Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A Grandmother Writes

I was reminded recently of the Buffalo Creek flood disaster in Logan County, West Virginia that occurred in 1972. A friend from high school posted a link on Facebook on the anniversary of the tragedy and I was immediately transported back in time to my childhood.

Both my parents grew up in Logan County, but my Mom actually lived in that part of the county. I can vividly remember how devastated she was, and as I often do, I went rummaging through family memorabilia. If you're like me, and most of your family has gone on to their heavenly reward, old pictures and letters become sacred. You handle them with utmost care, reading them, searching for hidden messages or meaning that probably wasn't least I do. OK, so I'm a little strange, I have a creative mind.

In my rummaging, I found a note my grandmother sent to me after I was married. She'd written it just after my bridal shower with some comments made about me from a former Sunday School teacher. So many thoughts went through my mind as I read the note again after so many years. It was obvious she was proud of me and wanted to express it in her own simple way. How precious to me are her words, written in her handwriting.

She was a simple woman, yet a godly woman who loved me...that I know. I always thought I was her favorite and if every grandmother can make her grandchild feel that way then she's done her job well. She had lots of grandchildren for she had seven children so I'm sure she had several favorites. We lovingly called her Ma Bailey. Bailey was her last name from her first husband. Don Bailey was my mom's dad, who died when she was eighteen years of age. She'd just graduated from high school.

Ma Bailey knew loss, suffering and pain but she knew how to love. Her daughter, my mom, lost her battle with breast cancer at the age of 38. Ma Bailey was my connection to the mother I'd lost. She would stroke my hair and remind me how much my mom loved me and how much I looked like her. When I was a little girl, Sunday afternoons were kind of boring when we'd go visit, but now that my mom was gone the need to see her was all consuming. I was drawn to her touch, her voice, her presence. I honored her and my mother by naming my daughter, Bailey, for I was proud to have come from these two special women.

Some of my friends are at that time in their lives where they have grandchildren or are expecting grandchildren. I've watched them grandparent with such love and grace. What an awesome responsibility we're given. The wisdom we've gained as parents can be poured freely into the lives of these precious little ones through the time we spend on our knees interceding for them and our children.

The one thing I know is that my grandmother loved me and expressed her love through the written word. I have a tangible piece of her that I can say on this day she was thinking of me. Write to your children and your grandchildren. If photography is your gift, take pictures. Tell them you love them in words and photos. Make a scrapbook of your memories.  Your physical presence won't always be here but your written words will be here long after you're gone.

One day when your little one is all grown up and rummaging through their drawer looking for something, they'll find a piece of you, a piece of their history that links them forever with you, and they'll know they were loved.



  1. Oh my goodness. I think this is my favorite. I loved reading how you named Bailey. My kids have family names, too. I keep old letters and enjoy reading them from time to time. You are right about handwritten notes. They will last forever. I especially like to read letters from friends when we were in college. Wow, what we worried about -haha.
    My aunt called me on my wedding day and said she had wanted to write me a letter but didn't, but I'll always remember the phone conversation. She died 16 years ago tomorrow, so I couldn't help but think about her when I read this blog. How timely, and once again, you have made me think and remember, and I am grateful.

  2. Thanks Katy! Your words mean so much to writer to another. I have a letter from my mom written just before she died and it means so much. That's what I'm referring to "hidden meaning". I have read and reread that thing looking for a message from her that would tell me she knew she would never see me again. I know I'm weird!! I'm glad I helped you remember something pleasant. I know your family is very important to you and I love your children's names. You'll have to tell me the stories. I love to hear how people named their children.