|My granny, Susie Johnson Simmons|
I spent a lot of time with Granny when she lived near us in Westwego. If my memory serves me correctly (which I can't always guarantee) Granny lived in an apartment above a bakery, just down the street from us. It was a tiny but cozy place with only enough room for a few pieces of furniture. I spent the night with her often because I just enjoyed being with her. Perhaps I enjoyed the "quiet" at her place too. It felt good to get away from the noisy atmosphere at our house sometimes.
I would bundle up with Granny in her bed and either read or color some pictures as she dozed off to sleep. Soon after I would fall asleep beside her. The next morning we would go to the bakery and she would buy us some doughnuts or rolls and milk. She would then either drive me back home or she would drive me to school.
Granny just always made me feel special. We had a bond, unlike the relationship she had with my other siblings. Perhaps it was because Mom and I lived with her for a while when I was a baby so therefore she spent more time with me. I loved her so very much. I respected her. I knew she felt the same about me. I recall once that while on a visit in Mississippi, Granny was driving me to my Grandma Ivy's house. I was probably about 5 or 6 years old at the time. On the way, I brought up the subject of death. This was normal as most children that age become curious about death and the meaning of it. I guess I was beginning to realize that death is a permanent situation.
Of course, I am unable to recall all the details of our conversation that day, just bits and pieces, but it went something like this:
"Granny, where will you go when you die?", I quietly asked her.
"Well I hope I will go to heaven to be with Jesus", she replied with a slight smile.
"When will that be, Granny?"
"I'm not sure baby. I hope it will be a long time", she answered.
After considering her answers, I remember saying to her, "Granny, when you die, I want to die too. I want to go wherever you go".
Then she tried to explain to me, "But you're still young. I am getting older. One day it will be time for me to go live with Jesus. I will be happy and I will be okay. Then one day when you are old, you can come and live with me in Heaven".
"But Granny, I don't want you to leave me, ever." I said. I remember feeling sad at that moment while thinking about her leaving me forever.
There was silence until we arrived at Grandma Ivy's house. As Granny took me inside, she proceeded to tell Grandma Ivy about our conversation in the car. She wiped a few tears from her eyes as she talked. I remember her saying something like, "How do you tell a child so young that one day you will have to leave them?". After I watched her drive away, I felt worried about Granny. I didn't want anything to happen to her. It weighed heavily on my mind for some unknown reason. Maybe it was just a sense of insecurity, being a child facing the realization that death might come and take her away. Fortunately, it would be a few more years before God called her home.