said, “Take care of your mama.”
Her sons made her care their top priority until the end.
The love he and Ms Elizabeth shared was so deep, that I’ve wondered if the only blessing of this hateful disease was that she eventually forgot her greatest loss.
As the family greeted friends who came to visitation, one young grandson had a natural reaction and said, “It sort of makes me uncomfortable (freaks me out) to look at Grandmother now.”
I remember feeling the same way when as a child I lost my first grandparent, but the more I looked at his body the more I knew that wasn’t Papa. The casket held the tent Papa lived in on earth.
That’s what I told my grandson Monday night and he replied, “Okay, Meme,” and took a step in faith.
Faith was fortified as Pastor Keith Brown brought a message of hope and comfort, and a grandson who pastors a church in Texas closed the service with his own memories of Grandmother Elizabeth.
“She welcomed me into the family when Mom and Pop married and I always felt her love and acceptance.”
Mother wrote in her journal, “Nothing is too difficult when we believe Him enough to go forward doing His will and letting Him do the impossible.”
Elizabeth McLeary believed in His love and shared that loved with others, especially her family. Though she lost all her memories she left memories that we treasure and an example we can try to follow.