Nancy McFadden

Dear Grandma,

I never told you how proud of you I am. Not only did you raise 8 girls and 4 boys you raised multiple grandchildren, like myself. With every year, you aged, your skinned glowed even more, and the only thing that aged on you were your hands. I’ll miss how when I walk into your house you would yell “hey”. I’ll miss how you would call Auntie Estelle in your southern voice “Estelle, have you seen my visen? Estelle: “Ma!” You were the funniest grandma ever. You came to hear me sing solo at a fashion show, 8th grade graduation, kindergarten graduation and choir choir events. You came to my first program, and I got to praise Jesus with you in a dance.

I walked into your house today, and I didn’t smell food. I didn’t. No pork chops, fried chicken, no, salmon in the oven, grits on the stove, neck bones and rice, nothing. But I could still feel you there. I saw your pictures, in your room. I took a deep breath before I entered and fell on your bed. I told myself not to cry. If I could take your bedroom with me, I would have. I saw your bible on the stool. I hugged your many bears your grandchildren have gotten you over the years. In a still small voice, I said “Hey Gramma” and tear rolled down my eye, because I knew I wouldn’t hear you say “Hey Mimi”

I remember when you were sick in 2006/2007 and you almost died. I went into your room, it was just me and you. You cried on my shoulder, I was finally able to hold you. I told you “you can’t do this, don’t cry because when you cry, I cry, and then were both no good” the next thing you said was “what’s going to happen to my children, without me here, who will keep them together”. I didn’t know what to say. I never told anyone you said this, because you told me to keep it secret. You were the glue to this family. You held thanksgiving dinner, prayer sessions, church services in the living room and Christmas dinner, you bought all of us dresses when we were younger for Easter. All of us! You were the glue, and now you’re gone. I’m not sure what is going to happen to us.

I remember you and I talking and you’d say “I pray my children get it together before Jesus returns” You loved your children. They way you nursed uncle Fred back to health, and made sure he was sober. I loved hearing him call you “mama” it was like a child calling for his protector. You hugged him when he was in the hospital, you held his head, and said “son, it will be ok, mama’s here” I cried when I got home because I never had my mom say that to me.

I never had my mom say with her hear say she loved me. My mom doesn’t hold me. She doesn’t hug me. She doesn’t call me. She doesn’t say I love you when she hangs up the phone. I only got that from you. I got the hugs from you. You were the mom I needed in a way. I want you back. I’m hungry. I go to bed hungry. I eat from a food bank.  I slept in a shelter with drug addicts. I slept on the street. I’m eating foods I’m allergic to, because that’s all I can afford, and it’s killing my insides. Your daughters, my aunts don’t call me, they don’t reach out to me. You sons don’t answer the phone. I don’t see my cousins.

I’m annoying. I know. I talk to much, I know. I’m different, I know. I’m mentally ill, I know. On holidays when I see the boys get hugged, or families together, my mom and brother wasn’t there. I felt alone. I felt forgotten. I feel unloved. The only one in the family I felt that loved me was Charles, Auntie Stell and you. Now your gone, I get no love. It feels like I have no family and my heart is breaking.

I used to ask you as a child, why my mom doesn’t love me? why does my mom put men before me? what did I do wrong not to deserve love? I cried to you. You held my head. I remember one Christmas my mom didn’t show up, and you prayed over my head while I cried. You were my mom at that moment. You said, you words were “Mimi, grandma is sorry. I don’t know what makes Brenda do this. I don’t. God sees it though. I’m here though. I’m here. I need you to pray so your heart does not turn hard. Then you said, I know it hurts. Baby I do.”

Grandma you did more than feed me. You protected me. I miss you so much. I’m grateful that you felt my pain and was there for me. I’m hungry grandma. I don’t know when I’ll eat again. My programs pays my rent. I don’t have a job. My adopted mom and mentor have been helping me out a lot. My mom Caroline and mentor Jenn have been helping me, and listening to me cry, and when they can, they feed me. I wish you could have gotten to know them. Matter of fact, your the reason I know Jenn. You allowed me to go to YALE HIV Course, and to eat dinner with her. You let me hang with her despite what DCF said. Thank you grandma. Thank you so much.

If I could have taken the cancer away and died for you I would have. I’m glad you didn’t suffer long. When you were dying and we talked, I apologized. because I wasn’t the best grandchild. I was disrespectful and hurtful. I was hurting though and wanted some one to hear me, and hurt to too. You said ” you dont need to apologize” and that you understood, and you said “I should have apologized.” But, “what has happened has happened, and you need to know grandma loves you.” you turned your head to the left, a tear ran down your eye, and you said “grandma loves you” I believe you knew it would be along time until I heard those words again from someone.

One thing I knew from my grandma, was that in spite of everything, “grandma loves you”. I say this to myself daily. I listen to your video singing “Somebody here” I think about how you prayed and called out to God in your room. I saw your tears and how happy you were when you talked about Jesus. You lived your true potential. You feed the state of CT, and student at MCLA. Cooking was your ministry, the holy spirit moved through your cooking, and peoples souls were healed and lives were changed through the God in you by your cooking.

Your skin glowed 100% until the end and even after. The wrinkles on your hands were a testimony to the children and grandchildren you raised, battles you fought, nights you cried, and prayers you prayed; babies your held, meals you cooked and an illness you fought. Cancer didn’t kill you, your spirit was to strong, your mind was to sharp, cancer thought it had you but God wanted you home, so before it could do any damage, you went to your true home.

Love you, I Miss you. Watch over me! Shine like a star. Finally have that talk with Jesus. Rest in him. Praise him in a dance in a new body without pains. Breathe fresh air. You’re home.

See you, soon, but hopefully not before I can earn my wrinkles too.

Your granddaughter/son

Domenia Lizshate Sheri Dickey “Mimi”

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