3.4.11

Bobie

  So I think it's time I tell you about my grandma, we called her 'Bobie'; the "o" is long.  My oldest cousin Gregg gave her that moniker.  Not sure how he came up with that out of grandma or Gloria - that was her name.

  Anyway, I was thinking about her and decided to see if I could find that song "I'll Fly Away" by Allison Krauss on YouTube.  And I did.  See above.  This was one of her favorite songs. 

  Bobie got me and my little brother when I was 4 1/2, nearly 5, Calvin was close to 2 years old.  My parents had split up and my dad got full custody of me and my brother - a thing that was virtually unheard of in the early 80's, but I think it's because my mom didn't really fight for us.  But it worked out better for me & Calvin in the long run I think.

  Anyway, Bobie was what you call 'Old School' - and I do mean OLD SCHOOL!  I mean, she was tell me to do something and I would say "Who?" - her response:  "Your feet don't fit a limb!  Get to it!"  Yeah.....

...Anyway.  She could cook!  And she loved to laugh, and sing and dance.  We would be cleaning the house and she'd have Conway, or EmmyLou or Cash blaring, and she'd grab me, we'd start 2 stepping!!! She instilled the fear of God in me though, can I tell ya!  But I loved her, she was in essence my mom. 

  Anyway, I was 12 years old, nearly 13 - and I was starting to test the boundaries a bit.  But not too much because my brother was ADHD with Tourrett's so he kept her and my dad hopping.  Seriously - that boy literally bounced off of walls!  And of course there was that and knowing that Bobie's logic was this: "I'll give you just enough rope to hang yourself with"!  She wasn't stupid - she'd been there, done that, wasn't letting her grand kids anywhere near it!

  Early on the morning of January 16, 1991, just a little over a month before my 13th birthday, Bobie died.  The coroner's said it must have happened around 1:30-2:00 a.m. - what's funny, I woke up around that time.  See we lived in a very small 2 bedroom house.  Me and Bobie slept together, and my dad and brother had bunk beds.  I sleep like the dead, no pun intended.  I mean you can play AC/DC's 'Hell's Bell's' full blast next to my ear and I won't so much as flinch.

  But somewhere between that time frame, I woke up, I felt Bobie's back against mine.  I scooted a little closer to the my edge.  I tried to go back to sleep for 5 minutes and couldn't.  She was sleeping on her side, when she had the heart attach, I think her body spasm-ed or jerked her back, making her back to lean against mine.  She would've been on her back, if I hadn't had been in the bed.  Calvin, my brother who was 9 at this time said he had a dream that night that she was bitten by a snake and died.

  I don't know if it was her that woke me, or perhaps the God that woke me, trying to get me to help.  But all I know is that I felt an insane amount of guilt for years.  I kept thinking, if I would have just gotten up, looked at her, maybe it would be different, I would have been different.  I really would have. Had she not have died, my life would have gone a different path.  She died at a crucial point in my life, only I didn't realize it then.  I didn't realize that till many, many sad years later.

  My brother found her that morning at around 6:30 a.m.  We were already late.  She was supposed to be at work for 6:30.  His screaming woke me up.  He was shaking her, and yelling "Wake Up!  Odessa, she won't wake up!"  I jumped up, and as soon as I touched her arm, I knew something was wrong, her skin was like ice.  I grabbed a mirror that she had on her nightstand, and held it up to her mouth and nose - there was nothing.  I ran to the living room and called my Aunt's house.  Oddly enough, my dad had stopped by their house for coffee.  He had gotten up and left at around 4:30 to go to the gym to get in a work out before work.  He had just gotten there, he had found out that a couple they all knew had died in a car crash around midnight. *they say people die in 3's*

  I told my aunt, "I think something is wrong with Bobie."  My aunt asked me "what do you mean?"  I said "She won't wake up, I think she's dead."  I could hear the panic in my aunts voice, even though it was calm, and even, you could hear the fear in it.  That's when I heard Calvin start screaming "She's Blue!  Odessa she's blue all over!"  My Aunt asked what Calvin was screaming.  I told her to hang on.  I went back in the room.  Calvin had turned the light on.  It was garish.  Her lips, and her psoriasis were all blue and purplish looking.  I told Calvin to turn the light back off.  I went back to the phone, and told my aunt "She's dead, there's no breath, not heartbeat, her skin is cold and blue." My aunt told my dad "somethings wrong with momma - go home."  My aunt came back to the phone, and told me that daddy was on his way for us to just stay put.

  I kid you not, my dad was home in 3 minutes.  My aunt's house was at least a 10 min. drive due to the curves.  He came in the house, and went straight to the room.  He came out a few minutes later, he looked like a little boy, with his head hanging.  They called the funeral home, the newspaper, etc.  People started milling in and out of the house.  When the undertaker got there, they quickly shuffled me and Calvin across to the street to neighbors we couldn't stand, who we were related to by marriage some kind of way. 

  Calvin and I sat there with four adults hoovering over us, not really saying anything.  I think the silence was the worst part.  I kept starting out of the living room window - you could see everything that was going on at my house from where I sat.  When the adults would try to talk to me, I just wanted to tell them to shut up and leave me alone.  But I couldn't do that, Bobie wouldn't have liked that, so I sat still and quiet.  Till I saw them rolling her body out and putting into the back of the hearse.  I cried and cried and cried.  When I stopped, I didn't cry again after that for quite a while.  I think when that hearse drove off with Bobie, it took a little of my mind with it for a while.

  I don't remember much of the wake, people would try to talk to me, then just get silent.  I remember  just walking around - I tried to find a quiet corner to sit in, but could never find one.  Later one of my friends told me that I was like a zombie at the wake.  That I wouldn't really say anything to anyone - i was just dazed.  I remember the day of the funeral though....

..my grandfather came, he had left Bobie EONS before for another woman.  I had gotten dressed, and was trying to get Calvin squared away while dad finished getting himself together.  Calvin started being a little brother and we started the bickering.  My grandpa, 'Papa Gene' got up, grabbed Calvin to face him and told him "Your Bobie's gone now, you hear?  You listen to your sister, she's the woman of  the house now."  And he went and sat back down. 

  Both Calvin and I stood there in stunned silence for a minute.  The finality of it all hit home.  For Calvin it was more that the only mom he'd ever had was never coming back - and for me - my innocence and childhood died in that instant with those words.  Looking back I can see where there was a load placed on my shoulders with those words, weights that came with a chain that tied me up for a long time.

  My dad came out, and we were getting ready to head to the church.  Calvin and I never saw dad cry, and my brother called him out on it the day of the funeral.  Calvin accused my dad of not caring, not loving her. I knew better; I understood that daddy was a man, and that men don't cry in front of others, especially not in front of their kids in circumstances like this. 

  That was the only time I think I saw my dad's muscle's twitching from anger hurt/pain.  He gave my brother a look, that made Calvin back down a bit.  Dad got his cool back and told him "I loved Bobie, and I miss her a lot."  Dad's love, mourning, etc were never questioned by Calvin ever again.

  There were easily over 300 people at her funeral.  Bobie had always loved children. She ran the nursery at our church, taught Sunday School, and worked at a day care center with the infants.  All the parents from the day care came.  Every child she had ever had in her sunday school classes came.  Every girl that had worked under her in the church nursery was there.  I don't think she realized, and until then, neither did I, just how many lives she had impacted - all for good.

  My regret is that I didn't get to tell her I was sorry for being such a brat that night.  I didn't get to tell her how much I really loved her.  I still miss her even now, 20 years later.  She would have LOVED my husband - they would have always been off fishing together - she LOVED to fish, I hate it! 

  Of course her great grand kids, not just mine, but my cousin too.  Me and Leigh were popping out kids at the same time.  Bobie would have been in 'hog heaven' back in 2002; her grand daughters having daughters!!

  I wonder would she be proud of me now to see the woman I've become despite the mire I walked through to get here?  Did she know how much we loved her, how much I loved her? 

  Those are the questions that plague me from time to time.  In  my heart of hearts I know that she knew I loved her, and that I was just a silly kid going through an awkward age that would soon pass, and I would be ok.  But still never getting to say good-bye hurts, and I don't think the hurt ever goes away, it just lessens a little with time.  But every now and again, time sneaks up on you and kicks that hurt all over again. 

  Tonight is one of those nights.

 

6 comments:

why do i feel? said...

I felt every range of emotion you went through as I sat here reading. I've been there. When we lost Michael we had the most hellacious week we'd ever experienced. What really grabbed me here was a common experience. I cried more that week than I ever have in my life, before or since, and when it was all over I felt that I had been drained dry. I didn't cry again for years.

And, yes, Bobie would be very proud of you.

So am I. This was very touching. AI large piece of my heart goes out to you tonight.

Gorges Smythe said...

I think anyone who loses someone close to them questions if they could have and should have done more. I know I did when I lost my dad. Sometimes it's just that time and there's nothing any one can do about it, except deal with it. As you learned, that's the hard part. Bless you.

D.A.R said...

She loved you very much, and yes she would LOVE THOSE BABIES to pieces!

Anonymous said...

Your Bobie was a very wise woman... A godly and loving woman and she knew you loved her and still does. She always was and always would (will) be very proud of you and Calvin. You both turned our to be awesome adults in spite of some very bad circumstances you went through in your youth.

LTM said...

((big hug)) I miss her so much sometimes, too. She was so wise and yet so down to earth, and she knew my mom in a way I never have. Probably never will. I sometimes think she could've bridged that gap if she were still around.

Lots of "what ifs," but I can tell you this. As smart as she was, she knew you loved her. And don't think she paid any attention to how you acted as a 13 y.o. She loved us all very much and knew we loved her, too. I can still her her laughing~ ;p xoxo <3

Odessa said...

Big hug back at you cuz!
She had a great laugh didn't she?!? Her eyes laughed too!!!

Do you remember that Christmas you guys gave her a microwave? First you handed her a little box with a picture of a microwave in it, and she kinda of laughed about it, then you guys brought out the microwave and she cried and boo-hoo'ed for I don't know how long. I always remember that Christmas for some reason.

Christmas of 1990 she got me a pink leather bound KJV Bible with my name inscribed on teh leather - I still have it, and it's tattered and beaten, but I'll never have it fixed. The girls got a hold of one of her necklaces I got - they came close to breaking it - I nearly broke them. When I thought it was done for I cried. They were kinda freaked. I tried to tell them about Bobie, but ...well, you know!

Bobie knew your mom that way because she was her mom - it will be the same with you and your girls - you will know them in a way that no one else ever will.

Yeah, Bobie was a tough old cookie! 5'5" of dynomite! were you ever around when her and Aunt Doris were together? OMG - now that old lady was a MESS, can I tell ya, oh and of course daddy loved to egg her on - Aunt Doris is where I learned my first curse word! Bobie would laugh, which always flabbergasted me since she couldn't stand foul language!