My grandma had a very hard life. She had three sons, and when they were very young, my grandfather worked away from home in the oil fields. One day my grandmother decided to suprise him, and when she got to his hotel she was told by the front desk clerk that "Mr. Gill and his wife" had gone out to dinner that evening. My grandmother went to the restaurant, threw a fit, and promptly left him. She married her second husband, Jack, because he was a nice man and would help take care of the boys. She never really loved him, but she did need him.
When I was born, my grandmother lived with my parents for about a year and helped take care of me. My mother says that she never let me cry - as soon as I made a noise, she would pick me up until I settled down. Because of the fact that she helped raise me so closely, I was always one of her favorite grandchildren.
I have many great memories of my grandma growing up. When I would go visit her, she would ask me what kind of cereal I wanted for breakfast. I'd say, "What kind do you have?" She'd say, "Well, what kind do you want?" Then when I'd say some sugary monstrosity that I'd never get at my own house, like Corn Pops, she'd run out to the store quickly and get it for me. She was always such a great cook until her eyes started to fail her.
When I was about 13, she took me to the World's Fair in New Orleans. I was so rotten to her. I wanted to hang out with kids my own age and maybe hold hands with a cute boy. I remember at some point she screamed at me for being so selfish, and I really felt horrible. I hope that she remembered that trip fondly, because I always felt guilty about it.
My grandmother was always close to her sons. She had the misery of having to see each one die. First my uncle Roger died, the healthiest of the bunch. He got ALS and died after a very slow and painful illness. She got really sick after that from the grief. Then a week after I saw my uncle Bobby at my brother's funeral, he died from a diabetic coma. In 2004, my father passed away from pancreatic cancer, and she was so fragile by that point that she wasn't able to make the funeral. She has always been very close to Richard, Bobby's son. Because Richard's mother and Bobby got a divorce when Richard was so young, my grandma basically helped raise Richard.
My grandma had many health problems in her old age. She had breast cancer, heart problems, bladder problems, arthritis, and her vision was almost gone. For the past year she has been essentially bedridden, taken care of by Richard.
The last time I talked to her, a few months ago or so, she sounded really rough. I was telling her about Dan and our loft, and she said, "You didn't tell me you had gotten married! Why wasn't I invited?" I said, "Grandma, you were there at the wedding, don't you remember?" The doctors said that she had a small stroke and it pretty much cooked her brain.
Yesterday I got a call. My grandmother had a stroke last week, and after staying at home after a few days of hospice, she passed away. She was 92. She, like my uncle Bobby, is donating her body to science. After her body is used for research, she will be cremated. There will be no funeral, no memorial service. The only ones who would be there to attend would be the grandchildren, anyway.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of my grandmother, Nadine Burdette.