Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Susie Simmons Ramshur

JULY 1, 1916
JUNE 18, 1974

Susie Simmons Ramshur (maiden name Johnson) was my maternal grandmother.  Her grandchildren called her "Granny".  She was laid to rest in the Pine Burr Church of Christ Cemetery, Lamar County, Mississippi.

I was 15 years old when Granny passed away.  I can still recall the events surrounding her death.  Mom and Dad had planned a family vacation to Tennessee that June of 1974.  We were all excited about the trip, for it wasn't often that we could enjoy a family vacation.   Mom and Dad had planned to "pass through" the state of Mississippi, stopping briefly in Columbia to visit with Granny (our family lived in Louisiana at that time).  That's when Mom found out that Granny was in a hospital in Hattiesburg.  Our family spent the next couple of nights at Ms. Irene's house in Hattiesburg.  Ms. Irene was a family friend that Mom and Dad had known since the early years of their marriage.
The grave situation of Granny's illness was made clear to me when Mom called all her children into the living room at Ms. Irene's house.  I remember the solemn look upon Mom's face while she tried to tactfully explain how sick Granny was.  She struggled to hold back her tears, but in the end she failed and a few tears escaped her.  For a few moments, we didn't respond.  We didn't know how to respond, what to say, at a time like that.  I remember feeling hurt, not only because Granny was so ill, but because my Mom was hurting.  It was a rare occurence to see my Mom tearful, or even tactful, and it was something I wasn't exactly prepared for and didn't know how to respond to, except with silence.  

I remember going to the hospital with Mom the next day.  The silence within me still lingered.  It was lunch time and Granny was sitting on her bed, picking at the food on her plate, complaining about how bad it tasted.  Granny was different- she seemed distant and somewhat confused.  I hugged her and told her I love her but she didn't respond like the Granny I knew before then.  She appeared weak, frail and older than I remembered her.  I turned away so Granny wouldn't see the tears falling upon my cheeks.  I could tell that Mom was struggling to stay strong, and I wanted to stay strong for her but the emotions within me were so strong that I didn't know how to handle them.  Before then, I had not lost someone so close to me, someone I loved that dearly.  Neither had Mom.

That was the last time I saw my Granny in this life.  I don't remember how many days or weeks she was sick, but I do remember getting the phone call that she had passed away.  My Mom and her siblings were devastated.  It took a long time for Mom to come to terms with the passing of her mother.  I didn't understand the depth of Mom's pain until I lost HER. 

I am fortunate to have so many wonderful memories of my Granny.  She tended to spoil me a little bit and we had a special bond between us.  I plan to share some of my memories of her in future posts. 

Death may take away from us the physical presence of those we loved, but death may never take away all the memories. 

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