Ida Naomi Fitzgerald
I did not want to write this post at first. How could my words ever do justice in remembrance of such a fine lady that was Miss Naomi? I really just didn't want to have to realize that our Meemaw was gone. But I knew that wouldn't last for long with the presence Miss Naomi possessed. She wasn't my personal Meemaw, but she made me feel that way. I can still remember the first thing she said to me after marrying Cliff. She said, "Welcome to the family, honey." Those words still warm my heart today, but when she said them I knew it was just protocol, I had already been "family" with her for a while.
If I was to think of Meemaw in just one word, it would be HUGS. 9 years or so ago, I was introduced to Meemaw. I was tagging along to either a church or family function as the third wheel with Cliff and Shayna (former girlfriend). Before speaking, I was given a welcoming hug. Maybe it is just a Southernly lady thing to hug everyone you meet, but Miss Naomi's hugs were always sincere. Meemaw wasn't what I would have considered a fragile lady by no means. Humble, honest, hardy, a country woman, ya know? Even so, you wouldn't have expected those hugs to be that tight! Yet at the same time they were sweet and squishy, just like her. :) You would usually get a few wet smooches (never just one!) in any embrace with Meemaw. She always smelled like fabric softner and whatever good cookin' she had been up to that day. Meemaw's loving touch that was shared with everyone is what I will miss most, her openness to befriend and care.
I'm still sad. It upsets me Sam will never know Meemaw. I luckily have a picture of the two of them together, but even this picture is not the same Naomi I wanted him to know. Miss Naomi couldn't smile the last six months. Sometimes I think she didn't want this picture taken at all, because it is simply not her as her usual self. I hesistated in taking it. I'm glad now that I did. I tell myself I was being silly. Meemaw was proud as can be of her new great grandson. She was not the type of person of appearances, never self-absorbed. I just wish I could have had the experience of watching her bounce Sam up on her knee talking baby talk to him. Nothing made her light up more than holding babies.
I've been dealing with difficult questions from Dylan.
"Why is she in a box, Momma?"
"Why are they closing the box with Meemaw in it?"
"Why would we put her in the dirt?"
"Are we gonna get her out of the dirt tomorrow?"
Even more confusing...
"God is gonna get her out of the dirt?"
"I want to see her, can you put me in the dirt too then?"
There was a white heart flower arrangement from all the grandkids with red roses zig-zagging through the middle. I explained to Dylan it was a broken heart, because our hearts were sad Meemaw is gone. Dylan matter-of-factly replies, "But my heart isn't broken. I'm not sad. I'm happy Meemaw is in heaven.", to which that same heart of mine melts. He leans over to her and says, "I love you, Meemaw. I will miss you. Have fun in heaven.", and kisses her casket. I hope Dylan will remember her as much as his 4 year old mind will let him.
Meemaw made dolls. 628 of them actually. She logged them all in a book, along with the recipient. Recipients included even "waitress at Quincy's" and "little black girl across the street", in order words- complete strangers. Are you getting the gist of the wonderful lady she was? I received doll #625 right before last Christmas. The last Christmas she was still normal. Her last Christmas. I selfishly complained to Cliff how Kristy got a bride doll at her wedding shower and I still didn't have one after all this time. I told Cliff not to say anything, but of course the Fitzgerald in him doesn't make for a great secret keeper. :) She had innocently forgotten and honestly, it hadn't really bothered me. I was just being a brat with crazy pregnancy hormones looking for something to complain about. I was pretty embarrassed when I received my doll, because of how I acted. It's a sweet doll with blonde hair and blue eyes decked out like a Southern princess in her huge pink dress. It was obvious that Meemaw definitely had me in mind making that one. I am so glad she thought of me and that doll currently resides on top of my dresser. Unfortunately, I hadn't mailed the thank you card until one hour before I was told she had died. I hope she does know I appreciated the dollie and it will forever be cherished.
My Cliff is so sensitive. He will only go to viewings of those very important to him, because it upsets him so. We were running late (as usual, still haven't figured out when to start getting ready for things with Sam) and missed out on the personal family viewing, so had to stand in line to see Meemaw for a good 30-45 minutes. I've never in my life seen that many people at a viewing before, I'm not even exaggerating. Cliff got his last hug with his Meemaw. I think seeing her appear more like her usual self versus how sad she looked the last six months in various hospitals and nursing homes brought a type of relief to Cliff. He was serenly calm after that. He shared to me that if he cries now, it is from recalling happy memories of Meemaw. Cliff has plans of attempting to duplicate her famous chocolate oatmeal cookies to carry on her memory.
I wish I could feel the same as the rest of Cliff and his family, that my faith could be as strong. Dylan tells me Meemaw is going to be friends with Papa Chuck (my grandpa) in heaven. The two of them would get along for sure I know. For some odd thought, I keep picturing them playing checkers together. Neither was a crazy checkers playing person or anything, but it is just what I see in my head over and over. I am dreading her absence this Christmas. I wonder how Papa Charles (her husband) will cope from this day on. No matter what, Meemaw will not be forgotten.