See You on the Other Side, Grandma J.
To many, my grandma was June, the longtime checker at ShopLand. We knew this as kids because someone recognized her everywhere we went. To others, she was Aunt June, Junie, Mrs. Jordan, mom and Nana J. She was Grandma J to most of us.
Beyond what she was called, she was the one who opened up her home and her heart to our friends, to extended family and anyone else who knew she had candy bars in that bottom drawer of the fridge.
She was the one who would be on the sidelines at our soccer, softball, baseball, basketball and volleyball games, often cheering the loudest – and a time or two getting kicked out of the game for spouting off to a referee or umpire.
She was right there after school, ready to pick us up in her little red escort and she was pedaling alongside in her Pee Wee Herman bike on our family bike rides.
She was the chair side coach of the Cardinals, an avid bingo player and bowler, and the master of Tripoly and pinochle, many times with a Baby Budweiser by her side.
She was the feisty woman who let her opinion known whether you wanted to hear it or not, yet she was the first one to shed a tear when she watched the news and saw someone in need. She was also the first one to step up when someone needed help.
The past few days, our family spent time going through her old photos and the momentums she kept. We found our graduation invitations, childhood drawings, Valentine’s Day cards we had made and every note we left her when we stopped by her house on West Main, even if it was an ‘I love you’ scribbled on a napkin. She kept it all. I think deep down she knew what joy it would bring us to see Stephanie’s Harry the Horse, Molly’s Johnny Carson drawing and Matty’s inappropriate Christmas list.
She was all about family. You didn’t cross her children, grandchildren or great-grandchildren. She was protective of us – she hurt when we hurt. More than anything, she made sure that we knew we were loved – sometimes through tough love but most of the time, with open arms.
On Wednesday night, the last thing she said to me (besides telling me to move her car) was “I love you, Shany.” I had heard those words many times before and didn’t realize at the time that it would be the last time she could say them.
On Thursday, her kids, grandkids and great-grandkids walked her to the doors of heaven. We stood by her side, told her how much we loved her and let her know it was okay to take that final step. We handed her over to Grandpa, Donny, Mary Catherine, Linda Ann, Lauretta, Lucille, Elaine, Grandma and Grandpa Tuncil, and the rest of our family and friends who have already left us.
We knew that she had a crowd waiting for her on the other side. And, we know that they will take good care of our Junie, our Aunt June, our Mom, our Nana J. and our Grandma J.
– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: Dec. 6, 2010
© Shannon Philpott, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and shannonphilpott.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.