The weight of loss has been inexplicably heavy. Along with missing my mother terribly, it dawned on me that the anniversary of Foxy’s death has come and gone. Always gentle and unassuming when it came to her own interests, she wouldn’t have wanted me to make much of a fuss. It’s strange how your subconscious reveals that things are more “wrong” than you imagine.
She got her nickname, because she ALWAYS had on a set of pearls and kept a mean pair of shoes at the ready. Remembering Foxy means remembering full scale dress up: purses with faux fur and feathers; large stretchy rings with plastic “rubies” and “emeralds,” specifically bought for the delight of my sisters and I; all of the Clinique lipsticks she wouldn’t completely use up, so that we could play with the nubs when we would visit. I can still smell her kitchen, richly scented with brown rice and a Sunday pot roast that no one has been able to duplicate. Between my aunts, my mom and my sisters and I, she was the quiet in the family storm of rowdy females. When she evacuated during Hurricane Katrina, the local congregation where she went to worship adopted her and all called her Grandma. For a person so warm and loving, it was only right.
My grandfather, a very overbearing man, was the Archie to her Edith. Except, she was brilliant. I believe that she hid, and was slightly ashamed of her intelligence, due to my grandfather’s lack of education. She was the valedictorian of Xavier University Preparatory; a Catholic school with a long history of educating young black women. She had this amazing habit of quietly listening to the conversations around her, then interjecting something profound and going about her business as though she’d never said anything. When my sister asked her about her high school achievement, she gave a sly look, asked “Who told you that?” then abruptly changed the subject. However much she attempted to downplay her wit, her eyes always told the story of knowing just a little bit more than she was telling.
I miss her cushiony lap, and the way she knew how to calm all of us down. They just don’t make grandmothers like that anymore. Sometimes, I look at my family, and I wonder why God blessed me with these people that were so wonderful. I’m grateful that He saw fit to give me the best of the best. A week before she died, my sister visited her, and she said that she was just taking it day by day. “I could go at any minute,” were her exact words. My sister and I spoke on the phone that night about how she would outlive all of us. Thinking about it now breaks my heart.
So much of the good in my family is attributable to her. We are all so full of thunder, but she taught us that there was a gentler way to go about this life thing. We make it without her, but each of us are a little different. She was the event that brought us all together.
I miss you sweetest of ladies. I wish we had more time.